From the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (http://www.umc-gbcs.org):
TAMPA, Fla. — The 2012 General Conference, the highest policy-setting body of The United Methodist Church, adopted a new Social Principle addressing “graft and corruption.” The new principle will be included in ¶163. “The Economic Community.”
The Social Principle declares that eradication of graft and corruption is crucial to establishing just political governance characterized by transparency, accountability and integrity.
The new Social Principle declares, “Graft and corruption tangle the social thread of communities, erode the moral fiber of human relationships, and sully the reputation of social institutions.”
Graft refers to unfair or illegal means of acquiring money, gain or advantage, especially by abusing one’s position in politics, business and social institutions, the Social Principle “Graft &Corruption,” states. Graft “transgresses human dignity and violates human rights,” according to the new Social Principle.
Corruption refers to dishonest and undue exploitation of power for personal gain, the Social Principle emphasizes. Corruption “subverts God’s intention for the fullness of life and creation,” according to the new Social Principle.
General Conference adopted “Graft & Corruption” on its consent calendar 876-37. The Church & Society legislative subcommittee, which first considered the petition, approved it 66 for, 0 against, and 3 not voting.
The Social Principle, “Graft and Corruption,” will be a new paragraph under The Economic Community in the 2012 United Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s book of laws.
While not considered to be church law, the Social Principles Preface emphasizes that they are a “prayerful and thoughtful effort on the part of the General Conference to speak to the human issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation as historically demonstrated in United Methodist traditions.”
The Social Principles are a call to faithfulness and are intended to be instructive and persuasive in the best of the prophetic spirit, according to the Preface, and are a call to all members of the denomination to a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith and practice.
The Economic Community Social Principle introduction states that all economic systems are under the judgment of God no less than other facets of the created order: “Therefore, we recognize the responsibility of governments to develop and implement sound fiscal and monetary policies that provide for the economic life of individuals and corporate entities and that ensure full employment and adequate incomes with a minimum of inflation.”
“Graft & Corruption” joins other Social Principles under The Economic Community that address “Property,” “Collective Bargaining,” “Work & Leisure,” “Consumption,” “Poverty,” “Gambling,” “Family Farms,” “Corporate Responsibility” and “Trade & Investment.”
There will also be a new Social Principle under ¶163 on “Finance” (http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c=frLJK2PKLqF&b=8123417&ct=11812923).
Both “Graft & Corruption” and “Finance” were petitions submitted by the General Board of Church & Society.
The new Social Principle follows:
Graft & Corruption
God’s good creation, the fullness of its bounty and the loving, nurturing relationships that bind all together are intended by God to be enjoyed in freedom and responsible stewardship. To revere God’s creation is a sacred trust that enables us to fashion just, equitable, sustainable relationships and communities. The strength, stability, security and progress of such relationships and communities depend on the integrity of their social, economic, political and cultural processes, institutions and stakeholders.
Graft, referring to unfair or illegal means of acquiring money, gain or advantage, especially by abusing one’s position in politics, business and social institutions, transgresses human dignity and violates human rights. Corruption, referring to dishonest and undue exploitation of power for personal gain, subverts God’s intention for the fullness of life and creation.
Graft and corruption tangle the social thread of communities, erode the moral fiber of human relationships, and sully the reputation of social institutions. Legislative and judicial mechanisms, including a strong, just criminal justice system, must deal with graft and corruption at every level of society.
Good, just political governance characterized by transparency, accountability and integrity is crucial to the eradication of graft and corruption. Societies that are graft-ridden and plagued with corruption are needful of God’s pardoning love and redeeming grace.
—Adopted by 2012 General Conference
Editor’s note: A bulletin insert of the new Social Principle can be downloaded at “Graft & Corruption” (http://www.umc-gbcs.org/atf/cf/%7b689FEA4C-8849-4C05-A89E-C9BC7FFFF64C%7d/GRAFTANDCORRUPTION.PDF).