Today, we present our ELCA Advocacy Update for the month of March. Please read below for important information on ELCA Advocacy efforts in Washington, across the country and throughout the world. To read the full version of the update and for more information on advocacy efforts from our Lutheran State Advocacy offices, visit our blog!
ELCA Advocacy, Washington D.C.
MARCH 21, PRAY. FAST. ACT: The March day to #PrayFastAct is Wednesday, March 21! This month we focus on international programs that support women and girls overseas. Although the U.S. government has historically been a leader in funding programs that address the needs of women and girls globally, there are indications that such initiatives are in danger of being significantly reduced or eliminated.
We are all one in Jesus Christ, and, therefore, must work to dismantle structures and norms that allow gender inequality to thrive. Studies show that when women and girls are meaningfully included in all aspects of decision-making, countries are more likely to be peaceful and prosper economically. Let us take action by asking Congress to protect programs that address the needs of women and girls around the world. ELCA Advocacy and The Episcopal Church will share resources and ways to take action later this month.
CLEAN-POWER PLAN REVISION: The ELCA submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on proposed state guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. This rule will be the replacement for the Clean Power Plan rule. We asked for a common-sense rule that is protective of the environment and considers the needs of those whose livelihoods depend on the electric generation sector. An EPA representative responded immediately to discuss ways for collaborating on environmental justice issues. ELCA Advocacy will continue to work toward developing plans around a celebration of Earth Day.
JOIN LUTHERANS AT ECUMENICAL ADVOCACY DAYS: Now is the time to register for the 2018 Ecumenical Advocacy Days! Ecumenical Advocacy Days, an annual weekend-long conference, will be April 20-23 in Washington, D.C. This year’s gathering theme, "A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People,” will offer ELCA leaders an opportunity to worship and learn together, while honing their advocacy and organizing skills. Lutheran participants will have opportunities to connect at an ELCA reception at the Saturday evening denominational time and at our ELCA Advocacy exhibit booth. You can register for Ecumenical Advocacy Days by clicking here. We hope to see you there!
DACA: In February, the Senate voted down multiple immigration bills that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for people without legal status who were brought to the U.S. as children, also known as Dreamers. No legislation was brought to the Senate or House floors before the March 5 deadline when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was slated to end. However, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision not to rule on a lower court’s decision, young people who have DACA status can continue to apply for renewal beyond the March 5 deadline.
GUN CONTROL POLICY: A number of gun control policies are being proposed from all corners in response to the deaths in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday. We continue to track these efforts and are working to advance ELCA support in both legislative and public opportunities as developments unfold. In response to the ELCA Synod Bishop’s Statement of Support for participation in the March on Our Lives, we will offer a gathering opportunity for Lutherans in advance of the Washington D.C. event on March 24th. Follow our social media for details.
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: The Department of Agriculture released a notice of proposed rule making that would affect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. We are soon releasing resources to support and engage Lutherans in the comment process (ends April 18) and to encourage Congress to mitigate any negative effects people in the program.
Lutheran Office for World Community
GLOBAL COMPACT ON MIGRATION: Formal negotiations finally got started last month toward a Global Compact on Migration to be adopted by year’s end. Additional rounds are scheduled to occur monthly from now through July. Statements by member states on a “zero draft” put forward by co-facilitators Mexico and Switzerland varied considerably from strong affirmations of the human rights of migrants to warnings that the text not impinge upon national sovereignty or set international standards for migrants’ identification and documentation. The draft sets forth 22 proposed objectives for safe, orderly and regular migration and an outline for implementation and follow-up.
WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK: The United Nations observed World Interfaith Harmony Week during the first week of February with midweek worship at the Church Center for the United Nations sponsored by the Committee of Religious NGOs of the United Nations.
Participants were welcomed by the Rev. Dionne Boissière, Tillman Chapel chaplain, and worship was moderated by Swami Parameshananda and Richard Jordan. Faith tradition representatives included the World Peace Prayer Society, the Holy See, Judaism, Won Buddhism, Shinto, Baha’i, the Episcopal Church, Aztec Conchera, Hinduism, Islam, Mennonites, and the Light of Awareness International Spiritual Family. A reflection was offered by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, high representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Music, dance and choral song from diverse traditions rounded out the afternoon.
Lutheran state advocacy efforts across the country
Find out all about the vast and incredibly important work and top priorities of Lutheran state advocacy networks across the country by visiting the ELCA Advocacy Blog.
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