Churches told to confront ''moral crisis'' in the world economy

''Where are the prophetic voices of the churches?''

Setri Nyomi addresses Geneva hearing on Reconciliation

The multiple crises confronting the world are fundamentally a moral crisis says the president of the United Nations General Assembly. In remarks recorded for a public hearing on reconciliation in Geneva, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann asks, ''But where are the prophetic voices of the churches today?''

“Capitalism tells us that to be more, we must have more,” says Brockmann, a Roman Catholic priest from Nicaragua. Noting that this contradicts Christian teaching about generous sharing, Brockmann says Christians must “dare to speak out.”

The General Assembly president’s comments came at an event called by the World Council of Churches (WCC) to mark the United Nations International Year of Reconciliation in 2009. Panellists from Indonesia, the Vatican and Ghana responded to Brockmann’s address with lessons learned from church engagement in reconciliation and peace initiatives in communities around the world.

Setri Nyomi, General Secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), noted the tensions and divisions created by economic inequalities within communities, warning, “So long as overt and covert greed undergirds an economic system which impoverishes people in many parts of the world, humanity is building up fragmented societies.”

Nyomi, a theologian from Ghana, attributes the resurgence of hate crimes against minorities in a number of nations to reaction to financial worries. “Immigrants and minorities in affluent communities become the targets of hatred and exclusion,” he says.

Churches too are divided by the economic crisis Nyomi acknowledges. “When there are different forms of analysis, we begin to see each other in terms of right or left, conservative or liberal. So rather than operate together as Christians to address the evils that lead to injustice, we live out these divisions while many are dying as a result of global economic arrangements.”

However, Nyomi refuses to accept this is a “time for lamentation”, insisting this is an era which will lead to new ways for churches to address the challenges of global economic inequalities. He notes WARC member churches seek to play active roles in economic reform within their societies based on a 2004 agreement in which member churches agreed to work towards creating a more just economy. The agreement known as the “Accra Confession” states, “We believe that the integrity of our faith is at stake if we remain silent or refuse to act in the face of the current system of neoliberal economic globalization.”

Quelle: Internetseite des WARC, 11. Februar 2009 >>>