As young adults, we often feel frustrated that we talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. This is one reason why I have enjoyed working this year for the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), in Washington, D.C. My stint at FCNL has been part of a partnership with the Community of Christ, Outreach International and FCNL. FCNL is a nonpartisan Quaker Lobby in the public interest and the oldest religious lobby on Capitol Hill. Their Quaker witness leads them to work on the environment, nuclear non-proliferation, peaceful prevention of deadly conflict, Native American affairs, immigration and federal budget priorities. My job is to learn what their experience has been and how we might adapt their approach to our own religious lives.
I’ve long thought that as a prophetic people with a special witness, we have an opportunity and obligation to work for peace and justice – to testify to those in power and to defend the poor, weak, vulnerable and suffering. Communicating the values that we have through our relationship with God can have a real impact on the lives of our children, elderly, the earth and our international neighbors.
In my time at FCNL, I’ve met a whole new demographic of people, who try to follow Christ’s example in every aspect of their lives, not just as Sunday Christians. I’ve been inspired by the power of their testimony and learned from their experiences. I’ve helped Outreach advocate for relief for our Haitian brothers and sisters in the U.S. Congress; I’ve helped the Community of Christ join with other faith groups to advocate for the poor through Bread for the World and advocate for nuclear disarmament. I’ve also had the opportunity to educate people around the country on the federal budget process and help people see that decisions are made by the people who show up. I believe it is important not to check out of the political process, but to become actively involved in the issues that matter most to you and to those we should protect.
We would not be alone, as a people of faith speaking out and lobbying those in power. Many faith groups are finding that God’s call for us as stewards of the earth makes them respond not just in their personal lives, but in their public and collective lives as well. Others feel called to speak out against war as the answer to foreign policy problems. FCNL is an affiliate of PeacePathways, the new organization bringing together peace and justice organizations who are associated with the Community of Christ. FCNL is also a friend of the Community of Christ, and I hope that this relationship is strengthened and sustained; that the Church can continue to learn and advocate
I have seen that the power and energy of young adults is immense—Let’s harness that power and use it to make a difference! I encourage you to visit the brand new FCNL website to see how you can get involved. Also, visit the FCNL intern blog, Of Peace and Politics to learn more about my experiences and the experiences of other FCNL program assistants.
We can make a difference if we Speak Truth to Power!
Rachel Cash is a joint Community of Christ/ FCNL intern who works with Jim Cason and Ruth Flower on federal budget priorities and military spending – the “Our Nations Checkbook” campaign. Rachel is from Independence, MO, and attended William Jewell College. While in school, she was involved in Amnesty International, American Humanics (an organization that did hands-on disaster relief in the Gulf), and worked as an intern in Kirtland, OH, Nauvoo, Il and Independence at Community of Christ Historic Sites..
Find her on Facebook.