• Tell Congress Religious Liberty Doesn't Mean LGBT Discrimination
    The religious liberty upon which our nation was founded has allowed our country’s diverse religious landscape to flourish. Recently, however, what we have seen promoted as defending religious liberty too often reflects one particular religious perspective that does not at all respect that diversity of faith and belief, or the intent of our Founders. We believe that the First Amendment Defense Act does not respect the spirit of religious liberty—nor does it reflect fundamental values of treating all people with fairness and equality—and we therefore strongly oppose this legislation. Further, though people of faith are not a monolith and all are not in agreement on whether their faith sanctions LGBT relationships, we cannot in good conscience support legislation that favors one religious viewpoint over another and in the process discriminates against LGBT people, single mothers and unmarried couples. The religious freedom of individuals and organizations, including clergy and houses of worship, who object to same-sex marriage are already protected by the First Amendment and federal law—and we, as clergy and faith leaders, continue to stand by the right of others to hold beliefs that may differ from our own while recognizing that for many of us, supporting LGBT individuals and families is a principle of our faith. Rather than protecting the First Amendment, this legislation actually undermines true religious liberty. The religious liberty on which our nation was founded guarantees us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs — but it does not allow us to harm or discriminate against others or to infringe on the religious beliefs of others. By opening the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers and unmarried couples, this legislation does nothing to protect our rights as people of diverse faith traditions and it has the potential to do considerable harm in the name of religion. For example, were this bill to become law it would: • allow an organization to accept federal funds to run a homeless shelter or drug treatment program but then turn away from that program LGBT people or anyone who has a sexual relationship outside of marriage; • allow hospitals to refuse dying patients visitation from their spouse or designated support person; and • permit a government employee to deny services they have a duty to provide, including Veterans or Social Security benefits to a surviving member of a same-sex couple. We are also troubled that this bill is so broad it could even prevent the federal government from enforcing longstanding laws designed to combat discrimination and promote equality. For example, it would let commercial landlords violate fair housing laws by refusing housing to a single mother based on the landlord’s religious beliefs and allow businesses to violate family medical leave laws by refusing to let a gay or lesbian employee care for a sick spouse. As people of deep faith committed to a country that supports diverse, robust, and healthy religious expression and in the spirit of equality and justice, we urge you to oppose the First Amendment Defense Act.
    3,790 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Stosh Cotler Picture
  • Tell Senator Mark Kirk: Protect migrant child refugees fleeing violence and poverty
    Imagine you are a child seeking relief from violence and extreme poverty. You’ve left the only home you’ve ever known. You make it to America. You are tired, hungry, and disoriented. What happens next? Thank God you are covered by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which says you must be transferred into the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within a period of 72 hours. It also protects your basic rights to due process and ensures that you have a day in court to share your story. For migrant children from Mexico, who have not been granted the same protections under TVPRA, their arrival marks the beginning of another series of traumas. In a short span of hours, these children are “screened” by inexperienced border patrol agents, who decide whether or not the child deserves to stay. Kids as young as 5 years old are expected to coherently describe the violence and abuse they have experienced to these agents, who look just like the corrupt and violent police authorities they saw at home. Studies [1,2] reveal that 96% of Mexican children are summarily deported to the countries they escaped, despite many of them having legitimate claims or basis for relief. If the TVPRA is rolled back, this could be the plight of ALL migrant child refugees looking for safety and relief at our borders. As the situation of Mexican children shows, we cannot afford to rollback the TVPRA! OUR VALUES We at the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) are part of the Unaccompanied Children’s Interfaith Ministry of Chicago. We witness the children’s stories, prayers, and dreams, and are compelled to protect them. Our scriptures command us to care for widows and orphans and we are driven by the demands of our faith to protect our neighbors in need, especially the little ones. Our values are also backed by international policy: The U.S. is required to provide protections and due process to refugees who are arriving at our borders, especially when they are children. Our representatives need to be reminded: Without the TVPRA, the U.S. will be endangering the safety of refugee migrant children and will be in grave violation of international conventions. TAKE ACTION This year, fewer children are expected to arrive in search of refuge, but the TVPRA remains under attack. This is unacceptable. Senator Mark Kirk has shown tremendous leadership in human rights issues before. Most recently, he co-formed the Senate Human Rights Caucus. Ask Senator Mark Kirk to be a champion for unaccompanied children! Tell him: Stand by these children and oppose any efforts and provisions aimed at circumventing the TVPRA and the right of migrant refugee children to due process and safety. We must show compassion and love towards unaccompanied children. [1] https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/120214-expeditedremoval_0.pdf [2]http://americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/UNHCR_UAC_Monitoring_Report_Final_June_2014.pdf
    937 of 1,000 Signatures
    Created by Lissette Castillo
  • We support the appeal to replace Archbishop Cordileone
    In a letter published in the San Francisco Chronicle April 16, 2015, Catholics appealed to Pope Francis to replace the archbishop with a leader true to Catholic values. In response to the ad, the archbishops’s reply was "The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for the Catholic Community of San Francisco...They do not.” We want Pope Francis to know that YES THEY DO speak for us! "Archbishop Cordileone has fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance." say leaders. "He has forced Archdiocesan high school teachers to accept a mean-spirited morality code that violates individual consciences, as well as California labor laws He supports a pastor at Star of the Sea parish who marginalizes women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service, contrary to your desire to expand women’s roles in the Catholic Church. He has isolated himself from our community, and brushes aside advice from his priests. The Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow, under Archbishop Cordileone’s supervision." Full text of the letter is available at: http://bit.ly/1b1ZLhm The story has been covered at: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Prominent-Catholics-call-on-pope-to-oust-S-F-6202539.php Get involved by following the campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theyspeakforme?fref=nf
    1,146 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • Girls Belong at the Altar! Support Altar girls in San Francisco parish
    It is discriminatory and it is unfair: As one high-ranking Church official put it: “...excluding girls from being altar servers is 'invidious discrimination' and to do this in this day and age in our culture has no justification." http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/san-francisco-priests-council-debates-pr-disaster-parish The decision was based on a flawed interpretation of Church teachings: Serving at mass is not a priestly function, and it is not a recruiting tool for the priesthood. http://cta-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/LETTER-for-petition.pdf The ban “discredits the value of girls’ service in the Church”: Every other parish in the archdiocese allows altar girls, and we do not want Fr. Illo’s ban to set a precedent for other parishes. As one priest from a neighboring parish says: "For one San Francisco parish to choose to limit altar servers to males only is just not their business. It hurts us all when it argues archaic theology that discredits the value of girls' service in the Church.” http://www.siprep.org/page.cfm?p=9377 Read more about Star of the Sea Parish and the ban on altar girls at:  http://www.welovestarsf.com/faq.html
    2,009 of 3,000 Signatures
    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • Discrimination and fear don't belong in our schools - Sign Now!
    San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has proposed that teachers and staff at Bay Area high schools within the Archdiocese accept “morality clauses” that condemn homosexuality as contrary to “natural law,” contraception as “intrinsically evil,” ordination of female priests as impossible, and use of assisted reproductive technology as a “grave evil.” Every staff member is expected to “conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths.” The Archbishop is also attempting to reclassify all Catholic school employees, including teachers, administrative staff, custodial and food service staff, as “ministers,” a move that could eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections for those staff members. Students need a safe space free of judgment and fear. Not only is the move completely out of step with modern Catholic teachings and beliefs, but we could lose some of our best teachers and staff.
    7,247 of 8,000 Signatures
    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • Tell President Obama: You left out the migrant children and families
    On 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,
    381 of 400 Signatures
    Created by Deborah Lee
  • Pope Francis: Support U.S. Nuns & Remove the Unjust Mandate Against LCWR
    The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing 80% of the 57,000 nuns in the United States, remains under scrutiny from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In the spring of 2012, the CDF issued a statement accusing LCWR of promoting "radical feminist themes" and "corporate dissent," causing outrage among Catholics around the globe. On April 30, 2014, the Vatican chief of doctrine, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, accused U.S. nuns of not abiding to the harsh and unjust reform agenda imposed on them by the Vatican. In addition, the document personally attacked renowned theologian Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ. The unjust mandate forced upon the nuns, which threatens their works of justice, is a prime example of how the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church misuses its power to diminish the voice of women. Catholics deeply value the prophetic witness of women religious and appreciate their commitment to social justice. The behavior that Cardinal Gerhard Müller recently exhibited toward the leaders of the LCWR and Dr. Elizabeth Johnson CSJ is deeply concerning. It is time to stop bullying Catholic women leaders. For more information: http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/head-vatican-doctrinal-congregation-confronts-lcwr-noncooperation or www.nunjustice.org
    17,495 of 20,000 Signatures
    Created by NunJusticeProject www.nunjustice.org
  • Stand With The Nuns in Support of Birth Control
    These nuns need you. A few weeks ago, Sister Donna Quinn of the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) asked me to help spread the word that their coalition of more than 2000 Roman Catholic sisters has endorsed providing birth control through the Affordable Care Act. Because of their faith, they believe “that women should not be singled out by any organization or group through its refusal to insure a woman’s reproductive needs.” The nuns are bravely speaking out just as those on the right want us to believe that birth control use is immoral. In just a few weeks, the Supreme Court will be hearing two cases where company owners who don’t support contraception personally are denying their employees insurance coverage for birth control as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The lawyers for these corporations (one of which is Hobby Lobby) go so far as to call birth control use sinful and immoral. To make it worse, the owners are claiming that including contraceptives in health care violates their company’s religious freedom. Sister Donna and the nuns at NCAN know differently, and they're bravely standing up to their hierarchy. But they need us to stand with them -- to say that as people of faith we support universal access to contraception. We believe women should be able to make personal decisions about their families, their bodies, their sexuality, and their health – not their employers. And we want to make clear that the sin is not a person using birth control. The sin is denying women the right and the means to plan their families. Indeed, it is precisely because life is sacred that we support the intentional and moral use of contraception. We know that religious freedom means that each person has the right to exercise their own religious beliefs; religious freedom cannot mean that an individual or a corporation gets to impose their religious beliefs on their employees. Please join us and take a faith-filled stand with the nuns for women, birth control, and real religious freedom.
    12,368 of 15,000 Signatures
    Created by Debra Haffner
  • Urgent Vote To Fight Child Sex Trafficking In NY
    It is a basic fact of the moral universe that girls and boys should not be sold for sex. But in our state of New York, thousands of children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation each year. New York, we have a responsibility to do better. This week, our legislators in Albany have one last opportunity to help fight this unconscionable practice before the legislative session ends next Thursday. It's now or never to pass the "Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act," which it the result of years of collaboration among defense attorneys, prosecutors, service providers, and survivors to identify gaps in New York State’s anti-trafficking laws. Right now we can add our faith-based voices to put urgent pressure on Sheldon Silver to protect our children. Girls like Ruth. After being raped by her mother's boyfriend at age 12, Ruth turned to an "older boyfriend" for love and protection. This "boyfriend" turned out to be a pimp, who prostituted and beat her if she didn’t make nightly quotas. Ruth was eventually arrested, but because of deficiencies in New York State’s anti-trafficking law, Ruth was treated like a criminal while her trafficker and buyers were not held accountable. Today, with great grace and support, Ruth is in school and rebuilding the life that was stolen from her. To make sure victims like Ruth can get their lives back, and to hold criminals like her pimp accountable, here are the key provisions in the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act that our leaders need to support: New York State MUST • make the penalties for sex and labor trafficking fit the severity of these brutal crimes. Sex traffickers are serial offenders who profit from the repeated rapes of their victims. • provide 16- and 17-year-olds accused of prostitution with the services they need to rebuild their lives, instead of a criminal record that keeps them vulnerable to exploitation. • eliminate the requirement to prove coercion in prosecutions of pimps for the sex trafficking of children under eighteen. As New Yorkers of faith and conscience, we can each do our part to ensure that young girls and boys aren't being abused in the commercial sex industry in our backyard. Right now, please sign and share the petition before our legislators in Albany meet this week to decide how to prevent and protect victims of sex-trafficking.
    703 of 800 Signatures
    Created by Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson
  • An Open Letter to Doug Jones
    Please know that just as we campaigned for you, we want to work with you to ensure that the voices of all Alabamians, particularly those who have historically been marginalized, are represented during your tenure in the Senate. Again, congratulations on a very hopeful victory. Let’s continue working together to take the next step to uplift all Alabamians. Sincerely,
    256 of 300 Signatures
    Created by R.G. Wilson-Lyons
  • Investigate Bishop Dewane
    Since 2006, Catholics in Southwest Florida have been suffering under Bishop Dewane and asking for an investigation into his misconduct. He has intimidated and banished workers and his violent outbursts and unpredictable anger have become a pattern which, in the name of justice, demands an investigation. After years of letter writing and local action, Catholics in the diocese are writing again to Pope Francis, and asking for the support of others around the country. (For more information on the pastors and parishioners leading the campaign, visit www.cta-usa.org/SWFL)
    2,028 of 3,000 Signatures
    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
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