• Theological Declaration on Christian Faith and White Supremacy
    When the city council of Charlottesville, Virginia, decided to remove the Robert E. Lee memorial, a scourge of white supremacy, terrorism, and nationalism ignited that resulted in the violent death of Heather Heyer. 33 other people were beaten and injured. White nationalism and white supremacy are neither new nor rare in our time. Violent attempts to declare white male supremacy on U.S. soil date to before African captivity and the Pequot Massacre. While the abolitionist movement declared the right of all humanity to be free, since The Civil War there have been few occasions more significant to counter the religious and social mindsets that laid the foundations of white supremacy and to proclaim the right of all humanity to receive equal protection and provision of the law. Thus, this declaration was inspired by the events in Charlottesville, but it was equally inspired by the events of Tulsa, OK — and Wounded Knee, and Manzanar, and Birmingham, and Delano, and Laramie, and Ferguson, and Oak Creek, and Standing Rock. Our task here is twofold–to acknowledge and repent of the Church’s complicity in perpetuating white male supremacy in all of its forms and to hear and to heed the call to return to the truth of Scripture, fully revealed in the person of Jesus. In the Spirit of the Declaration of Barmen, as people of Christian faith today, please “Test the spirits to see if they are of God” and “If you find that we are speaking contrary to Scripture, then do not listen to us! But if you find that we are taking our stand upon Scripture, then let no fear or temptation keep you from treading with us the path of faith and obedience.” Since ancient times, Christianity has lived in the intersection of conquest and religion. It was counterculture religion that set them on the right path. The church has always stumbled toward the promise of scripture. At times it has done well. Other times it has suffered under the weight of white nationalism. Our greatest hope is that as we aspire to grow into these Scriptures, we will reject the hatred and violence prevalent in this hour and work toward the renewal of the Church and society. Read the Full Declaration Here: https://www.thedeclaration.net/read/
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  • National Call to Conscience
    The nation’s response to events here in Charlottesville makes clear that we need moral leadership in every community. As followers of God we call all people to admit that white supremacy is a structure of evil, injustice, and oppression. We as people of faith must engage in the long, deep work of dismantling white supremacy in all of its forms. We must confront and counteract white supremacy within ourselves, within our communities, and within legal, political and religious systems. White supremacy is a systemic sin that is not unique to Charlottesville or to the South. It is woven into the DNA of the United States. We call upon you to partner with us in the holy task of renouncing and confronting white supremacy and dismantling the white nationalist agenda in your own community. Together, with God, we can restore God’s vision of a world where all are welcomed and affirmed in their full humanity. Let us be clear that we will not allow our leaders to condemn hate while they continue to condone the policies and practices of white nationalism. Opposing white supremacy is not a partisan issue. All people of faith and conscience must commit to the deep work of justice. All elected leaders at local, state, and national levels have the power and moral obligation to enact policies which uplift, protect, and provide for the most marginalized in our society. As an act of choosing love over fear we call upon all people, especially our faith and public leaders to: Choose to stop racist voter suppression and gerrymandering by fully reinstating the Voting Rights Act. Choose to oppose the RAISE Act, defend DACA, and refuse funding for a border wall. Choose to work for comprehensive criminal justice reform and reject the “law and order” culture which has cast black and brown people as the enemy of America. Choose to condemn political rhetoric and policies that target the LGBTQ, Jewish, Immigrant, and Islamic communities. Choose to support access to health care, affordable housing, jobs, and equal access to goods and services for all people. Signed in solidarity, Brittany Caine-Conley, Congregate C’Ville Lead Organizer, Charlottesville Rev. Seth Wispelwey, Directing Minister, Restoration Village Arts, Charlottesville Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin, Congregation Beth Israel, Charlottesville Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas, St. Paul’s Memorial Church, Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Brenda Brown-Grooms, New Beginnings Christian Community, Charlottesville Rev. Liz Forney, First Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville Deacon Don Gathers, First Baptist Church, Charlottesville Rev. Phil Woodson, First United Methodist Church, Charlottesville Rev. Robert Lewis, Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church, Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Jeanita Richardson, Charlottesville Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey, Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ, Charlottesville Ann Marie Smith, Grace Church Red Hill and New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care-Charlottesville Rev. Diana Brawley, Counseling Ministry of Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Jan Rivero, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, Charlottesville Sharon Beckman-Brindley, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville Adam Slate, President, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church-Unitarian Universalist, Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Harry Kennon, First United Methodist Church, Charlottesville Sheikha Latifa Till, Sufi Ruhaniat International, Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Michael Cheuk, Charlottesville Elizabeth Shillue, Charlottesville Friends Meeting Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President & Sr. Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, School for Conversion
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  • Faith Leaders Remain Vigilant After Cancellation of Anti-Muslim Rallies
    WE STAND TOGETHER AGAINST HATE While some right-wing extremists seek to take the kind of hate we saw in Charlottesville and target Americans who are Muslim, people of faith and good conscience must consistently and forcefully reject bigotry and defend our values. We, the undersigned clergy and faith leaders from diverse communities and traditions, reject the white supremacist and nationalist ideology driving far-right extremists. We applaud the fact that ACT for America's rallies that were scheduled to take place on September 9 have been cancelled. While the rallies have been cancelled, ACT for America is still planning a day of online action. Hateful rhetoric has dire consequences, and we will continue to speak out against hatred and bigotry, whether it is enacted in public or online. These events make a mockery of our Constitution’s religious freedom protections. We are stronger when we come together as Americans of diverse faith backgrounds, and weaker when we let politicians and hate groups divide us. Americans who are Muslim deserve the same dignity, fairness and respect as all Americans. We continue to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to uphold and further our nation's highest ideals. Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director, National Religious Campaign Against Torture; Chair, Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign Kathryn Lohre, Assistant to the Presiding Bishop; Executive, Ecumenical & Inter-Religious Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, Associate General Secretary, National Council of Churches Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, PhD, Director, Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives; Associate Professor of Religious Studies Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Rev. Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, Racial Justice Team Leader, Christian Reformed Church in North America Rev. Dr. Reginald Smith, Director, Offices of Race Relations and Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America Rev. Dr. Steven Timmermans, Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America Rev. Richard Killmer, Special Representative, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America; Co-Founder, Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign
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  • VP Pence: Publicly Declare That White Supremacy Has No Place in the White House
    I write to you as a person of faith who has given my life to serve my Lord Jesus Christ. I know you also proclaim a deep Christian faith and it is in the spirit of our shared faith that I call upon you to act with the courage of your convictions in this moment. You are well aware of the horrific events in Charlottesville that injured dozens and killed one young woman, Heather Heyer. Her death is the direct result of the rallying of people who call themselves the Alt Right but who are in fact the modern day manifestations of the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and white supremacists. As you are also aware, President Trump has equivocated in his condemnation of the events of Charlottesville, saying that there are 'good people on both sides'. These organized groups of men bearing torches chanted Nazi slogans from World War II. These are not good people who share American values, and this false moral equivalency has emboldened and encouraged the leaders of the Alt Right who are planning more rallies and threatening more communities in the coming days. While you have condemned the violence you have refused to specifically denounce President Trump and even recently confirmed that you "Stand with the President" and his "both sides" argument. Your position is extremely hurtful to all those who have felt the brutal effects of Nazis, the Klan and white supremacy and betrays the American values and Christian values of dignity, justice and equality that I believe you hold dear. There can be only one moral position when it comes to condemning racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy. Take the moral convictions of your Christian faith and publicly declare that white supremacy is repulsive, counter to all this country stands for, and has no place in the White House; condemn and affix blame solely on the shoulders of these white supremacy ideologues for inciting hate. You must be clear that there can be no moral ambiguity when it comes to these groups and their fixation on white Christian supremacy in America. We stand by to make faith leaders available to you from around the country to provide counsel. Rev. Dr. Noel Castellanos President, Christian Community Development Association Board Member: National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and World Vision Auburn Senior Fellow
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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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  • #StandWithBearsEars: Stand with Tribes.
    Our national monuments, parks, and other public lands serve as the storytellers of our country. Yet, only in recent decades have they include the stories of communities of color. Bears Ears National Monument is the first and only National Monument primarily devoted to highlighting the spiritual, cultural, and natural heritage of tribes. Yet, it is the first national monument being threatened by the Trump Administration, followed by threats to dozens of others designated after 1996.
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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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  • When hate targets our neighbors, we stand together in solidarity
    Our current political leadership has openly targeted, marginalized and discriminated against minority communities. It has been just weeks since the Trump Administration entered office, and a number of faith communities have already been shaken by their actions and orders. Our Muslim and Jewish neighbors have experienced ongoing threats of violence on our streets and in their places of worship. This is not acceptable. Yet sometimes we become so focused on the resistance efforts that we forget to express our affirmation and solidarity with those who are being marginalized. As people around the world seek to engage effectively, let us remember that in the context of incredible dehumanization, recognizing the humanity of one another is a powerful act of resistance. Affirming the dignity of the marginalized helps empower those who are being targeted, honors the diversity of our nation, and strengthens our own local communities. We recognize that our sisters and brothers in faith are enduring oppression, and we stand with them in solidarity. By signing this letter, I commit to serving as an ally for those who are being oppressed, to reach out to my Jewish and Muslim neighbors, and to #LoveMyNeighbor.
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  • Faith Leaders to President Trump: Don’t Use Religion to Discriminate
    The religious freedom upon which our nation was founded has allowed our country’s diverse religious landscape to flourish. The draft executive order flies in the face of that rich diversity by enshrining one religious perspective--on marriage, gender identity, health care, and the role of houses of worship in partisan politics--into law, above all others. This is neither what religious freedom means in the eyes of the law, nor what religion itself means to millions of Americans of faith. The religious freedom of individuals and organizations, including that of clergy and houses of worship, is already protected by the First Amendment and federal law. Additionally, we as clergy and faith leaders, stand by the right of anyone to hold beliefs that may differ from our own. But for many of us, supporting LGBTQ individuals and families is a principle of our faith, and that needs to be respected as well. Furthermore, freedom of religion guarantees us the right to hold any belief we choose and to act on our religious beliefs, but it does not allow us to harm others in the name of those beliefs. We are appalled by the widespread discrimination that this draft order would unleash across all areas of life--including in some cases with taxpayer dollars--on our congregants, our neighbors, our families, so many Americans we may never personally know, and indeed even many of us personally. As people of deep faith committed to a country that supports robust religious expression, and in the spirit of equality and justice, we urge you to return to the true meaning of religious freedom. We must never allow this precious freedom to be used to discriminate against broad swaths of our nation, including LGBTQ people, women, and children in foster care. We urge you to refrain from issuing this executive order or any substantively similar policies on their own, or as amendments to existing executive orders. Sincerely, Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life, Washington, D.C. Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Director, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Washington, D.C.
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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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  • 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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