Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


Statement on the Economy

Contact: Bob Howe
(212) 636-6538
howe@fordham.edu


Faith and Public Policy Roundtable

November 2009—In the fall of 2008, amidst the financial and political turmoil enveloping America and the world, a group of religious leaders came together in New York City to consider the role of non-fundamentalist religious voices in the American public space. Meeting regularly, this group developed consensus for approaching public policy issues. Our immediate concern is the economy in both its domestic and global dimensions.

The economic crisis is a moral issue. Therefore, our response to it must be framed in moral terms. As our President has said, if our country is to recover its prosperity--not simply for our own good, but for the good of our interdependent world--then we must reinvest in society not only with money but with a renewed sense of shared civic responsibility.

Millions of people, here in America and around the world, are suffering from severe economic distress. Unemployment and bankruptcy are increasing. Foreclosure and fraud have multiplied. Poverty persists and deepens. This has occurred, in many cases, because of a disengagement of the financial sector from civil society and neglect of their responsibilities within it.

Neither is government or the citizenry exempt from responsibility. Our civic and public institutions have clearly weakened as checks on institutional gluttony. There is a feeling on Main Street that our largest institutions, whether public or private, are far removed from the disempowered voices of America. Decisions are being made at a distance from those among us most affected by this economic crisis.

Our personal and collective responsibilities to each other, locally, nationally, and globally, are rooted in our belief in the sacredness of human life. We believe that every human being has been created in God's image and ought to be treated accordingly. This conviction suggests criteria for evaluating policy.

At all times, but especially during this time of recession, these criteria or values are: reinvestment in families and strong communities, protection of basic human rights, consideration of the common good, a weighted concern for the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable in society, stewardship of the natural world, and most importantly, a renewed sense of interconnectedness across the breadth of the human family, crossing ethnic, religious, racial, economic and ideological lines.

We call for the unequivocal accountability of corporate America to America. The corporation has the same responsibilities as any other citizen of civil society. Economic profit should not exclude moral purpose.
We call on government to listen more closely to America.

Today, the narrative of Exodus and redemption from oppression calls every person of faith to action—to be God’s hands in freeing God’s creatures from the oppression and moral corruption to which we all bear witness. But the Exodus was not only about freedom from oppression—it was also about the forging of a just society.

The words of the prophets call on us whether as individual people of faith, as members of religious communities, or as religious leaders, to organize and work for social change. We must reinvest in our society on civic and religious grounds lest its healing be impaired.

The public message of faith today calls on every American to become more profoundly engaged in our nation’s civic life through service and advocacy, to demand deeper accountability of our public and private institutions.
May the prayers of our lips, the work of our hands, and the spirit of our hearts come together to bring about a new era infused with justice, suffused with dignity, committed to the vision of a more perfect union.

For more information and to become involved, e-mail the Faith and Public Policy Roundtable at faithandpublicpolicyroundtable@gmail.com

Faith and Public Policy Roundtable
Steering Committee (In Alphabetical Order)


Noah Arnow, senior student, Jewish Theological Seminary
Rabbi David Lincoln, Rabbi Emeritus, Park Avenue Synagogue, New York, N.Y.
*The Reverend Dr. Gary Mills, Assistant to the Bishop for Global and Multicultural Administration, Metropolitan New York Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay, National Education Director, Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps
The Reverend Patrick J. Ryan, S.J., Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, Fordham University
Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, Director, Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED), Fordham University
The Reverend Jared R. Stahler, Associate Pastor, St. Peter’s Church, New York, N.Y.
*Rabbi Dr. Abraham Unger, Assistant Professor and Director of Urban Programs, Department of Government and Politics & Campus Rabbi, Wagner College, Rabbi, Congregation Ahavath Israel, Staten Island, N.Y.

*Steering Committee Co-Chair


Signatories to the Faith and Public Policy Roundtable Statement on the Economy (In Alphabetical Order)

Rabbi Marc D. Angel, Founder and Director, Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals
The Reverend Eduardo Arias, Pastor, Iglesia Luterana Sion, New York, N.Y.
Noah Arnow, senior student, Jewish Theological Seminary
The Reverend J. Elise Brown, Pastor, Advent Lutheran Church, New York, N.Y.
The Reverend Perucy Butiko, Pastor, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hollis, N.Y.
The Reverend Amandus J. Derr, Senior Pastor, Saint Peter’s Church, New York, N.Y.
Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson, President, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
The Reverend Sarah Geddada, Pastor, Floral Park, N.Y.
Rabbi Jason Herman, Executive Director, International Rabbinic Fellowship
Dr. Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary
The Reverend Kathleen Koran, Assistant to the Bishop, Metropolitan New York Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, New York, N.Y.
The Reverend Barrie Lawless, Pastor, Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church, New York, N.Y.
Rabbi David Lincoln, Rabbi Emeritus, Park Avenue Synagogue, New York, N.Y.
The Reverend Jonathan Linman, Assistant to the Bishop, Metropolitan New York Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, New York, N.Y.
Rabbi Dov Linzer, Rosh HaYeshiva and Dean, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School
The Reverend Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President, Fordham University
The Reverend Christopher Mietlowski, Pastor, Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church, New York, N.Y.
The Reverend Dr. Gary Mills, Assistant to the Bishop for Global and Multicultural Administration, Metropolitan New York Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rabbi Jack Moline, Director of Public Policy, The Rabbinical Assembly
The Reverend Daniel Peter Penumaka, Pastor, St. Paul’s International Lutheran Church, Floral Park, N.Y.
The Very Reverend Robert Rimbo, Bishop, Metropolitan New York Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, New York, N.Y.
The Reverend David Rommereim, Pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay, National Education Director, Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps,
The Reverend Patrick J. Ryan, S.J., Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, Fordham University
The Reverend Giovanny Sanchez, Pastor, Espiritu Santo Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President, The Rabbinical Assembly
Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, Director, Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED), Fordham University
The Reverend Kaji R. Spellman, Associate Pastor, Saint Peter’s Church, New York, N.Y.
The Reverend Jared R. Stahler, Associate Pastor, St. Peter’s Church, New York, N.Y.
The Reverend Donald Stiger, Senior Vice President for Mission and Spiritual Care, Lutheran Health Care, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rabbi Dr. Abraham Unger, Assistant Professor and Director of Urban Programs, Department of Government and Politics & Campus Rabbi, Wagner College, Rabbi, Congregation Ahavath Israel, Staten Island, N.Y.
Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President, Emeritus, Orthodox Union
Rabbi Jeffrey Wohlberg, President, The Rabbinical Assembly

Institutional Affiliations for Identification Purposes Only

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