The following statement was adopted by the Council’s Governing Board at its September 10 meeting in Chapel Hill: We are called by our faith to turn swords into plowshares. The NC Council of Churches, while made up of denominations and individuals who are pacifist and others who believe war can occasionally be justified, has always supported the peaceful resolution of conflicts, rather than violence. Those within the Council who would allow the use of violence do so only as a last resort. Recognizing the moral anguish involved in such decisions,…
Statement Affirming the Principles of Concern for the Poor and the Vulnerable as Made More Visible by the “Occupy” and Other Movements Approved June 5, 2012 by the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches In recent months, there have been numerous stories in the media about groups in this country and around the world, including the “Occupy” movement, which draw attention to issues of concern about the poor and the vulnerable. These are issues on which the NC Council of Churches and its member bodies have spoken…
Adopted by the Governing Board, June 5, 2012 The Issue For more than four decades now, the North Carolina Council of Churches has been fighting to protect the health of people of faith and all North Carolinians by advocating for universal health care; quality long-term care for the elderly; sustained funding for mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services; the protection of everyday Americans against medical malpractice; smoke-free environments; and faith-based health promotion in places of worship. Today we vow to continue our efforts to protect the health of…
Adopted by the Governing Board, NC Council of Churches, March 6, 2012 In 1998, the NC Council of Churches issued a statement entitled With All Due Respect. It decried the “scarcity of decency and respect” seen most clearly in political campaigns. “Political rhetoric appears to be less courteous and more coarse; personal attacks are uglier.” It concluded “Without civility, political discourse becomes hostile and polarized. In the intervening years, we have, to say the least, seen no improvement in the tenor of political discourse. In fact we have seen an…
The experiences of landowners in other states indicate that hydraulic fracturing can have profound negative impacts on rural communities. The Rural Life Committee of the North Carolina Council of Churches supports the current ban on hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina. The above concerns need to be addressed with careful attention to landowners’ property, landowners’ rights, and the care for creation’s gifts. Furthermore, we call on our member bodies and faith leaders to share reliable information about hydraulic fracturing with their communities. We believe that we are called by God to be good stewards of the good gifts of community, health, water and soil. Trusting in God, we refuse to trade this bountiful inheritance for the empty promises of energy that may be cheap in terms of dollars but which we know will be costly in terms of our livelihoods.
Adopted by the Governing Board, NC Council of Churches, March 1, 2011 Duke Energy and Progress Energy intend to introduce legislation that would allow them to raise utility rates on customers for construction of new power plants without going through the public rate review process through the NC Utilities Commission currently required by law. The utilities are considering beginning the process of building up to four new nuclear power plants in the territory of their North Carolina customers to meet projected increase in demand. The current estimated cost of a…
The issue of overweight and obesity has been well-publicized in recent months. In the United States, more than 23 million kids (nearly one-third) are overweight or obese. In North Carolina, 65% of adults and 36% of children and youth age 6-17 fall into one of these alarming categories – alarming because of the adverse effects on one’s health resulting from carrying excess weight as well as the financial impact on the individual, his/her family, employer and the overall health care system.
The North Carolina Council of Churches represents 6,200 congregations in 17 denominations statewide. The North Carolina Council of Churches condemns all religious violence. As people of Christian faith, we value a teaching common to the Abrahamic faiths, which in the Christian tradition is expressed as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As Christians in a nation largely founded by religious refugees, we value the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and proudly proclaimed worldwide as a foundational principle of United States government and society. For freedom of religion to have substance and integrity, it must extend to people of all faiths.
God gives people plants and seeds for farming as a gift in the first chapter of Genesis. Genesis tells us God created plants and their seeds, “each according to its kind,” called them good, and gave to humans to eat. For generations, farmers and gardeners have honored this gift, tending and improving their crops.
We, the members of the Rural Life Committee of the North Carolina Council of Churches, celebrate God’s gift of agricultural diversity and the good stewardship of that gift by generations of farmers. We support just and fair options for farmers and a secure food supply for those in need. We recognize that our actions affect people across the globe.
When addressing the concentration of ownership in agriculture and the development of genetically modified seeds, we consider: Who benefits? What are those benefits? What are the true costs? Who will pay them? Are there more sustainable, appropriate, cost-effective and just alternatives?
Like the patriarch Noah, humanity stands responsible for ensuring that all nature continues to thrive as God intended. Men and women are charged with preserving the beauty, diversity and integrity of nature as well as fostering productivity. Stewardship requires careful protection of the environment and calls us to use our intelligence to discover earth’s productive potential. We believe that stewardship of God’s creation is a moral responsibility that affects the lives of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. As people of faith, as individuals, as institutions, as a nation, we must commit ourselves to preserving and protecting the planet for generations to come.
In the wake of failed attempts by Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, states and localities have increased their own efforts to enforce current immigration laws and, in some cases, to implement new programs designed to reduce immigration. In North Carolina, these recent efforts have created a more hostile environment toward immigrants. Many immigrants – both documented and undocumented – today live in fear of arrest and possible deportation. Even though recent studies have shown that crime rates among immigrants are significantly lower than those among U.S. citizens, enforcement-only anti-immigrant measures are increasing across the state. These steps continue to generate fear within immigrant communities and hostility towards immigrants in non-immigrant communities.
The North Carolina Council of Churches unequivocally affirms the essential, inherent, and universal dignity of all persons, for “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them.” This means that the value of any and every individual – all equally cherished by the Author of Life – must not under any circumstances be compromised, diminished, or infringed upon. At all times and in all way, the Council seeks to protect and promote the dignity and flourishing of the human person.
As people of faith we proclaim our belief that our world is God’s creation, that God sees it as good, and that it is ours to protect and maintain. We also recognize that the quality of life for all of us depends upon its health and well-being. Yet today air and water pollution, desertification, loss of species and climate change are increasing at an alarming rate. God’s creation is threatened by serious, complex and interrelated problems that are the result of human behavior.
It is important that the religious community respond to the immigration crisis by offering advocacy and welcome in the face of rising anti-immigrant sentiment. Religious communities must also look to our scripture and faith traditions which call us to welcome the stranger, promote hospitality, and seek justice. Congregations should call for legislative reforms which are fair, humane, and address the root causes of migration.
The poor, the oppressed, the captives and the blind—those our tradition deems worthy– are increasingly invisible and unheard in our state and national political systems. Signs abound that our republic is not democratic. “The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord,” according to the book of James, but those cries often are muffled in the halls of our North Carolina General Assembly.