Looking at the world today, one cannot but be alarmed at the growing inequality at the different levels of our socio-economic organizations. More people, and even nations, are willy-nilly systematically excluded from access to the common good. The tragedy is that no one takes responsibility for the situation, and there are no efforts to reverse the trend beyond the global political gimmicks and rhetoric. Spuriously, signing of the peace accord is not an uncommon phenomenon in the different political spaces as if a signature earns peace on a piece of paper. It will remain an exercise in futility to work for peace without a corresponding effort to transform the structures of exclusion into systems of inclusion.

Indeed, inclusion is a core human need and a key driver of social behaviors. Most communal and global conflicts are driven by the lack of inclusion and equality often masked by the more visible socio-economic factors. Inclusion is, therefore, an essential element of family, community, and national cohesion and peace. In the same vein, if we desire a peaceful Society; we must work for an inclusive society. The basic Christian answer to hate is not necessarily the much-talked-about commandment to love, but what must necessarily come before it to make the commandment of love bearable and comprehensible.

Before the commandment to love and fundamental to social inclusion is the personal awareness of our common and shared humanity. The root of the Christian love then is NOT the will to love, but the awareness that each person is already loved by God irrespective of one’s economic worth. Consequently, that awareness draws us to recognize in every other human being the same nature, the same needs, the same rights, and brokenness as we have in ourselves. The recognition is the bulwark against the ego-driven behaviors towards seeing others as if they are sub-humans or even dispensable goods.

Everything that is required to change in the people and their democratic structures so that every other man or woman or child can effectively access the common good with relative ease and lives in dignity is the hallmark of the inclusive Society.  Whether this formula is found satisfactory or not is debatable. However, we cannot live truly human lives ourselves if we consistently disregard the fundamental call to build an inclusive society. Christianity is not merely a doctrine or a system of beliefs; it is Christ living in us and uniting men and women to one another in His own life and unity. It is a force for positive change!

AEFJN considers the task of building a more Inclusive Society, with identifiable signposts and elements urgent. AEFJN and several other Catholic-inspired NGOs have been examining the subject of Inclusive Society and discerning the veritable pathways to its constitutive elements. The outcome of the discernment is the recent document of the Forum for Catholic-inspired NGOs titled TOWARDS AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY. The Forum extends her hand of fellowship to all people of goodwill to build an inclusive and just society; a prerequisite for a peaceful world. We see the creation of an inclusive society as a global imperative. Click here to access the FORUM document.

Chika Onyejiuwa

Document in PDF  Toward a More Inclusive Society