• Family Film Reviewer Won't Approve Films Featuring Loving LGBT Families: Fight Back!
    In April, "Love Free or Die" – the story of the first openly gay bishop Gene Robinson – was denied a family-approved rating by the Dove Foundation, a family film reviewer. Why? "Two men kiss and hold hands" and "many people state they are gay." As a minister who pastors to loving LGBT families, including a family shown in the film (two committed dads and the 4 at-risk children they adopted), I cannot emphasize enough that more families need to see "Love Free or Die." It is a film about love, family, and faith, as well as equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters. "Love Free or Die" shares a message that all of our families and children need to explore together: that our faiths and values teach us to love each other and our neighbors, no exceptions. The Dove Foundation exercises a lot of power by narrowing the choices for parents deciding what films are appropriate for their children. It's clear now that Dove focuses not only on the appropriateness of the content (violence and drug use, for example), but also, alarmingly, on what constitutes a family (no LGBT families need apply). It's alarming because many film industry studios, like Fox Home Entertainment, include the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal on all nationally marketed Dove-approved DVDs. Is "Love Free or Die" really the same as "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D," which also is not Dove-approved? I know from experience that you can't help but be positively moved by the love displayed in "Love Free or Die." The film inspires conversations about love and commitment, faith and God, equality and dignity, that make our families stronger, and lay the foundation for our children to grow up as people of faith and values. Now, as a family film reviewer that writes their reviews based on Judeo-Christian values, the Dove Foundation has the opportunity to say that movies like "Love Free or Die," which show loving families, gay and straight, are faith- and family-approved! The faith that I know doesn't teach Love Only Thy Straight Neighbor. In fact, the church where I met Fred and Michael, one of the loving gay couples in Love Free or Die, decided not to perform marriages until same-sex couples could marry. Fred and Michael chose the church because it was a welcoming church for them and their children. Fred and Michael also chose that church for its strong family-focus. Together they had adopted 4 at-risk children, conquering the challenge of raising kids who would have otherwise had a tough life with love and devotion. Fred and Michael saw this as God’s work. Together, we can raise our voices to tell the Dove Foundation that the incredible stories of loving LGBT families – like Bishop Gene Robinson's, like Fred and Michael's – make our families stronger by illustrating a love that our faiths teach: one that embraces all. http://vimeo.com/39888349
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    Created by Ellen Tillotson
  • Tell Senator Schumer: Protect LGBT Families in Immigration Bill
    Dear Senator Schumer: As New Yorkers and as leaders of diverse faiths and backgrounds, we write to you today with thanks and a reminder. Senator Schumer, we acknowledge and applaud your sincere friendship with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community over many years. You stood on the right side of history when it wasn’t as popular as it is today and no one will forget that. Today, we call upon you to lead again by including equal protections for LGBT Americans and their families in comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Same-sex bi-national couples should not be forced to choose between their love for America and their love for each other. These couples are our congregants, friends, and leaders in our communities. They are created in the image of God, just like all people, and should be protected as equals by the law. As President Obama, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and so many others have said, LGBT Americans and their families deserve the dignity of the same family immigration rights as all other Americans. You have supported that cause, too, but at the moment, you have not made it clear that this important provision will be included in the original immigration legislation. Not including LGBT protections in the original draft of the bill sends the wrong message and risks that those critical protections will not be included. It also sends the dangerous message that it is acceptable to continue to discriminate against certain groups of people and would be incredibly damaging to those who support LGBT rights and immigration reform. The dignity of LGBT people, who we love and value, must not be traded behind the closed doors of legislative negotiations. They deserve a vigorous, public, and moral advocate in their U.S. Senator. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from Birmingham Jail, “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We, the undersigned leaders in New York’s faith community, urge you to publicly endorse the inclusion of LGBT protections in the immigration bill and to include the principles of LGBT equality represented in the Uniting American Families Act in the first draft you are generating with your Senate colleagues. This moment in history is an opportunity to cement your legacy as a champion for the civil rights of all Americans. This is God’s work. Please don’t let us, or our LGBT brothers and sisters, down. Sincerely, The Undersigned This campaign is a partnership of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Empire State Pride Agenda, Auburn Seminary, and Groundswell.
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    Created by David Elcott, PhD
  • End Zero Tolerance Policies
    On March 5, 2013, police in Alton, Illinois reportedly handcuffed the hands and feet of 8-year-old Jmyha Rickman for throwing a tantrum in her elementary school class. Jmyha spent two hours in the police station, where her guardian said police ignored the girl’s requests to use the bathroom. Sadly, Jmyha wasn't the first child to receive such treatment; we must demand that she is the last. Read the full article: http://bit.ly/13GjI7F . We are criminalizing children at ever younger ages, pushing them out of school, and fueling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline ( http://bit.ly/cfwba2 ) crisis. We must stop abusive zero tolerance discipline policies that lead to tens of thousands of unnecessary suspensions and expulsions across America. We must treat all our children with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Please sign this petition to the Superintendent and Board of the Alton, Illinois School District to demand that elementary school children not be handcuffed and criminalized any longer.
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    Created by Children's Defense Fund
  • Join Newtown Clergy: Tell Senate To Approve Gun Reform
    Dear Senators, It’s been less than three months since our community experienced the unspeakable tragedy of the murder of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the clergy leaders of Newtown, joined by clergy colleagues from across the nation, we have witnessed the scourge of gun violence in our neighborhoods, and we call on Congress to pass comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation that will help stop the slaughter. The moral mandate to protect the weak in our care is clear and present in all of our faith traditions. Our varied faith traditions teach us to seek the peace of the city, to love our neighbor, and to cherish human dignity. To see the rising incidence of gun violence from Chicago to Newtown, Camden to Aurora, Detroit to Tucson – and how that violence particularly targets the young and the poor, especially in America’s urban communities - and yet to refuse to take the steps we know would reduce harm is a violation of religious values so severe that we are compelled to speak out. Nothing any of us do will bring back the victims murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As a nation we must do all we can to prevent the next tragedy. We pray that you will vote for meaningful gun violence prevention laws that include a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, enforceable universal background checks, an end to gun trafficking and prosecution of straw purchasers. After the news crews and cameras leave, after the rest of the nation turns away and resumes their normal routines, it is we who are asked to answer why this happened; to bind up the brokenhearted; and to explain why nothing in Newtown or our many communities will ever be the same again. As faith leaders, while we fully support laws that we believe will increase gun safety, we also believe that the larger underlying issue behind violence is spiritual: how we view our obligations to each other in light of our role in God's creation. We draw from a wellspring of tradition that will spark off a spiritual awakening in America that will transform us into a culture of compassion, reconciliation and civility. As faith leaders, we commit ourselves to fostering a culture of peace to complement and serve as a foundation for any proposed gun legislation. The slaughter of innocence in Newtown awakened our nation to the tragedy of gun violence throughout our land and we shall neither slumber nor sleep. Rather, by tireless commitment, loving hearts and the sustaining promise of our many faiths, we believe that Newtown shall be remembered as the bridge to a new and kinder world. Rabbi Shaul Praver, Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown, CT Rev. Matthew Crebbin, Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, Newtown, CT Rev. Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, Trinity Episcopal Church, Newtown, CT Chaplain Eman Beshtawii, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT Azeez Bhavnagarwala, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT Rev. Mel Kawakami, Newtown United Methodist Church, Newtown, CT Rev. Leo E. McIlrath, Lutheran Home, Southbury, CT Khatib Mohamed El Safty, Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Newtown, CT Rev. Jane Sibley, Newtown United Methodis tChurch, Newtown, CT Rev. Jim Solomon, New Hope Community Church, Newtown, CT Rev. Janice Touloukian, Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, Newtown, CT This campaign was launched with the PICO Network, a national network of faith-based community organizations working to create innovative solutions to problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more here: http://www.piconetwork.org/about
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    Created by Newtown Clergy
  • RSVP: March 14 Day of Action in Madison
    In Wisconsin, we know we have too many people in our prisons and we know the solution. We know that Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD) work. They are cheaper and more effective than jail and prison time for low-risk offenders. There is no excuse for our legislature and Governor to delay any further. Every day we wait is a day of wasted money and wasted human potential. We need your voice. We need our elected officials to hear that: The evidence is in. The time is now. Expand TAD to $75 million per year in this budget; save more than $75 million in the next budget.
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    Created by Michael Mueller
  • The Gun Lobby doesn't speak for New York: Protect our new gun laws
    Two thirds of New Yorkers (an overwhelming majority) support the new gun laws in our state because they take concrete steps to safeguard our families, friends, neighbors, schools, houses of worship, and communities from preventable gun violence. Unfortunately, the new gun laws are now vulnerable to the money and power of the NRA and other gun lobbying organizations. These organizations regard ANY efforts to prevent gun violence as infractions on the Second Amendment. The gun lobbies are equipped with deep pockets and political savvy and will do everything they can to defeat lawmakers who support the new legislation in the next statewide elections. To prevent the repeal of our new gun violence preventions laws, and to keep leaders who support preventing violence in office, we need to raise our voices as people of faith and values! This is a critical window of opportunity to thank and support our elected officials for doing the right thing and ensuring the safety of all New York residents. The laws are respectful of those who own guns while also taking necessary steps to stem the epidemic of gun violence in our nation. The Gun Lobby doesn't speak for NY: protect our new gun laws!
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    Created by Thomas Yorty
  • President Obama: Ensure Health Equity for Immigrants
    Every year, millions of Americans are locked out of our country’s health care system because of federal policies that prohibit some immigrants, including legal permanent residents, from obtaining health benefits. These are bad policies that cost lives and money. They are policies that were not remedied during health care reform. They should be addressed now, as the country moves forward to fix the broken immigration system.
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    Created by Benjamin Linsley
  • People of Faith Say: Lift the Ban on Gay Scouts
    We issue our call as Eagle Scouts, as Christians, and as ministers ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We support the full inclusion of gay, bisexual, and transgender boys in the Boy Scouts of America. This is a moral choice: there is no way for us to be true to our oath as Eagle Scouts without affirming the dignity and inclusion of all God’s children. The Boy Scouts Executive Board just announced that they’re considering ending the longstanding ban on gay Scouts and leaders. The question is: Will they only hear from religious extremists advancing discrimination cloaked in scripture, or will we drown out hate with our call for dignity for all Scouts? We invite people of faith and fellow Eagle Scouts to join us in this petition. The Boy Scouts need to know that the “religious” voices calling for the ban to stay in place do NOT represent the whole of the faith or Scout community – especially when we are so close to a victory for equality. (Rev. Dr. Chris Iosso and I, Rev. Patrick Heery, both Eagle Scouts – share our own personal stories in a short letter titled, "Two Eagle Scout Ministers Say, Lift the Ban on Gay Scouts" - http://justiceunbound.org/action-alerts/two-eagle-scout-ministers-say-lift-the-ban-on-gay-scouts/.) To secure victory, the Boy Scouts need to hear from congregations pledging to maintain, if not enhance, support for scouts and their troops when the ban is lifted. And to know that troops currently hosted and sponsored by churches will not suddenly find themselves kicked out and on the street – or that, if they do, new worshiping communities will take them in. It’s why we’re: (1) calling on the Boy Scouts to lift the ban, and (2) promising to support newly inclusive Scouting. Let’s make sure the Boy Scouts know we've got their backs when they stand for equality! We know that this change may be challenging for some, even though troops will remain able to make their own local policies on this issue. Others of us would like to see a stronger policy guaranteeing protection for gay Scouts. But the truth is that lifting the ban will provide an opportunity for Scouts all over this great nation to discuss and wrestle with these questions—to do so bravely and openly as leaders for today.
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    Created by Patrick Heery
  • New Jersey Citizens for Sensible Federal Gun Violence Legislation
    All of us have been moved by the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut in December. While there is no one panacea solution to the problem of gun violence, we feel there are some sensible steps the federal government should take that would have an immediate impact on the horrifying numbers of Americans who die by gun each year in our country.
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    Created by Rabbi Joel Mosbacher
  • Shrink Wisconsin's Prison Population by 50%
    As people of faith and moral calling, we can no longer tolerate our neighbors suffering after being imprisoned because of treatable mental health issues and substance abuse. We call on our representatives to help heal our communities with funding for treatment alternatives and diversions for our neighbors who made nonviolent errors in judgment. We cannot allow incarceration to continue to break apart families and cause suffering in our communities. $75 million/year in increased funding of existing treatment courts and other proven alternatives and diversions, will save the state money and improve the health and safety of our communities. Incarceration costs nearly twice as much as treatment. The state saves $1.93 with each dollar spent on alternatives versus incarceration. In addition, people who get treatment are 20% less likely to return to jail or prison and 13% more likely to be employed after the program than if they were incarcerated. Additionally, treatment gives parents a second chance and can transform their lives. They can return to their children and friends to rebuild their families, neighborhoods, and communities. For more information, visit www.prayforjusticeinwi.org.
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    Created by Michael Mueller
  • Reinstate Ruby
    Dr. Ruby invested countless hours into the life of Cedarville University and its students. He went above and beyond his required role and spent deliberate time investing in the lives of individual students. Above all, he demonstrated an exemplary ability to urge careful consideration and critical thought in all areas of student life..
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    Created by Grant Miller
  • Restore Critical Thought to Cedarville
    The study of philosophy is fundamental to critical thought and is recognized as the study of problems which range from the abstract to the ultimate. These problems are concerned with the nature of existence, knowledge, reason, morality, and the humanities. An institution of higher learning cannot exist with any long-term viability without critical thought and the ability to address these questions. http://ourcuprotest.wordpress.com/
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    Created by Grant Miller