FOR THE PAST three years, Pope Francis has convened leaders of grassroots movements from around the world to extend the church’s solidarity with the poor and vulnerable on three critical themes: land, work, and housing.
This winter, a regional gathering of the World Meeting of Popular Movements met in the United States for the first time. Seven hundred grassroots leaders, accompanied by 25 U.S. Catholic bishops, several international representatives, and a delegation from the Vatican, led by Cardinal Peter Turkson, met in Modesto, Calif., with the cardinal bearing a letter of support, invitation, and challenge from Pope Francis.
To the regular themes, U.S. leaders added racism and migration. Participants addressed the pain of exclusion from the perspective of undocumented domestic workers, residents of Flint whose water was contaminated, Standing Rock water protectors, and the unhoused, while also raising the hope of united, faith-rooted, nonviolent resistance.
Racial justice, in the U.S. and abroad, was a central theme. “Why is blackness a threat in America?” asked Rev. Traci Blackmon. “And how are we, as people of color, ever to be perceived as unarmed, and therefore nonthreatening, if our blackness is the weapon that you fear?” Blackmon said that oppression, dehumanization, and racism are rooted in the original sin of desiring to be God and seeking to create God in our own image. John A. Powell, director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, added, “When you ‘other’ someone in an extreme way, then you treat them as a non-human.”
photo © 2010 John Hilliard | more info (via: Wylio)
As Christians concerned about poverty, it is time to turn our full attention to the injustices of an "offshore tax system" that enables corporations and the wealthy to dodge taxes and impoverish countries around the world.
As members of Congress in the United States debate deep and painful budget cuts, people of faith should raise our voices against an unfair system that enables profitable U.S. corporations to dodge taxes, depleting an estimated $100 billion from the U.S. Treasury each year. Instead of cutting $1 trillion over the next decade from programs that assist the poor and ensure greater opportunity, we should eliminate these destructive tax gimmicks.
Recent reports show that aggressive tax dodgers such as General Electric, Boeing, and Pfizer, avoid billions in taxes a year. They use accounting gymnastics to pretend they are making profits in offshore subsidiaries incorporated in low- or no-tax countries like the Cayman Islands, thereby reducing their tax obligations in the United States. This system is unfair to domestic businesses that have to compete on an un-level playing field.
I know that there are many of you that are engaging, debating, learning, and wrestling with the issue known to most as immigration reform or known to others as, "What the Arizona?" And these debates and discussion will continue with more and more incidents like