• We Declare Revolutionary Love as the Call of Our Times
    We, people of faith and moral conscience, reclaim Valentine's Day as a Day of Revolutionary Love, Day of Rising. We resist all executive orders and policies that put people in harm’s way. We commit to fight for social justice through the ethic of love -- love for others, our opponents, and ourselves. On Valentine's Day, we will rise up across the U.S. and around the world in music, poetry, dance and action to declare that #RevolutionaryLove is the call of our times.
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  • We Support Civil Disobedience as #MoralResistance.
    The President has directed our government to construct a wall on our southern border, punish sanctuary cities, facilitate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and construct a pipeline despite the protests of indigenous people. He has made statements to roll back voting rights and police brutality protections. Most recently, he closed our borders to refugees for 120 days and has banned all immigrants from select Muslim-majority countries for a period of time -- a de facto Muslim ban. Altogether, these policies target people for who they are, not anything they have done. The danger of this presidency is no longer hypothetical -- it is happening now. In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. King wrote that all nonviolent campaigns have four steps: collecting evidence of injustice, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action. The President's executive orders confirm evidence of injustice. Faith leaders have continued to ask for a meeting with no response. Many of us have fasted, prayed, or meditated in self-purification. (You can take this 6-hour meditation with Repairers of the Breach on how to prepare for moral resistance: http://www.breachrepairers.org/moralresistance). We are now ready. People of faith and moral conscience around the nation are preparing for direct actions to protest the laws and policies of this administration. We pledge to support nonviolent civil disobedience as a form of #MoralResistance. We will learn about the moral framework for civil disobedience and choose a role for ourselves, whether as protesters, medics, legal observers, witnesses, or care providers. We will train in civil disobedience as practiced and perfected by thousands before us. And we will show up in the time, place, and manner we are needed. Nonviolent civil disobedience is grounded in the ethic of love – for others, opponents, and ourselves. When people use civil disobedience to protest not just a single policy but widespread injustice, then this act of love becomes revolutionary. It can change a community, a culture, even a country. #RevolutionaryLove is the call of our times. We pledge to answer the call together.
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  • Dear Mr. Trump: Will You Advance a Moral Agenda?
    Pursuing a more perfect union is serious work for any human being. We want to pray for you because we know this is an especially difficult task today. In the prophetic tradition, we want to exhort and challenge you because you cannot do this work alone. Our sacred text honored by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike declares we must do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. America’s Constitution begins “We the people…” because it points toward a form of government that requires a broad and engaged coalition of citizens in order to thrive. We want to pray and point towards these essential goals. Mr. Trump, we hope it is your desire to be successful. Success is measured by how we welcome the stranger, care for the sick, care for the poor, and care for the hungry in practice and in policy. In order to be successful in the eyesight of God, leaders must repent when they are wrong, and they must be committed to promote that which is rooted in justice and good will. As clergy dedicated to the care of souls, we know you can neither succeed in a way that pleases God nor fulfill the duties of your office unless you repent. All of us, even persons who hold powerful positions, are called to repent when we violate the deep principles of love, justice, and mercy towards all, especially the least of these. Since your election, our communities have been fractured by harassment and intimidation. People of color and religious minorities are afraid. Poor working people who you appealed to in your campaign are disappointed that you have attacked their union leaders while appointing Wall Street elites who use them to your Cabinet. We are deeply concerned by the policy vision that your Cabinet selections suggest. After inviting Steve Bannon’s white nationalism into the Oval Office, you nominated Jeff Sessions to head the Justice Department—a man who did not receive Senate approval for a federal judgeship in 1986 because of his long history of racial discrimination in Alabama. If he maintains his past positions on civil rights and voting rights, he could overturn and undermine years of victories and protections secured and signed in the blood of the martyrs. Equally insulting to African-Americans is your nomination of Ben Carson, a black man with no experience in government or housing, to head HUD. But race can never be separated from class in America. We are equally concerned about Andy Puzder’s resistance to the movement for a living wage, which impacts over 60 million Americans and 54% of all African-Americans. We are concerned about Tom Price’s expressed commitment to repeal the ACA and take away healthcare from people with preexisting conditions, veterans, and nearly 30 million Americans. We are troubled that you have chosen several people to lead federal agencies that they have publicly attacked in the past. Both this nation and the rest of the world desperately need your heart to grow into a source of courage, so you might work with all people of goodwill to uphold the most sacred moral principles of our faith and constitutional values, which are: 1. Protecting and expanding voting rights and ending voter suppression and unconstitutional gerrymandering. We must also pursue women’s rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, labor rights, religious freedom rights, all with a commitment to the fundamental principle of equal protection under the law. 2. Pro-labor, anti-poverty, anti-racist policies that build up economic democracy through employment, living wages, the alleviation of disparate unemployment, a just transition away from fossil fuels, labor rights, affordable housing, direct cash transfers and other support for all families struggling to get by, and fair policies for immigrants; and by critiquing policies around warmongering that undermine our moral standing and ability to address domestic issues; 3. Equality in education by ensuring every child receives a high quality, well-funded, constitutionally diverse public education, as well as access to community colleges and universities and by securing equitable funding for minority colleges and universities; 4. Healthcare for all by expanding Medicaid in every state, ensuring access to Medicare and Social Security, moving decisively towards a universal, transparent, and equitable healthcare system, and by providing environmental protection and protecting women’s health; 5. Fairness in the criminal justice system by addressing the continuing inequalities in the system for black, brown and poor white people and fighting the proliferation of guns; We do not believe that these are left or right issues. They are right or wrong issues. And while we know no human being is perfect, we wish to speak with you about these moral issues because far too much is at stake for you to succumb to your worst demons while in public office. Our faith calls us to love all people but this love can never refuse to tell the truth and stand against hate, systemic racism, and economic inequality. We cannot simply congratulate you on your victory and say, “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. We are bound by our vows to tell the truth in love and stand together for justice, love and truth. As this tumultuous year draws to a close, we will hold a National Watch Night service on December 31st at the historic Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC. We will gather to remember the enslaved people who came together to celebrate the possibility of a more perfect union of the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Like them, we will also enlist free women and men to fight for freedom and justice for all people in 2017 and beyond.
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  • End Discriminatory Car Towing in Philadelphia / Fin al Remolque Discriminado de Carros
    [Español Abajo] • Live Stop towing is financially crippling for low-income families. An average Live Stop tow costs $500 to $1,000 in fees and tickets. If a driver cannot pay, or is scared about being undocumented, and does not claim their vehicle within 15 days, the car is sold at public auction. • Live Stop towing leaves families on the side of the street in the middle of the night, putting people in danger. The fear of being pulled over or losing a car has an emotional and mental impact on people. •Philly grew for the first time in 50 years because of the immigrant population. Immigrants are key to a thriving city and help the growth of Philadelphia through starting new businesses, paying taxes, and enriching the city’s culture. Live Stop towing undermines these benefits. • Nearly half a million Philadelphia residents have been affected by Live Stop since 2002. This has a disproportionate effect on undocumented immigrants who are barred from obtaining driver’s licenses in Pennsylvania. Reinterpreting the law will have a tremendous impact on the lives of immigrants and all low-income families in Philadelphia. • This is an opportunity for Philadelphia to be a leader in the state and country. While we work on a statewide campaign for driver’s licenses for all immigrants, regardless of immigration status, Philadelphia can take a concrete step that will alleviate the negative impacts of not having a license. ******************************************************************************************************* • El remolque de vehículos tiene un efecto financiero agobiante para las familias de bajos ingresos. El costo estimado por un encuentro con Live Stop es de $ 500 a $ 1.000 en cargos y multas. Si el conductor no puede pagar, o tiene miedo por ser indocumentado, y no recupera su vehículo dentro de 15 días, el vehículo se vende en una subasta pública. • El remolque de vehículos deja a los conductores en la calle en medio de la noche, poniendo a las personas en peligro. El temor a ser detenido o perder el vehículo tiene un impacto emocional y mental en las personas. • Philadelphia creció por primera vez en 50 años debido a la población inmigrante. Los inmigrantes son clave para una ciudad próspera y ayudan a su crecimiento a través de la creación de nuevos negocios, el pago de impuestos, y enriquecen la cultura de la ciudad. El programa Live Stop que remolca los vehículos menosprecia estas contribuciones y beneficios para la ciudad. • Casi medio millón de residentes de Philadelphia se han visto afectados por el programa Live Stop desde el año 2002. Esto tiene un efecto desproporcionado sobre los inmigrantes indocumentados que son excluidos de obtener una licencia de conducir en Pensilvania. La re-interpretación de la ley tendrá un tremendo impacto en la vida de los inmigrantes y todas las familias de bajos ingresos en Philadelphia. • Esta es una oportunidad para que Philadelphia sea líder en el estado y en el país. Mientras trabajamos en una campaña para que el estado de PA otorgue licencias de conducir para todos los inmigrantes, independientemente de su condición migratoria, Philadelphia puede dar un paso concreto ahora para aliviar los efectos negativos de no tener una licencia.
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  • No Justice without a 9th Justice: Tell the Senate to appoint a Supreme Court Justice now!
    Today as in the past, we need the Supreme Court to maintain immigrant rights, voting rights, women’s rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, and marriage rights for all who call America home. But the delay in Senate consideration of Judge Garland’s nomination leaves a vacancy on the Supreme Court – jeopardizing our freedom, equality, and access to justice. As people of faith from different and diverse faith traditions, we know from firsthand knowledge that millions of our neighbors and their livelihoods are on the line. We call upon the Senate to take action because we recognize and honor the sacred task with which our nation’s Supreme Court justices are charged. Within our western religious canon, we are guided by the words of King Solomon – wisest of judges – who conferred his Proverbs with this purpose: “That (people) may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity.” (Proverbs 1:2-3) Today the work of justice in our nation is at risk of being thwarted and wise guidance being denied its people by the continued refusal of the Senate leadership to hold hearings. As representatives of many religious and spiritual traditions, we therefore, respectfully urge the Senate to fulfill its duties as outlined in the Constitution by holding a fair, timely, and comprehensive hearing for Chief Judge Merrick Garland. In faith and in shared hope for our democracy,
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  • People Of Faith Supporting President Obama's Efforts To End Discrimination Against LGBTQ Students
    President Obama: As people of faith with a deep and abiding concern for the welfare of all children, we want to applaud you and your administration for the recent decision to interpret and enforce Title IX — a statute, written in 1972, that prohibits sex discrimination — as also prohibiting discrimination on the basis of "gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status.” We recognize that this is a confusing and even unsettling issue for many, while for others who have faced discrimination this has been a harmful experience long ignored. From our perspective, however, you have simply taken another step toward creating a nation where the basic civil rights of all are protected. Too many LGBTQ youths are lost and abandoned. Many of these young people end up living in poverty and on the streets. None of these children should face discrimination at school or barriers in getting an education. We believe that protecting young people from discrimination is consistent with our faith. Love – not fear – should be our guiding principle. We challenge those who might respond to this decision to open their hearts and listen to the stories, particularly of transgender students, who are so often marginalized. Thank you for showing us a better path. Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie Director, Center for Peace and Spirituality & University Chaplain, Pacific University Rev. Dr. Alice Hunt, President and Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible & Theological Education, Chicago Theological Seminary Rev. Dr. Traci D. Blackmon, Executive Minister, Justice & Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana, Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Israel | Portland, Oregon Rev. Dr. Deborah Krause, Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament, Eden Theological Seminary Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology and President Emerita, Chicago Theological Seminary Rev. Michael Neuroth, Policy Advocate for International Issues, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, Senior Vice-President for Innovations in Public Programs, Union Theological Seminary in New York City * titles are used for identification purposes only
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  • Dear Candidates for President, Senate, and Governors: Will You Advance a Moral Agenda?
    Our moral traditions have a firm foundation upon which to stand against the divide-and-conquer strategies of extremists. We believe in a moral agenda that stands against systemic racism, classism, poverty, xenophobia, and any attempt to promote hate towards any members of the human family. We claim a higher ground in partisan debate by returning public discourse to our deepest moral and constitutional values. Please add your name to call on our 2016 presidential candidates, senate candidates, and governors to advance a moral agenda.
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  • Declare Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.
    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955), priest, geologist, paleontologist, philosopher, theologian, and mystic, was both a distinguished scientist and one of the most influential and visionary thinkers that the Catholic Church produced in the twentieth century. Grounded in the theology of St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Ignatius Loyola and informed by the modern scientific discovery of cosmic and organic evolution, Teilhard created a pioneering synthesis of religious and scientific thought that many have found to be profoundly fruitful. His concept of the “noosphere” was startlingly prescient in its anticipation of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and other forms of electronic communication that have truly unified humanity as a single community of thought. He is recognized by many scientists and theologians as one of those whose ideas paved the way for the work of the Second Vatican Council, whose 50th anniversary has just been celebrated. Teilhard’s synthesis continues to stimulate theological thought, inside the Catholic Church and beyond, including notably the development in recent decades of vigorous scholarly and popular movements of evolutionary theology and creation spirituality. His hopeful eschatological vision continues to inspire people throughout the world. For these reasons, Teilhard is already, in all but name, justly acclaimed as a Teacher par excellence of the universal Christian Church. Doctors of the Church comprise about three dozen ecclesiastical writers, from early Christian to modern times, who have been honored posthumously by popes or general councils with that title due to the integrity of their faith, eminent learning, and personal holiness. Although those formally designated in the past as Doctors of the Church had previously been canonized, there is no requirement for this in Canon Law. Therefore, we respectfully and earnestly petition His Holiness Pope Francis to declare Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.
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  • Petition Against Legislation Preventing Straight Party Ticket Voting in Michigan
    If straight party ticket voting is prevented, it would seriously disenfranchise senior citizens, the physically disabled, and the poor by creating unnecessary obstacles to their participation in the electoral process. Michigan citizens should have the right to vote as they please and not have restrictions placed on them, to do so is a violation of their constitutional rights and a violation of their civil liberties.
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  • Walmart wages violate our core moral values
    As people of faith, we urge Alice Walton to heed the call of the prophet Isaiah, “Maintain justice and do what is right.” (Isaiah 56:1) We stand with workers like Jasmine Dixon from store number 3533 in Denver. Jasmine has two young sons, but struggles to feed them because she is only paid $11.95 per hour. Jasmine has to skip meals and relies on food stamps and food banks to feed her kids because she works at Walmart. We stand with workers like Mary Watkines, who organize because "It is hard for me to understand how a company can do this to people: my coworkers work hungry while stocking food all day. I have coworkers who have to sleep in their car in the parking lot because they can't afford an apartment. Others are parents who work all day only to go home to children who are hungry.” It is immoral that Walmart workers and their families go hungry every day. Alice Walton, we call on you to recognize your moral obligation to end the pain of hunger by ensuring that your workers can feed themselves and their children. We stand with Walmart workers launching a 15-day Fast for $15. Together with allies, workers are lifting up the call for $15 an hour and access to full time work at Walmart-- conditions that would allow workers to feed themselves and their family. It is a brave effort to turn what has often been a source of private shame for workers into a demonstration of public outrage. Will you stand with Walmart fasters by signing on to this letter to Walmart board member Alice Walton calling on Walmart to meet its moral obligation to our communities?
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  • Pope Francis, urge the world's bishops to keep our parishes open
    Around the world, our bishops have increasingly responded to the priest shortage by closing, merging or clustering parishes. According to canon lawyer, Kate Kuenstler, PHJC, JCD, "The parish reconfiguration process used by dioceses . . . can also lead to a business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God's people but the church as an institution." In the United States • Parishes have been merged or closed in Philadelphia, PIttsburgh, Boston, Cleveland and many other urban and rural places. In New York City, the Archdiocese recently merged or closed more than 70 parishes, often in the face of staunch opposition by committed parishioners. When the Pope visits Our Lady Queen of Angels School, he will learn that the parish was tragically closed in 2007 amid protest. In the following years, two funerals, one for Carmen Gonzalez and the other for Carmen Villegas were held on the sidewalk when the bishop refused to open the doors of the parish. Today loyal parishioners still gather and hold prayer services trying to keep their faith community alive. All of these mergings and closings are a source of tremendous pain and suffering for those who have shared a common Eucharistic life for generations with significant numbers walking away from the Church and never returning. Further, services to the poor offered by these parishes have been, too often, interrupted or extinguished. The Leadership Team of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) is calling for a reset of the pastoral strategy that relies on parish closings and mergings. It sees the closing of any parish not requested by the members themselves as invariably wounding the Body of Christ. It leaves casualties among the people of God rather than healing. It withdraws the church from various ‘peripheries.’ Such steps betray Pope Francis’ call for the church to function as a field hospital for the marginalized. Other options must be identified and implemented, including the ordination of married viri probati. In Australia • Father Ian McGinnity, Chairman of the National Council of Priests points out, “In Australia, which is a vast land with the tyranny of distance, many rural communities do not have resident priests and only have access to the Eucharist on a monthly basis. In our populous urban areas, parishes have had to be amalgamated due to the shortage of priests, which has not only placed additional burdens on an already overworked pastor, but also has subsumed some churches' unique identity and community.” In Austria • Father Helmut Schüller, spokesman for the Pfarrer-Initiative Österreich, points out that the Catholic Church is at a crossroads and that those in leadership must provide the necessary priests or develop new forms of community leadership. He notes how Bishops' conferences are keeping to their defensive administrative strategy of merging independent parishes into vast, impersonal parish associations stating, "That is pretty much the most unimaginative thing one can do." In Germany • Father Wolfgang Gramer Rottenburg-Stuttgart representing the Deutsche Pfarrer-Initiative remarks, “In Germany I can see clearly that our priest numbers are declining every day. But I also recognise that there is a real chance that a Christian parish will discover the way of the Holy Spirit and see new forms of living the gospel – either with or without a priest. We still possess many members with special gifts, and we must find ways of allowing these gifts to flourish in the service of the community." In Ireland • Father Tony Flannery, founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, states that “the problem we have in Ireland is clustering of parishes, leading to added pressure on aging priests, and inevitable amalgamation, and formation of bigger, more impersonal, units" In Switzerland • Dr. Markus Heil, Deacon and Chairman of Pfarrei-Initiative Schweiz notes, “We have different models of clustering parishes. In the beginning these clusters looked reasonable, but the longer the process went on, the smaller parishes in the cluster felt increasingly neglected. At the same time they began to wonder if they were really part of a future strategy, or whether the real plan was to allow them to starve, merge and disappear. As they are not aware of any clear future plan it is difficult to organise and mobilise. In the end, they just disappear."
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  • Tell ICE: Stop Deportation of Jewish Homeschooling Family
    No mother should be forced to flee her homeland in order to homeschool her children because of anti-semitic bullying. Yet, Petra Albrecht was not free in Germany to homeschool her children because Germany’s outdated laws have banned homeschooling since World War I. German families who choose to homeschool their children face legal action, including prison, the loss of custody of their children and fines. Petra had chosen to homeschool her youngest child Jayson because he was experiencing anti-Semitic bullying in school, in a country where a least one-fourth of the population remains openly anti-Semitic even post World War II. She lost her parental rights and was forced to flee to the U.S. But here the family has come across more hardship. Petra and Nicole were picked up by Immigration Enforcement and have been in U.S. immigration detention for 11 months, in separate facilities. Jayson was sent back to Germany alone, and is being held in an orphanage in or near Berlin, though he had an open asylum case. The German government refuses to tell the family his exact whereabouts, and the U.S. government refuses to release Petra and Nicole. OUR VALUES To be Jewish is to be an immigrant. The Albrecht family continues a history of Jewish migration that reaches back to the Old Testament and our exodus from Egypt – stories we retell on holy days. That’s why one of Judaism’s central teachings is to “welcome the stranger” as you would a friend. We’re calling on all people of faith and moral courage to stand with Petra, a mother separated from her children, and demand immigration enforcement officials release and reunite her with Jayson and Nicole. In his last letter to his family before being extradited to Germany, Jayson wrote, "I promise you that we will be together again soon..."
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