Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, the director of the Washington D.C. office of Mennonite Central Committee, spoke extensively on MCC’s involvement with policy makers on both national and international levels at Our Community Place last Thursday. Our Community Place is a Christian community center in downtown Harrisonburg.
Schlabach opened highlighting the importance of community involvement over and above the urging by MCC and other non-profits. She emphasized that as few as six letters from constituents to a congressional representative have strong influence on the direction a policy maker will vote.
As the evening continued, Schlabach responded to a wide array of questions, though the conversation repeatedly returned to American relations in the Middle East.
One question focused on MCC’s position on the military use of drones: “Are you, as an organization, taking a stand against drone strikes and if not, can you?”
This question not only provided a spaceforMCCtodefinitivelydenounce militarized drone use but highlighted a lack of awareness of the political position of MCC within the community. MCC’s Washington Director also spoke about the need for prayer and responding politically to“what God lays on your heart.”
Sophomore Curtis Handy affirmed, “True prayer with these advocates gives me more hope.”
Schlabach encouraged Christians to engage in politics but was clear that churches as well as denominations should not directly mandate a particular viewpoint.
She defined MCC’s national focus as relating to immigration reform and addressing the problems of the U.S. criminal justice system.
While she spoke passionately about the need for reform in both arenas, she was clear to warn against bringing a “spirit of anger” or “demoralizing the other” into the argument.
MCC’s position, she suggested, was to represent the Christian position of MCC staff and the Mennonite denomination as a whole.
-Jacob Lester, Copy Editor
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