Human Rights in the ELCA
HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE ELCA
For Peace in God’s World
The ELCA Social Statement, “For Peace in God’s World,” adopted in 1995, calls on the church to:
Promote respect for human rights. “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” These words from the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) are consistent with our understanding of humans created in God’s image. Human rights provide a common universal standard of justice for living with our differences, and they give moral and legal standing to the individual in the international community.
We therefore will continue to teach about human rights, protest their violation, advocate their international codification, and support effective ways to monitor and ensure compliance with them. Our priorities are to:
- oppose genocide and other grievous violations of human rights such as torture, religious and racial oppression, forced conscription (impressment), forced labor, and war crimes (including organized rape);
- provide for the most basic necessities of the poor; and
- defend the human rights of groups most susceptible to violations, especially all minorities, women, and children.
U.S. FOREIGN AID
Revitalize Aid. We affirm that our nation has responsibility to contribute a portion of its wealth to people in poorer nations through effective economic assistance. Assistance should come in the form of both humanitarian aid needed to relieve the consequences of disasters and development assistance that contributes to improvements in the quality of life in developing economies. While the United States has been generous in providing humanitarian aid, our nation dramatically trails the rest of the industrialized world in providing development assistance relative to our production of wealth. We support continued and increased assistance by the United States, and call for its gradual realignment toward more development assistance and a proportional reduction in subsidies to purchase weapons.
The guiding purpose of economic assistance should be to reduce hunger and poverty in sustainable and environmentally sound ways. Aid should be provided in ways that promote human rights and build self-reliant individuals, communities, and nations. Aid should be responsive to the need of many countries to reduce population pressure through greater opportunity for women and through voluntary, safe, and reliable means of birth control. Aid also should require accountability on the part of recipient governments. We support bilateral and multilateral aid and the use of non-governmental organizations as channels to reach local communities.
Read the ELCA Social Statement: For Peace in God’s World