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On Faith

Neal MacPherson

Faith in action is
the work of democracy

Today several candidates for office have agreed to attend the 2002 Accountability Assembly of our organization, Faith Action for Community Equity. The 800 delegates expected this morning at First United Methodist Church represent 24 churches and religious organizations in Hawaii.

The issues we will raise include the need for security and bathroom safety and cleanliness on public high school campuses, the need for timely completion of the renovation of Kalihi Valley Homes and the necessity of a living wage for those who work in Hawaii.

Why should a faith-based community organization be involved in these kinds of issues? Simply because we are about the work of transformation, the transformation of the society in which we live. We want our community to be a place in which everyone will live in peace, unafraid and will enjoy the fruit of their labor.

Every major religious tradition is about the business of transformation. There is a citizen of Israel working for peace who recently said "If we don't transform, we transmit." We are either going to transform the society in which we live or we are going to end up transmitting the mess we're in to future generations.

How will we go about the business of the transformation of the society in which we live? By acting to change public policy. We are not only a people of faith; we are people of faith action. We are also members of a democratic society. As such, we believe real change can come through shaping public policy. We believe we have a stake in shaping that policy.

Why? Because we are the government. In a free democratic society, the government is the only thing we own in common. The government is not an entity out there beyond us, separate from ourselves. The government does not belong to public officials; it belongs to us. Not only are we accountable to one another as we act to transform the society in which we live; public officials are also accountable to us.

The best of our public officials know this and the worst do not.

Today we are calling for candidates' commitment in these specific issues. We have come together because of our faith commitment to establish equity and fairness in Hawaii nei. We have come together for the transformation of the society in which we live. And we have come together to do the work of democracy. Nothing could be more important than this.

Neal MacPherson is the pastor of Church of the Crossroads and president of Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE).


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