Sample Letter on Trade
Click here to view a sample letter on trade justice.
11th Annual High School Essay Contest
The annual MCC Washington Office essay contest provides an opportunity for young people to reflect on public policy and Anabaptist faith. The contest is open to Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and other Anabaptist youth of high school age, and to all youth who attend Mennonite high schools.
The two suggested topics this past year were the international debt crisis and the housing crisis. The winning essay was submitted by Corine Alvarez. Excerpts from her essay follow. Carl Lehmann, a student at the Freeman Academy, Freeman, S.D., and Sara Klassen, a student at Bethany Christian High School, Goshen, Ind. both won honorable mention. Excerpts of their essays can be found at washingtonmemo.org.
“WWJDAIDC or What Would Jesus Do About the International Debt Crisis” by Corine Alvarez (Bethany Christian High School, Goshen, Indiana)
Throughout history, various global organizations and individuals have tried to help relieve ailing, indebted countries with little or no success. In 1982, the International Monetary Fund decided to help. They worked with the World Bank to reschedule the payments for the poverty-stricken countries with strict conditions, including compound interest. Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) were also implemented. However, these programs to retrieve the money from countries harmed more than they helped. SAPs increase exports and decrease imports. The poor are hit the hardest when less money is spent on education and health care, jobs are cut, prices of food increase, the national currency’s value decreases, and small farms are taken over to grow cash crops…
The Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation…is about the need for right relationships between people and among nations.…Loosely based on the biblical Year of Jubilee, or the Year of the Lord’s Favor, [it is] a holy year that comes every seven years in which all debts are cancelled amongst the people. In Deuteronomy 15:4, God states that there should be no poor (implying that the poor represent failures of the rich). Later, in verse 11, he acknowledges that there will always be poor and that they should be cared for generously. It comes as no surprise that the first thing Jesus preached in Luke 4:18 came from Isaiah 61:1-2 on justice. Luke 4:18 reads,
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
That Jesus made this his first speech is crucial and shows the importance God places on intentionally and diligently caring for the poor in every possible way. Jesus came to help the poor. As followers of Christ, it is our job to perform God’s desires by helping the oppressed. God wants shalom to be fully achieved on His earth – a peace with God, oneself, others, and creation.
Update on First 3 Sundays
Health Care Reform (July 19, 2009)
The first Sunday of the Abundant Life Campaign in July 2009 focused on health care reform, with the expectation that legislation would likely be passed by the end of the summer. Alas, things have not moved as quickly as we had hoped.
Letters and phone calls are needed now more then ever. Let Congress know you want them to take swift action to pass comprehensive health care reform. For weekly updates on reform efforts, visit our blog at washingtonmemo.org. For additional resources, including a link to recent action alerts, visit washington.mcc.org/life/health.
International Debt Relief (October 25, 2009)
In December the Jubilee Act was introduced in the House as a bipartisan bill (H.R. 4405). The bill would expand life-giving debt cancellation to 22 additional impoverished countries left out of previous debt relief deals and calls for an end to harmful economic conditions and an audit of past odious and illegitimate debts. Emails and phone calls in support of the legislation are needed.
U.S Housing Policy (January 31, 2010)
Funding for the National Housing Trust Fund passed through the House of Representatives as part of the Jobs for Main Street Act. As of this writing, however, it is not in the Senate jobs bill.
President Obama’s requested budget for 2011 included a proposed 3-year freeze on “non-security discretionary spending,” including the budget for housing assistance. Although many programs which focus on alleviating poverty were unaffected, the housing budget suffered from cuts to construction and rehabilitation for subsidized housing for the elderly and disabled. More information is available on our blog.
Let justice roll down: Trade for the common good
April 25, 2010
Join the MCC Washington Office this spring to pray, reflect, and act for economic justice for those affected by unfair trade policies. The suggested Sunday for action and reflection is April 25. Worship and advocacy resources are available at washington.mcc.org/life or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-544-6564.
Together we can be part of God’s vision of abundant life for all.