Christians for Economic Justice

Previously called Christianity Uncut

Tory austerity agenda goes against Jesus’ teachings, says Christian group

The following news release was issued this morning.

Tory austerity agenda goes against Jesus’ teachings, says Christian group

Christians have been urged to take a stand against the UK government’s cuts agenda following the major anti-austerity demonstrations in London and Glasgow on Saturday.

Christians for Economic Justice called on church leaders to recognise that Tory policies are not compatible with Jesus’ example of siding with the poor. They urged them to take sides against austerity, supporting protests, strikes and nonviolent civil disobedience to resist policies that punish the poor for the sins of the rich. 

Christians for Economic Justice (CEJ) is the new name for Christianity Uncut, which is being relaunched today following a period of inactivity. CEJ applauds church leaders who criticise welfare cuts, but wants them to go further and challenge the economic system itself.

CEJ supporters come from a broad range of Christian backgrounds. They include clergy from several denominations.

Chris Wood, a spokesperson for Christians for Economic Justice, said:

Economic justice is at the centre of the biblical narrative. The prophets and Jesus spoke of Jubilee – the cancellation of debts – and the need to oppose usury. These values are incompatible with a capitalist economy in which wealth is hoarded by global elites. Austerity policies, wherever they appear around the world, serve to make things even worse by transferring more wealth from the poor to the rich.

This is not about being party-political, or pretending that we have all the answers. It’s about seeking to follow Jesus’ example of resisting injustice. As we do this we participate in the Kingdom of God, where all are treasured for their inherent human worth, loved by God, rather than for the fleeting value of money and possessions.”

CEJ, under its previous name of Christianity Uncut, has challenged disability cuts, corporate tax avoidance and high military spending. Christianity Uncut organised a ring of prayer at the eviction of the Occupy camp near St Paul’s Cathedral and later blocked an entrance to the London arms fair by kneeling in prayer and singing hymns.

ENDS

Notes

  1. Christians for Economic Justice is an informal network of Christians campaigning against the UK government’s cuts agenda and the wider injustices of capitalism. We are inspired by Jesus, who took nonviolent direct action in the Jerusalem Temple in solidarity with people who are poor, marginalised and exploited. The group was previously known as Christianity Uncut.
  1. Christians for Economic Justice are committed to active nonviolence, rejecting both violence and passivity. We reject verbal abuse and seek to act with a spirit of love for God and humanity rather than hatred towards those with whom we disagree.
  1. Christians for Economic Justice is the new name for Christianity Uncut, which was launched in 2011 but has been inactive since early 2014. Under its previous name the group’s actions included organising a ring of prayer at the eviction of the Occupy camp near St Paul’s Cathedral on 28 February 2012. Members of the group were arrested in September 2013 when they blocked entrances to Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi), also known as the London arms fair.
  1. For more information, please contact CEJ on . 
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One thought on “Tory austerity agenda goes against Jesus’ teachings, says Christian group

  1. J Black-Smith on said:

    I love the Bible and try to live by its teaching. I love the Lord Jesus and rejoice in all that he has done for us. I’m also likely to be adversely affected by the impact of the Tory tax credit cuts and other measures. But I find I can’t line up with the claim that “Economic justice is at the centre of the biblical narrative.”

    The Biblical narrative has a strong line on the heedless rich being condemned for their oppression of the poor, but it also commends godly rich people who use their wealth for the benefit of the poor. They are not condemned for being rich.

    The centre of the Biblical narrative is the Kingdom of God, where all treat one another with respect and all share in the provision that God has made for all, but above all, they do so out of love and honour for the God who calls them to be his people. It is not economic justice, but God himself who is at the centre.

    By overstating the claims about economic justice and ignoring the demands of the Bible for righteousness of living in ALL areas of personal and national life, you lose credibility.

    The Biblical words that are translated as ‘just/justice’ etc. can also be translated ‘righteous/righteousness’ etc. God calls on his people primarily to be godly, and all else about their behaviour to one another arises out of that. Love God with all you have and are, and love your neighbour as much as yourself.

    Left-wing political statements, whatever disclaimers you make about political affiliation, remain left-wing political statements. I don’t like the way the Tory party smugly patronises people who have to live on low incomes while granting their wealthy donors all kinds of perks and privileges. But I equally don’t like the way the Labour and Liberal parties absolve people of personal responsibility for living in a way that could be described as ‘righteous’, especially if they are on low incomes, and excludes whole swathes of life from that requirement. The poor in the Bible have responsibilities towards God that are not diminished by their poverty.

    Your slogans are too simplistic. You may not want to be labelled, but you are calling God in to endorse your left-wing views, rather than asking, “What does God want?”

    And lest you quote Micah to me, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice (the Hebrew word is zdk, righteousness in other contexts) to love kindness (hsd, the steadfast love of God that he requires human beings to show to each other) and to walk humbly with your God.”

    That’s about so much more than just the redistribution of wealth. And God doesn’t say, “Start with that and then go on to the rest,” he wants it all as a package. We can’t do it of ourselves (that’s why Jesus died), but he grants us his help in becoming like that.

    By all means line up alongside people who are suffering from inequality, but don’t claim it’s the centre of the Christian message, or the Biblical narrative. That tells us that, whatever our circumstances, rich or poor, oppressed or free, God calls us to live firstly for him, and if we do so, we will find other things falling into place.

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