On the eve of both the Canadian and U.S. elections, Christians from the Southern Hemisphere sent this letter, which challenges us all to better fulfill our responsibilities as Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation in our broken world. While the letter was addressed specifically to the United States, it applies to Canada and other countries in the Northern Hemisphere as well. To read and sign a challenge to the next U.S. president in response, see www.micahchallenge.us.
To read a response from Christian Reformed Church ministries, see www.crwrc.org or www.crcjustice.org.
As the Church of the Lord in what is known as the “Southern” part of the world, moved by the Holy Spirit to fight for the abundant life that Jesus Christ offers, we address our Christian family in the [Northern Hemisphere], a Church of the same covenant, faith and love. Grace and peace to all of our brothers and sisters.
We know your works of love; these works have allowed millions of human beings for many generations in our countries in the South to receive the gospel, the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of his salvation. [Your] untiring missionary effort planted in our lands hope in Him who came to reconcile everything.
Nevertheless, the political, social, and economic situation in the places where this hope has been announced is increasingly distressing. Millions of people in the global South are dying of hunger, violence, and injustice. These situations of poverty and pain are not simply the product of the internal functions of our countries; rather, they are the results of the international policies of the governments that wield global power.
Therefore, we have this against you, brothers and sisters, that along with this powerful announcing of the gospel, [you] have not also raised [your] voice in protest against the injustices that powerful governments and institutions are inflicting on the global South—injustices that afflict the lives and ecosystems of millions of people who, centuries after the proclamation of the gospel, still have not seen the sweat of their brow turned into bread.
The worsening inequality and poverty in the South is alarming. Seven years since the United States and 191 other nations publicly promised to cut extreme global poverty in half by the year 2015 through the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), your country has made only a little progress toward fulfilling its commitments.
The MDGs should stir us to action because they echo the calls of the biblical prophets for justice and equity. Further, they are achievable and measurable markers on the roadmap to end extreme global poverty.
And so we ask you as sisters and brothers, citizens of the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth, to publicly challenge your candidates and political leaders—now and after the elections are over—to lead the world in the struggle to cut global poverty in half by 2015. If you who know the Truth will not speak for us, who will?
[You have] the opportunity today to be faithful to the hope that [you] preach. We urge you to remember that the hope to which you were called as a messenger demands that you seek first the kingdom of God and God’s justice.
Out of love for us, the global Church, in holiness, use your citizenship responsibly for the benefit of the entire world; it is for this very reason that the Lord poured out his life on the cross.
All who have ears, let them hear what the Lord says to his Church.
Millennium Development Goals
In September 2000, all member states of the United Nations adopted the Millennium Declaration, which contained eight goals and targets that have since become known as the Millennium Development Goals. These goals, working together, aim to halve poverty worldwide by 2015. They include measurable, time-bound targets addressing poverty and hunger, education, maternal and child health, the prevalence of diseases including HIV/AIDS, gender equality, the environment, debt, trade justice, and aid (see www.micahchallenge.org).