God's Politics

God's Politics

Bob Francis: Wrong Choice on Darfur

In the March/April issue of the University of Chicago magazine, an article announced that the University decided not to divest from companies connected to the genocide in Darfur. I wrote a response and it was published in the May/June issue:

Advocacy organizations have done a commendable job of educating the public about this ongoing genocide. While this increased awareness represents progress, knowledge without action is worthless. I commend the University on the creation of a fund to underwrite faculty and student work (a truly creative and worthwhile idea), but it is no replacement for divestment (or any other proactive measures). The University is correct in claiming that its antidivestment decision is not a sign of neutrality; inaction in the face of clear injustice given the opportunity to act is complicity, not neutrality.
While we can hope that the $200,000 fund will indeed advance human rights, I challenge the false choice between providing an “umbrella of open, free inquiry” and the University’s moral duty to divest. These options are not mutually exclusive. Budgets are moral documents, and within them are the keys to our priorities. We should not pretend that prizing open inquiry absolves us of the moral duty to examine our possible complicity with injustice.

Bob Francis is the organizing and policy assistant for Sojourners/Call to Renewal, and earned his masters degree in social science from the University of Chicago in 2006.

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posted June 26, 2007 at 9:47 pm

“Budgets are moral documents, and within them are the keys to our priorities.”
Very well stated, and true for budgets large and small.

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posted June 26, 2007 at 10:17 pm

You have to never forget that it is Christians being slaughterd in Darfur.
No one at the U of Chicago is ever going to care about that.
And how many vote (that can vote) the Democrat party I wonder, 99% or 100%?

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posted June 27, 2007 at 12:59 am

My understanding, Donny, is that the people of Darfur are mostly muslim. The Christians in Sudan are nearly all in the south. Darfur is in the west.
This particular genocide is on racial rather than religious grounds.

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posted June 27, 2007 at 10:47 pm

We have a responsibility for what we know. Acting upon our knowledge is requried. We will be judged for we have a responsibility to show up and speak, to work, to pray, to care, to support God’s justice in these days and moments of our lives.

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