What is Advocacy and why are we called to do it?
- Advocacy: the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal
- Lobbying: to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body [to influence a cause or proposal]
- Public Policy: is an attempt by the government (or governing organization) to address a public issue.
- As a non profit organization, the Episcopal Church is prohibited from using federal funds for direct lobbying of legislators. We are also prohibited from in any way advocating for or against the election of any candidate to any office (local, state or federal). Most advocacy and education activities are legally distinct from lobbying, and therefore not restricted.
- Lobbying is a great privilege and responsibility for every American citizen.
In a democracy every citizen can contact legislators to express his or her opinions. Our constitution protects the freedom of speech of individuals and also the freedom of religion for people to worship and form churches or other religious communities. Our constitution protects the freedom of the church from government control or influence. People of faith can express their viewpoint freely. As part or our responsibility we can express our viewpoints from our faith perspective. To be Christian means that we want to work for a fair and just society and we are called to oppose injustices. Voting our conscience as individuals is part of our Christian responsibility to work for a just society. Often our faith impels us to speak out on matters most important to us. Lobbying allows us to express our views which arise from our faith and attempt to influence the votes on legislation. Individual members as well as Churches as organizations can take stands on issues that are important and arise from their beliefs.
To protect the separation of Church and state, the United States constitution prohibits a church or religious community from endorsing a candidate or party. Lobbying allows for us to influence issues without becoming partisan that is “endorsing political parties or candidates.” Of course as individuals we always have that right.
Bible Study of John 21:15-19
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
- What would Jesus mean in today’s world by the phrases “Feed my lambs,” “Take care of my sheep,” and, “Feed my sheep?”
- What do you think is meant that when you get older, “someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
- What is God calling us to do through Christ’s words?