There are many factors that contribute to the challenges we face today, but as Thom Hartmann has stated many times, the fundamental, systemic reality that allows the vast majority of them, consists of two things: “money in politics” and “corporations with the constitutional rights of humans.”
And the only viable way to change this reality is through a constitutional amendment.
Move to Amend has been pushing for that amendment since 2011, referred to as the “28th We the People Amendment." It’s a challenge to get people to focus on one large national goal. The majority of individuals prefer to deal with actions that have a chance of making a local difference and/or that address immediately observable or felt problems.
One large group of people with enough numbers to form a unified body to effectively push for systemic change, if they can come together behind one issue, is communities of faith!
What one topic can create unity? The “climate crisis”! Which is what it has truly become!
The vast majority of faiths believe that we are “stewards of creation” with (as Pope Francis stated in his 2015 Encyclical) “the duty to act.” It’s clear that the only way to act to create systemic change is by creating a broad and deep social movement capable of passing this constitutional amendment. Past social movements through our nation’s history – including those ending slavery, granting women the right to vote, abolishing child labor, advancing worker’s rights, stopping foreign wars and occupations, promoting fundamental civil and human rights for many constituencies, reducing poverty and other economic injustices – have always included people and organizations of faith and ethics.
Congressional members would no longer be beholden to money and corporations once the We the People Amendment is passed and ratified. Congresspersons would then be able to respond to the growing call from their constituents to pass reasonable laws and regulations that would oblige the fossil fuel, meat, and other industries to limit their dangerous emissions and to reduce land, air and water pollution. The corporate drive toward unending and unsustainable economic growth and profit maximization – with the resulting cost of the rapid ecological degradation of our planet – could be controlled.
In 2013 Move to Amend started the Interfaith Caucus as a means to reach out to communities of faith and ethical convictions. Some of us began to focus on working with these communities to bring them together behind the possibility of this change.
We’ve been talking to congregations of different denominations and religions all around the country pointing out that the actions of government and corporations frequently violate our various beliefs, principles, doctrines and statements of faith. At least five different denominations, ranging from individual churches to city and national leadership have, to date, passed resolutions supporting this amendment: 54 different entities in total.
A constitutional amendment requires the approval of 2/3 of the members of Congress followed by ratification by ¾ of the states. Today’s reality is that Congress won’t support the Amendment until they have confidence that getting money out of politics will not endanger their electability.
How can communities of faith make this happen? When five or six of our nation’s major religions are convinced, at the top levels, that the Amendment is the only both prophetic and realistic path forward to fundamentally address the ever widening and deepening climate crisis, leaders of those religions can, with both moral authority and support from their members, call on our national leaders for systemic change. The Unitarian Universalists at their June 2019 national General Assembly affirmed its support of Move to Amend and encouraged its congregations to become more active.
The initial response from Congressional members will still be: “how can we be sure to be re-elected if we support this amendment?"
While faith and ethical communities cannot support any political candidate or party, they can support or oppose specific public policies, many of which are non-partisan. That’s the case with the We the People Amendment! A large majority of people across the country believes, regardless of ideology, that corporations have too much economic and political power and that money is destroying our political system.
Faith and ethical leaders speaking out in favor of enacting and encouraging internal education and reflection about the We the People Amendment will, by definition, provide support for those public officials and candidates who endorse it – especially those leaders of denominations or religions with large memberships.
Of course, once the Amendment is passed, the ability of public officials to respond to the needs of people, places and the planet go far beyond issues of climate. So many other justice and peace concerns that communities of faith and ethical conviction have historically addressed could then be more effectively accomplished.
Contact Michael Greenman, Interfaith Caucus of Move to Amend
“Hope is belief in the plausibility of the possible as opposed to the necessity of the probable.”
Attributed to Moses Maimonides, 12th Century Jewish Scholar