We’ve got to be moved by compassion.
Posted by Laura K. Cavanaugh
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not much for politics.
With all the political issues floating around on the web these days, especially with the presidential election so close, I have made it a point to stay out of debates and arguments and keep to the goal of creating a space to think theologically and work out practically what it looks like to have a healthy, holistic understanding of what it means to be a human being — spirit, mind, and body.
But today I’m breaking my rule and getting a little political. Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech on ending human trafficking and modern day slavery. If ever there was an issue that coincided directly and intimately with having a holistic body theology, it would be this one.
If you missed the speech, you can read the transcript here. I included a snippet for you below (emphasis mine):
Of course, no government, no nation, can meet this challenge alone. Everybody has a responsibility. Every nation can take action. Modern anti-trafficking laws must be passed and enforced and justice systems must be strengthened. Victims must be cared for. So here in the United States, Congress should renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, this is a no-brainer. This is something we should all agree on. We need to get that done.
And more broadly, as nations, let’s recommit to addressing the underlying forces that push so many into bondage in the first place. With development and economic growth that creates legitimate jobs, there’s less likelihood of indentured servitude around the globe. A sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, that has to be burned into the cultures of every country. A commitment to equality — as in the Equal Futures Partnership that we launched with other nations yesterday so societies empower our sisters and our daughters just as much as our brothers and sons. (Applause.)
And every business can take action. All the business leaders who are here and our global economy companies have a responsibility to make sure that their supply chains, stretching into the far corners of the globe, are free of forced labor. (Applause.) The good news is more and more responsible companies are holding themselves to higher standards. And today, I want to salute the new commitments that are being made. That includes the new Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking — companies that are sending a message: Human trafficking is not a business model, it is a crime, and we are going to stop it. We’re proud of them. (Applause.)
Every faith community can take action as well, by educating their congregations, by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed. And like that Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho, we can’t just pass by, indifferent. We’ve got to be moved by compassion. We’ve got to bind up the wounds. Let’s come together around a simple truth — that we are our brother’s keepers and we are our sister’s keepers.
And finally, every citizen can take action: by learning more; by going to the website that we helped create — SlaveryFootprint.org; by speaking up and insisting that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the products we buy are made free of forced labor; by standing up against the degradation and abuse of women.
That’s how real change happens — from the bottom up.
Be the body of Christ.