Churches Urge G20 Not to Return to Business as Usual

LONDON – Church leaders have urged G20 leaders meeting in London this week not to return to "unethical" pre-recession economics.

In a joint statement, they are calling for a moral response to the current crisis based on the principles of sustainability, solidarity, subsidiarity, social justice, equity and accountability in the use of public resources and those in roles of public trust.

"The fundamental failure of the market system exposed by the financial crisis is a moral failure; as such it requires a moral response," they wrote.

"We therefore reject any proposals for the recovery or regulation of the financial markets predicated on the principle of a return to business as usual, as this implies a return to unethical business and economic relationships."

Signatories of the letter included representatives of the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Church, the Free Churches Group, the Evangelical Alliance, The Salvation Army, the Church of Scotland, the Church in Wales, the Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church of Wales.

They appealed to G20 leaders to commit to the common good and be mindful of the importance of God in the well-being of individuals.

"We specifically reject the hollowness of the dominant secularist and consumerist images of well being which neglect our relationship with God and the rest of Creation which we consider essential to human flourishing," they said.

The church leaders made a number of demands to G20 leaders, including agreements on a low carbon output, recovery of the global economy, greater market accountability and transparency, and the strictured regulation of tax havens.

"The livelihoods of those on the margins of mainstream economic activity are rapidly deteriorating and we urge the G20 leaders to develop meaningful and urgent interim policies and programs to mitigate this impact," the church leaders said.

"We commit ourselves as churches in the UK to praying for the G20 Summit and for the UK Government as they host and facilitate this historic gathering of world leaders in London."

Days ahead of the summit, which begins Thursday, more than 150 groups joined the "Put People First" march to demand jobs, economic justice and environmental accountability. Police said around 35,000 attended the demonstration in London. It was the first of six days of protest and action.

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