Human Rights: Doing Justice in God's World, Implementing Resolutions
A Statement of the Lutheran Church in America, 1978
Adopted by the Ninth Biennial Convention of the Lutheran
Church in America, Chicago, Illinois, July 12-19, 1978.
- Employment, Income, Housing, Health Care, Education,
This church commits itself to the public policy goals of
employment, adequate income, decent housing, health maintenance and
care, nutrition, and education as fundamental rights of every
citizen of Canada and the United States. This church shall work for
the creation of a public will to support these goals and shall
advocate measures to effect them, including enactment of
appropriate enabling legislation.
- Institutionalized Populations
This church, in cooperation with common Lutheran agencies
and other groups and organizations, shall study the needs of
institutionalized persons in the United States and Canada.
Particular attention shall be given to the imprisoned, patients in
mental hospitals, and persons in schools for the mentally retarded,
hospitals, and nursing homes. This church shall advocate measures
to make institutional life more humane. It shall devise strategies
of ministry of and advocacy in behalf of institutionalized persons.
It shall advocate alternatives to institutionalization for meeting
human needs, insofar as these needs are better met through such
alternatives. All persons, especially the elderly, have the right
to informed consent in decisions relating to their medical
This church affirms that refugees are entitled to
consideration for admittance to the United States and Canada
irrespective of the ideology or political alignment of the regime
from which they have fled. This church shall advocate this
principle before the governments of the United States and Canada;
and it shall support the same principle in the policy and
procedures of the Immigration and Refugee Service of the Lutheran
Council in the U.S.A. and the National Committee for
- Undocumented Aliens
This church acknowledges its responsibility of ministering to and
advocating the human rights of undocumented aliens now in Canada
and the United States. This church further recognizes the plight of
such persons as a symptom of global injustice, and commits itself
to the search for such long-term policies as may eliminate the
necessity of the displacement of people.
Noting that 1979 has been designated by the United Nations
as the International Year of the Child, this church commits itself
to seek, in cooperation with common Lutheran agencies and other
organizations, appropriate policy goals and implementing
legislation to advance the rights of children wherever
This church expresses its abhorrence of the deliberate
infliction of pain on human beings. It declares its support of
organizations and groups, including churches, which are striving to
call nations to account for the practice of torture and to create a
public climate of opinion which strives for the abolition of
torture in all its forms.
- Political Oppression
This church declares its concern for the human rights of persons in
all parts of the world. It recognizes that its response to the
deprivation of human rights will vary from place to place, and time
to time, depending upon such factors as the presence of a sister
church of strength in a particular country, the call from such a
church for assistance, and the susceptibility of the regime and
political system to overt pressure by Christians and others in
behalf of human rights.
This church, out of concern for justice in all parts of the
world, declares its opposition to all governmental policies and
actions which suppress human rights. It declares its continuing
critical solidarity with those who struggle for a just society in
countries, including our own, which may deny human rights.
This church expresses its thanksgiving to God for recent signs
of progress toward self-determination in Namibia, and pledges
itself to support in appropriate ways its sister churches in that
country as they participate in the transition toward independence
and majority rule.
- Economic Rule
Recognizing that the inordinate exploitation and consumption of the
world's resources deprives the world's majority of such basic
rights as those to nutrition, housing, work, and fair compensation
for work and/or resources, this church commits itself to the
continued advocacy of worldwide economic justice. Specifically, it
commits itself to an intensive study of international economic
relations and to the consideration of a major policy statement on
that subject in 1980.
- Voluntary Action
Recognizing that the achievement and protection of human rights is
not the result solely of government action and law, but that
supportive consensus and effective advocacy and monitoring are
required on the part of citizens and groups, this church commits
itself to search for more creative and effective human rights
strategies in North America and throughout the world, in
cooperation with Lutheran and ecumenical agencies, and in
partnership with secular organizations about human rights.
- Equality of Women and Men
This church affirms the principle of justice and equality for women
and men, and supports legislation which will implement this
principle. Therefore, this church declares its continuing support
of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States and urges its congregations and agencies to mobilize
support for its ratification.