the 21st-century church in motion-- a Social justice law firm
the 21st-century church in motion-- a Social justice law firm
The Methodist Law Centre is an ecumenical Christian mission that takes its name “Methodist” in honor of the Rev. John Wesley’s unorthodox method of carrying the message of the Gospel to those persons who were in most need of hearing it.
Although we maintain no official connection to an established Methodist church denomination, we share the same ecclesiastical doctrinal of salvation and justification (i.e. soteriology) as is held in various Methodist and Anglican church denominations, including the United Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Covenant Association, the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.), and the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON).
We are chartered by the National Association of Christian Ministers (NACM).
The constitutional basis for The Methodist Law Centre is deeply-rooted in the First Amendment, U.S. Constitution—the right to conscience, assembly, association, speech, and to petition the government to redress grievances. This is the constitutional foundation for the existence of free churches in the United States. There, the individual soul is connected to the God of his conscience, determining right from wrong, and good from evil. This, then, becomes the foundation whereby individuals and groups of individuals (e.g., churches) connect with one another (i.e., assemble, associate, engage in free speech) in order to redress grievances and, wherever appropriate, to exercise their First Amendment freedom to petition.
We thus hold that the First Amendment, U.S. Constitution is a “sacred” constitutional right. Our scriptural basis is the Pentateuch (i.e., the Five Books of Moses), which set forth the fundamental moral law of Good and Evil, as exemplified in the Ten Commandments and the plight of Israel from slavery and oppression. To the extent that the common law, statutory law, and constitutional law coincide, parallel, and implement this same “fundamental moral law,” the church has a duty and an interest in ensuring that the administration of secular justice establishes true justice, especially for the most vulnerable members of our community—insular minority groups, the elderly, the poor, etc.
We are “Methodists” or "Wesleyan" in the generic and historic sense of the word: chartered by the National Association of Christian Ministers, we provide an ecumenical platform of legal redress and social justice action for ordained clergy and attorneys from all faith denominations, both Christian and non-Christian alike.
What makes our Legal Assistance Teams unique, is that we include the ecumenical Church (e.g., chaplains, ordained pastors, deacons, elders, and bishops of many faith-traditions) on our legal assistance ministry/ investigative support teams. As the voice of the Church to the Bar and the Bench, we aim to be a respected leader in the American legal profession, as well as a major catalyst for human rights and social policy.
Methodist denominational churches have carried on a common Wesleyan heritage of "social action" that is reflected in the "Social Creed of 1908" (Methodist):
"The Methodist Episcopal Church stands:
"For equal rights and complete justice for all men in all stations of life.
"For the principles of conciliation and arbitration in industrial dissensions.
"For the protection of the worker from dangerous machinery, occupational diseases, injuries and mortality.
"For the abolition of child labor.
"For such regulation of the conditions of labor for women as shall safeguard the physical and moral health of the community.
"For the suppression of the 'sweating system.'
"For the gradual and reasonable reduction of the hours of labor to the lowest practical point, with work for all; and for that degree of leisure for all which is the condition of the highest human life.
"For a release for [from] employment one day in seven.
"For a living wage in every industry.
"For the highest wage that each industry can afford, and for the most equitable division of the products of industry that can ultimately be devised.
"For the recognition of the Golden Rule and the mind of Christ as the supreme law of society and the sure remedy for all social ills.
[When the Federal Council of Churches adopted the social creed in December 1908, they added the following phrase at the end: ]
"To the toilers of America and to those who by organized effort are seeking to lift the crushing burdens of the poor, and to reduce the hardships and uphold the dignity of labor, this Council sends the greeting of human brotherhood and the pledge of sympathy and of help in a cause which belongs to all who follow Christ."
To that end, the Methodist Law Centre disdains “religious ritualism” that is void of “righteousness and justice.” Our scriptural basis is found in the prophets of the Old Testament: particularly the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. Collectively, these sacred writings forewarn nations against:
· Economic exploitation, unjust riches, and oppression of the poor
· Disinterest in establishing true and substantive justice
· Administering justice systems through falsehood, fiction, lies, and deceitfulness
· Religious ritualism and religious hypocrisy
In the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth is described in the four Gospels as having set forth the same fundamental moral themes in his teachings, parables, and sermons: See, e.g., Matthew 23:4-39; Luke 11:39-44; and Luke 11:46-52.
Poor and Minority Justice is what we do!
Our understanding of social justice reform for the poor and marginalized is that a deep and profound respect for human beings (regardless of status) is sine qua non.
We believe that the preaching of the Gospel of Christ must be made manifest in our our deeds-- and not simply in our words! And that our deeds include providing legal aid to the socially and economically disadvantaged.
To that end, the Methodist Law Centre has partnered with various church organizations throughout the nation to form the "POOR & MINORITY JUSTICE ASSOCIATION-- LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, INC." which supports several of our legal assistance projects.
The Legal Defense Fund, Inc. endeavors to have a national and international influence on social justice reform, human rights, and the law.
At The Methodist Law Centre, we believe that the sacred Judea-Christian ideals of the Old and New Testament are synonymous with the “fundamental laws” of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. We believe that these "fundamental laws" constitute the natural moral laws of reason and conscience that are imprinted through natural law upon the hearts and minds of every individual, and that are thus available through introspection, deliberation, speech communication, and free association and assembly—whether in our churches or other forums of assembly and association.
As Jesus of Nazareth, out of sheer necessity, moved his ministry out into the unorthodox places of ancient Judea, and just as the first Methodists moved their ministry from Anglican church buildings into the roads, streets, and fields of the English countryside, so too has The Methodist Law Centre moved its ministry ( our theme and motto is “pastors and lawyers for justice”) into government agencies and other places where jurisprudence, evidentiary questions, legal procedure, constitutional law, and equity are being discussed, deliberated, administered, and applied to the lives of real people—especially cases where there is evidence of systematic and grave miscarriages of justice being perpetuated against the poor, the vulnerable, the underprivileged, and those who are deemed outcastes within the society, as a result of the callous indifference of citizens and government officials.
Lastly, we are the twenty-first century church in motion!
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