• Gustavo Driau

A country with more justice, more inclusive, and respectful of all human dignities.

The Chilean society is in the process of participatory democratic deliberation aimed at elaborating and approving a new national constitution.-

The constitutional process in Chile responds constructively to the social demands expressed since October 2019 and others before. The change of the Constitution is a demand that arose in 1980 when the military dictatorship imposed the current Constitution; the ongoing process is very innovative and an important reference at regional and global levels.

Another antecedent has been the crisis of the political system in the last decades, which produced low legitimacy of the main political institutions, low electoral participation, and a growing discredit of political, business, and social leaders.

In this context, Chile has decided on a path of democratic strengthening through a model of deliberative democracy based on citizen participation mechanisms.

Citizen participation is the intervention of civil society in the public sphere, not only through electoral processes but also through protagonist participation, control, and moderation of the power granted to elected representatives.

The new Constitution is the opportunity to incorporate the rights of equality and gender justice, the rights of indigenous nations, and the defense of the environment, defining a new framework of democratic coexistence in response to the challenges of the 21st century, which is a longing of several generations.

Within this framework, religious entities are participating in the constituent process and have pronounced themselves requesting that the Constitution ensures freedom of conscience and religion to all people. Religious freedom includes the free exercise, freedom to profess, preserve and change religion or beliefs, and the right to associate and proclaim and disseminate beliefs, both public and private.

In addition to interreligious and interfaith participation, the Evangelical Church in Chile-IELCH- contributes to the constitutional process by generating channels of dialogue in local communities and at the national level. In this sense, the IELCH, through Bishop Izani Bruch, has published institutional letters to the Constituent Convention and the new President-Elect Gabriel Boric.

The participation of the IELCH also reaches different areas of church life. The annual youth meeting was held at IELMA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Magallanes, in Punta Arenas) from January 6 to 10; the young Lutherans dialogued in a panel called "Constituent Dialogues," with conventional representing the Magellanic region.

Young people have driven the processes of change in Chile; they have raised their voices demanding a more democratic, inclusive, gender-just society, environmentally sustainable society, greater access to health and education, and recognition and participation of the native nations.

IELCH is grounded in the Lutheran perspective: we are sent to serve and love our neighbor by being liberated in Christ. Being justified by grace, God calls us to restore and reconcile the world, affirming that governments can help promote the common good.

The IELCH seeks the common good by influencing to change public policies based on the experience of the ministries, programs, and projects of the Lutheran Church in Chile and the worldwide Lutheran communion. IELCH's democratic dialogue and public advocacy are grounded in biblical values, in favor of peacebuilding, hospitality to migrants, care for creation and concern for people living in poverty and struggling with hunger and disease, and gender, ethnic and racial justice.

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