• We Challenge Trump’s Evangelical Defenders To Live TV Debate About Faith & Public Policy
    As you can watch here (https://on.msnbc.com/2NX9ryx), MSNBC has offered to host this round table on faith in the public square. Please either respond to their producers who have reached out to you or let us know an alternate public venue in which you prefer to “give an answer for everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have,” as Scripture says we must always be prepared to do (I Peter 3:15). Sincerely, Bishop William J. Barber, II, Pres. & Sr. Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis , Co-Director, Kairos Center for Religion, Rights & Social Justice Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Minister Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Director, School for Conversion
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  • Faith Communities Condemn Family Separation at the Border
    The stories of family separation are devastating and show how the traumatic impact of separation will damage these children for life. 5-year old José was taken from his father after they arrived at the U.S. border in El Paso. His foster mother reports that the first few nights he cried himself to sleep and he now moans and moans as he tries to fall asleep. He keeps a stick-figure drawing of his family underneath his pillow. An 18-month-old baby girl is being fostered by Bethany Christian Services and was separated from her father who was detained. Her foster parent notes that she cries frequently especially when she changes settings [1]. Marco Antonio Muñoz, a Honduran father who was separated from his wife and child, committed suicide while in detention. Muñoz fled violence in Honduras. The administration’s unprecedented policy of family separation, including tearing an infant from a breastfeeding mom, is cruel and wrong. We reject increasing barriers to protection for asylum seekers and unaccompanied children, which impede our moral and legal obligations to offer protection to vulnerable populations. We reject curtailing access to asylum for survivors of domestic violence or gang violence. We also reject any legislative proposals that would curtail or end asylum protections, including for unaccompanied children; decimate family reunification; expand detention of children; and further infringe upon the rights and safety of border communities. The Executive Order signed by President Trump pertaining to family separation mandates that immigrant families be held in family detention and does nothing to reunify the thousands of families that have already been ripped apart [2]. Instead of terminating the administration’s cruel “zero tolerance” policies targeting vulnerable families, this order undermines real solutions to family separation while continuing to violate the rights of refugees seeking legal asylum. Suspending prosecutions of adults who are members of family units is not sufficient, because this is only planned until ICE can accelerate resource capability to detain more people. Family separation will persist, as any assigned jail time must be served in Department of Justice (DOJ) custody away from their children. Family detention is not a solution to family separation. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to Romans 13 urging people to obey the law, we recommend reading the entire chapter that clearly asserts that loving others is the most important law. Romans 13: 9-10 (NRSV) reads “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” As faith communities, we ask the the administration to support policies that protect and unite immigrants and families, and to terminate the family separation and “zero tolerance” policies that result in detention and prosecution of individuals for migration-related offenses. We call on the administration to respect international and U.S. law and ensure asylum seekers have an opportunity to seek protection. We ask Congress to do everything in its power to see the administration stop detaining and prosecuting parents, forcibly separating them from their children or holding them in family detention centers. Congress should reject any anti-immigrant, anti-family legislation like H.R.4760, the Securing America’s Future Act; the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act; or any other proposal that violates the sanctity of family unity. These bills drastically cut legal immigration, eliminate green cards for family reunification, increase detention and deportation, reduce access to asylum, and put more children and asylum seekers in jail or return them to deadly situations. These bills do not offer a workable path to citizenship for Dreamers already living among us. Children and young people should not be used as bargaining chips to advance harmful immigration proposals. Congress should cut funding for ICE and CBP that fuels family separation. We believe Congress and the administration should act to bring families together, not keep them apart. --- Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño is Bishop of San Francisco Area of The United Methodist Church and an Auburn Senior Fellow. [1] Reporting on these stories: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/07/us/children-immigration-borders-family-separation.html [2] The administration's executive order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/affording-congress-opportunity-address-family-separation/
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  • NYU Took In Students After Hurricane Maria -- They're Not Ready To Go
    NYU participated in the Hurricane Maria Assistance Program (HMAP) and has hosted 57 students for the Spring 2018 semester. At least 25 students have expressed a desire to stay. In a letter addressed to President Hamilton, students say: "We humbly request that you consider the reality under which HMAP was first conceptualized, compare it to the one we face today, and then consider our proposal to extend the program from its original one-semester plan to a two-semester plan." The students received an email response declining the request, and they have not felt heard, so they have now taken to the media. These are the facts: Puerto Rico continues to struggle 7 months after the hurricane. There are communities in the dark, access to healthcare is limited, including mental health services, which are desperately needed as evidenced by the climbing rates of suicide and self-reported rates of depression and anxiety. Cutting HMAP pushes students into a chaotic environment which will not allow them to thrive, much less focus on school work. This social injustice is a travesty and indicative of the 2nd class citizenship Puerto Ricans have traditionally experienced. A power outage just last month left over 800,000 residents in the dark. This alone is undeniable evidence of the precarious situation our citizens still face on the island, and many families fear for their safety.
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  • Heaven Can Be This Moment Through Our Choices
    Psychologists tell us not to dwell on the past because it prevents the life of now from being embraced and utilized for best growth into our future. This theory is reflected on a grander scale also. What is oil/petroleum\coal? These are the remnants of creatures that lived long ago. Not only did the Eternal Source Creator destroy them but also buried the majority of it very deep and away from the living world. What has become of our collective thoughts in society when we have lived myopically embracing the past? We have become a culture of worshipping the dead, preventing others from embracing life. We saw it with the Buffalo, the Passenger Pigeon, the North Carolina Parakeet countless others and now in the midst of a 6th mass extinction. Species are dying at an average of 5000 times the normal rate.* How is this happening? Through the sense of entitlement. From 1950 fishing increased from 18 to 100 million metric tons per year, ¾ of fishing grounds are depleted most large fish gone and industry would rather let their carcasses rot than offer the protein at below market rate while still edible. Furthermore industry says that the decomposing lives must go in landfills where they create the gas methane up to 71% more toxic than carbon dioxide. When the creatures of our time and space are returned to the soils of now they fertilize the ground with their knowledge and love allowing the next generation to rise from the ground with a power built upon their foundation of being. It is in the human psyche to return things to the Mother Earth. It used to be seeds and peels and shells and other biodegradable waste that nourished the soil in many ways. Now we are feeding the death industry by spreading the gift of our hands as plastic waste. Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. It only takes about 14 plastic bags for the equivalent of the gas required to drive one mile. Target gives away enough plastic bags a year to wrap around the Earth 7 times. The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. According to Waste Management, only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling. That means that the average family only recycles 15 bags a year; the rest ends up in landfills as litter. Up to 80 percent of ocean plastic pollution enters the ocean from land. At least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually. One in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs. Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes. It takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately the bags don't break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.* How is our immersion into clouding our beings any different; the news glorifies dyfunction, most tv programming also, video games affect the entire society as people retreat into a world of make believe. Grocery stores need to be returned Our waterways are in peril: Jordan river near dried up, 1 in 10 rivers around globe stop flowing through the year, Dead Sea shrinking at a meter per year and Western India has 30% of wells dried up and the Colorado River no longer reaches the sea. By 2025 2 billion people affected by water shortage. This is nothing short of affluent greed: 800-1000 liters of water per person per day in Las Vegas,Palm Springs has lush golf courses. We have used the living waters of this planet to feed the greed of animal exploitation where creatures that have no voice to protest in governments are trans-species raped, their children forcibly removed from their wombs, mutilated and violently assaulted through their lives and then sent to a slaughterhouse were they see, hear and smell the death of their breed and their own impending demise. We know that every entity on this planet has a portion of water within its being. Water does conduct electricity and emotions are electrical conductions. When we consume their pain, suffering, bewilderment of being so savagely attacked and sorrow for the loss of life experience ingrained in their psyche how can it not alter the thoughts of our own being? Is this a reflection of the oils of the past (death) integrating into our present and creating a new life in misery? www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of.../extinction_crisis/ http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/expect_more_bag_less/facts.html https://www.google.com/search?q=water+footprint+of+meat&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=XTwZKw6DMGt7_M%253A%252Cf9zUaKyv5TPjKM%252C_&usg=__q5ioZJ9LKgmfXweHH0AvVNLBC3s%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiOj_Sa_P_ZAhVS0VMKHQsdAt4Q9QEIuAEwEg&biw=1164&bih=631#imgrc=UppEVqXtLVKfcM:
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  • Carmela Libre: Stop the Deportation of Carmela and her 4 Children now!
    SANCTUARY/SANTUARIO On December 13th, 2017, Carmela, Fidel, Keyri, Yoselin and Edwin took the prophetic and bold step to enter into Sanctuary at Church of the Advocate, a member congregation of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. “I am taking Sanctuary to fight for my family, to protest our deportation orders and the injustices of the immigration systems. Everybody deserves to live with dignity and safety,” said Carmela. El 13 de Diciembre del 2017, Carmela, Fidel, Keyri, Yoselin y Edwin tomaron el paso audaz y profético de tomar Santuario en la iglesia Church of the Advocate, miembro del Nuevo Movimiento Santuario. “Estoy tomando Santuario para luchar por mi familia, para protestar nuestras ordenes de deportacion y las injusticias de los sistemas de inmigracion. Todos merecemos vivir con dignidad y seguridad,” dijo Carmela. CHURCH OF THE ADVOCATE/IGLESIA CHURCH OF THE ADVOCATE Drawing on its long legacy of organizing for social justice, the Church of the Advocate is responding to the mounting attacks on immigrants and other communities of color by joining the movement to build Sanctuary for all. The Church is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a National Historic Landmark, and is well known for providing spiritual enrichment, social services, and community programming in Philadelphia. It is also the site of the ordination of the first female priests in the Episcopal Church in 1974. Basada en su largo legario de organizar por la justicia social, la iglesia Church of the Advocate está respondiendo a los ataques contra los inmigrantes y otras comunidades de color uniéndose al movimiento para construir Santuario para todxs. La Iglesia esta el en Registro Nacional de Lugares Históricos, es un Sitio Nacional Histórico, y es muy bien conocida por proveer enriquecimiento espiritual, servicios sociales, y programación comunitaria en Filadelfia. También es el sitio de ordenación de las primeras sacerdotisas en la Iglesia Episcopaliana en 1974. CONTEXT/CONTEXTO Deportations continue to wreak havoc in immigrant communities as the Trump Administration has increased immigration arrests by 45%. The federal administration explicitly targets “Sanctuary” cities such as Philadelphia, and it has stripped young people, refugees, asylees, and other populations from conditional relief programs like Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and DACA. Asylum law, even when applied to its full extent, does not protect the lives of people who have been displaced from their countries of origin by violence and poverty exacerbated by U.S. foreign policy. Las deportaciones continúan causando estragos en las comunidad inmigrantes mientras la Administración de Trump ha incrementado los arrestos de inmigrantes por el 45%. La administracion federal explicitamente ataca a las ciudades “Santuario” como Filadelfia, y ha robado a lxs jóvenes, refugiadxs, recipientes de asilo, y otras poblaciones de programas de relieve condicional como el TPS y DACA. Las leyes de asilo, aun cuando son bien aplicadas, no protegen las vidas de las personas que han sido desplazadas de sus países de origen por la violencia y la pobreza exacerbada por la política exterior de los Estados Unidos.
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  • Repeal the Jones Act, It's a Moral Obligation
    We urge you to dismantle one of the most unjust laws that perpetuate the inequality of Puerto Ricans as American citizens and continue to dehumanize them as colonized people. As people of faith, our sacred texts morally bind us to fight against unjust laws that oppress our fellow human being. As an elected official, you are morally bound to end the Jones Act, the unjust law strangling the economic autonomy of the People of Puerto Rico. Please take note of Isaiah 10:1, which states: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights, and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people…” Though Puerto Rico has a per capita income of $18,000--half that of Mississippi, the poorest state in our union--its cost of living is 13% higher than that of 325 urban areas across the U.S. This is a direct result of the Jones Act’s protectionist stranglehold on the Puerto Rican economy. The number of Puerto Ricans leaving Puerto Rico to the U.S. since Hurricane Maria is at 150,000, and that number is expected to rise to 500,000 by the end of 2018. This mass exodus of Puerto Ricans are arriving at our houses of worship. They are a people of deep faith, but are also attuned to the economic injustice our government is inflicting on their families members back on the island. The same resilience that drives them to our pews will drive them to the polls in your district in the next coming election. We ask you do justice for our fellow Puerto Ricans by taking the following three actions: i. Rescind the Jones Act ii. Cancel Puerto Rico’s immoral debt iii. Commit to approving federal resources to rebuild Puerto Rico. Thousands will be marching on Sunday, November 19 in Washington D.C. in the Unity March for Puerto Rico to remind congress that Puerto Rico is America too. Signed, The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church The Rev. Dr. Damaris Whittaker Senior Minister, Fort Washington Collegiate Church
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  • Health Care for All: Let’s Fix This
    We are people of many faiths and spiritual practices. We are clergy, teachers, lawyers, health professionals, workers, students, artists and activists. We are every race, gender, age and ability, from every corner of the country, united in a moral movement to protect 32 million of our brothers and sisters who will lose health care if this assault on the Affordable Care Act continues unchecked. Our many sacred scriptures urge us to care for the vulnerable, to feed and clothe the poor, to liberate those who are captive, and to heal the sick. The prophet Isaiah said it this way: If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday… you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. (Isaiah 58:10) Although white people made up the biggest group of newly insured Americans under the ACA, with 9 million new people gaining coverage, people of color also benefited dramatically from provisions in the ACA, including an expansion of Medicaid that provided health care subsidies for many low-income people. The ACA began the long work of shrinking the racial health coverage gap. Three million African Americans and 4 million Latinos — the minority group most likely to lack health insurance — accessed coverage through the ACA. Other marginalized groups, such as LGBTQ people, did as well. It allowed same-sex families to apply for joint coverage. It also removed lifetime caps on care for chronic conditions, such as HIV. Our faith compels us to witness for all on the margins. We know the ACA is not perfect. In considerable measure, this is because over twenty states sabotaged the ACA by refusing to expand Medicaid. Its primary shortcoming is that it needs to be transformed into a single payer system with universal healthcare for all. Still, taking health care away from millions who currently have it can’t be the answer. For every million people without access to health care, five thousand people will die needlessly — not because God called them home, but because those entrusted by God with the responsibility of governance failed to defend the widow, the orphan and the poor, and instead succumbed to the temptations of greed. As people of faith, we invite you into our moral movement. We pray your conscience will give you ears to hear the voices of the vulnerable, and courage to do what is right and just for the people you serve. In Solidarity, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis In partnership with: Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei Lisa Sharon Harper Macky Alston Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño Rev. Peter Goodwin Heltzel Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock Rev. Robin Tanner Rabbi Sharon Brous Sr. Simone Campbell Rabbi Stephanie Kolin Valarie Kaur Bishop William Barber II Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III
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  • Pledge to Watch the CARE National Broadcast Online
    At some point in our lives, we will all need care. This need is growing; the U.S. elder population will double over the next two decades and our system is unprepared for this elder boom. In-home care work is one of the most affordable and desired long-term care solutions available yet this work is often unheralded and severely undervalued. Many families struggle to access and afford the highly skilled care they so desperately need. The situation is untenable. The stakes are high. We need a new way forward. Start by joining others around the nation who will be watching CARE. Want to join the CARE National Watch Party Initiative? Sign up to join or host a party: https://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/calendars/care-documentary-watch-party
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  • An open letter to clergy who prayed with Donald Trump
    I asked your Lord and mine this question as I was jailed last week for preaching the gospel that every life is precious to God. I had to ask: where are my fellow evangelicals now? And I heard the prophet Amos, echoing through the valley of history: For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Amos 5:12) The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. (James 5:4) I remembered what Frederick Douglass said about our faith after our denominations splintered over the moral question of slavery and the nation stood on the brink of Civil War: Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference. My brothers and sister, I do not single you out because your position is unique. You inherited a heresy, and you are not alone in perpetuating its cruel errors. But in our present crisis, you have publicly embraced a president and a party that embody the abuses of power that the Biblical prophets decried. Millions of people have been led astray by your error, and the whole world is now reaping the consequences. I single you out because the people I know and serve literally cannot afford the cost of your willful blindness. I pen this letter as I stand in support of another group of clergy called to nonviolent direct action against the cruel attempt to withdraw healthcare from the poor and others. I also write to you in faith and in love because I know that redemption is possible — we all raise our voices and sing the words penned by a reformed slave trader, “I once was lost but now am found / Was blind but now I see.” I have watched the sons and daughters of slaveholders work alongside the daughters and sons of enslaved people to build a new and vibrant moral movement. I have prayed with people who decided to follow Jesus when they heard you preach years ago but are now following Jesus to jail because they know this is what faithfulness requires. I write because you have celebrated your unprecedented influence in this administration and the time has come to use it. In prayer and hope, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II Senior Pastor, Greeleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) President, Repairers of the Breach
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  • A Moral Call To Defend Healthcare
    All of our faith traditions teach that healthcare is a moral issue. To care for another human being is to care for God in the Jewish tradition because God’s image is stamped on each human person. Christians know that Jesus healed the sick in his earthly ministry and taught his followers that they care for him when they care for the sick. Because of the Prophet Mohammed’s commitment to healthcare, the world’s first public hospitals were started in Muslim countries. When President Trump recently toured the cradles of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, he visited nations that guarantee universal healthcare to all of their citizens. People of conscience who do not belong to a particular faith tradition recognize that, among the developed nations of the modern world, the United States is the exception because we do not guarantee healthcare to all of our citizens. We face a moral crisis not only because healthcare is a moral issue, but also because the injustice of some people receiving the very best care while their neighbors die without access to healthcare is immoral. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman." Persistent inequities in income, education, civil rights and access to the ballot are moral issues because they impact the quality of life for people in this nation. But Dr. King saw what many who risk losing coverage today know all to well: without access to healthcare, life itself is at risk for many Americans. Access to healthcare, literally a matter of life and death, is currently before the Senate which you lead. We write as fellow Americans to demand immediate action to save the Affordable Care Act and to expand access to healthcare in the United States of America. And we pledge moral resistance to any policy that would deny access to us and our fellow Americans. Forward together, not one step back! Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II Repairers of the Breach, Moral Revival Movement Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove School for Conversion
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  • The Open Internet is Under Attack. We Vow to Protect It.
    Two years ago, millions of us rose up in a movement to protect the open Internet, and we won. The open Internet is a space where all of us -- no matter the content of our beliefs, color of our skin, size of our wallets -- have an equal voice. We will not let President Trump's appointee overturn net neutrality protections. In this critical time, we need net neutrality now more than ever to fight and defend the future of our democracy. Our marches, vigils, petitions, and calls to action depend on organizing on an open Internet. So we vow to continue to champion faith and moral voices in the fight to protect the open Internet as a moral imperative. We, as people of many faiths and backgrounds, ask lawmakers to do the right thing as a moral imperative.
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  • 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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