2013 Covenant for Families
As faith leaders representing hundreds of congregations and tens of thousands of people of faith throughout Missouri and Kansas, we are compelled to protect those in need and to honor the inherent dignity of our families and our neighbors. Our collective vision for Kansas City calls upon us to preserve and promote the capacity of all our communities to thrive.
Pathways and opportunities for families to get ahead and make it in America don’t happen by accident. We create these opportunities with the decisions we make together, guided by our shared values. Our Covenant for Families has been developed through the local work of congregations throughout the state, and it calls our legislators to consider the highest moral authority in their decision-making.
As people of faith, we recall the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” Preserving ineffective revenue systems while cutting programs for the most vulnerable amongst us fulfills these criteria of injustice.
We implore our elected leaders to do what is right for Missouri and Kansas and in keeping with the teachings of our faith. As these leaders face difficult decisions in the coming months, this Covenant is a living guide to the kind of future we believe our Creator calls us to seek.
Share the Covenant with Your Congregation
You can download PDF versions of the Covenant for families here.
Health Access and Equity
They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you…sick did not help you?” He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25:44-45, Christian New Testament
Profound health care disparities mark the communities our congregations call home, and we find it morally reprehensible that so many children in this wealthy nation continue to lack health insurance. We believe that all people should be able to see a doctor when they need, at a cost they can afford. These preventive care services can dramatically increase life expectancy while saving millions in taxpayer dollars. A tangible, substantial solution is achievable in this legislative session. Lawmakers can vote to allow the state to accept billions in new federal funding for Medicaid, significantly reducing the number of uninsured. Our rural families, in particular, would benefit from increased health care access, with the added benefit of newly created jobs. The lives of tens of thousands of our sisters and brothers are at stake. It would be a grave moral injustice to neglect this opportunity for the sake of partisan politics.
The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. - Leviticus 19:33-34, Hebrew Scriptures
We believe in fair and humane immigration reform that respects our core faith values including human dignity, family unity, and basic due process rights. A direct pathway to citizenship must be at the center of any immigration reform efforts. “Enforcement-only” legislation criminalizes hard working, respectable immigrants. Further, throwing taxpayer money at discriminatory policies has proven to be ineffective, highly costly, and harmful to our communities, the economy, and democracy. We believe all Missouri schoolchildren, regardless of the nature of their arrival in this state, have a right to higher education at any of our strong public universities.
Lifelines to Healing
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. - Matthew 5:9, Christian New Testament
We are committed to addressing the causes of pervasive violence and crime in our communities. We believe that the criminalization, mass incarceration, and mass deportation of people of color, coupled with the lack of meaningful and quality opportunities, have contributed to a state of crisis in our nation and our state. We lift up in prayer our communities that have been devastated by gun violence, and we call for common sense solutions that will prevent future tragedies from occurring. We believe that our communities will only begin to heal when our elected leaders prioritize policies and resources that put education and restoration before incarceration and armament.
I know that the Lord with maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. - Psalms 140:12, Hebrew Scriptures
A nation blessed with as much abundance as ours can tackle stretched budgets in a stagnant economy without punishing lower-income people or increasing inequality. Economic pressures continue to challenge families looking for good jobs and raising children on limited incomes. Predatory loans target people during their most vulnerable periods only to trap them in a vicious cycle of triple interest debt that annually extracts millions of dollars from working families. Our minimum wage laws, among the lowest in the nation, have exacerbated poverty in Missouri, contributing to declining life expectancy in one quarter of our counties. If people work hard and play by the rules, they should be able to make it from paycheck to paycheck and they shouldn’t be charged interest rates higher than 36% APR.