(Expanded notes from call to Thom Hartmann on10/24/18 by Michael Greenman, Moderator of the Move to Amend Interfaith Caucus)
There are many factors that contribute to the challenges we face today, but as you (Thom Hartmann) have stated many times, the fundamental, systemic reality that allows the vast majority of them, consists of two things, “money in politics” and “corporations with the constitutional rights of humans”.
And the only viable way to change this is through a constitutional amendment.
Since 2011 – Move to Amend has been pushing for that amendment, referred to as the “28th We the People” Amendment, but it is very difficult to get people to focus on one large national program. The vast majority of us prefer to deal with actions that have a chance of making a local difference.
One large group of people with enough numbers to form a unified body to effectively push for systemic change, if they can come together behind one issue is communities of faith!
What one topic can bring them together? Climate Change! The vast majority of faiths believe that we are “Stewards of Creation” with (as Pope Francis stated in his 2015 Encyclical) “The Duty to Act”. And, it is clear that the only way to act so as to make systemic change is by passing this amendment to the constitution. The result, once Congress settles down to consist of individuals not beholden to money and corporations, would be the drafting and approval of reasonable laws and regulations that would oblige the fossil fuel, the meat industries and many others to limit their dangerous emissions, to reduce pollution of land, air and water so as to begin to reverse the negative impact of today’s reality: that corporations act in ways that will maximize profits at any cost! That cost being the rapid degradation of our planet and its ability to sustain all life as cooperative elements of the ecosystem!
In 2013 Move to Amend started the Interfaith Caucus as a means to reach out to communities of faith and ethical convictions. Some of us began to focus on working with these communities to bring them together behind the possibility of this change.
We have been talking to congregations of different denominations all around the country pointing out that the actions of government and corporations frequently violate our various beliefs, principles, doctrines and statements of faith. At least 5 different denominations, ranging from individual churches to city and national leadership have, to date, passed resolutions supporting this amendment: 54 different entities.
An Amendment requires the approval of 2/3 of the members of Congress followed by ratification by ¾ of the states. Today’s reality is that Congress won’t support the amendment until they have confidence that getting money out of politics will not endanger their electability.
Of course, if we obtain the amendment due to concern about climate change, we then can address all issues that currently hurt individuals, our nation and the world.
How can communities of faith make this happen? When 5 or 6 of our nation’s major religions are convinced, at the top levels, that the 28th amendment is the only realistic path forward, we can encourage the leaders of those religions to go together to Washington, DC. They will easily obtain meetings with the Executive and the Legislative Branch so as to be able to tell them that this change must take place!
The initial response will still be: “how can we be sure to be re-elected if we support this amendment”?
We know that faith communities cannot promote the interests of any candidate, but we can speak for or against specific measures that are non-partisan. That is the case with the 28th amendment! The vast majority of people of both parties agree that corporations have too much power and that money is destroying our political system.
The response those faith leaders can legitimately and legally make is that they will begin to speak in favor of the passage of the amendment, and will encourage their members to support candidates who have spoken out in favor of that action. Thus, with the possible numbers involved, candidates will not need to fear negative action by groups throwing money at the election.
Once the amendment is passed, legislators can get to the people’s, instead of the corporations’ business!
For Information: contact Michael Greenman, Interfaith Caucus of Move to Amend; mgreenmanoh [at] gmail.com; 614-898-5825).