Our Seven Focus Areas
*Note: These are short descriptions of our theological statements. An electronic copy of our FULL Theological Statements will be made available soon.
What We Believe: We believe that restorative justice is a far more faithful reflection of God's will than our current system of retributive justice. We believe that every offender, and every victim, should be involved in the legal process and dignity accorded both. We believe that punishment is not the biblical currency of justice; rather accountability, restitution, compensation and public safety are biblical outcomes.
Why We Believe It: The "eye-for-an-eye language" in the Bible is a law of equivalency. It means nothing should be done to the offender that is more severe than the offender did.
What We Advocate: Drug Courts, Mental Health Courts, Veteran's Courts, and other diversion programs; Elimination of all mandatory minimum sentences; expanding mental health and substance abuse treatment; reduction of excessive court costs, fines, and diversion fees; utilization of restorative processes as a diversion option.
What We Believe: We affirm the vital importance of education for all people, particularly for our school-age children. Through education, knowledge of the created order and its diverse peoples promotes respect for the world we share, and peace with the brothers and sisters of the great human family. Education offers the skills and knowledge needed for meaningful work, which allows people to support themselves and contribute to the larger society.
Why We Believe It: A reverance for education is woven through the whole biblical story of the People of God. The word Torah means, at its root, "instruction." The passing of wisdom from elders to the young is a constant theme of the Scriptures.
What We Advocate: Education for school-age children should be one of our highest priorities, and funding should be increased across the board, especially for schools in low-income areas; Public school teachers should be recognized as professionals who deserve to be paid as professionals; We support a broad curriculum to develop the whole child and believe it should be funded.
What We Believe: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it," declares Psalm 24. To God, all creation, "everything God had made," is "very good" (Genesis 1:31). Created "in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27), humanity is given a special charge by God: to "till and keep" the garden of God's creation (Genesis 2:15). We are not owners but stewards of God's good earth, "tenants" of what belongs to God (Leviticus 25:23).
Why We Believe It: We are stewards of God's creation--the soil, water, air, plants and creatures. As stewards, we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Care for the earth and for the environment is an issue of faith and morality.
What We Advocate: Energy conservation measures and the development of alternative, renewable, and clean-energy resources; measures designed to maintain and restore natural ecosystems; policies that serve to: reduce and control the creation of harmful industrial, agricultural and municipal byproducts and waste.
What We Believe: Oklahoma ranks 50th among all states in the health status of its population. This statistic is the result of a complex interplay of issues. To improve the health of Oklahomans, coordination and collaboration is required among all Oklahoma citizens, all levels of government, communities of faith, not-for-profit service agencies, and the not-for-profit and for-profit health industry.
Why We Believe It: Jesus dedicated much of his ministry to making people well, from outcast lepers (Matthew 8, Luke 17) to the servant of a Roman centurion (Matt. 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10). Care of the sick was among the activities that would be recognized as righteous, while failure to care for the sick would not.
What We Advocate: Develop and fund services as appropriate assuring the availability of and access to adequate and affordable health, dental health, mental health, and rehabilitative services for all Oklahomans; develop and fund services protecting Oklahomans from financial disaster caused by health care costs.
What We Believe: We believe the way we treat immigrants is an issue of faith. We believe that immigration laws and policies must uphold the human dignity of every person, each of whom is formed in the image of God. Any legislation or policy which restricts access to basic services or penalizes church and humanitarian organizations which attempt to provide these services violates our beliefs.
Why We Believe It: Care of the stranger and ministry of hospitality are central to the activity of the people of God. In Leviticus, it is written: "The stranger who resides among you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the lord your God."
What We Advocate: Conversations on immigration involve deep, difficult, and complex issues. We urge our elected officials to conduct the immigration debate in a civil and respectful manner, mindful not to blame the immigrant for our social or economic ills or stereotype an entire population based upon fear or prejudice.
What We Believe: The gospel stories depict Jesus repeatedly at the side of the outcast--the poor, lepers, women, tax collectors, prostitutes and foreigners--all those called "sinners." The one miracle repeated through all four gospels is one of generosity and sharing--the feeding of the multitude--in which Jesus's response to the crowd's need is to tell his disciples, "You give them something to eat" (Luke 9:13 NRSV). And while Jesus calls for all to repent, he stands with those on the fringes and those who are oppressed, particularly the ones oppressed economically.
Why We Believe It: About one in five Oklahoma children live in poverty. Despite lower unemployment rates than the nation as a whole, Oklahomans still experience higher poverty rates because too many jobs do not pay a living wage.
What We Advocate: While OCC acknowledges that personal decisions and behavioral patterns play a role in keeping people gripped by poverty, we do not hold the poor morally responsible for their circumstances. Furthermore, we recognize that economic structures and practices create systemic poverty. We support policies that address: adequate social security programs, quality public education, affordable and quality housing, job training and support with meaningful employment opportunities, living wages, equitable taxation.
Race & Anti-Discrimination
This is a brand new area of focus which was adopted in the Fall of 2017 and began programming in the Spring of 2018. We are currently having community meetings to discuss what statement we should create for this area of focus.
Look out for more information coming soon!