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Faith, Justice, and Impeachment: a Discussion Guide for Youth

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We live in a time and place where it can often be confusing to sort through all that is happening and figure out who is speaking truth, who knows what they are talking about, who understands the inner workings and minds of those who have gone before us. This is especially true right now as we go through the process of impeachment. Not only are we, as youth workers, often confused about what is happening, it can be difficult for our youth to understand what impeachment actually is, where we fall as Christians on the whole process, and what we can do to live out our faith in just ways.

This is an attempt to give some guidance for a discussion to have with youth around impeachment and faith. There are no answers, only places to explore more fully who we are and what we believe.

Ideally this would be a two week process, first week you go through the discussion with your youth. The second week, if possible, you have the youth lead the same discussion with their parents or guardians. If that is not possible, send home the questions and talking points with the youth so they can have the tools to have conversations with their family at home.

Faith, Justice and Impeachment Discussion Guide:

What is Impeachment?

Dictionary definition: The action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something.

In Politics: A charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office.

The Constitution: The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.US Constitution, Article II, Section 4

7 Steps of Impeachment: Click on the link at the bottom in Resources for a handout to walk through the impeachment process together.

Questions for Reflection:

  • What is your understanding of impeachment?
  • What did you learn about impeachment just now?

What does the UMC say about truth and justice?

Baptismal Vows:

When we are welcomed into the life of the church we hear these questions, they are the basis for our beliefs as United Methodists.

Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject of the evil powers of this world and repent of your sin?

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace and promise to serve him as your Lord in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations and races?

Questions for Reflection:

  • What do each of these promises mean for you?
  • How do they tie in with our basic definitions and understanding of impeachment?

Social Principles:

Social Princples and the Social Creed:

Taking an active stance in society is nothing new for followers of John Wesley. He set the example for us to combine personal and social piety. Ever since predecessor churches to United Methodism flourished in the United States, we have been known as a denomination involved with people’s lives, with political and social struggles, having local to international mission implications. Such involvement is an expression of the personal change we experience in our baptism and conversion.

The United Methodist Church believes God’s love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot just be observers. So we care enough about people’s lives to risk interpreting God’s love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response, no matter how controversial or complex. The church helps us think and act out a faith perspective, not just responding to all the other ‘mind-makers-up’ that exist in our society.”

Excerpt from The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

Social Princples: The Political Community:

There is lots of material in our social principles around justice and truth, the link in the Resources section will take you to what we believe about the political community and our role in fighting for justice.

While our allegiance to God takes precedence over our allegiance to any state, we acknowledge the vital function of government as a principal vehicle for the ordering of society. Because we know ourselves to be responsible to God for social and political life, we declare the following relative to governments:

You might look specifically at our understandings in the following areas:

1. Basic Freedoms and Human Rights
2. Political Responsibilities
3. Church and State Relations
4. Freedom of Information
5. Civil Obedience and Civil Disobedience


Questions for Reflection:

  • How do our social principles and understandings shape our understanding of impeachment?
  • How do they shape our involvement in impeachment? The political system?

What does the Bible say about truth and justice?

Scriptures:

The following scriptures speak about Gods truth and Gods justice.

 

With what shall I approach the Lord and bow down to the Lord on high? Should I come before him with entirely burnt offerings, with year-old calves? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with many torrents of oil? Should I give my oldest child for my crime; the fruit of my body for the sin of my Spirit? He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6.8 (CEB)

Defying and denying the Lord, turning away from our God, planning oppression and revolt, muttering lying words conceived in our minds. Justice is pushed aside; righteousness stands far off, because truth has stumbled in the public square and honesty cant enter. Truth is missing: anyone turning from evil is plundered. The Lord looked and was upset at the absence of justice.Isaiah 59.13-15 (CEB)

You were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, so live your life as children of light. Light produces fruit that consists of every sort of goodness, justice and truth. Therefore, test everything to see whats pleasing to the Lord.Ephesians 5.8-10 (CEB)

Questions for Reflection:

  • How do these scriptures relate to our understanding of impeachment and what the UMC believes?
  • How do they enhance or take away from our understanding?
  • How do they change how we look at the political process of impeachment and our role as Christians?

 

Final Thoughts:

As Christians, what do you think our call is in terms of impeachment?

How does a more basic understanding of faith, justice and impeachment change what is going on in the world for you today?

How have your beliefs around faith, justice and impeachment stayed the same?

What is one thing you are taking away in terms of faith, justice and impeachment?

 

Resources:

The history behind Impeachment in the Constitution: https://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Impeachment/

7 Steps of Impeachment: http://cvhs-teacher.com/cassidy/govt15/Executive/ProcessofImpeachment.htm

Social Principles and the Social Creed: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/social-principles-social-creed

Social Principles: The Political Community: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/political-community

Melissa currently serves as the Pastor of Sanctuary UMC in Marana, AZ, just outside of Tucson. She has an MDiv from Claremont School of Theology, has been serving UMC churches for over 13 years and been involved in some form of youth ministry since she herself grew up as a youth in the UMC. Melissa loves to incorporate creative ways to engage faith and has a great love for all things Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls.

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