We Declare Revolutionary Love as the Call of Our TimesWe, 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.
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.
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.
Protect Children, Not GunsWe are deeply shaken by the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. The 20 children and 6 educators slain there are the latest victims of America’s gun violence plague. Each week, 350 children and teens are killed or injured by guns—enough to fill 14 more classrooms of 25 students. Today, one child or teen will experience gun violence every 30 minutes and a child will die every 3 hours. What have we become as a people when even in the face of such sin and suffering, we continue to protect guns before children?
People of Faith Statement on Pulse Orlando ShootingOur faith traditions call us to love one another, to mourn those who have died, to comfort the despairing, to speak out against injustice, and to work for the transformation of our world. In this time of mixed emotions and responses, we turn to our faith for guidance, hope, and healing. We lift up the voices of LGBTQ people and stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community against transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia. We acknowledge that this shooting is part of a larger culture of hostility toward transgender, gender nonconforming, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. We reject the use of religion to promote judgment or violence toward LGBTQ people. We acknowledge that the shooting at Pulse occurred on “Latin Night” and disproportionally affected the Latinx LGBTQ community. We lift up the voices of LGBTQ Latinx people and stand in solidarity with the Latinx community against racism, the targeting of black and brown bodies, and the ongoing criminalization of Latinx lives. We disavow rhetoric that seeks to devalue and dehumanize Latinx people. As we seek to respond to this tragedy, we celebrate the lives of those who were killed and the gifts of their sexual and gender diversity. Our faith traditions draw us closer together—not to further exclusion, fear, or enmity. We lift up the voices of LGBTQ Muslims and stand in solidarity with the Muslim community against Islamophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, and the scapegoating of Islam for this act of violence. We mourn and seek justice together as a community of faith. We also lift up those who are diagnosed with mental illness. We refuse to succumb to rhetoric that hastily or unduly assigns mental illness as the cause of this tragedy, further stigmatizing those diagnosed with mental illness. As people of faith, we long for a world where love triumphs over hate and fear. Our faith traditions call us to seek justice. We commit to working so that all people can flourish and live whole, authentic lives.
Charleston to Orlando: Get guns off our streets! Now!It should not be this easy in America for a person with murderous intent to purchase weapons of war. Nearly a year ago, I was on my way to Charleston with a group of faith leaders to deliver prayers from the faith community to the families of those murdered at Mother Emanuel AME church. A year later, and I find myself again mourning the loss of innocent people, most in the prime of their life--many Latino--celebrating Latino pride. In both tragedies, the question is the same -- how could a troubled young man so steeped in violent expressions of hate get a gun so easily? A few years earlier, it was an attack on a Sikh Temple, where a troubled man killed 6 innocent Sikh people in Oak Creek Wisconsin. Before that, Newtown. Racism, homophobia, transphobia sexism, xenophobia, and mental illness might be killers on their own, but our gun laws have outfitted these killers for combat. That’s why, as a Lesbian woman of faith fed up with our gun laws, I’ve launched this petition thanking Sen. Chris Murphy for being willing to be a voice of moral courage on guns and to call on his colleagues to honor his request for a vote. The filibuster ended late last night, but as Senator Murphy stated last night, the fight will not be over until we change our gun safety laws in America. Sen. Murphy has done exactly the right thing -- but every lawmaker right now is getting pressure from the gun lobby to back off doing anything to change our gun laws. They need to hear from us. We need to show our Senators that people of faith don’t want Sen. Chris Murphy to stop preaching the truth about guns in America until their Senate colleagues hold a vote on gun violence prevention legislation. Clergy and faith leaders are often put in the position of pastoring to a community after the loss of life at the hands of a firearm. Yet, a lot of these deaths could be prevented with better gun violence prevention laws. We cannot let this epidemic continue in our communities. As Senator Cory Booker stated on the Senate Floor during the filibuster last night, “Faith without works is not enough. Prayer at this moment is not enough.” Sign the petition right now, and share it with your friends.
Tell Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson to drop charges against #BlackLivesMatter protestersIn December of 2014, over 3,000 people of all ages, races, and religious traditions gathered at the Mall of America to proclaim that Black Lives Matter; to proclaim an end to the "business as usual" economic policies which oppress and impoverish; and to proclaim that the terrorization of people of color through police violence and mass incarceration must stop. The gathering was a beautiful expression of non-violent protest and was filled with clergy, families, activists and artists who sang, preached, spoke-out and engaged in a powerful die-in. As protesters laid their bodies on the floor in symbolic death and solidarity with Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, and the thousands more lost to police brutality, I stood with other clergy, encircling the peaceful protesters, and prayed. With hands lifted heavenward, I prayed that our economy (and the Mall of America which so powerfully represents it) would stop using the bodies of Brown and Black people to enrich the few. I prayed that the hundreds of police who surrounded us wearing bullet-proof vests, riot helmets and carrying weapons could see, especially in this season of the birth of the Christ child, the truth about the humanity and vulnerability of Black and Brown lives. I prayed that somehow I might continue to find the courage to put my white, woman’s, clergy body in the places that Jesus would have put his body—in solidarity where people are harmed. But instead of receiving our multiracial, peaceful ritual as a witness for justice, the Mall of America and the City of Bloomington responded with police in military and riot gear, shutting down the Mall for a period of time. “What started as a demonstration of Dr. King’s vision of the 'beloved community,' became a reminder of what Dr. King warned could destroy our nation: the triple giants of racism, militarism, and extreme materialism,” said Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of the protesters charged. The Mall of America and the City of Bloomington augmented their militarized response by infiltrating meetings and surveilling social media to find the organizers of the protest and charge them with multiple offenses, including trespassing—an action that even former prosecutors have called a misuse of power. Instead of protecting the powerless from the powerful-- the mandate from our faith traditions and, indeed, the core ethical responsibility of our legal system--Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson has used her great power to buttress the powerful against those who hold far less power. On August 5th, in response to a defense motion, the most serious of the charges were dropped against the organizers. But there remain offenses which still require costly legal fees to fight. We demand that City Attorney Sandra Johnson drop ALL the charges against the #MOA36. OUR VALUES This die-in and the prayer that surrounded it were my Advent and Christmas practice. They were my way of marking the reality that God seeks to be born into real people’s lives and real people’s suffering. When Black and Brown lives still don’t matter enough to be paid a living wage, or kept out of the school to prison pipeline, or be spared a fatal bullet from a police officer’s gun, then people of faith of all races need to witness to the fact that Black Lives Matter—even in the rotunda of the Mall of America. HOW IT WILL BE DELIVERED To highlight the need for an end to business as usual and a new economic way of life that honors Black and Brown lives, we will personally deliver these signed petitions to City Attorney Sandra Johnson during the Labor Day commemoration.
Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Take Down That Flag!On June 17, 2015 one young, white man filled with hate accepted the hospitality of nine African Americans and then massacred them. His descent into hatred is well-documented. He has provided a gallery of photos glorifying racist logos and images. We can do nothing to assuage the grief and shock of those who mourn the Charleston Nine. But we can make their slaughter stand for something. We can take action against the display of the flag that motivated the murderer of the Charleston Nine, the latest but certainly not the first, to put into violent action the message of a flag that represents hatred and bigotry.
Stand in Solidarity with Families of Charleston Church ShootingOn Wednesday night, a gunman opened fire in a historic African American church – at least 9 people were killed, including the pastor. The shooting is the largest attack on a faith community in recent US history. As people of many faiths and beliefs – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Humanist, and others – our hands tremble with the horror and grief of this bloodshed in a sacred space. We must move quickly to show the community of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church our solidarity, and that we are equally horrified by this shooting. We stand with the Charleston community and reject the hateful actions of this shooter. And we pledge our love and support as the community mourns and begins to heal.
Tell the NRA: A Catholic priest protecting Chicago kids is not a ‘terrorist’Fr. Michael Pfleger, a Catholic leader organizing against gun violence in Chicago, was viciously attacked by a local chapter of the NRA. In an effort to smear his character, the Illinois State Rifle Association compared Fr. Pfleger to ISIS. Father Pfleger is a community hero in Chicago who has fought to save the lives of children and teenagers. He has relentlessly sought to hold gun shops and gun manufacturers accountable for profiting off the bloodshed they produce. He was compared to ISIS after speaking at a rally at Chuck’s Gun Shop where he asked gun shop owners to make sure their weapons don’t get into the hands of criminals. (Chuck’s is the #1 supplier of the guns used in murders on the southside of Chicago. They sold more guns between 1996 and 2000 that ended up in the hands of criminals than any store in the country.) As people of faith, we are called to ask the National Rifle Association to distance itself from the violent, painful, and reckless words of its local affiliate. Father Pfleger should be praised for his courageous work to heal our country and prevent gun violence, not targeted with violence in the form of painful and irresponsible smears. Right now, the NRA has the opportunity to make amends and show its commitment to dialogue about gun violence prevention with community leaders who are on the frontlines and working to heal our country. If we as a nation want to protect our children from gun violence, we have to challenge the NRA’s misleading and often hateful language, which spreads fear and undermines public support for reform. This is our chance to invite the NRA to support a faith leader with a goal we all share: To protect our children and end gun violence.
People of Faith Call on the Louisiana Legislature to Help the Poor, Stay Out of People's BedroomsOn April 15, 2014, the Louisiana House of Representatives voted 66-27 to retain a state law that bans sexual relations between consenting adults. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such laws are unconstitutional, and they cannot be legally enforced. During what is for many people one of the most sacred seasons of the year (Holy Week and Passover), Louisiana lawmakers decided that the best use of their time would be to make an official pronouncement against the 100,000+ Louisianans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and the millions more who love them. Their vote means: "You are not welcome in Louisiana. If it were up to us, you would be fined thousands of dollars or put into jail for up to five years." Trying to extend the reach of government, they also said with their vote: "What you choose to do in your own bedroom is our business." This is in violation of a central tenet of all our faith traditions -- to "love your neighbor." It is especially damaging to LGBT children, who like all children need to know that they are loved and respected as God's unique creations. Louisiana lawmakers used their positions and taxpayer resources to express those intolerant and ignorant opinions, instead of focusing on the fact that Louisiana: > Ranks second in terms of state poverty rates > Has the nation's highest murder rate > Has the highest incarceration rate in the world > Stands to lose billions of dollars and refuse medical care to low income people by refusing to accept federal money to expand Medicaid > Is slipping into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of one football field per hour The legislature's vote is not only mean spirited, it is also ironic: Many of these lawmakers are themselves guilty of the "sin of Sodom" as expressed in Ezekiel 16:49: "Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door." As clergy and ordinary people of faith, we call on the Louisiana House of Representatives to repeal Louisiana code 14:89 - the "sodomy law" - and then move on to the real work that needs to be done so the state can live up to its full potential: > Help people to rise out of poverty > Make our streets safe > Keep people out of jail if they don't need to be there > Accept federal money to expand Medicaid > Save this beautiful land before it disappears into the sea.
LIVE OUT THE VISION FOR A GLOBAL ETHICTwenty years ago, more than 100 global faith and spiritual leaders declared a shared vision of the world’s critical challenges, and what we can do in harmony to eradicate these problems. While we celebrate this pioneering global ethic, the work toward true interreligious and human harmony continues. Our generation lives in the face of the same struggles: Continuous war, division, poverty, hunger, violence, ecological danger, and political dysfunction toward achieving true, lasting harmony. And yet, the world is still populated by a groundswell of caring, collaborative, and eager people. The innovators of contemporary interfaith trailblazed; their declaration to fix a world languishing presented a CALL TO ACTION we as millennials are better equipped to accept than any generation before. It is time for a fundamental change of hearts and minds, to act harmoniously with one another and our earth, transcendent of boundary and creed. THE GROUNDSWELL FOR A BETTER FUTURE BEGINS WITH THIS PLEDGE. SIGN AND DECLARE: We are interdependent. We take individual responsibility for all we do. All our decisions, actions, and failures to act have consequences. We consider humankind our family. We commit ourselves to a culture of non-violence, respect, justice, and peace. We must strive for a just social and economic order in which everyone has an equal chance to reach full potential as a human being. Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed first. We pledge to increase our awareness by disciplining our minds, by meditation, by prayer, or by positive thinking. Without risk and a readiness to sacrifice there can be no fundamental change in our situation. Therefore we commit ourselves to this global ethic, to understanding one another, and to socially beneficial, peace-fostering, and nature-friendly ways of life. WE INVITE ALL PEOPLE, RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL, AND ETHICAL, TO DO THE SAME. Signing is easy, but committing takes guts. Will you: 1) Commit to and sign the Global Ethic!* ( Full text of the Towards a Global Ethic declaration is downloadable by clicking on "Campaign website" on the left sidebar. 2) Share how you will live out the global ethic for a better future for all. 3) Start a conversation with your teachers, faith leaders, family partners, and especially those with whom you seek to find common ground: like your grandparents, co-workers, and in-laws! 4) Ask your neighbors to sign, too. Use Facebook, e-mail, and around the old-fashioned water cooler . Tip: If a debate erupts, steer the conversation toward your common core values. 5) Pick a partner, pick a common cause, and pick a time to act together. 6) Let go of hate. Live out the vision.
The MoveMeant-Ending gun violence one person at a timeThis is important because people's lives are very important. It is personally important to me because my Dad Mr. Clarence Bibbs, Jr. was a hard-working citizen who had worked over 30 years in a local steelmill. He was also a Foreman for many years. My Dad's life tragically ended on July 2, 1997 due to gun violence. His murder has still not be solved. Gun violence hit home for me and I have decided that I must take a stand in his honor and pray that others will stand with me.
Open a Civil Rights Case For Trayvon MartinThe verdict is out, but our fight for justice is far from over. As people of many faiths and beliefs, we stand with the NAACP to ask the Department of Justice to open a civil rights case for Trayvon Martin. Join us in building a groundswell of #Justice4Trayvon.
Faith Leaders Against Cage Fighting in New YorkIn the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, it is unthinkable that lawmakers in any jurisdiction would risk exposing our children to an activity that involves extreme violence and brutality. Cage fighting, also known as “ultimate fighting” and “mixed martial arts,” is sensationalized violence that has no place in civilized society. In these contests, fighters are allowed to knock each other unconscious through elbows, kicks and knees to the head; and to strangle each other to the point of passing out through choke holds. At least four cage fighters from the United States are reported to have died from injuries sustained during amateur or professional cage fights. We are also deeply concerned that cage fighters have competed in public stadiums and on television bearing Neo-Nazi messages in tattoos and on clothing. The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote: “Not surprisingly, this rapidly rising blood sport is likewise wildly popular among racist skinheads and other young extremists with a thirst for violence.” These public displays of violence and hate are all the more troubling in light of the fact that cage fighting is being actively marketed to children. Today, children as young as seven years old are participating in cage fighting tournaments. Videos of these contests show children punching and kicking each other from behind chain-link fences, while adult spectators clap and cheer. Any entertainment spectacle that allows people to pummel each other in bloodstained cages has no place in a state that aspires to be a model for progressives, as well as a capital of art and culture. As a society, we have an obligation to protect our children from extreme violence and hate speech, just as we have an obligation to protect our children from drugs, alcohol and pornography. On behalf of our children, families, communities, and congregations, we strongly urge you to vote against any proposal that would bring cage fighting events to the State of New York. Patrick J. Carolan, Executive Director of Franciscan Action Network, Washington, D.C. Father John P. Duffell, Church of the Blessed Sacrament, New York Rita Freedman, Acting Executive Director, Jewish Labor Committee, New York Joseph J. Fahey, Ph.D. Chair, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, New York Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg, Executive Director, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition Father Brian Jordan, O.F.M.. Saint Francis College, New York Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, New York Marjorie Dove Kent, Executive Director, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, New York Father J. Cletus Kiley, Director of Immigration Policy, UNITE HERE, Chicago Sister Marie Lucy, O.S.F., Franciscan Action Network, Washington, D.C. Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, New York
Join Newtown Clergy: Tell Senate To Approve Gun ReformDear Senators, It’s been less than three months since our community experienced the unspeakable tragedy of the murder of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the clergy leaders of Newtown, joined by clergy colleagues from across the nation, we have witnessed the scourge of gun violence in our neighborhoods, and we call on Congress to pass comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation that will help stop the slaughter. The moral mandate to protect the weak in our care is clear and present in all of our faith traditions. Our varied faith traditions teach us to seek the peace of the city, to love our neighbor, and to cherish human dignity. To see the rising incidence of gun violence from Chicago to Newtown, Camden to Aurora, Detroit to Tucson – and how that violence particularly targets the young and the poor, especially in America’s urban communities - and yet to refuse to take the steps we know would reduce harm is a violation of religious values so severe that we are compelled to speak out. Nothing any of us do will bring back the victims murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As a nation we must do all we can to prevent the next tragedy. We pray that you will vote for meaningful gun violence prevention laws that include a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, enforceable universal background checks, an end to gun trafficking and prosecution of straw purchasers. After the news crews and cameras leave, after the rest of the nation turns away and resumes their normal routines, it is we who are asked to answer why this happened; to bind up the brokenhearted; and to explain why nothing in Newtown or our many communities will ever be the same again. As faith leaders, while we fully support laws that we believe will increase gun safety, we also believe that the larger underlying issue behind violence is spiritual: how we view our obligations to each other in light of our role in God's creation. We draw from a wellspring of tradition that will spark off a spiritual awakening in America that will transform us into a culture of compassion, reconciliation and civility. As faith leaders, we commit ourselves to fostering a culture of peace to complement and serve as a foundation for any proposed gun legislation. The slaughter of innocence in Newtown awakened our nation to the tragedy of gun violence throughout our land and we shall neither slumber nor sleep. Rather, by tireless commitment, loving hearts and the sustaining promise of our many faiths, we believe that Newtown shall be remembered as the bridge to a new and kinder world. Rabbi Shaul Praver, Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown, CT Rev. Matthew Crebbin, Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, Newtown, CT Rev. Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, Trinity Episcopal Church, Newtown, CT Chaplain Eman Beshtawii, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT Azeez Bhavnagarwala, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT Rev. Mel Kawakami, Newtown United Methodist Church, Newtown, CT Rev. Leo E. McIlrath, Lutheran Home, Southbury, CT Khatib Mohamed El Safty, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT Rev. Jane Sibley, Newtown United Methodis tChurch, Newtown, CT Rev. Jim Solomon, New Hope Community Church, Newtown, CT Rev. Janice Touloukian, Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, Newtown, CT This campaign was launched with the PICO Network, a national network of faith-based community organizations working to create innovative solutions to problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more here: http://www.piconetwork.org/about
The Gun Lobby doesn't speak for New York: Protect our new gun lawsTwo thirds of New Yorkers (an overwhelming majority) support the new gun laws in our state because they take concrete steps to safeguard our families, friends, neighbors, schools, houses of worship, and communities from preventable gun violence. Unfortunately, the new gun laws are now vulnerable to the money and power of the NRA and other gun lobbying organizations. These organizations regard ANY efforts to prevent gun violence as infractions on the Second Amendment. The gun lobbies are equipped with deep pockets and political savvy and will do everything they can to defeat lawmakers who support the new legislation in the next statewide elections. To prevent the repeal of our new gun violence preventions laws, and to keep leaders who support preventing violence in office, we need to raise our voices as people of faith and values! This is a critical window of opportunity to thank and support our elected officials for doing the right thing and ensuring the safety of all New York residents. The laws are respectful of those who own guns while also taking necessary steps to stem the epidemic of gun violence in our nation. The Gun Lobby doesn't speak for NY: protect our new gun laws!
New Jersey Citizens for Sensible Federal Gun Violence LegislationAll of us have been moved by the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut in December. While there is no one panacea solution to the problem of gun violence, we feel there are some sensible steps the federal government should take that would have an immediate impact on the horrifying numbers of Americans who die by gun each year in our country.
WYOMING CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION: PROTECT OUR FAMILIES & 2ND AMENDMENTAs we grieve the loss of 28 lives, including 20 children, in Newtown, CT, Wyoming shares the feeling of loss and sense of urgency this moment presents. As people of faith and clergy, we have mourned alongside families all too often. It’s time to call for an end to the violence that lands us in their living rooms year in and year out. Among us are hunters and sportsmen who abhor gun violence, are members of the NRA, understand they don't need assault weapons to hunt, and want to be a voice of reason within the organization. God bless them. All across Wyoming and the nation, people of faith and conscience are saying that this is the best opportunity in a generation to do something about mass shootings and gun violence in this country. There is no single solution to this problem, and a concerted effort to improve the provision of mental health care in this country must accompany any effort to restrict military weapons. Senator Enzi, Senator Barasso and Rep. Lummis, we offer you our support. As Washington takes up this issue in the coming weeks, we will stand by your side as you attempt to tackle this difficult and pressing issue. Though no policy proposal can single-handedly reverse a culture of violence, we think there are three places we can start: 1. Only allow the military and police to buy and own military assault weapons. The weapon used in Newtown was originally designed by NATO to fight Soviet soldiers in Eastern Europe. The Cold War has long since ended, and though our military commitments continue abroad, shopping malls, houses of worship, and elementary schools are no place for assault weapons. 2. Limit access to high-capacity magazines useful only for mass violence. No competent sportsman needs 30 or 100 rounds to do the job. Large capacity magazines were designed by the military for use in combat. There is no applicable civilian use. This technology was used with horrific effectiveness at Newtown and should end. 3. Make mental health care as easy to access as guns. There will always be guns in America - it’s part of our heritage. There will also always be those among us who struggle with mental illness. It is our duty as countrymen and women, and as children of God, to care for them. Any effort to reduce violence must start with a serious effort to destigmatize, identify, and treat mental illness in our midst. As you take up these issues in Washington, we offer you our support. Next year, when another horrifying mass shooting happens, which community will be forced to bear unspeakable tragedy? Will we have done all we can to protect our children? We pray that community will not be in our home state of Wyoming. We pray that no community will suffer the tragedy of a mass shooting. *** ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN CREATOR Pastor Phil Wold serves Trinity Lutheran Church in Sheridan. This petition was orignally authored by The Rev. Jessica Crist, Bishop of the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (The Montana Synod includes a number of Wyoming ELCA congregations.)
Nevada: End The ViolenceThe level of gun violence today is intolerable. The recurrence of mass killings with semi-automatic weapons is intolerable. These are separate issues that require separate responses. But moving beyond passions and suspicion to enact reasonable legislation for the safety of our people, especially our children, is a must.
Montana Congressional Delegation: Protect Our Families & 2nd AmendmentAs we grieve the loss of 28 lives, including 20 children, in Newtown, CT, Montana shares the feeling of loss and sense of urgency this moment presents. As people of faith and clergy, we have mourned alongside families all too often. It’s time to call for an end to the violence that lands us in their living rooms year in and year out. Among us are hunters and sportsmen who abhor gun violence, are members of the NRA, understand they don't need assault weapons to hunt, and want to be a voice of reason within the organization. God bless them. All across Montana and the nation, people of faith and conscience are saying that this is the best opportunity in a generation to do something about mass shootings and gun violence in this country. There is no single solution to this problem, and a concerted effort to improve the provision of mental health care in this country must accompany any effort to restrict military weapons. Senator Baucus, Senator Tester, and Rep. Daines, we offer you our support. As Washington takes up this issue in the coming weeks, we will stand by your side as you attempt to tackle this difficult and pressing issue. Though no policy proposal can single-handedly reverse a culture of violence, we think there are three places we can start: 1. Only allow the military and police to buy and own military assault weapons. The weapon used in Newtown was originally designed by NATO to fight Soviet soldiers in Eastern Europe. The Cold War has long since ended, and though our military commitments continue abroad, shopping malls, houses of worship, and elementary schools are no place for assault weapons. 2. Limit access to high-capacity magazines useful only for mass violence. No competent sportsman needs 30 or 100 rounds to do the job. Large capacity magazines were designed by the military for use in combat. There is no applicable civilian use. This technology was used with horrific effectiveness at Newtown and should end. 3. Make mental health care as easy to access as guns. There will always be guns in America - it’s part of our heritage. There will always be those among us who struggle with mental illness. It is our duty as countrymen and women, and as children of God, to care for them. Any effort to reduce violence must start with a serious effort to destigmatize, identify, and treat mental illness in our midst. As you take up these issues in Washington, we offer you our support. Next year, when another horrifying mass shooting happens, which community will be forced to bear unspeakable tragedy? Will we have done all we can to protect our children? We pray that community will not be in our home state of Montana. We pray that no community will suffer the tragedy of a mass shooting. *** ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN CREATOR The Rev. Jessica Crist is Bishop of the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. **** Issue Background: http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=5167 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/gun-control-debate_n_2321552.html http://www.jontester.com/issues/protecting-gun-rights/
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: END GUN VIOLENCE NOW!My home State of Connecticut, where I serve as one of the Bishops of Episcopal Diocese, is only the latest venue of terrible, unspeakable violence. And it has marked us forever. But if we do not demand action now from our leaders, which state or community will be next to know our pain and grief? I ask your prayers for the victims of the shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School and their families, for the perpetrator and his family, for our churches, our towns and cities. And I call for our action. President Obama is right. We can no longer be silent about gun violence in our society. We have been timid for too long. Nineteen years ago, Marcelina Delgado, a 7 year old, was shot and killed as she sat in the back seat of her father's car on the way to see her grandmother in Hartford, CT. The car had been mis-identified by the shooters as belonging to a member of a rival gang. The tragedy of her death soon was dropped from our community's collective memory. Perhaps that was because she was a person of color or maybe it is just because life moves on. All of us know such stories. By God's grace, Marcelina's face and story have been seared into my soul - a reminder of the claim our children make on us, and the work that still needs to be done. Since Marcelina's death, thousands of children and teens have become victims of gun violence in this nation. And now, 20 more children, 6 and 7 year olds, and 6 adults, who sought to protect them, are dead, in large part because of easy access to assault weapons and our lack of organizing and advocacy for change. It is time for us to demand the reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons as a first step. We need to build on the momentum in Congress that this horrific tragedy has set into motion. We are accountable and we need to hold our lawmakers accountable. Please join me in calling on Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban as a first step to ending mass shootings in America. The struggle for significant gun legislation reform will be long term. But now is the moment for direct and immediate action. Our voices need to be heard now. Advent is the season when we hold terror and hope in our two hands at the same time. The church community is being held together by the love of Christ and the love we have for one another. Let us take that love and pursue action NOW to prevent another horrific tragedy. ***** The Rt. Rev. James E. Curry was consecrated bishop in October 2000. Bishop Curry oversees Hispanic and multicultural ministries, Christian formation ministries, Camp Washington, international and domestic mission, and liturgy & music. He is very active locally and nationally in advocacy work, and has been particularly involved in speaking about the Church's opposition to capital punishment and its support of immigration reform. He has an ongoing mission partnership with the Bishop and Diocese of Lebombo in Mozambique and serves on community and church-wide committees involved with mission and advocacy.
Take The Pledge: 5 Things to do to stop gun violence in AmericaAfter the 28 deaths, including 20 children, in Newtown, it is time that we immediately turn the tide of gun violence around us before the next tragedy strikes. Here are five things we can pledge to do: (1.) Reach out to young people – especially those who express feelings of being alienated, isolated, or disenfranchised – and those who need mentoring, encouragement, and opportunities to break out of cycles of despair, hate, rage and frustration. Provide that guidance – a “hand up” for success. (2.) Help parents – particularly single parents who need practical support in responding to challenges with older children and teenagers, including those in need of mental healthcare. Determine and achieve what is needed to strengthen those lives, one family at a time – and work to support the availability of services to all people regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds. (3.) Make sure there is a moral compass firmly in the hand of every person. Start with the Golden Rule, build to the 10 commandments, and teach and model peacemaking and non-violence at every opportunity. Demonstrate alternatives to behavior fueled by anger, or by violence seen in media. Parents, teachers and clergy must not neglect these responsibilities. (4.) Support federal policy changes while securing weapons. Write an email or call public officials locally, regionally and nationally to insist on reinstatement of the federal assault weapon ban and increased mental healthcare resources. Every first-grader’s right to learn safely in his or her classroom far outweighs any claim I might invoke to own or operate an assault weapon. Meanwhile, make certain that any firearms in homes are fully locked down, or better yet – surrender those weapons to any local police station. (5.) Express your support for local police officers and first responders who stand in harm’s way on a daily basis. More than ever, these professionals need our care and encouragement to meet the challenges of protecting and serving our communities. If we paid more attention to meeting societal needs in the way of education and mental healthcare, we would not have to depend solely on the expertise of our police and fire safety personnel. ****** The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno is Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and founder of Hands in Healing, a non-profit initiative dedicated to advocacy and education for stopping violence and increasing peace. Prior to his 35 years of ordained ministry, he was for six years an officer in Southern California’s Burbank Police Department.
Tell President Obama: You left out the migrant children and familiesOn November 20th, 2014 President Obama announced modifications to immigration policy, providing temporary relief from deportation to many undocumented Americans, recognizing the values of family unity and the inalienable human rights of our immigrant sisters and brothers. The President's relief action, however, has left out the most vulnerable population: Children and others who have fled terror and violence, seeking safety and protection with family members living here in the United States. This year we witnessed one of the largest refugee crises in the Western hemisphere, with 69,000 unaccompanied migrant children, half of whom are girls, arriving at the US border. They are primarily from four countries: Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. An equal number of adults, many traveling with their young children and families, also arrived this year. In every way, they are refugees. They are fleeing unspeakable violence and harm: death threats, rape, extortion by organized crime, and other forms of terror and violence. Honduras has the #1 murder rate in the world; El Salvador #4; Guatemala #5. Their governments either will not or cannot protect them from harm. Additionally, they have experienced terrible trauma on the perilous journey to the US border, often traveling on the tops of trains, overtaken by gangs and corrupt police forces. In every way, they are refugees; but the Obama administration is not treating them as refugees, but criminalizing them for seeking protection and safety. Instead of being housed by refugee agencies, they are arrested and detained in family immigration detention centers. See http://grassrootsleadership.org/facts-about-family-detention Instead of being welcomed and supported, our nation's resources are being used to deport them and send them back to danger. Their deportation cases are being expedited on "rocket dockets," forcing children and families to appear quickly in immigration court, in some cases with as little as one week or a few months. This gives impossibly little time to find an attorney and adequately prepare a viable aslyum case. Rocket dockets are compromising due process under national and international law. Immigrants are not provided attorneys, and many are unable to obtain or hire an affordable attorney in such a short time. 70% of migrant children cannot afford an attorney. Without an attorney, children as young as 2 years old, would be required to represent themselves before an immigration judge. 9 out of 10 children without attorneys will be deported. Asylum laws are outdated and do not adequately protect people fleeing from the kind of harm currently facing people from Mexico and Central America, such as persecution by organized crime, gangs, and narco traffickers. WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA MUST DO: We are a nation that believes in providing safe haven for those facing persecution and threats to life. Pope Francis declared on July 15, 2014 “This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected." And that these measures “must be accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.” The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) Senior Protection Officer, Leslie Velez, testified before the United States Congressional House Judiciary Committee, June 25, 2014, that the children require international protection. As people of faith and people of conscience, we see all children as our children. We believe that all children must be ensured international protection and be treated with dignity and respect. We believe we are called to care for all children, as if they were our own. President Obama just protected up to 5 million immigrants. Surely he can do the same for approximately 120,000 Central American and Mexican children, individuals and families who should be considered refugees and kept safe from harm. Some of us are Sanctuary congregations, joining together with other People of Conscience. We will not allow these child and refugee families to be sent back. If our government will not protect children, we, Sanctuary and people of conscience, will. Petition Co-Sponsoring Organizations: University Lutheran Chapel - Berkeley, The East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition, Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights- CLUE,
People of faith demand Gov. Cuomo allow special prosecutor to investigate police killingsEric Garner. Tamir Rice. Mike Brown. Yvette Smith. John Crawford. Kimani Gray. Aiyana Stanley Jones. Reka Boyd. Sean Bell. Ezell Ford. Alex Nieto. Oscar Grant. The list goes on. Our black and brown brothers and sisters are being killed by police every 28 hours. This is unacceptable. We demand that the federal government do more to protect and bring justice to our brother and sisters of color. Our faith traditions tell us that we are all God’s children and created in His image. This calls for every person, regardless of race or ethnicity, to be live in communities free of fear from the very individuals called to serve and protect them. If you too are deeply disturbed by the incidents of police brutality impacting our communities of color … If you too are heartbroken and mourn with the families who have lost loved ones to police violence … Add your name to stand with us as people of faith to demand action.