Christians are to be good citizens within their community, culture, nation, and world. They should be on guard against all destructive actions and vices surrounding them, and raise a proper protest in the most appropriate forum.
141 Human Relations
The church respects human personality which is inherent in every race, nation and creed. We believe in the Bible’s instruction that there is no basis whatsoever for a belief in the superiority or inferiority of any people. Therefore, the church protests against any action or practice that produces discrimination based upon racial, national, creedal or social differences, since God “made from one, every nation of men to live on the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). The church admonishes all members to commit their attitudes, actions and influences in faithful witness to this truth and to oppose every influence, whether it be economic, social, moral or religious which would debase, impair, or bring into bondage those whom God has created in his own likeness.
The church believes that there must be equal rights and justice for all. All members should register their concern and opposition to any form of prejudice that would prevent any individual or ethnic group from free and full participation in the privileges and benefits of our society. We advocate through due process of law and within the framework of the democratic system the elimination of poverty; the abolishment of unemployment; a fair wage in every vocation; fair practices between employer and employees; adequate provisions for the aged and for those who are unemployable; the opportunity for decent housing for all; and a proper concern for total human need in our contemporary world.
The church acknowledges that mankind’s basic need is for the saving grace of Jesus Christ and is therefore committed to the telling of the Good News of the gospel to all persons. But the church also recognizes the commandment to love all men in the name of Christ. Therefore, the church admonishes all members to strive for a society characterized by unselfish compassion and service to all. (Philippians 2:3; Matthew 25:31-41; Luke 6:31; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 Peter 3:8-12)
142 Peace/Bearing Arms in War
We positively record our disapproval of engaging in voluntary, national, aggressive warfare; yet we recognize the rightful authority of the civil government and hold it responsible for the preservation and defense of our national compact against treason or invasion by any belligerent force.
We affirm the right of our members to serve and bear arms in the national armed forces. We also support the right of the honest conscientious objector to refuse to bear arms in military service, and to instead choose humanitarian service to his/her nation.
We wish to go on record as a church as being much in favor of national and international peace; and we urge our leaders to always pursue peace.
143 Drug Abuse
Christians are directed in the Bible to be temperate in all things. This implies discipline in all emotions, passions, and appetites. It means the proper use of wholesome food and drink. (Proverbs 20:1; Isaiah 5:22; Romans 13:13; I Corinthians 3:16-17, 5:11, 6:10, 6:19; and I Thessalonians 5:22)
1. Alcoholic Beverages
The use of alcoholic beverages is often personally injurious to their users and is often at the core of significant family and social problems. The use of alcoholic beverages is often found to be contrary to the best interest of personal and social morality, economy, and welfare. Holy Scripture teaches us to exercise good stewardship of our bodies. Scripture also admonishes us to avoid abusive indulgence of alcoholic beverages (Prov. 20:1; 23:29-35).
The Church of the United Brethren in Christ believes, and experience demonstrates, that the abuse of alcoholic beverages is harmful to our physical bodies and is a detriment to the best stewardship and witness of our lives. Therefore, we urge all of our members to avoid using alcoholic beverages. We also urge our leaders to teach as well as counsel about the hazards of abusing alcoholic beverages and that deliverance is possible through the ministry of the Spirit.
The Bible reveals that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and instructs believers to live pure lives. The church believes and experience demonstrates that the use of tobacco is injurious to the physical body and is a detriment to the best stewardship and witness of our lives. Therefore, all members are urged to abstain from its use in any form.
We urge our leaders to teach about the hazards of tobacco use and that deliverance is available through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
3. Narcotic, Hallucinogenic, Mind-Altering, and Mood-Altering Drugs
The scientific, medical, law enforcement, and welfare segments of our society have given witness to the corrupting and devastating results of narcotic, hallucinogenic, mind-altering, and mood-altering drugs. Members of the church are to exercise abstinence from using these drugs in any form or for any purpose, except under the most strict prescription and observation of skilled members of the medical profession.
The Bible teaches that the love of money is destructive and that productive work fits into God’s plan for life. Gambling, on the other hand, stimulates the desire to get something for nothing and it seeks material gain by a fatalistic faith in chance. The church has observed that organized and commercial gambling is a threat to business, breeds crime and poverty, and is destructive to the best interests of good government.
Because gambling is a menace to personal character, social morality, and biblical stewardship, we therefore urge all members to abstain from participating in gambling in any form, including lotteries, and to raise a proper protest against the spread of illegal and legalized gambling. (Proverbs 28:19-20; I Timothy 6:7-11; Luke 16:10-13; I Corinthians 4:2)
The distribution of pornographic material in various media is one of the causes of the moral decline of our nation. We encourage our local churches to take an active part in any local movement to eliminate the distribution of pornographic material in their respective communities. In case there is no such movement in their communities, we encourage our local churches to take the initiative in carefully and prayerfully organizing such a movement.
The Holy Scriptures teach us to seek supernatural guidance from God only. Therefore, all members are to abstain from any participation in the occult. This includes all types of fortune-telling, astrology, communication with spirits and witchcraft. (Deuteronomy 18:9-22; Galatians 5:19-21; Acts 19:13- 20)