From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
MODERATOR SENDS CAUTIONARY LETTER ON
05 May 1996 08:40:10
95027 MODERATOR SENDS CAUTIONARY LETTER ON
"CONTRACT WITH AMERICA "TO ALL CONGREGATIONS
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--A letter urging Presbyterians to pray for the
104th U.S. Congress and to advocate for government policies that
"will not put those who are already most vulnerable in further
jeopardy" has been sent to all Presbyterian congregations by the
Rev. Robert W. Bohl, moderator of the General Assembly.
The letter, dated Jan. 17, includes a prayer for the president
and new Congress.
The Congregational Ministries Division has asked that the
letter be read and the prayer be used by Presbyterian congregations
in their worship services.
In addition, the Presbyterian Washington Office has prepared
a packet of resources for groups that wish to study the "Contract
with America" in church settings. The packet is available by
calling the Washington Office at (202) 543-1126.
The full text of Bohl's letter:
"Dear Presbyterian Sisters and Brothers:
"I am profoundly concerned about the state of our nation and
its role in the world. There are momentous challenges facing our
leaders as the new year begins; and I believe our Presbyterian
understanding of Christian responsibility requires us to be
involved in addressing those challenges. We can begin by offering
our prayers for President Clinton and for the members of the 104th
Congress and move to voice our concerns and offer our counsel to
those who are making decisions that affect us all.
"You are all aware of the major shift that has occurred in the
U.S. Congress, the attention now being given to "The Contract with
America" and the struggle on the part of the President to find the
appropriate way to exercise leadership in this new dispensation.
Added to those realities is the determination of the new
congressional leadership to achieve as much change as possible
within the first 100 days of this session of Congress.
"There is every indication that much that is being proposed
will have a profound impact on the poor in our country, including
many who are employed, but who live only a pay check or hospital
bill away from homelessness. I hope you will pray fervently that
all who now serve in high office at both the federal and state
level will commit themselves to decisions that do not put those
who already are most vulnerable in further jeopardy. The Contract
with America mentions responsibility to God. As Christians, we must
set before all our leaders their responsibility to promote the
common good. We must remind them of the clear biblical message that
God judges harshly those nations that ignore the cries of the poor
and the vulnerable and we must hold our leaders to that standard
of accountability. Indeed, it is worth noting that in the scene in
Matthew 25:31ff, so familiar to all of us, it is the nations that
are called to stand before the judgment seat of God and answer for
their treatment of the poor.
"Moreover, we ourselves must remember that our loyalty to this
nation notwithstanding, our primary citizenship is in a community
of faith which is not limited by the borders of the United States.
With much sentiment for greater isolation or more narrow
involvement in the world, it is essential that we, as U.S.
Christians, challenge our leaders to see "American national
interest" in much broader terms than what is politically expedient,
economically productive or militarily strategic.
"We must get involved and we must get involved now on the
basis of the values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not on the basis
of political partisanship or personal bias. I urge you, as you
pray for our leaders, also to become informed about the issues that
are facing our leaders. Act quickly to express your concerns and
ideas to the President and to your representatives in Congress.
Join with others in your congregation, community or region to
strengthen the impact of your message to our leaders that they must
work together to restore wholeness to our fragmented nation and
offer relief to those who are suffering in our own country and
around the world.
"May God bless you in these and all your efforts to bear
witness to the love and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Robert W. Bohl, Moderator
206th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
A Prayer for the President and the 104th Congress
Have mercy, O God, on this nation we love.
Show compassion on all for whom poverty, terror, disease, and
injustice are constant companions, and give comfort to those
who live in the constant fear that such calamities will come upon
Deliver us from both complacency and a sense of helplessness in the face of
Challenge and equip us to turn our compassion into action
for all your children who suffer.
Strengthen those who commit their lives to ordering our common life.
Give all in authority -- especially the President and the members of the
104th Congress -- the wisdom and strength to know your will
and to serve your people as lovers of truth and justice.
And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the
abundance of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
# # #
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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