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Solidarity with workers in Iceland

In a letter to the Bishop of Iceland, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed the solidarity of the ecumenical fellowship with Iceland protests against taxation that serves the already affluent.

14 April 2016

Letter to the Rt Rev. Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir
Bishop of Iceland
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland

Dear Bishop,

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On behalf of the World Council of Churches and its fellowship of Christian churches around the world, I would like to express our solidarity with the people of Iceland, who gathered in the streets this past week to protest taxation that primarily serves the already affluent and powerful. We stand with you in your quest for social and economic justice.

The Bible teaches us that taking more than one’s fair share is stealing from others (Isaiah 3:14). Yet some tax structures allow multinational corporations and the wealthy to conceal their riches and shirk their duty of paying taxes. Poor countries are hurt the most, losing as much as USD $160 billion a year due to tax dodging, according to estimates from Christian Aid. In a cycle of economic injustice, the underprivileged cannot access essential services.

Last year, the WCC, as part of a broad consortium of faith-based and civil society organizations, helped to establish the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT). Comprised of economists as well as political and religious leaders, the ICRICT is proposing solutions that will make global tax systems work for the common good as well as promote equity and social justice.

I would like to commend the people - and churches - in Iceland who are demanding trustworthiness, transparency, and accountability in government and who are reminding government leaders that they should always bear in mind the interests of people who struggle to make a living for themselves and their families. You speak for people everywhere who deamn accountability of their leaders and their governments. Thank you for showing that there is tremendous power in peaceful demonstration, and that change is possible when we act together for a better world.

I pray that the churches in Iceland will continue to deepen their witness for economic justice and that the people of Iceland may continue to pursue meaningful transformation in their economic and political systems in the coming months and years.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit