Skip to comments.The United Methodist Church - Privatization (40908-GM-R9999)
Posted on 11/30/2004 9:20:41 AM PST by mbarker12474
[2004 official United Methodist Church resolution:]
Theology and Scripture
"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it." (1 st Corinthians 10:26) The Lord's people have been given enough - an abundance of all of the things we need for life. (Book of Resolutions #163 A) "We believe that governments have the responsibility, in the pursuit of justice and order under law, to provide procedures that protect the rights of the whole society as well as those of private ownership." One of our values as Christians is to provide an economy that serves God's vision of abundance to all. (Ecclesiastes 3:22 "So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work for that is their lot," Luke 10:7 and 1 st Timothy 5:18 "the laborer deserves to be paid", Matthew 20:8 "Call the laborers and give them their pay.")
Jesus singled out the poor and the sick and imprisoned for special care and the special responsibility of the faithful. Under many privatization schemes, responsibility by the public has been abandoned to private enterprise. Our responsibility to the sick and poor and imprisoned has been left to the devices of private profit. Privatized prisons, nursing homes, hospitals, welfare programs and other social services have sometimes been less dedicated to service and rehabilitation than to cutting service and increasing profits. (Book of Resolutions #197 Economic Justice for a New Millennium) (Book of Resolutions #162)
We support the basic rights of all persons to human services with oversight by the public. (Resolution #95) Correcting Injustices in Health Care "private health insurance in all its forms, continues to increase its premium cost while limiting care and /or increasing deductibles and co- payments for care. Just 20 years ago, only about 18 percent of HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) were for- profit.
By 1995, the market share was 70 percent HMOs charge up to 25 percent out of every premium dollar for CEO salaries, profits and bureaucracy; Medicare has administrative costs of only 1.2 percent. (Resolution #10) We are called to see that all life has a sufficient share of the resources of nature.
Corporate interests are rushing to privatize many of the resources of the earth -- water, energy, education, natural plants, human and animal genes, cultures and public services such as social security, health care and public safety. Everything from prescription drugs to prisons to welfare programs is considered fair game for corporate profit-making. Wall Street, according to the Economic Policy Institute, is fighting hard for a privatized Social Security system because it would reap an estimated $240 billion in fees for managing these funds during the first 12 years of such a system.
Supporters of privatization accuse government of inefficiency and claim that, if allowed to make a profit, these same corporations could control resources more effectively and efficiently, saving public money and delivering services better. The expectation of privatization is that government would continue to collect taxes from the citizens and then provide that tax money to the corporate CEO's who would manage salaries, resources, and functions better.
Those who favor privatization argue that they would earn a profit, benefit the economy, and be less encumbered by inefficient bureaucracy and public controls. The World Bank is actively subsidizing the privatization of public resources worldwide. The World Trade Organization has been quietly re- negotiating and expanding the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
The range of services on the negotiating table is vast, covering such vital areas as water and energy, banking, communications and retail services. Eighty additional countries have been targeted by the European Union for this invasion by foreign corporations. If governments refuse to cooperate, they may be faced with world trade disputes claiming "barriers to free trade."
Opponents of privatization point to corporate abuses and criminality in the management of pensions, energy and communications systems. Those who favor continued public control and regulation of these common resources and services argue that, when private forces take control, there is less accountability to the citizens. They claim that ever-growing profits are the primary interest of the corporations doing the privatizing. They also note that worker salaries and working conditions are usually forfeited in the name of efficiency and in order to increase private profits.
Loss of well-paid public sector jobs is a burden to society in many ways, including reduced tax revenues and increasing the need for social welfare programs. People worldwide are challenging the privatization of commonly held resources such as native seeds and plants under intellectual property rules established under international financial institutions such as the World Trade Organization.
Many are calling for public control of resources such as the drugs necessary for stamping out the most devastating diseases of our world and the water that is essential to life on earth.
There may be instances where privatization is appropriate. However, the role of Christians requires us to honor the earth's resources and to protect our God-given common heritage. The public must be vigilant to regulate and control any prvatization of public resources.
NEW LAWS TO PROTECT OUR COMMON PROPERTY
We have rules that protect our private property and our individual property. We also need strong, ethical governments and new laws to protect our common property -- the common resources that belong to all of us and the common services that constitute the basis of universal human rights.
Responsive governments must be strengthened and supported to provide protection for all, particularly in the most exploited and vulnerable nations and particularly in support of the elements that are necessary to the abundant life provided by God. There are efforts by the international financial institutions to impose new rules that increase the private invasion of common property.
The sovereignty of underdeveloped countries would be undermined by Rule 11 of NAFTA and other free trade agreements such as the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas. These trade rules strengthen the ability of private interests to force local communities to allow their free trade operations and privatization of common resources without effective regulation. Under Rule 11, if the governments move to regulate the activities of the corporations on behalf of their own workers or their own environment, they face multi-million dollar penalties in private trade courts unattended and unregulated by the public. These rules, called "takings," are increasing the poverty and devastation of communities worldwide.
THE NEED FOR EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENTS
Effective and democratic govertnments worldwide must be strengthened in order to function on behalf of the interest of their citizens. Our common resources do not belong to government or market, but responsible and effective government is essential for protecting those public properties. Privatization of common property rights should be viewed as a "form of taking" from the people. For decades a body of international rules has been developing led by corporations that would challenge the rights of governments to protect their workers and their natural resources from corporate exploitation.
CALL TO ACTION
The United Methodist Church and its predecessors have always had a history of public witness on matters of economic justice. Faced with protecting and securing the common resources and services needed by all humanity, the General Conference calls upon:
(1) The General Board of Global Ministries to develop an educational program on the issues posed by privatization worldwide and join in challenging privatization where it endangers public interest.
(2) The boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church to create and disseminate materials explaining proposed trade agreements and oppose them when they violate United Methodist ideals supporting a just economy.
(3) The General Board of Global Ministries and the General Board of Church and Society to invigorate efforts to acquire national publicly-provided health care for everyone in the United States and that the issue of worldwide health care be put on the agenda for increased support.
(4) Members of The United Methodist Church to urge our governments to challenge and change the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization rules supporting massive privatization.
(5) The United Methodist Church to question the IMF investment of billions of public dollars into support for the efforts of private corporations to take over public services and public resources in poor countries.
(6) The General Board of Global Ministries and the General Board of Church and Society study ways of supporting world trade rules that would protect our commons resources from the growing trend toward "takings" by private entrepreneurs.
(7) The General Board of Global Ministries and the General Board of Church and Society to lead an effort to discern effects to society of privatization of services in the United States and globally and join in opposing detrimental privatization.
(8) The General Board of Church and Society to provide studies and actions on the importance of responsible government and ways to enact good governance.
(9) United Methodists to study and act in support of our local governments by insisting that the Federal budget provide for adequate tax money for running public services and regulating private service initiatives for the benefit of all.
Submitted By R. Randy Day New York NY General Board of Global Ministries - Women's Division (General Agency)
Committee Recommendation The committee recommends concurrence.
Committee Vote 5/1/2004 9:56:00 PM - 68 Votes For - - 5 Votes Against - - 31 Not Voting - - 83 Members Present - - 104 Members Total -
Vote on the Main Motion 5/7/2004 12:29:26 PM - Concurrence - - 842 Votes For - - 10 Votes Against -
This little encapsulation of Marxism was offered up by Bishop Randy Day, who heads the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
The funny thing about this resolution is that some members of the Global Ministries committee actually voted in non-concurrence. Most, if not all, socialist and U.S.-bashing and Israel-bashing statements vetted by the Global Ministries committee and like-minded Church & Society committee were endorsed without committee opposition. One would like to think that, okay, the committees are filled with pacifists and marxists, but the average delegate should have a clue. Apparantly not. There must have been only a few Methodist delegates with a combination of brains and morals on the floor of the convention, as the looniness coming out of committee was usually approved by wide-margin plenary vote.
Mike Barker Lay Member, Trinity UMC, King George VA
It looks like the UMC is headed south with the Epicopalians. The leadership was always left wing, but there were lots of conservative congregations. It looks now like another schism developing.
This is the kind of stuff that is pushing me out of the Methodist Church. This is not the church I grew up in anymore.
I wish that instead of leaving the church, folks would stay inside and raise hell.
Maybe a lot of them had trouble deciphering what this resolution is actually saying and just didn't bother. I had to read some parts twice to see exactly what they were getting at.
I hear ya. It's getting kinda scary out there. I have half a mind to go Catholic. Only problem is they have good values, but are a corrupt leadership. "Give me money or go to Hell" Is a common phrase I hear about them.
Every good Christian needs to sit down for 15 minutes a day and read the Bible on their own time and come to their own conclusions on it. Act accordingly. And give your time and money where you see it is needed most.
I grew up in the Methodist Church and I will not let some left wing loonies drive me out of my church. I choose to stay and fight.
I understand what you're saying. I just don't know if it would do any good.
I have considered that as well.
Good for you. We're having to do the same thing within the PCUSA.
I invite all of y'all to join me here http://www.confessingumc.org/
I understand your sentiments, but please don't change titles - it leads to duplication. Thanks.
The Evangelical Lutheran church is almost as bad. Some of the stuff on their website looks like it was lifted right off the UN website. I'm with you, though, I wish people would stay and fight instead of just leave.
The statement makes no economic sense, and its tie to the scriptures is forced.
If we - as Christians - are concerned about the poor, it is about ALL the poor of the world, not simply about those within any national border. No self-respecting Christian can say that we should re-distribute the wealth only among the people of the several nations of the world. As much as I love the United States of America, and respect the goodness and necessity of civil government, a defining characteristic of Christian faith is the universal brotherhood of mankind.
Once we accept universal brotherhood, then the enormous poverty in the world makes nonsense of any scheme to redistribute wealth. All that would happen is that everybody in the world would be made poor. When you have a global perspective, the challenge is not redistributing wealth, but is the creation of wealth.
Now, if anybody would but look at the scripture cited by the UMC in this manifesto, you will see their abundent wisdom: We should enable the people of the world to work and be paid. This is called the free enterprise system. We should liberate all people from slavery and feudalism and all other forms of state-ownership of the human means of production. Free labor (as well as free capital) is the way to create wealth to abundence.
Now, Jesus tells us that the poor will always be among us. So, I think that even if we were to free the world, we would have to deal with powerty. But, this would be dealing with individuals who are poor, not dealing with mass poverty. If we are rich materially, and rich in our hearts, I am absolutely confident that we will take care of those among us, whether through our families, private charities or governments (although I would prefer the first two ways to the third).
But, for us be rich materially means capitalism, and for us to be rich in our hearts means Christian (or some other form of belief that accepts universal brotherhood).
BTW There was a time in my life that I stopped attending church because the particular church to which I joined was overcome by socialist nostrums. As an economist, I knew they were wrong, and it made me doubt everything else they had to say. I have since found my way back to church, but during that time in my life I was lost.
Church leaders who pretend that they more more about economics than economists, or more about any science than scientists, are saying that God is not the God of science. They are saying that not all truth testifies to God, but that there is a cleavage between faith and science. They are, in my opinion, denying a part of the Oneness of God.
hi moderator... why? why change the title?
referring to the United Methodist Church as the United Marxodist Church is fair, critical wordplay IMO. not profane, abusive, etc..... IMO...
This is exactly how the Democrats plan to embrace faith and God in the coming years. I think it was Rush who played clips of Clinton's pastor, who was using his faith in a similar manner...saying that God wants government to take care of the lesser among us. It fits right in with their message (socialism) of so-called compassion.
take it up with the mod
IMO, it's denigrating - besides - its hard enough to search for an article using an actual title, let alone a "wordplay" title
Come out of her.
Seek the old paths.
Turn your heart to the Fathers.
Live the faith of Abraham, not that of Lot's wife.
My wife and I joined a Methodist Church earlier this year. Neither one of us grew up Methodist. We started going to the church because it's close to our house. We like it, but I really wonder about the leadership at the national level.
The area of Virginia that our church is in is very conservative, so I'm fairly confident that most of the members are conservative also. However, I'm not so sure about the pastor. He's done pretty well at staying away from political issues, but I still wonder. He did attend the Air Force Academy and was a fighter pilot, so that gives me hope, but I just have a feeling. One of these days soon I'm going to ask him for his thoughts regarding the leadership and some of their left-wing positions.
Southern conservative churches are the only thing saving methodists right now. The problem is that the liberals want to refer to the man-made book of doctrine or whatever they call it, instead of going to the Bible for their doctrine.
I had a conversation with one of the more conservative members of my church about 6 months ago. She is not happy with some of the positions of the Methodist church either. Her feeling was that most of the other mainline churches are just as bad or worse. So, she has hung in there.
I just don't know if things can be changed. The big debate over homosexuality at the last conference was fairly telling. Some people wanted to break then but supposedly "cooler heads prevailed." I see another try at happening again soon.