In the Language of Faith

You shall have a trumpet sounded throughout the land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you.

- Leviticus 25:9-10

The international debt disaster continues to spiral downward, dragging developing nations into a miasma of financial liability. It has nearly destroyed social service systems and centered more and more political and economic power in fewer and fewer First World financial institutions and governments. UNICEF estimates that half a million children die each year to help pay the interest on the Third World debt: Hunger, or whatever other preventable causes that kill the children, is ignored because the money needed to alleviate those problems has been used by the developing nations to pay back World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans.

According to the London-based Catholic Institute for International Relations, "by 1990 the developing world owed... $1.34 billion to foreign creditors....This sum is close to half the total national income of the South or about...$327 for every man, woman, and child. It is also about 60 percent higher than in August 1982 when Mexico, the South's second largest debtor, signalled the depth of the debt crisis by announcing a temporary halt in debt repayments."

Christians who strive for a more just world order understand that the debt issue is not merely about economics; biblical structures of justice are called to mind. So in March 1995, a letter was sent to a broad spectrum of religious communities and national ecumenical organizations around the country, inviting participation in a newly formed coalition to address the international debt issue.

"We have come together as religious groups to articulate this call for reform in the language of faith," stated the letter, signed by Marie Dennis of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 1995
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