LWF and ecumenical partners launch Zacchaeus campaign for tax justice

"Taxation and Reparation. Tools for promoting equity, climate justice & an economy of life. A side event at the UN High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs." Photo: ELCA/Rebecca Anderson
"Taxation and Reparation. Tools for promoting equity, climate justice & an economy of life. A side event at the UN High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs." Photo: ELCA/Rebecca Anderson

Educating churches locally and advocating for justice and reparations at the highest level

(LWI) - A new, ecumenical campaign advocating for tax justice was launched on 11 July at the United Nations in New York City. The “Zacchaeus Project” is a part of the New International Financial and Economic Architecture initiative (NIFEA), a joint effort by the Council for World Mission, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the World Council of Churches.

“Our faith compels us towards a just world,” said Philip Vinod Peacock, WCRC executive secretary for witness and justice, “and one way of attaining it is through a system of just taxation that is directed towards the needs of the poor and dispossessed and not towards the wants of a few.”

The project calls for a global tax and economic system that acts like Zacchaeus, the tax collector who repented of his wicked ways, which delivers equity and makes reparation for exploitation and injustice (Luke 19).

Zacchaeus’ changed ways are signs of the changes needed to our systems so that through the fruit of our work and wealth the poor are lifted up and those who have been exploited are recompensed.
Zacchaeus Project concept note

“Zacchaeus’ changed ways are signs of the changes needed to our systems so that through the fruit of our work and wealth the poor are lifted up and those who have been exploited are recompensed. Taxation is an important tool for sharing wealth equitably within and across countries as well as for holding corporations and citizens accountable for their responsibility towards upholding the common good, including care for the global ecological commons,” states the concept note for the project. 

The campaign advocates for tax justice, addressing social and ecological debts, including reparations for colonialism and slavery, at local, national and global levels. The campaign serves both to educate churches about the issues involved while advocating for tax justice and reparations at the highest level.

The specific calls of the Zacchaeus Tax Campaign include:

  • Calling for the enactment of progressive wealth taxes at global and national levels to curb the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of an increasingly powerful few, hand-in-hand with increased public spending to stamp out poverty.
  • Demanding a stop to tax evasion and avoidance by multinational corporations and affluent individuals.
  • Urgently calling for progressive carbon and pollution taxes at different levels to protect our only planetary home.
  • Calling for the immediate implementation of a financial transaction tax on trade in equities, bonds, currencies and derivatives to curb harmful speculative activities.

Learn more about the Zacchaeus Project (on WCRC website)

The Zacchaeus Project is funded in part by Otto per Mille, through its support of NIFEA.