On Feb. 3, a national anti-poverty strategy called Dignity for All was released on Parliament Hill. The plan was developed by people who know poverty first-hand; it was coordinated by Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), a Christian organization, and Canada Without Poverty, a national anti-poverty group. The Canadian Council of Churches plans to host forums on poverty across the country this spring, so local church members and national church leaders can connect local issues with this national plan.
Earlier this summer, the CRA forced Oxfam Canada to change its charitable purpose statement from “prevention of poverty” to “alleviation of poverty” because, according to government policy, preventing poverty is not a charitable cause. Yet given the documented evidence that poverty has negative health, social and economic impacts, one could argue that preventing it would be more charitable than waiting to offer help after harm has been done. Not so, say government officials, and their word trumps the donors to Oxfam who would like it to focus more attention on preventing poverty. But if Oxfam does what its donors want, it risks losing its charitable license. The organization was forced to comply with CRA’s demands.
Faith communities in Canada can contribute to the necessary change in social attitudes to make buying of sexual services socially unacceptable. While moralistic messages are often dismissed in our pluralistic society, Christians can help to promote the dignity and rights of all persons and help to build a society that enables all people to live with dignity.
All of the soldiers who committed suicide had served tours of duty in Afghanistan, which has raised the level of debate about how to support veterans as they transition from military to civilian life. The discussion remains focused on psychological issues and their apparent solutions: mainly, mental health services and improved job prospects, such as special employment programs.
But the spiritual dimension has been missing from the public discussion so far, and without it, successful reintegration cannot happen.