Successes Build Infinite Hope
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This list of successes was updated in November 2013. Get a printable version
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This summer, U.S. military action against Syria seemed imminent. By early fall, the U.S. negotiated a diplomatic solution to remove Syria’s chemical weapons. FCNL was a critical voice in opposing war and offering nonviolent alternatives.
In September, for the first time in nearly three decades, the presidents of Iran and the United States spoke by telephone. FCNL’s persistent and strategic lobbying on Capitol Hill has helped keep the door open for diplomacy even in the face of repeated congressional efforts to punish and isolate Iran, tactics that make the risk of military action more likely.
Members of an Ohio Lions Club, a retired Pentagon contractor in Washington state, a local elected official in Michigan and a retired state education director in Virginia are just a few of the grassroots activists FCNL has mobilized recently. They are lobbying with us for programs that support people in their path out of poverty and for real cuts to the Pentagon budget.
On Capitol Hill, FCNL continues to lead efforts to cut funding for new nuclear weapons, most recently focusing on funding for the B-61 bomb refurbishment. This work, along with that of our colleagues in the arms control community, helped persuade the Obama administration to move ahead in June with plans to cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal by one-third.
Through opinion articles published by FCNL’s foreign policy director Michael Shank and other staff in USA Today, The Guardian, US News & World Report and more than a dozen other news outlets, FCNL has shaped the public narrative on a variety of foreign policy issues.
This June, 305 representatives in the House voted for legislation requiring all U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Representatives also called for a transition of governance responsibility to Afghans by December 2013—a full year ahead of schedule.
The Prevention and Protection Working Group coordinated by FCNL works to strengthen and hold accountable the Atrocities Prevention Board, the high-level interagency board created by President Obama in 2012 to prevent genocide and mass atrocities
In advance of the 2013 Kenyan elections, Quakers and other communities of faith helped create structures to prevent and mitigate violence. FCNL is now helping others learn from this experience. In an FCNL-sponsored forum in Burundi this fall, peacemakers from Burundi, Liberia and Nigeria met with Kenyans to share their experiences and learn from each other.
For the last year, FCNL has brought together Catholic, Jewish and Evangelical leaders to collaborate in their advocacy and has sponsored briefings for lawmakers. These efforts helped build support for the bipartisan energy efficiency legislation introduced by Rob Portman (OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and have created new conversations between unlikely allies.
FCNL is working with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition to ensure that reform provides a path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants already here and helps keeps families together. We were disappointed by the punitive enforcement measures included in the Senate’s immigration legislation but will continue to work for legislation in the House that could be the basis for real reforms becoming law.
We continue to keep the Washington offices of national faith groups informed of actions they can take on issues affecting Native Americans, most recently holding briefings on Indian health and the dark history of the role of churches in Indian boarding schools. FCNL is also one of the few groups in Washington highlighting and working to reverse the negative impact of budget cuts on the first Americans.