• Boston Declaration
    Choose Life: This is a time of heightened racist and patriarchal empire where wealth is concentrated at the top. The Living God asks us to make a decision: "Today I offer you the choice of life and good, or death and evil. ... Choose life." (Deuteronomy 31). Following Jesus today means choosing life, joining the Spirit-led struggle to fight the death-dealing powers of sin wherever they erupt. Whenever one of God’s children is being oppressed, we will fight with them for liberation with the power of the Holy and Life-Giving Spirit. And yet, we live in a moment when death and evil seem to reign supreme in the United States, when those with the power of a uniform or the president’s pen or a position of authority or fame or economic tricks of capitalization and interest or sheer brute force… again and again choose death rather than life. In a moment when too many who confess Christ advocate evil, we believe followers of the Jesus Way are called to renounce, denounce, and resist these death-dealing powers which organize and oppress our world, not to embrace or promulgate them. We acknowledge the manifold and complicated ways we participate in these systems, even as we are often complicit in them. We confess that the Church, in a variety of forms, has too often failed to follow the way of Jesus and perform the good news. We are people who are still discovering the ways we participate with death and evil, even while continue seek the good, to choose life again and again. This declaration is such a choice, hoping and clinging to the God of life and seeking to bear witness to that life in our present moment. Acknowledging our own failures and embracing an appropriate sense of humility should not, however, silence us. While we do not have ready-made answers for all the problems we face, we know something about the pathway we must follow if we are to find those answers, and this is the pathway of Jesus. Who is our God and What is the Jesus Way? We believe in a God who holds all difference within God’s own life and in whom there is no one or no people who are distant from God’s justice, merciful love, and presence (Micah 6:8; Acts 10:34-35). We affirm the beauty and humanity of all people in their manifold difference--race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion--as reflecting God’s image through lives of love and hope. We believe the Jesus Way calls us to the possibility of living in a world where all can love and be loved, and live into joy. The Jesus Way continues through our best prayerful, honest, and empirical attempts to understand why and how the world has come to be in the shape it is today. This pathway calls us to act in ways that are Spirit-led and strategic in confronting evil wherever evil exists, to combat ignorance wherever ignorance has led people astray and to place our lives and our bodies on the line with whoever is being threatened, beat down, or oppressed in any way, anywhere. Read the full Boston Declaration Here: https://thebostondeclaration.com/blog/2017/11/18/the-boston-declaration
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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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  • In the case of historic hurricanes, love demands a reckoning with their true cause: climate change
    We are in a state of emergency. Mother Earth is rebelling because of our ignorance and the ways we have ignored her, venting her wrath in storms called Harvey, Irma and Jose. If there’s anything September 11th, 2001 taught us, it’s that we should not give in to fear or succumb to terror. Instead in cases of emergency, we turn to our greatest strength: love. As this 9/11 anniversary is marked by the emergencies that are these hurricanes, we are called collectively to a greater love than many of us have ever known. We need leadership. You and I need to lead! We need a revolution, a love revolution. In cases of emergency, we know how to pull together. We rescue each other from burning buildings and from rising waters. We pull down moldy plaster and rebuild. We board up windows together, or fly each other out of danger. We open our doors and our hearts. We stand up, we march, we sit in, we die in. We change the law. We change the tide. We make it better. We take care of each other. We have each other’s backs. Why? Because we are one human family, inextricably connected to each other. We need each other to live! We remember the emergency of 9/11. We helped each other on that terrible day. In this time of emergency, we must begin a love revolution, one that takes seriously climate change. At least one practical thing we can do, as we donate and work to rebuild Hurricane ravaged communities, is we must insist that our leaders take climate change seriously, as we must do so ourselves. When Harvey, Irma, and Jose get through ravaging land and sea, we must name the conditions that caused the storms, and do something about them. Sign and share this petition to your representatives and push them and the President toward a strategy to address climate change. And share this petition with friends, so they can sign it and learn about climate change and what we can do about it. https://www.climaterealityproject.org/ https://5calls.org Even as we work towards a reckoning with the truth of climate change we must also help with the immediate needs of those affected by the Hurricanes. As I write this, I am watching the nation come together under the campaign HandInHand2017. Musicians in several cites are reminding us to lean on each other, to stand by one another, while many of my favorite actors, athletes, activists, and celebrities stand by the phones. Proceeds are going to several organizations that will fund recovery in Texas, Florida and in the Caribbean. If it feels convenient, donate at https://www.HandInHand2017.com; text 80077 to give or call 800-258-6000. Sign this petition right now and invite your friends to as well. This is an emergency; in case of emergency, #RevolutionaryLove.
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  • 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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  • Tell ICE: Don’t rip Fredy away from his wife and five US citizen children
    The most striking thing about Alfredo “Fredy” Martinez-Berduo is his warm, infectious smile. He is humble, hardworking, loyal, and an amazing father to his 5 children. His children are well- known at their schools, earn excellent grades, and are very involved. This is a reflection of their parents who actively participate in their education. Fredy’s family lives in Detroit, MI. They are members of a local Catholic parish and have strong ties to the community. Fredy has been living in the United States for 16 years, and has been a reliable employee during this time, working for the same company for 14 of those years. When Fredy was roughly 16 years old he was rounded up with other underage boys of his small Guatemalan town, abducted and taken into captivity by the Guatemalan Army, with the goal of assimilating Fredy into the Guatemalan military as a soldier. Fredy was subjugated to torture and inhumane training tactics in order to meet the above stated goal. Ultimately, Fredy was forced into military service to fight in the Guatemalan Civil War, a conflict that is now being recognized as genocide which lasted 36 years and continues to ravage small communities in Guatemala. Fredy’s family is of Mayan indigenous decent, identifying as Mam. Indigenous families were preyed upon during the war, often forced to join either the military or the guerrilla groups. Following the official end of the Civil War in 1996, Fredy fled to Mexico in response to a litany of threats he received. Fredy seldomly visited family in Guatemala, rarely even spending a night in his former, familial home. Fredy continued to receive threats (both directly and through family members) and in 2001 he decided to flee to United States to further his distance from the dangers which awaited him in Guatemala. In 2006 Fredy was caught by immigration, did not have an attorney and, ultimately, signed a voluntary deportation order; however, he felt it was still too dangerous for him to return to Guatemala and shortly after arriving in Mexico, Fredy returned to the United States. Fredy applied for asylum and was denied. He is appealing the decision and is pursuing a stay of removal. Despite everything Fredy has been through, he is a calm and gentle father and husband. His children absolutely adore him. His family has been suffering greatly since Fredy was detained in February 2017. The federal government should not be wasting its resources prosecuting, detaining, and deporting someone like Fredy. This has become his home and he should be allowed to stay. Please sign and share this petition in support of his family and their struggle to stay together.
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  • People of Faith Call on Congress to Pass Legislation to Prevent Nuclear First Strike
    People of Faith Call on Congress to Pass Legislation to Prevent President Trump from Launching a Nuclear First Strike Dear friends, Nuclear weapons pose a grave danger to the integrity of God’s creation and to the very future of life on earth. As people of diverse faiths, we are opposed to the use of nuclear weapons and we affirm our opposition even to the threat to use such weapons as an insult to God as creator and sustainer of all life on earth. We reject religious arguments that risk provoking nuclear escalation and thus we oppose statements of religious leaders such as Texas Evangelical Robert Jeffress that “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un" as dangerously provocative. Pre-emptive attack, especially with nuclear weapons, has been rejected over and over by countless believers, religious leaders, and whole religious organizations. They have equally proclaimed a resounding “NO!” to nuclearism in all its forms, both religious and secular. Holding to our core religious convictions that nuclear weapons are a threat to what God has created, we call on the United States Congress to immediately pass the bill introduced by Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu that would require congressional approval before any president could launch a nuclear first strike. The recent provocative Tweet by President Trump that North Korea will be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before” if it does not stop threatening the United States, makes taking legislative action to provide congressional oversight of first-strike nuclear capability ever more urgent. The world has managed even very violent conflicts after 1945 without ever resorting to using nuclear weapons again. The risk of planetary catastrophe, deft and sustained nuclear diplomacy and the moral voices of the world's faithful have actually, up until the present moment, succeeded in reducing the number of nuclear armed nations and the threat of nuclear war. The diverse faiths of the world value the earth and many regard protecting what God has created as a moral imperative. We urge Congress to act without delay to pass no-first strike presidential authority for using nuclear weapons. Sincerely, Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite Professor of Theology Chicago Theological Seminary Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie Director, Center for Peace and Spirituality University Chaplain Pacific University * titles are used for identification purposes only.
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  • Let Wellington Rocha Stay
    We are a family of five. However, the heart of our family was given less than sixty days to leave the country. How can we live without our heart?
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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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