By Sarah Dreier, Legislative Representative for International Policy and Advocacy for the ELCA Washington Office and the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations
I’m the new Legislative Representative for International Policy and Advocacy for the ELCA Washington Office and the Episcopal Church (TEC) Office of Government Relations. This is the first joint, integrated position shared between our two churches and represents the innovative potential of the ELCA and TEC’s call to common communion.
Both my parents are ELCA clergy and they raised me to think critically about my faith. I have taken seriously Jesus’ revolutionary call, which is as radical today as ever, to look beyond divisions of class, race, nationality, and creed, and to celebrate diversity among God’s people. When I was old enough to vote, I noticed with dismay that religion was far too often misappropriated by those who had cast aside this theological message of inclusion and replaced it with a message of greed and exclusion.
I challenged this misappropriation of God’s global message in both academic and public policy circles. It motivated my study of philosophy and legal studies as an undergraduate at Northwestern University; international sociology of law at the University of the Basque Country and political science at the University of Washington at the graduate level. My research at the Center for American Progress’s Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative also influenced my passion.
I am thrilled to now be working to reclaim this inclusive message and infuse international development and U.S. foreign policy with God’s message of love.
With this message, I will be advocating to alleviate abject global poverty through the Millennium Development Goals. Specifically I’ll be urging Congress to address those vexing issues that plague the world’s most vulnerable: HIV/AIDS, food insecurity, humanitarian atrocities, unfair trade policies, and religious persecution.
I believe the work will be strengthened by our churches’ shared ecumenical voice. I pray it serves as a model of dialogue and faith-based partnership at a time when religious diversity too often becomes divisive.
Together, as we grapple with some of the world’s most challenging problems, we’ll educate our communities and advocate for those in most dire need around the world. Together, we’ll discern how we can heed Jesus’ radical call to look beyond state borders and religious identity by being the voice for the voiceless in our nation’s capital and in our own congregations.