This is a guest post by Fernando Sihotang, Indonesia, a former intern in the LWF
Churches and Christians should be in the position to promote justice within the society and in the earth. To take responsibility for a sustainability of human lives and other creations has been given by God. Promoting economic equality, environmental sustainability, and justice of all forms must be regarded as a non-derogable task of both Christians and Churches.
Today, there are millions of people throughout the world facing obstacles as they try to gain justice. This is because globalisation has extremely become a powerful weapon, which can destroy principles of justice worldwide. Poor people are being sacrificed for the gains of the rich, who enrich themselves by disregarding the sustainable development of others. These impoverished people have been denied their right to life because of this global greediness and the search for wealth.
The liberalised market has also been responsible for negative social and economic consequences on marginalized lifestyles. The unfair system has led to many deaths of people who are impoverished and suffering. However, today’s reality indicates that markets and capital are controlled only to raise benefit for a couple of elite groups. Political economy interest has been a threat for several countries that have no quietly powerful position.
Experiences in the south, largely happening in Indonesia, show that poor people, including indigenous people, peasants, labourers, women, and children, are suffering more after the economic globalisation has been in politically and economically strong power beyond the State’s authority and about to deny the local wisdom which already long time was possessed by the local people. While claiming that this global economic system will lead to prosperous lives and will provide more job opportunities, the businesses are easily grabbing communities’ natural resources, which they used to rely on, and neglecting their harmonious cultures. The proclaimed and promised economic growth and prosperity are apparently turning people more suffering. There are many people living on less than one dollar a day which makes them difficult to have access to health care, send the children to school, find adequate housing, and eat enough food. The increasing discrimination and violence against women, child labour, and prostitution are several direct impacts of unrealised globalisation’s promise.
There are also major degradations where business expansion negatively affects the environment. It undermines the local peoples’ core livelihood since their sources of agricultural farming land and their water sources have been grabbed for business purposes. The use of militarisation today threatens people to give up their lands for business interest without adequate compensation. I personally assert that giving compensation is easing the path of businesses, since they have abundant money if they are willing to provide it.
Pro-poor policies have been deregulated and the new policies are being drafted and subsequently enacted to support business activities by denying the suffering peoples’ rights. One thing the government of state must have forgotten is they are obliged to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of those who are vulnerably affected by the third parties who may deprive the rights of others.
God has given all of His creation to humans. We are fully given responsibility to preserve the earth and effectively use it for the common good. The responsibility is not solely to protect the environment from destruction, but, moreover, to use it for human needs in just and proper ways. One powerful phrase supporting this responsibility is that creation does not belong to humans, but humans belong to creation because creation is God’s.
Through Churches, God’s gifts for all humans can be reached by all people within the love of God. This is because churches emphasize important, inclusive principles such as loving neighbours, doing no harm, and being responsible. As Scripture says on John 10:10 that “… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. Churches and Christians should try to cure the hearts of people who are suffering, not only by words or advice, but also in action at the most. We, as witnesses of God’s love and gifts, are challenged to directly support those losing their dignity. We are challenged to join the struggle to resist unjust treatment, corrupt power and the destructing system which have negatively affected human lives and dignity. We must join this struggle to for human rights regardless of faith, gender, race, ethnicity and so forth.
There are many people around the world, including Christians, who suffer because of poverty as they cannot contribute economically to the global system, they do not possess appropriate economic tools, and since life must be run in a very competitive manner for some people. When joining the struggle for justice, we also must take action to search for alternatives for those who have lost their rights. Finally, let us become the agents of transformation by firmly holding to the principle that we must demonstrate God’s grace and, of course, show that we are there to help.