Biblical Justice Advocacy
CCDA has a long-standing commitment to the confrontation of injustice. Living and working in our communities gives us a unique lens to the pain and systemic injustices that impact those we care about. Sharing Jesus’ compassion and His commitment to kingdom justice is the origin of our advocacy and organizing. While we recognize that there are many injustices that need confrontation and are supporting those issues in an active way, as an association we are strategically working on the following three platform issues: immigration, mass incarceration, and education reform.
What is a Biblical Foundation for Justice?
CCDA cares about justice because God cares about justice. Scripture reveals that God is deeply concerned about justice and calls us to share in this concern. In Exodus 3:7, it is God who says, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people…and heard them crying out…I am deeply concerned about their suffering.” In Isaiah 61:8, the LORD says, “I, the Lord, love justice.” Our love for God moves us to see the misery, hear the cries, and share in God’s divine concern for those who suffer under injustice and oppression.
CCDA commits to justice because God commands us to do justice. Scripture not only reveals God’s heart for justice, Scripture clearly calls us to live justly. In Isaiah 1:17, God speaks to us through the prophet Isaiah saying, “Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” In Proverbs, we are urged to, “Speak up on behalf of others, ensure justice for those who are crushed.” We seek to live justly and advocate for others in faithful response to God’s call on our lives.
Supporting Biblical Resources
Scripture on God’s heart for justice: Psalm 11:7; 68:5-6; 72:12-14; 146:6-9; Isaiah 61:1-2, 8
Scripture on our call to live justly: Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 58:6-14; Micah 6:8; Proverbs 31:8-9; Amos 5:24; Matthew 5:6, Matthew 25:31-46
Why We Confront Injustice?
CCDA confronts injustice because we, as Christ followers, have been equipped and empowered to confront injustice in Christ’s name. Jesus embodied God’s justice through his teaching, his advocacy for those on the margins, his solidarity with their suffering, and his confrontation with the powers of evil and injustice on the cross. Our faith provides us with spiritual weapons to confront principalities and powers through prayer and action. We confront injustice because we have hope in the purposes of God and the power of Christ.
The role of the confrontation of injustice within CCDA requires that we become strong listeners in our community and give value to those who are directly affected by the injustice. This means acknowledging their dignity by making room for them to give voice to their pain and providing guidance and help to bring stories from our communities into the public square. Through this action we amplify the voice of the oppressed and add our voice to their cries so they can no longer be denied, empowering those who are experiencing injustice with their allies, to stand against the forces in their community that steal, kill, and destroy.
How Do We Distinguish Between Advocacy and Organizing?
Both advocacy and organizing speak to the confrontation of injustice and the systems that keep societal norms in play. Organizing is the act of mobilizing voices around an issue that directly affects that group’s community. Organizing is connecting people with their passion and call and giving them the necessary tools to go out and inspire change. Organizing seeks to build influence and power, and then mobilize this power to mount campaigns to bring substantive systemic change on issues defined by the people.
Advocacy is speaking on behalf of something or someone to those in power as part of a strategy to bring systemic change. The voice of an advocate can come from a leader representing a group who wants change or from mobilized people directly impacted by a circumstance, who are “their own voice.” Unique situations require the “advocate” role to vary. Sometimes there are circumstances in which people cannot speak for themselves and so it is essential that someone speak for them, such as young children and the mentally challenged.
An element we want to ensure within CCDA’s advocacy work is that we are always seeking to lift up the voice closest to the pain. Advocacy is merely the role that an individual plays to confront a specific injustice to those able to make change. As Christians, we have unique gifts to contribute to the advocacy process; we are called to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Our confrontation with the powers and principalities is always rooted in a theological foundation with a centralized focus on prayer, knowing that the Holy Spirit is the One who can change hearts and minds. We recognize that when public decision-makers claim Christ, we can be part of their discipleship, inspiring them to do that which God has called them to do.