CPJ is convinced that Canada needs to engage in serious reflection on core values and faith perspectives and their implications for our public life together – the common good. Faith commitments – each person’s deepest commitments, whether formally religious in nature or not – shapes how each person interacts with our neighbours, our institutions, and our environment.
We believe that all ways of understanding the world, including those that begin with explicit faith commitments, must engage each other in the public square to help shape the common good. This must be done across faith and worldview differences, and also within them. In fact, people of faith often need to challenge each other about how specific political choices are consistent with their faith commitments. They need to influence the shaping of public values which can be the basis of policies contributing to the well-being of all and the integrity of creation. This open and respectful wrestling around core commitments needs to be the hallmark of democracy in a pluralistic country like Canada.
While bringing their deepest commitments out in the open into public life, people of faith must ensure that they are not used as fighting tools. Sometimes the temptation for people of faith, including those who hold to a secular faith, is to try to impose a sense of “just us” not “justice.” If we try to use the government to impose a particular religious point of view to the exclusion of others, faith commitments lose credibility and no longer enrich the common good.
For CPJ, our faith calls out beyond apathy or powerlessness. It calls us to a faith that opens us to our common humanity, our calling to love God by loving our neighbour also in our political life together. So together, we have donned the perspective of public justice. It is a vision which helps us not to be lured into false dichotomies, or black and white positions when they are not necessary. We see the need for healing steps to be taken. Real people are suffering real hardships that concrete policies and prophetic vision can alleviate. That’s the call of public justice, the calling from God for government, government which Romans 13 says is “for our good.” Justice for all – an economy of care – the joining together of all circles of society for the well-being of all and for the common good … Public Justice.