Support Esther KoontzJonathan Brenneman is Partners in Peacemaking coordinator for Mennonite Church USA and gives invaluable support to MennoPIN. In a recent post on the MC USA website, Jonathan wrote:
“’I am a member of the Mennonite Church.’ This is how Kansas schoolteacher Esther Koontz opens her explanationon why she has been denied employment by the state. She is filing a law suit against the state of Kansas because a new Kansas law, HB 2351, demands that she sign an oath that she would not engage ‘in a boycott of Israel [or in territories controlled by Israel.]’
“Esther asserts that this infringes on her First Amendment rights. This case may have broad implications, as 22 states have similar laws.
“In her statement Esther explains that she began engaging in product boycotts after hearing from members of her congregation who went on a Mennonite Church USA ‘Come and See’ Learning Tour. And when the Delegate Assembly passed the Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine resolution in July, her decision was confirmed.”
MC USA Executive Director, Ervin Stutzman also explains: “We support Esther Koontz, a member of a Mennonite Church USA congregation, as she lives out her peace witness inspired by the church’s tradition and teaching. We support her courageous witness for peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis and oppose the state restricting her employment opportunities based solely on her sincere religious/political convictions.”
Esther Koontz is the latest in a long line of Mennonite peace witnesses. May we support her, as she bears the cost for such a witness.
MennoPIN invites members across MC USA to join in support for Esther by sending her letters of encouragement. We encourage you to offer you words encouragement to Esther at SupportEsther@MennoniteUSA.org.