Last Friday it was very cold in front of the federal courthouse in Anchorage. I was there to read a statement from my friend and Presbyterian executive, Rev. Dr. Curt Karns. It was a rally to highlight the unfairness of the recent Supreme Court decision that corporations deserve the same rights as individuals. This movement seeks to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
This is what Curt wrote and what I read at the rally. "The biblical witness is clear both in the prophets and in the words of Jesus that societies are to be based on justice, and that societies are judged by their commitment to justice. By granting civil and personal rights to corporations, the Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Board case has turned this biblical guidance on its head. Rather than viewing political and social decisions from the perspective of the poor, the weak and the downtrodden, decision will now be considered from the perspective of the most powerful corporations. The undersigned regional leaders, speaking on their own behalf and not their churches’, therefore endorse the formation of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, in which it will be clear that corporations are not persons with constitutional rights, and that money can be regulated for political spending.
Christians have always understood that any true justice is of God, the Creator of all that is, including Creator of justice. As such, whenever gross injustice appears in a society it is important for Christians to stand up and be counted among those who oppose that injustice."
I encourage Alaska's United Methodists to apply our Social Principles to this and other social situations and speak out to church and society. The funny thing as I began to speak at the rally after standing in -8 degree cold for 30 minutes was that my mouth literally could not speak! I think my mouth muscles were freezing. It felt like the dentist had just shot my mouth with novocain! There I was with community leaders and the media watching, and I could not speak! And what eventually came out was somewhat garbled.
I suspect there is a metaphor here for us as Christians. Our mouths often become frozen when it comes to speaking a prophetic word in the public square. The message of the Church is sometimes garbled and the message of God's desire for humanity fails to be understood. My prayer for us as a conference is that Christ's message will be refined by the fire of our passion to bring God's reign to our communities.
Grace and peace,