Hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world took to the streets to pray and ‘shine a light on corruption’ during the recent EXPOSED Week of Action (Oct 14-20).
Many hundreds of Vigils were held where people from all churches and nations highlighted the effect of corruption on the world’s poorest people. The bells of St Paul’s Cathedral rang across London at the end of one of the first vigils of the week; there were prayer walks around Cape Town and in other cities in South Africa; and vigils organised by church groups, businesses and communities were held in 150 nations including Nigeria, Zambia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, France, Ecuador, Italy, UAE and DR Congo.
Vigil against Corruption in Lima, Peru.
The EXPOSED campaign aims to call to account leaders in government, business and church who hold the keys to combating bribery, abuse of public influence and other forms of corruption, which is one of the main causes of poverty in the world today.
Event organisers used some clever messaging. In the Philippines, where vigils were held in every major city, a roast pig was displayed, to highlight and respond to the ‘pork barrel’ scam allegedly involving billions of pesos - tax payers’ money which has been lost to massive corruption in major branches of the government.
Cats were involved in an event in Peru where the aim was to expose and catch the ‘rats’ in the corrupt justice system. Women trained by a local group - Paz y Esperanza – visited the law courts building to publicise corrupt procedures in abuse cases which saw influential men go free. Three judges lost their jobs as a result of the women's actions.
‘Hope does not always begin on high budget platforms; and a million candle lights in unfamiliar places can dispel darkness more powerfully than floodlights in predictable places’, said Joel Edwards, International Co-ordinator of EXPOSED. ‘This has been a tremendous week when the effects of the scourge that is corruption have been highlighted as never before by people of conscience across all nations.’
Social media played a significant role in spreading the EXPOSED message during the week of action. A ‘Thunderclap’ on Twitter, reached more than 300,000 people across the world, and Facebook, YouTube and Twitter came into their own to spread the EXPOSED message.
In addition to the hundreds of vigils and other events, EXPOSED supporters used the Week of Action to gain support and signatures for its Global Call to End Corruption, an international petition pressing for more open tax regimes and greater transparency in payments to combat bribery and tax avoidance. The Global Call aims for one million signatures and will be presented to the leaders of the G20 – the world’s leading economies – when it meets in Brisbane, Australia in November 2014.
As Australia prepares to host the G20 next year, church leaders from across Brisbane gathered to plan how they can make sure the voices of the global poor are heard at the meeting.
In Brazil, Pastor José Marcos, President of the Institute Solidare, encouraged Christians to speak out: ‘Because of corruption, millions and millions of people around the world have no right to "our daily bread", and so are unable to see "Our Father." All churches should join EXPOSED signing the Global Call, having Vigils and actively participating, as it is more Christian than the solemn meetings we do in our temples, where they do not pose a sound prophetic voice against injustice, especially corruption.’ Pastor Marcos said.
The EXPOSED campaign now moves into its next phase running up to Brisbane, concentrating on collecting the one million signatures for the Global Call to end Corruption.
‘After this week of action, millions of people across the world are now more motivated to expose corruption where they find it, but this really is just the start. We journey on to Brisbane hoping to see God’s justice shine more brightly as we tackle corruption’, said Joel Edwards.
The EXPOSED campaign aims to reach 100 million people across the world, encouraging them to consider practical and positive ways to resist corruption in their communities, including their churches, and to promote increased integrity and ethics in business.
The Global Call to End Corruption can be signed online at www.exposed2013.com.
EXPOSED is a coalition of Christian Organisations that aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments to highlight the impact of corruption on the poorest of the poor.
Steering Group - American Bible Society, USA; Association for a more Just Society (AJS), Honduras; British and Foreign Bible Society, UK; Evangelical Association of the Caribbean; Heads of Denominations, Zimbabwe; Micah Challenge International; The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission; Unashamedly Ethical; World Evangelical Alliance; 24-7 Prayer, South Africa
Other partners include - Advocates International; ALARM; ANAJURE, Brazil; CANOPI, Malaysia; Digni, Norway; Europartners; Evangelical Alliance UK; Intercessory Prayer Ministry Intl; Micah Network; Paz y Esperanza, Peru; The Leprosy Mission; Ame A Verdade, Brasil