The Center for Public Justice (www.cpjustice.org) is an independent, nonpartisan organization devoted to policy research and civic education. Working outside the familiar categories of right and left, conservative and liberal, we seek to help citizens and public officeholders respond to God's call to do justice.
Our mission is to equip citizens, develop leaders, and shape policy in pursuit of our purpose to serve God, advance justice, and transform public life. To learn more about our unique perspective, see What Distinguishes the Center for Public Justice? on the Center's main website. The Center bases its research, publications, training, and advocacy work on a comprehensive, Christian political foundation. It was established in 1977 by a group of citizens interested in developing and communicating an integrated biblical view of political service and responsible government. Then, as now, the Center recognized the need to build and uphold a just republic and to promote just relations among the nations.
The Need, Our Response
Americans hold a range of clashing perspectives on public life. Christians often stand at odds with one another: Some drive for political dominance, some pursue special interests, others retreat for purity’s sake.
Further, individualism and morally divided leadership fragment our country. Citizens mistrust government and are disengaged from the political process. Interest-group politics rules the day. Bipartisan agreement is all too rare. And the poor and weak suffer most from the consequences of injustice. The need for a thoughtful, far-reaching response is clear.
At the Center for Public Justice, we:
- Are committed to public service that responds to God's call to do justice in local, national, and international affairs.
- Believe Christians should contribute to the renewal of political life.
- Encourage officeholders and citizens to take their responsibilities seriously.
- Pursue a multi-issue, public-interest approach to lawmaking and governance.
- Envision a republic where government is competent, leaders are trustworthy, and civil society is thriving.
The Center argues for the high calling of government, whose responsibility is to uphold justice for all citizens in the political community (in our case, the republic of the United States). Government's calling is to protect and enhance the common good—the wellbeing of the commonwealth—and not just to protect individual freedom or to make room for private purposes.
We advocate equal treatment of people of all faiths, because the political community should be a community of citizens, not a community of faith. We also contend for government's recognition and protection of strong civil-society organizations and the independence of families, churches, schools, enterprises, and other non-governmental institutions. And we advocate strong public protections of the civil rights of all citizens.
1. Serve God. We aspire to a United States and a world in which citizens, particularly Christians, take their civic responsibilities seriously as a service to God, until the kingdom of God comes in its fullness.
From the beginning, God has called men and women to serve him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yet we live in a broken, unjust world in which citizens, political leaders, governments, and nongovernmental institutions are marred by sin. In reconciling the world to God, Jesus Christ frees us from sin's bondage. Through faith in Christ, we are restored to God's service in all areas of life in families, churches, schools, the workplace, charitable organizations, and politics. Citizenship and government are not evils to be avoided but gifts of God for our good. The Center's foremost purpose is to serve God by obeying his call to do justice.
2. Advance Justice. We aspire to a United States and a world where governments carry out their high calling to do justice to all citizens, institutions and communities.
God's call to do justice extends to the whole world. To respond to that call, we must recognize the manifold and distinct responsibilities within human society. Justice requires giving to each its due. Different kinds of responsibilities belong to families, worship communities, schools, businesses, voluntary organizations, and governments. God has ordained government for the unique purpose of establishing public justice. The Center's aim is to advance justice by advocating the proper exercise of government's authority to uphold the common good.
3. Transform Public Life. We aspire to a United States and a world where citizens and leaders work together to shape public life for the good of all, both nationally and internationally.
God's call to do justice requires that we respond with concrete deeds of service. As Christians we are called to do more than accommodate the conventional approaches of conservatives, liberals, and pragmatists. Instead of merely supporting individual rights and brokering special interests, governments should recognize and protect all of society's diverse institutions. Many American laws and institutions are positive achievements. Yet much in our political system needs to be reformed. The Center's objective is to transform public life by working to:
- establish the proper relationship between government and nongovernmental responsibilities in society, and
- uphold equal access for and treatment of all faiths in the public square.
- Equip Citizens. Through its publications, speeches, and programs, the Center inspires citizens with a Christian perspective and equips them with tools for civic responsibility.
- Develop Leaders. Through its leadership development program, the Center encourages citizens with talents for public service, nurtures public officials, and honors model public servants.
- Shape Policy. To help shape policy, the Center conducts research, crafts proposals, and advocates reforms. Staff members advise public officials, submit briefs in court cases, and educate the public about new policies.