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Edited by John R. Williams. Toronto, James Lorimer, c1984. 293pp, paper, $14.95, ISBN 0-88862-755-6. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by John Crawford

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

This book comprises a selection of reports and papers that express the public positions held by Christian church organizations in Canada, either jointly or severally, on matters of social concern. The subjects include poverty, nuclear energy, native rights, immigration, and others. The introduction provides the reader with some idea of what to expect when it states that "The churches' position is based on an understanding of the equality of all human beings." Most of the policy statements are progressive, to say the least. The "Universal Demogrant"scheme, advocated by the United Church as early as 1975, would replace public welfare payments by a form of guaranteed minimum income, a scheme whose time has yet to come. In all of the selections, one theme clearly emerges: people should be the most important consideration in government policy. This theme is not always apparent in government measures that appear to do little to attack unemployment or improve the social amenities, but are more directly aimed at beating inflation or imposing fiscal restraint.

While this book provides evidence of the compassionate attitude of Christian churches on a wide variety of social issues, it also underlines the relative impotence of the churches when it comes to having any measurable effect upon government policy. It is recognized that involvement by the churches in such policy is often unwelcome but that the churches still must oppose social injustice to the best of their ability. Canadian Churches and Social Justice will enable the reader to appreciate the commitment of the Christian churches to social matters and to recognize that many issues fall within the purview of the churches insofar as they affect society and people.

John Crawford, Frank Hobbs E.S., Victoria, B.C.
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