• End the ban on devout Sikhs in the military
    Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi is an American hero who served bravely in Afghanistan as a doctor, earning a bronze star. But he was only allowed in the military in the first place after petitioning for two years for a special accommodation. Today, in America, turbaned Sikhs are effectively barred from military service. Although the U.S. military technically permits soldiers to wear turbans, yarmulkes, and certain other articles of faith, they may only do so after requesting a special exemption from their commanding officer. This process is often long and laborious and essentially requires Sikhs and members of other religious traditions to choose between faith and military service. Major Kalsi is standing up to the military’s policy, and we, as people of many faiths and backgrounds, stand with him. President Obama, we respectfully call on your Administration to give turbaned Sikh American an equal opportunity to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. As people of faith and moral conscious, we speak out against the U.S. military’s policy hindering Sikh Americans and others from serving military duty. “[A]sking a person to choose between religion and country, that’s not who we are as a nation,” said Major Kalsi when he told his remarkable story to the New York Times. “We’re better than that. We can be Sikhs and soldiers at the same time.” African-Americans fought to desegregate military units. Women fought to overcome combat prohibitions. Under your leadership, LGBTQ people successfully fought the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Now, we follow the lead of the Sikh Coalition and SIkh Americans across the nation –  to call for an end to the presumptive ban on devout Sikh soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces. As the Sikh American community heals from Oak Creek – the largest hate-based mass shooting in recent U.S. history – now is the time to end a policy that undermines their status as equal Americans. May all patriotic Americans – regardless of race, gender, orientation, or religion – be able to serve the nation they love.
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  • The MoveMeant-Ending gun violence one person at a time
    This 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.
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  • Open a Civil Rights Case For Trayvon Martin
    The 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.
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  • You're Invited: Immigration Roundtable on Friday, July 19th
    This summer, the time is upon us to call for compassionate immigration reform that keeps families together and creates a pathway to citizenship. As faith leaders, we have a unique and critical role to play in creating urgent moral pressure for a system that respects the sacredness of the family, and preserves the dignity of each human being. At the Immigration Roundtable luncheon on July 19th, we'll share stories and strategies for how to heal our broken immigration system, and preserve the unity of families being torn apart right in our own backyards. In particular, we're blessed to be joined by Carl Ruby of the national group Bibles, Badges, and Business, who will lead us – Christian leaders, law enforcement, and business owners – in a roundtable discussion. RSVP here and we'll reserve you a spot at the table. Carl Ruby - Bibles, Badges, and Business Charles Knox - Pastor, Iglesia Nueva Vida Isabel Taylor - Horse farm owner and Multi-Cultural Liaison for LFUCG (Lexington-Fayette Urban County) Government Maria Karen Lopez - Kentucky Dreamer Coalition
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  • Colorado Immigration Reform Buy-cott
    Our immigration system is broken, serving neither immigrant families nor the interests of our country, and fixing it is an economic and a moral imperative.The Jewish collective memory speaks to our people as immigrants from the moment Abraham was called to “Go forth from your homeland," and down through the millennia. Today millions of people live, work and raise families in the United States without the protection of basic civil rights or labor protections, without access to many services, and in constant fear of persecution and deportation. Now we have the opportunity to right decades of wrongs. Bend the Arc is targeting our efforts where we can make the most difference, as social justice advocates, and as Jews. What we are doing: Bend The Arc, in partnership with Colorado Progressive Coalition, NAACP, CIRC, Rights For All People and the Main Street Alliance, is organizing a state-wide immigration reform buy-cott from August 5 to August 11, as a way of demonstrating strong support and raising awareness for the immigration reform legislation currently making its way through Congress. HOW YOU CAN JOIN: To join us, 1st – sign this petition to Rep. Coffman by filling out the form at the right. It'll help us show widespread support for immigration reform and keep in touch with you about important campaign updates. 2nd – shop at our buy-cott business partner, Fat Frog Cafe (see map below). And 3rd – share this page with your friends, family, and networks using the Facebook, Twitter and Email buttons on the left. What is a buy-cott? A buy-cott is the opposite of boycott! Whereas in a boycott, consumers are asked to avoid spending money in a certain way, in a buy-cott consumers are urged to do just the opposite: spend money at local businesses that are adding their voice in support of the immigration reform effort. Why is immigration reform a key issue in the 6th congressional district? The 6th congressional district is a diverse district, home to over 54,000 immigrants. Over half of these immigrants are citizens of the U.S. and are eligible to vote. The remaining immigrant residents are active members of their community, families, and business owners, and are impacted by the current, broken immigration system. We need to support a pathway for those remaining immigrants who want to live in the land the have adopted. The current system inhumanely tears apart families, robs our communities of brilliant young minds who had no say in the decision to immigrate, and prevents talented individuals from social and economic contributions. Let Representative Mike Coffman know we support immigration reform that treats people with humanity by signing this petition and visiting Fat Frog Cafe the week of August 5. Buy-cott Businesses: Fat Frog Cafe, Littleton https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari&ie=UTF-8&q=fat+frog+cafe&fb=1&gl=us&hq=fat+frog+cafe&hnear=0x876c588622ba2b9b:0x8441e0688ba2e678,Aurora,+CO&cid=0,0,13971435199263799468&ei=SqjuUYPXKMKiyAH_mIHIBw&ved=0CDAQ_BIwAA
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  • 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.
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  • Rainbow Door
    This spring a rising trend of hate crimes toward the LGBTQ Community in NYC has led to an atmosphere of fear in our neighborhoods. Given the fact that most of the homophobic rhetoric in our country comes from faith communities (or justifies itself through the faith lens) it becomes particularly important that open and affirming communities of faith stand up and be counted. Not only do we want these communities to visibly identify themselves as "safe sanctuaries" to the LGBTQ Community, we want their voices to be heard in the wider faith dialogue in this country. STATEMENT OF INTENT from the RAINBOW DOOR, A FAITH COALITION Violence against people perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) has existed for millennia. Recent anti-LGBTQ violence in New York City is the latest chapter in this sorry history of bigotry, oppression and discrimination. Urgent action is needed to put a stop to the growing number of targeted bashings and murders in our community. Religion is complicit in this violence. For too long, fearful religious rhetoric has been used to attack the LGBTQ community and to justify discrimination against its members. The Rainbow Door Faith Coalition strongly affirms the right of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification, to be free of the burden of prejudice in their practice of religion and in all other areas of their lives. We reject the antiquated dogma that LGBTQ people are "sinful" or that their so-called "lifestyle" is immoral or threatening to religion or society. We support full equality for LGBTQ persons and encourage respect for their relationships both inside and outside the spiritual traditions that we represent. We call upon faith leaders and communities to: — acknowledge that speech condemning LGBTQ persons is violent speech and, therefore, unacceptable. — encourage congregations and denominations to accept, affirm, and celebrate the whole identities of LGBTQ persons as gifts from God. — mark their buildings with the “Rainbow Door” symbol of solidarity and sanctuary. — exercise “Rainbow Door Safe Sanctuaries” practices, offering compassionate pastoral and congregational care to LGBTQ persons, not to convert or change, but to empower each person’s sense of wholeness and well-being, particularly in this current culture of anti-LGBTQ violence. — choose to hold themselves accountable to this pledge of safety through education of other faith leaders and communities, through reexamination of their beliefs, actions, and words that instigate violence, and through support for the LGBTQ population in general, as well as all marginalized populations within it. Our respective faiths call us to not only stand up for victims of direct violence and oppression, but to cooperatively work to transform violent religious rhetoric until all LGBTQ persons are safe inside and outside faith communities, not because of changing times, not because of shifting politics, but because our faith has commanded and will always command such truthful, anti-violent action. Endorsed by Judson Memorial Church Community Church of Syosset, UCC Middle Collegiate Church Church in the Village Brooklyn Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
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  • Justice for Sylvester "Jahsyl" Smith
    62 year old Vietnam Veteran and community activist Sylvester "Jahsyl" Smith has been a Rastafarian for nearly 40 years. After serving his country in the Vietnam War, he started religiously growing his hair and this year his dreadlocks were near his ankles. Shockingly and traumatically, in May, authorities at the Indiana Department of Corrections cut off Jahsyl's dreadlocks against his will. Knowing Jahsyl is a Rastafarian, authorities violated his First Amendment Right to Freedom of Religion. For many Rastafarians "shall no razor come upon his head...he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow." (Numbers 6:5). Now, Jahsyl is on a hunger strike for the cutting of his dreadlocks, but authorities in Indiana will not inform the family of his health status, and he is not allowed visitors. Jahsyl is a 62 year old man who went to college, served his country and his community. He was charged with criminal recklessness, but his crime was protecting his teen daughter and self on his property. What would justify authorities cutting his dreadlocks and degrading him, his religion, and his culture? After this traumatic experience and violation of his First Amendment rights, Jahsyl needs access to his family, clergy, and attorney. Please sign the petition to call on Warden Jim Wynn to give us peace and justice for Jahsyl.
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  • Fix Our Nation’s Schools, Pass ESEA
    Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together. Last authorized in 2002, ESEA is long overdue for revision. This is the largest federal program designed to improve education, particularly for disadvantaged students. The reauthorization of ESEA represents a great opportunity for a new vision and approach for providing a better education for millions of children. Not only is it a major piece of legislation for education policy, it’s a critical piece of the economic policy of our nation. Our children have waited long enough. Now’s the time to act. Congressional leaders must come together and fix our nation's public education system.
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  • Suspend Deportations & Stop Tearing Families Apart
    As Congress takes up the work of including the 11 million among us who call the US home but are yet to be fully included because of their immigration status, more than 1,100 people are deported - separated from their families and loved ones - each day that the debate goes forward. Now that a bi-partisan framework has been presented in Washington, it only makes sense to provide relief from the fearsome specter of deportation for those who would be included in the bill presented by both parties. A suspension of deportations while Congress considers immigration reform would make it possible for undocumented people to more fully participate in the civic process where their fate is being decided and move us down the road to citizenship and remove the barriers of deportation and unjust enforcement. Dear President Obama, In all our faith traditions we are taught to love our neighbor. Therefore, we applaud your leadership to see to the passage of immigration reform that would make the US a more welcoming nation and fully recognize the humanity of all those who call it home. Please use your authority to suspend deportations while Congress seeks immigration reform. We believe you have the moral responsibility to do what is in your power to keep families together and reduce the suffering caused by unjust deportation. Signed: Rev. Minerva Carcaño, Bishop of the Los Angeles Episcopal Area, California-Pacific Conference for the United Methodist Church and the official spokesperson for the United Methodist Council of Bishops on the issue of immigration Additional principal signers include: Rev. Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association Rabbi Sharon Brous, Founding Rabbi of IKAR Rev. Otis Moss III Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, Director of Clergy Organizing, PICO Network Rev. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church *Institutional affiliations are provided for identification purposes only This campaign was launched alongside the “Not One More Deportation” work with NDLON, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which improves the lives of day laborers in the United States. Learn more here: http://www.ndlon.org/en/about-us.
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  • Close Guantanamo
    In 2008, both major party candidates, you and John McCain, promised to close the prison at Guantanamo. Two days after your inauguration, you issued an executive order mandating that Guantanamo be shuttered within a year. Unfortunately, more than four years later, our government has not kept its commitment to close Guantanamo. Congress passed, and you signed, legislation placing restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo. This year, the Department of State shut down the office responsible for closing the prison. More recently, reports indicate that the military has requested almost $196 million to upgrade facilities at Guantanamo. In this time of austerity, instead of spending nearly $200 million to upgrade facilities at Guantanamo, our leaders should move forward with transferring detainees and closing the prison there. It is particularly troubling that the 86 cleared detainees remain imprisoned there – in many cases for years after they were cleared. The desperation and hopelessness felt by many of the detainees has recently sparked a hunger strike that is spreading among the detainees – highlighting the growing human tragedy of the detention center. Guantanamo Bay is a place where our government tortured prisoners, and it continues to be a place where many are detained indefinitely without trial. We believe that our government has a moral obligation to close the prison at Guantanamo. We hope that you share this belief and that you will act expeditiously to close Guantanamo.
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  • Demand Pat Robertson apologize for using Christianity to promote abuse of women
    CBN.com says that CBN and its partners "help proclaim the gospel in 139 countries and 62 languages to more than 265 million people." This is signifigicant reach and influence over the minds and hearts - and actions - of women and men. Not to mention the crony relationships Robertson has with men in positions of wealth and power around the world. The false "gospel" espoused by Robertson and CBN includes statements, teachings and advice that portray women 1) as second-class citizens, 2) as helpless slaves to the whims of dominant men, and 3) as responsible not only for causing their own abuse, but for 'fixing' the bad behavior of those who (falsely) have power and dominion over them by increasingly submitting to them. --Robertson's misogynistic worldview as taught to his followers is putting women and girls around the world in grave danger by promoting the inequality, oppression and degredation of women as (falsely) ordained by God and upheld by Christianity. It keeps the cycle of abuse in motion in homes and in communities, and gives it the (false) blessing of God. --Furthermore, his teachings propagate domestic and sexual violence against women and girls around the world by teaching that women should be silent and submissive and that men have the right to treat them in whatever ways they please, because they are supposedly ordained by God with hierarchical power over females. --To assert that a woman's submission to a man or male-dominated culture in any way is indicative of her "obedience to God" is ultimately equivalent not just to heresy, but an accomplice to the abuse and assault of women who are intimidated or indoctrinated into these lies. The recent United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women recognized that antiquated and oppressive teachings of patriarchal religions were the primary cause of violence against women and girls, lack of education and economic opportunities for women and girls, and their status of poverty and vulnerability. Advocating discrimination against females as attributed to the ordained plan of a "higher power" is the oldest trick in the book and it costs women their lives, costs our planet its peace and prosperity. At this gathering, Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune responded to this dire situation perfectly: "Especially to women, we must teach a theology of empowerment, instead of a faith based on passive endurance." To let a "Christian figurehead" like Pat Robertson pull this trick in the United States is to endanger and fail American women, to send a wrong and dangerous message from a country that is supposed to be looked up to for its freedom and equality, and also to make a mockery of the terrible conditions in which women barely survive - and die daily - around the globe. Robertson must be held accountable for his statements and teachings that encourage goverrnments, societies, religious groups and individuals to view and treat women as less than men, less than capable of autonomy, less than worthy of dignity, and less than human.
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