ELCA Advocacy, Washington D.C.
RESPONDING TO GUN VIOLENCE AND HATE: Our nation is in mourning this week following the tragic deaths of 11 worshipers and the wounding of law enforcement and others at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. This act was quickly identified as a hate crime, committed by a gunman espousing anti-Semitic vitriol and carrying an AR-15 and other weapons intending to take the lives of people because of their Jewish faith. The same weekend, two African American shoppers were gunned down by a white man in Kentucky, an act also being investigated as a hate crime. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we cannot become numb to mass shooting tragedies. We are called as God’s own people to promote peace and the dignity of persons all by engaging in prayer, addressing community violence, and vigorously opposing anti-Semitism, white supremacy and all form of hate through our words and deeds. Lutheran bishops in Pennsylvania joined in a shared statement in response to this tragedy. As Pennsylvania Lutherans reflect on recent events, read more about actions taken by ELCA bishops and faith leaders in the full state update.
And, when Congress returns to work following the November elections, it is also imperative that we address the gun violence in our nation. An Advocacy Alert facilitating your faithful action is available at http://elca.org/advocacy/actioncenter.
2018 NOVEMBER ELECTION UPDATE: Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, and it is a critical time to get out and vote! Voting is a first step toward faithful civic participation – a deliberate process of naming our faith values, then acting on them through our vote. Be sure to visit elca.org/votes and the ELCA Facebook page for more resources, Bible studies, shareable graphics and tools in the lead up to Election Day.INDEFINITE CHILD DETENTION, FLORES: On Sept. 7, the administration proposed a regulation change that will undermine existing child protection standards for immigrant children and the standards set by the courts in the 1997 Flores Agreement. While the agreement outlines that children are not safe in detention facilities and should not be detained for longer than 20 days, the proposed regulation allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep children in detention indefinitely, despite the psychological and physical toll. ELCA Advocacy shared an action alert in October, encouraging advocates to submit comments and share their perspectives on the rule. The current deadline for submitting comments is Nov. 6.
GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY ACT, SIGNED BY PRESIDENT: Earlier last month, the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act unanimously passed in both the House and Senate. Its passage extends congressional authorization for Feed the Future, a U.S. government initiative charged with combating chronic hunger and food insecurity around the world.
Globally, 815 million people suffer from chronic hunger; the majority of whom are women. Approximately 45 percent of deaths of children under the age of 5 are caused by malnutrition. Through initiatives like Feed the Future, participating countries have been able to increase agricultural and nutritional investments. As a result, farmers can feed their families and communities and contribute to their countries’ economic growth. ELCA Advocacy sent a message to advocates who took action on the bill, celebrating the extension following its passage in October.
IPCC UPDATE: The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the international scientific body that assesses the science related to climate change, issued its 2018 report titled “Global Warming of 1.5°C.” The report expressed the urgency of needing to take rapid strategic action over the next decade to limit global warming to 1.5ºC to avoid the risks associated with long-lasting or irreversible change.
ELCA Advocacy will be publishing a blog later in November focusing on Lutheran teachings on good stewardship and how to take action through advocacy. The blog also illustrates the links between the consequences of climate change with other issues such as forced migration, famine, food insecurity and more. This summer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was officially accredited by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Observation Liaison Unit, and will be attending the next UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) with several young adult leaders.
Lutheran Office for World Community
WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY WEEK: Different side events took place Oct. 21-25 on the sidelines of the annual Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. The events emphasized the vital role of women in preventing conflict and helping to forge peace. Despite that, women are far too often prevented from participating fully in peacemaking processes. Between 1990 and 2017, women constituted only 2 percent of mediators, 8 percent of negotiators, and 5 percent of witnesses and signatories in all major peace processes.
In 2020 the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 of the Security Council will be celebrated. The resolution highlights the nexus between long-lasting peace agreements and the participation of women in peace negotiations.
HOUSTON CONFERENCE AFFIRMS AN INCLUSIVE JERUSALEM: A conference on “Jerusalem: What Makes for Peace?” organized by Bright Starts of Bethlehem was held in Houston on Oct. 11. Different panels emphasized the realities of Jerusalem today; the importance of inclusive religious discourse involving Jews, Muslims and Christians; how to achieve a balanced U.S. policy on Jerusalem under the Trump administration; and the need for urgent action. The Rev. Dr. Mae Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) emphasized six tasks: 1) pray for the peace of Jerusalem; 2) heed the cry of the church in Jerusalem that is Palestinian; 3) repent and lament; 4) be prophets; 5) be pragmatic and strategic; and 6) be willing to not give up hope. A concluding statement by the four sponsoring organizations – Bright Stars, the National Council of Churches, CMEP and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference – included a nine-point call to action.