The Common Good

Faith and Justice Connection: The Corruption of the Common Good

EDITOR'S NOTE: Each month, Sojourners send out a Faith & Justice Newsletter to folks who are interested in intersection of faith and social action. This month, we pulled content from the magazine and our blogs relating to the corruption of the common good. Enjoy.

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Dear friend,

This year’s election cycle is expected to cost more than $6 billion -- the most expensive in U.S. history. During election years, members of Congress spend on average 40 to 70 percent of their time fundraising. One quarter of one percent (.25 percent) of donors provided two-thirds of all the campaign cash spent during the 2010 election. In a recent article for Sojourners, Nick Penniman argues the problem is only going to get worse.

This influx of campaign cash and the influence of special interests in Washington should cause even the most idealistic citizen to ask whether our politicians have completely lost sight of the common good. If the basis of democracy is each person having an equal voice in government and having her or his interests weighed equally by elected officials, then democracy in the United States appears to be profoundly broken.

Christians need to wrestle with these questions and discern how we’re called to respond. While our hope resides firmly in Jesus Christ, we can’t ignore the power of government to protect the poor and improve the lives of millions. The command to love our neighbor as ourselves means we cannot ignore the corruption of the common good. 

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A ‘Buy-Partisan’ Problem
Sen. John Marty

“Big money plays a dominant role in determining who runs for office, who gets elected, what the priorities of public officials are, and how the issues are framed. Big money is robbing our nation of a fair economy, it is preventing people from getting the health care they need, and it is destroying our environment.”

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The Idolatry of Politics and the Promise of the Common Good
by Jim Wallis

“The 2012 election will likely be the ugliest in many years. The amount of money that will be spent, without any transparency, will just fuel the attack politics and should teach us that we will never be able to put values back into politics until we take the money out of it.”

The Global Grassroots Struggle Against Corporate and Government Corruption
by Alexa Smith

“Imagine how Africa alone might benefit if all the money currently siphoned off into the pockets of corrupt or incompetent officials might be clearly stated in the national budget, so that civil society could demand that those dollars be accounted for and used for schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and other humane efforts. Many African activists are imagining just that -- and, all too often, facing persecution for it.”

Bono to the G8: Transparency, 'We Won't Have Food Security Without It'
by Cathleen Falsani

“An extra 46 million children going to school because of solid accounting and smart African leadership. This is ffffnnmm …GREAT!”

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Three Ways to Rid Politics of Big Money
by Elaina Ramsey

In “Rotten to the Core” in the August 2012 issue of Sojourners, Nick Penniman suggests a variety of ways to get money out of politics. What follows are just a few of those ideas, plus some links where you can take action.

#OccupyWallStreet: Rediscovering Values

In light of the protests at #OccupyWallStreet and around the world, we revisited Jim Wallis’ 2010 book Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street and picked out some passages that are particularly pertinent to what we are seeing in our nation today.

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Bearing Witness in Contentious Times
by Debra Dean Murphy

“Four books that encourage people of faith to bring more light and less heat to the public square—and to our pews.”

When Religion Becomes Evil
by Charles A. Kimball

“A propensity toward evil within religious communities always provides warning signs, says Charles Kimball, professor, Baptist minister, and expert analyst on the Middle East.”

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