Advocacy – it’s all about people and creation, not political parties
More than 420,000 members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America reside in Wisconsin and reflect a wide spectrum of political beliefs. How can we do advocacy work as a church body within our state when we have such diverse views? For that matter, how can we as a 4.2 million-member national church advocate for federal public policies? The question of how to be a public church with a relevant voice while embracing diverse opinions is one that calls us to struggle and discern in prayer and dialogue. In all of our discernment, with God at our center, we ask how we can best work with and on behalf of people whose needs are often overlooked and advocate for God’s creation.
Former Director of Advocacy Ministries Kay Dowhower writes, “The affirmation of God’s grace in Christian ministry of caring motivates public policy advocates. Caring for people regardless of society’s judgment of their worthiness is at the core of advocacy for justice, peace, and the care of creation. In understanding the government as one of the ways in which God’s great world is cared for, an “advocates ideology” is one that seeks policies that care for people in their needs without their having to prove their worthiness.” (Advocacy Ideology)
Freed by God’s grace we respond to more than a few isolated passages in scripture that mention people who are disenfranchised and the command to love others, but consistent themes about loving our neighbor and challenges to the blind spots we all at times have in understanding who exactly our neighbor is. With our eyes on the people and environment impacted by public policies rather than a tie to any political party we look for the potential in engaging with government officials with varied political leanings. We also hold those officials in our prayers.
With you I pray for guidance in all our of work with great hope through Jesus Christ.
Blessings to you in your advocacy journey,