Annotated Bibliography on Mennonites and Politics in Paraguay

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Electronic Resources

Annotated Bibliography

  • Bender, Harold S. "Church and State in Mennonite History." Mennonite Quarterly Review 13, no. 2 (April 1939): 83-103.
In this article Bender reviews the history of Mennonite relationships with the state. He covers early Anabaptist history in Europe and goes on to discuss Mennonite relationships with the State in Russia, North America, and Paraguay. While the scope of this article deals with more than just Paraguay, it helpfully places Paraguayan Mennonite experiences with the state in a larger Mennonite historical context.
  • Bergen, Ernst. Jumping into Empty Space: A Reluctant Mennonite Businessman Serves in Paraguay’s Presidential Cabinet. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2008.
In Jumping into Empty Space Bergen recounts his experiences as Minister of Industry and Commerce and Minister of Finance in Niconar Duarte Frutos' Government from 2003-2007. Bergen grew up in the Mennonite Fernheim Colony in the Paraguayan Chaco. He studied in Asunción, ran several successful businesses before accepting positions in Frutos' government. Throughout Jumping into Empty Space Bergen reflects on what it means to be a Mennonite who holds political office.
  • "Contemporary Counsel on Mennonite Engagement with the State," Mennonite Quarterly Review 80 (July 2006), 454-464.
In the July 2006 the Mennonite Quarterly Review published several Paraguayan Mennonite statements on Mennonite relationships with the state. Contained in the article are sections entitled: "Anabaptist Advocacy," "Suggested Guidelines for Political Thought and Action," and "Guidelines of the Union of M.B. Churches of Paraguay Concerning Political Involvement."
  • Cristiano y Política en Paraguay, compiled by Alfred Neufeld. (Electronic Resource, Mennonite Historical Library)
This is a collection of several essays discussing the interaction between Christianity, especially the Mennonite Church, and politics in Paraguay. A CD with electronic copies of each document is on hand in the MHL.
  • Kroeker, Wally. "Cleaning up Their Act." The Marketplace (September and October 2004): 4-8.
This article in the Mennonite Economic Development Agency's (MEDA) bi-monthly magazine, The Marketplace, describes Niconar Duarte Frutos' pledge to clean up government corruption when he became president in 2003. As part of his attempt, Duarte Frutos named four Mennonites to senior government positions because Mennonites were known for honesty. Kroeker briefly discusses three of the Mennonites (all three members of MEDA Paraguay) who were appointed to government posts: Carlos Walde, Andreas Neufeld, and Ernst Bergen.
Martens describes the discussion about religion and politics at a an annual Paraguayan German-speaking Mennonite Brethren Conference. Martens also focuses on the life and political career of Heinz Ratzlaff, the first evangelical and the first Mennonite to be elected to the national House of Representatives (1993-1998).
This Mennonite World Conference press release depicts Maria Gloria Penayo de Duarte Frutos' (the Paraguayan First Lady from 2003-2008) and her family's relationship with the Mennonite Brethren Church.
  • Neufeld, Alfred. "Letter to Friends." 2 May 2008. In possession of John D. Roth, Goshen College.
In this letter Neufeld discusses the outcome, its possible ramifications, and the implications for the Mennonite Church in Paraguay.
  • "Paraguay Mennonites: Immigrants, Citizens, Hosts." MCC Peace Office Newsletter 39, no. 1 (January-March 2009).
The MCC Peace Office January-March 2009 Newsletter offers a concise introduction to Mennonites in Paraguay. Among other subjects the newsletter includes a letter from Paraguayan Mennonite theologian, Alfred Neufeld discussing Paraguayan Mennonites' experience with the 2008 Paraguayan national election and a book review of Jumping into Empty Space: A Reluctant Mennonite Businessman Serves in Paraguay’s Presidential Cabinet.
This news releases describes an article in one of Paraguay's leading daily newspapers, Ultima Hora, that noted that President Niconar Duarte Frutos, because of his relationship to the Mennonite Brethren Church, was reluctant to comply with the United States' request that Paraguay send soldiers to Iraq.
  • Redekop, Calvin. "Religion and Society: A State within a Church." Mennonite Quarterly Review. 48, October 1973, no. 4, 339-357.
In this essay Redekop discusses the relationship between religion and politics that exists in Mennonite colonies in the Paraguayan Chaco. Despite the fact that many of these colonies came from a separatist tradition, their autonomy forces them to be engaged in some form of politics since the colonies relate directly to the central government and are responsible for, law enforcement, tax collection, and social services, among other things. Ultimately, Redekop argues that separatist colonies import a sociopolitical system and are no better equipped to solve the tension between religion and politics than an integrationist group.
  • Wall, Victor. "Mennonites and Politics in Paraguay." California Mennonite Historical Society Bulletin no. 41 (Fall 2004): 1-6.

__________ . "Mennonites and Politics in Paraguay." California Mennonite Historical Society Bulletin no. 42 (Spring 2005): 1-5.

In an article, published in two issues of the California Mennonite Historical Society Bulletin, Victor Wall, founding pastor of Raíces MB Church (Spanish) in Asunción, gives a broad historical survey of Paraguayan Mennonite relationships with the Paraguayan state, from the 1921 privilegium that allowed Mennonites religious autonomy and Mennonite relationships to the authoritarian rule during Stroessner's regime to democratic participation in the post-Stroessner era and occupying senior government posts under Niconar Duarte Frutos.
Wood describes several problems arising from Mennonite involvement in politics. Several Mennonites were involved government corruption, and the Raíces church in Asunción became increasingly embarrased by its relationship to president Niconar Duarte Frutos after he abused his presidential power.

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