Wider View Archive

A look at military, national and public service

January 3, 2020 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

In 2016 members of the House and Senate could not agree whether women should be required to register with Selective Service, the apparatus to mobilize a military draft. Though the military opened combat roles to women in 2013, only men are required to register when they turn 18. Congress formed the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service to study the issue, as well as ways to increase participation in service overall. The commission’s work is of keen interest to Anabaptist groups, who strongly value voluntary service and who oppose serving in the military. In January 2019 the commission […]

The next chapter in the Christmas story

December 20, 2019 Tammy Alexander

During this time of Advent, as millions of refugees face an uncertain future and thousands of asylum seekers wait to enter the United States, some communities are reaffirming their commitment to helping newcomers find safe homes. On December 9, a Burleigh County Council hearing in North Dakota was standing room only as hundreds voiced their support for welcoming refugees. The council, which had been expected to vote against resettling any refugees next year, ultimately voted 3-2 in favor. The county of 95,000 people welcomed 24 refugees last year. A new Trump administration policy is requiring states and localities to opt-in […]

In Nigeria, preventing radicalization through rebuilding lives

December 6, 2019 Charles Kwuelum

Several years ago, Emmanuel Sawa, then a high school student in the Plateau State of Nigeria, dropped out of school when violence caused his parents to lose their livelihood and become displaced along with many others in their community. Sawa, like many other young adults who either grew up in Plateau State or moved there to escape violence in other parts of the country, became addicted to drugs and was at risk of becoming radicalized. Years of brutal localized conflicts and intense violence have displaced more than 2 million people and destroyed livelihoods. The humanitarian crisis is primarily a result […]

Seeking relief

November 22, 2019 Thirdway

Written by Estefania Martinez, International fellow, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office In Luke 5, a man with leprosy approaches Jesus and, with his face to the ground, he begs to be healed, pleading, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean” (Luke 5:12). To put the story in context, Mosaic law required people sick with leprosy to rip their clothes, live away from the city and shout: “Unclean! Unclean!” to any passersby (Leviticus 13:45-46). Contrary to what the law required of him, this man approached Jesus. Some of the people with Jesus that day were likely offended because […]

An education for all

Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, is quoted as saying, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” Congress continues to discuss the possibility of passing the Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act, which would provide access to Pell Grants for incarcerated students, as a part of the Higher Education Act. Education improves the lives of people who are incarcerated by reducing the recidivism rate among returning citizens, providing them with social capital and increasing employment opportunities when they return to their communities. Some lawmakers […]

Iraq: Rebuilding what is broken

October 25, 2019 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

Over the past several weeks, Iraqis have been protesting in the streets. More than 100 people have been killed and more than 6,000 wounded. The protesters’ demands are basic: They want jobs, improved services such as education, water and electricity, and an end to corruption. There are many reasons why these conditions are lacking in Iraq. But the role of the U.S. cannot be ignored. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent military occupation led to the dismantling of much of Iraqi society. U.S. military actions stirred up tensions between ethnic and religious groups. Infrastructure was destroyed. Government […]

Gun violence: Loving our neighbors so they may flourish

So far this year the House of Representatives has made various efforts and held numerous hearings to address the United States’ unique gun violence problem. The House Judiciary Committee recently advanced three gun violence prevention bills that would outlaw large capacity ammunition magazines, provide funding to states to enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) and bar individuals convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from owning a weapon. These bills will now be voted on by the entire House of Representatives, which approved a bill in February that would expand background checks. Conversations in the Senate are ongoing. Often lost in […]

No safety here

September 20, 2019 Tammy Alexander

  On July 16, the Trump administration released a new regulation requiring asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border to have requested asylum, and been denied, in at least one country they traveled through before asking for asylum in the U.S. (The rule does not apply to Mexican asylum seekers who do not need to travel through a third country to get to the U.S.) The new rule was immediately challenged in federal court and temporarily halted. However, on September 11, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the regulation to go into effect while lawsuits in lower courts continue. Lee Gelernt, […]

A migrant’s journey starts in Central America: U.S. immigration policy should too

September 6, 2019 Kate Parsons

  When people hear “immigration policy,” many think immediately about border security, detention and asylum. While it is crucial to advocate in these areas – supporting asylum seekers, protecting children and keeping families together – we shouldn’t forget that people’s migration stories start long before their arrival in the United States. Most immigrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border today are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, a region sometimes referred to as the “Northern Triangle.” These countries are among the most violent in the world, with high levels of poverty, inequality and government corruption.   El Salvador Guatemala Honduras United […]

The urgency before us: A call for collaborative effort towards DR Congo

August 16, 2019 Charles Kwuelum

Charline Kavugho shared the news that she and her two-year-old son, Jonathan, had been declared free of the Ebola virus, 17 days after her husband Gerome Kanyitondi died of an Ebola infection. Kanyitondi had been a pastor for the Community of Baptist Churches in Central Africa (CBCA). Kavugho was sharing her testimony with the Church of Christ of Congo’s Ministry of Refugees and Emergencies (ECC MERU), a partner organization of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). She had been willing to undergo an infection prevention and control process, at a time when many in the community are distrustful of health care personnel. […]