(Mennonite Church USA) — “A Public Call to Protect All People,” issued by more than 50 Christian leaders from across the United States, notes concern with the “threatening” tone of recent political rhetoric and calls on congregations and other groups to deepen their engagement in the economic, social and political health of their local communities.
“The recent election exposed many injustices and divisions in our nation,” said Jason Boone, coordinating minister of Mennonite Church USA’s Peace and Justice Support Network. “It’s a time of anxiety and uncertainty for many, but it’s also an opportunity for followers of Jesus to refocus on living out the love and peacemaking he taught and modeled. Adopting the ‘Public Call to Protect all People’ is a great way of doing just that.”
The document specifically calls congregations to forge new partnerships and to make public commitments that “protect and support all people,” including those who are “targeted, discriminated against or singled out”; to support “practices of diplomacy and negotiation” in US foreign policy; to support sustainable economic policies that take into account issues related to climate change; and to seek “new relationships of solidarity” that reach across various lines and divisions.
John K. Stoner, founder of Every Church a Peace Church and the lead organizer of the call, said in a release: “The gospel of Jesus Christ has always been intensely political without ever being narrowly partisan. This document is rooted in that gospel and reflects the same spirit. It asks congregations to join together locally and put themselves on the line for the vulnerable, for a foreign policy seeking peace, for a just economic order.”
In addition to Stoner, Mennonites Tony Brown, founder of the Peacing It Together Foundation, and Berry Friesen, co-author of If Not Empire, What? A Survey of the Bible, served on the Originating Committee. Among the signers—who include denominational leaders, pastors, community activists, scholars and leaders of para-church organizations—are Ted Grimsrud, senior professor of peace theology at Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Virginia); Hyun Hur and Sue Park-Hur, co-founders and directors of ReconciliAsian (Pasadena, Calif.); John Paul Lederach, professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute (South Bend, Indiana); Gilberto Perez Jr., senior director of intercultural development and educational partnerships at Goshen (Indiana) College; Elizabeth Soto, professor of practice and coordinator of field education at Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Theological Seminary; and Carol Wise, executive director of the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests.
The call includes an implementation guide with various resources for congregations and others. It is available through PJSN, at www.pjsn.org.
# # #