Advocacy for justice is the influencing of decision makers in government or business to act justly
How we select issues
There are a myriad of issues on which Christians could advocate. To select from these we ask the following questions
1. Is this a justice issue?
In the biblical tradition justice can be defined as liberating people from situations of exploitation, oppression, or evil. The key question for us is are we coming alongside those who are exploited, oppressed, or marginalised and seeking an improvement in their situation?
This ensures we focus upon justice rather than the imposition of Christian morals or virtues.
2. Is there widespread concern among our constituency on this issue, or do we see it is feasible to generate widespread concern?
Advocacy and service require a critical mass of people to be involved, so no matter how valid an issue is for advocacy, if we can’t engage people on it our actions will not bear fruit.
3. Are there politically achievable outcomes?
Given the current political environment, can we envisage a pathway to change on this issue?
Our advocacy strategy
We don’t simply want to be noisy on an issue, we want to contribute to change. To be effective we look to follow the process diagrammed below (diagram courtesy of Baptist World Aid Australia):
Effective advocacy requires four things to be brought together:
- well thought out policy proposals;
- lobbying of decision makers;
- a constituency demanding change; and
- champions within the decision making group.
Absent any of these advocacy is unlikely to bring about change. Advocates must do more than point out what is wrong in any given situation. They must demonstrate an achievable solution exists. Careful research developed into good policy proposals allow advocates to put a case for change to decision makers. While good policy in service of a just cause is necessary, it is not sufficient to effect change. Injustices exist because they serve someone’s interest. To challenge these interests a person within the decision making group must be willing to champion the cause, and will need a constituency to back them up, voters in the political sphere and customers in the commercial sphere.
The Christian churches are one of the best placed societal groups to form a constituency for justice. Our faith places justice, mercy and faithfulness at the centre of spirituality; we meet regularly; and we are committed to working toward a better world. A Just Cause mobilises churches and individual Christians to participate in well run advocacy campaigns that address all four dimensions required for effectiveness.