Founded as the United Council of Church Women in December 1941, Church Women United (CWU) describes itself as “a racially, culturally, theologically inclusive Christian women’s movement, celebrating unity in diversity and working for a world of peace and justice.” Composed of women from over two-dozen Christian denominations, CWU is organized into more than 1,200 local and state units in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The organization professes to be “impassioned by the Holy Spirit to act on behalf of women and children throughout the world,” and is recognized as a non-governmental organization by the United Nations.
One of CWU’s founders in 1941 was Ruth Stafford Peale, wife of the famed preacher Norman Vincent Peale. In its early years, CWU circulated a petition signed by 84,000 church women “urging the United States at the signing of the United Nations Charter, to join and take its full responsibility in a world organization.” That petition received considerable media publicity at the time, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt later involved CWU in a White House conference titled “How Women May Share in Post-War Policy Making.”
CWU’s top priorities today include the following:
* Environmental Care: Reasoning from the premise that human industrial activity is the cause of dangerous global warming, CWU promotes policies that “address effectively the intensifying global crisis of climate change.”
* Health: Viewing health insurance as a human right which the government must guarantee for every American, CWU lobbies legislators to “assure comprehensive health coverage for all children and adults.”
* Peace: Viewing the United States in particular as a racist, violent, militaristic nation that tramples on the human rights of populations abroad, CWU supports programs and policies that “reduce gun violence and violence in all forms”; “reduce the existence of nuclear arms and reverse the expansion of small and intermediate weapons worldwide”; and “increase respect for international humanitarian laws and, in non-military ways, diminish the threats of terrorism.”
* Economic Justice: CWU promotes policies that “assure living wages and equitable market conditions in an increasing[ly] globalized marketplace,” and aim to “end extreme poverty by 2015 in the United States and worldwide” via the United Nations Millennium Project. The latter is a massive redistributive scheme calling for the governments of wealthy countries to commit a portion of their Gross National Products to “the economic development and welfare of developing countries.”
* Children: By CWU’s reckoning, children are entitled to have the government guarantee their rights to “an adequate standard of living,” “health care,” and “free education.”
* Women: In 2011, CWU collaborated with the National Council of Churches to organize a delegation to attend the United Nations’ 55th Commission on the Status of Women, which emphasized women’s access to “education, training,… and decent work.”
* Lobbying and Advocacy: CWU’s Legislative Office in Washington, DC is a self-described “research, advocacy and Christian witness” resource promoting public policies that will help to bring about “a society free of violence,… economic justice for all, universal health care, civil rights, arms control, peace in the world, and the enabling of a strong United Nations.” Moreover, the Legislative Office trains “women of faith” to become “informed advocates for change”; participates in lobbying events on Capitol Hill; and advocates directly to the U.S. Congress and the Presidential Administration via letter-writing campaigns, meetings with congressional and White House staff, and testimony before congressional committees.
CWU identifies the Children’s Defense Fund, the National Council of Churches, UNICEF, and the United Nations as four of its major partner organizations. For a complete list of CWU’s partners, click here.
For additional information on CWU, click here.