• 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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  • Grant Colorado Mother, Maria de Jesus Jimenez Sanchez, a Stay
    “Maria, originally from Mexico, has made the U.S. her home for almost 20 years and is a resident of south Aurora near Denver, Colorado. She was detained at her check in on Wednesday morning, April 14th. Maria has her own small cleaning business and is the mother of 4 children- the eldest is a DACA recipient, the 3 youngest are citizens. Her fifteen year old daughter has special needs and Maria advocates for her at school and is her main caregiver. After the local field office denied Maria's new stay application in March, Maria hoped that Immigration agents would allow her to attend her daughter's IEP meeting at school April 18th and time to arrange better care for her. Instead Immigration detained her because of President Trump's new policies that prioritize the deportation of all immigrants who are undocumented. Her lawyer has applied to have the stay denial reviewed. In 2001, Maria was issued an expedited removal order near the border after traveling home to visit her ill mother. She returned to the US shortly thereafter to be with her family. In 2012, she was detained for driving without a license and as a result spent 6 months in ICE detention. She and was eventually granted a stay of removal, which has been renewed each year until now. Maria wants to remain in Colorado because this is her home where she can continue to take care of her children and grow her business.”
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  • David is an important member of our community. We must stop his deportation.
    David is one of millions of hard-working people whose lives are being ripped apart by a cruel and widening dragnet that has been criminalizing, detaining and deporting people. David came to the United States in the mid 1980s and obtained a work permit. David has worked as a landscaper for many years. Since 2013, he has checked in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), never missing an appointment, and was allowed to stay and keep his work permit. Thanks to his hard work, David and his wife Leticia watched their four children become thriving adults. All four of his children have benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that has provided relief from deportation and, granted work permits. He and Leticia have been married for 32 years and are parishioners of Little Flower Catholic Church in Reno. In the Trump era David’s traffic citation meant that ICE revoked his work permit and targeted him for deportation. David's last check-in with ICE was scheduled on April 5th, David, his family and legal counsel feared that officials would take him into custody and prepare him for deportation. David’s deportation could bring fatal consequences. David’s only contacts in Mexico are in his home state of Aguascalientes, a state where violence is pervasive—especially against U.S. returnees who are assumed to have wealth. One of David's friends was brutally attacked, tortured, and killed after returning from the United States. The implications for David’s medical care could be dire. His children have grown up in the U.S. and have almost no knowledge of Mexico—his youngest was only 1 when he arrived. Deportation could also be a death sentence. David and three of his children suffer from Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that weakens the heart. The treatments they receive in the U.S. are inaccessible in many parts of Mexico, particularly for those who do not have financial ability to pay for medical care. David's many friends in Reno, as well as his supporters in Reno's interfaith community, are campaigning to protect him from unconscionable and unwarranted persecution. David decided to take Sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada. He will remain in Sanctuary until he has assurances from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that by appearing at their office he will not be deported and separated from all he knows. For all these reasons, we are asking the Gen. John Kelly, Secretary of DHS, Thomas D. Homan, Director of ICE, and the ICE Salt Lake City Field Office to grant David a stay of removal from deportation, to keep David with his family, allow him to work and ensure he doesn’t meet potential fatal consequences upon deportation.
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  • Give Waverly teachers a FAIR contract, NOW
    For our students to be successful, they need a stable school environment. Negotiate a fair contract that will stop the revolving door of employees and end the persistent instability for students. We, the undersigned want a resolution to the contract negotiations with the Waverly teachers. We want the board and/or the Waverly superintendent to settle the contract now. You have heard different parents and community members speak. We are here to show you in numbers how much we want this NOW. This petition is signed by parents, coummunity members and alumni. SHARE
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  • Dear Attorney General Sessions: Take a public stand for full restoration of the Voting Rights Act
    We are alive again in a time of unprecedented attacks on the hard-won voting rights of African Americans and all people of color. Your new office at Main Justice—adorned with the photographs of influential, courageous civil servants—is a weathered but enduring symbol of the best and the worst of our nation’s history and the power of the law to protect those seeking to overcome the tyrannies of racism and inequality. Prior to passage of the Voting Rights Act, a predecessor of yours, Robert F. Kennedy, was sworn into the office as the 64th Attorney General in a time of national turmoil. The building housing your office now honors his name. Yet at that time, many predicted that he could not be a full friend to civil rights— that he could not identify with the plight of African Americans and those in the pits of poverty, living under the yoke of subjugation and centuries of oppression. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, though, made a choice. After far too many spilled their blood marching unbowed in defense of our children’s futures and our dignity, the Department of Justice did not sit out in the fight for Black political power and the fundamental right to vote. The Department of Justice took a side. It was the side required by the Constitution then, and it is required by the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act now. Where there was resistance to equal opportunity and equal rights for all citizens, Attorney General Kennedy’s Department, imperfectly, but in accordance with the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, the anti-poll tax Amendment of 1962—and then, instrumentally, the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964—stood with the people fighting for our dignity, justice, and the soul of American democracy. Now, as then, not one of us can stand on the sidelines. Least of all the Department of Justice. It is our belief that we must choose which side of history we will inhabit, and that each new day and every new role we take on holds within it a possibility to choose the right side. As the newly-confirmed 84th Attorney General of the United States, the time to choose is now undeniably upon you. The Voting Rights Act, an act you hold chief responsibility to provide oversight for is not and never has been—as we believe you would now agree—“a piece of intrusive legislation.” This act is the heart of our country’s obligation to the martyrs of Selma and signals nationwide that racism will not control our country’s future. Your predecessor Robert F. Kennedy famously said, "Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation." You are beginning on a new journey. As thousands gather in Selma on this historic occasion, as our chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Sessions, we call on you to stand now for fully restored voting rights, human rights, and for equal justice under the law. If you are willing, please reply affirmatively to this request. We welcome your endorsement of the immediate renewal of the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. If you are unwilling, we will not be moved in our determination to demand that we live up to the full promises and obligations of our Constitution and to stand with the people of these United States against the scourge of racism and for our deepest held moral values. In the struggle for Truth and Justice, The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II The Rev. Dr. Traci D. Blackmon Penda Hair, Esq. Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner Hank Sanders, Esq. Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner Irving Joyner, Esq. Sister Simone Campbell, SSS The Rev. Mark Thompson The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. Jim Wallis Valarie Kaur The Rev. Noel Castellanos The Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson The Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews The Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Lewis The Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, Bishop Gene Robinson The Rev. Brian McLaren
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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 Ravi!
    We the undersigned, request that ICE extend Ravi Ragbir’s request for prosecutorial discretion. Long time resident, community activist, father, and husband, Ravi Ragbir, faces permanent exile from his life in the US. A green card holder since 1994, Ravi has worked as an organizer to protect the rights of all immigrants, including through the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. Ravi experienced the worst of the deportation system. An immigration judge ordered Ravi deported without granting him a hearing on the issue, denying Ravi the opportunity to present evidence of his character and strong community ties. He was detained for years in New Jersey and Alabama, far from his community and his young daughter. Ravi’s case underscores one of the fundamental flaws of our broken immigration system: the need to reform our deportation laws, including by allowing judges to exercise discretion in a case based on the facts presented. Before 1996, judges had the discretion to weigh all of the relevant facts in a case before deporting an immigrant. One of the major injustices in Ravi's case is that, during his removal proceedings, the judge was prohibited from considering whether Ravi should be allowed to stay in the U.S. because our current law forbids it. After securing his release from indefinite immigration detention, Ravi continued to challenge the immigration judge’s order and became active in supporting other immigrants who were facing similar challenges. Through that activism, he met, fell in love with, and eventually married, Amy Gottlieb, a U.S. Citizen and fellow immigrant rights activist. Despite being eligible to adjust his status to that of permanent resident based on his marriage, the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denied Ravi’s request for an opportunity to be heard. Ravi is currently pursuing new legal avenues to reopen his immigration case so that he can remain in the U.S., the place he has called home for over twenty years, with his wife and daughter. His deportation would be tragic for his wife, Amy, his daughter, Deborah, and the community that loves and respects him. Please take the necessary steps to keep Ravi here with his community.
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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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  • Join Christian Theologians Opposing Nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General
    The justice that is central to the work of Attorney General is a value that is shared by people of many faiths. As Christians, we are guided in our understanding of justice by the biblical witness to Jesus Christ. As made clear in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), we are to “seek first the Kingdom,” as the righteous reign of God “on earth, as it is in heaven.” This reign is marked by love, justice and life. In his teachings, Jesus deepens the love of neighbor to the love of enemy. He calls us to move from retaliatory justice to an ethic of restorative justice. He invites those who follow him to an abundant life that crosses borders. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says, "… I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. ... Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25). The Sermon on the Mount directs our care to the flourishing of all people, especially the vulnerable, and is consistent with the values of justice and human flourishing that are vital to our American democracy. While Jesus stood in embodied solidarity with the vulnerable, it is through the law that our country offers protections for its most vulnerable members. Vulnerable populations in our country — victims of police brutality, undocumented workers, LGBTQ persons, women, people of color, and people of non-Christian faiths — are placed at increased risk of further harm when our laws are not upheld. Yet, throughout his career, Senator Sessions has taken positions that compromise the rights of these vulnerable populations. His racist comments reflect prejudice against people of color. His opposition to immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and equal access for persons with disabilities make it unlikely that he shares the Christian vision of justice and protection of the vulnerable that we embrace. Senator Sessions’ racist remarks and unjust policies make it morally unacceptable for him to be America’s top law-enforcement officer. We urge you to reject his nomination. Prayerfully and Respectfully Submitted, Peter Goodwin Heltzel, New York Theological Seminary Jeannine Hill Fletcher, Fordham University Gary Agee, Anderson University (Indiana) Cornel West, Harvard University James A. Forbes, Drum Major Institute Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners Jim Wallis, Sojourners James Cone, Union Theological Seminary Katharine Henderson, Auburn Seminary Jacqui Lewis, Middle Collegiate Church Gene Robinson, The Episcopal Church Brian McLaren, Emerging Church Movement Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association Yvette Flunder, City of Refuge United Church of Christ Simone Campbell, NETWORK Lobby Macky Alston, Auburn Seminary Efrain Agosto, New York Theological Seminary Fred Davie, Union Theological Seminary Rosemary P. Carbine, Whittier College J. Kameron Carter, Duke Divinity School Shane Claiborne, The Simple Way Don Compier, Kemper School for the Ministry Kaitlyn Dugan, Princeton Theological Seminary Mary Fulkerson, Duke Divinity School Daniel Hawk, Ashland Theological Seminary Kay Higueroa Smith, Azusa Pacific University George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary Catherine Keller, Drew Theological School Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Earlham School of Religion Namsoon Kang, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University Kristen E. Kvam, St. Paul School of Theology Mari Kim, Everett Community College Paul F. Lakeland, Fairfield University Steffen Lösel, Candler School of Theology, Emory University Linda Mercadante, Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio Stephanie Mitchem, University of South Carolina Silas Morgan, Hamline University K. Christine Pae, Dennis University Marcia Pally, New York University Stephen Ray, Garrett Theological Seminary Kathleen Sands, University of Hawaii Linda Thomas, Lutheran School of Theology (Chicago) Sonia Waters, Princeton Theological Seminary Sharon Welch, Meadville Lombard Theological School Christian T. Collins Winn, Bethel University Wes Granberg-Michaelson, Reformed Church in America Ronald J Sider, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University Elena G. Procario-Foley, Iona College Reggie Williams, McCormick Theological Seminary Charles Campbell, Duke Divinity School Laurel Schneider, Vanderbilt Divinity School Joerg Rieger, Vanderbilt Divinity School Serene Jones, Union Theological Seminary Teri Merrick, Azusa Pacific University Loye Ashton, Tougaloo College Teresa Delgado, Iona College Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity (Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.)
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  • Dear Mr. Trump: Will You Advance a Moral Agenda?
    Pursuing a more perfect union is serious work for any human being. We want to pray for you because we know this is an especially difficult task today. In the prophetic tradition, we want to exhort and challenge you because you cannot do this work alone. Our sacred text honored by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike declares we must do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. America’s Constitution begins “We the people…” because it points toward a form of government that requires a broad and engaged coalition of citizens in order to thrive. We want to pray and point towards these essential goals. Mr. Trump, we hope it is your desire to be successful. Success is measured by how we welcome the stranger, care for the sick, care for the poor, and care for the hungry in practice and in policy. In order to be successful in the eyesight of God, leaders must repent when they are wrong, and they must be committed to promote that which is rooted in justice and good will. As clergy dedicated to the care of souls, we know you can neither succeed in a way that pleases God nor fulfill the duties of your office unless you repent. All of us, even persons who hold powerful positions, are called to repent when we violate the deep principles of love, justice, and mercy towards all, especially the least of these. Since your election, our communities have been fractured by harassment and intimidation. People of color and religious minorities are afraid. Poor working people who you appealed to in your campaign are disappointed that you have attacked their union leaders while appointing Wall Street elites who use them to your Cabinet. We are deeply concerned by the policy vision that your Cabinet selections suggest. After inviting Steve Bannon’s white nationalism into the Oval Office, you nominated Jeff Sessions to head the Justice Department—a man who did not receive Senate approval for a federal judgeship in 1986 because of his long history of racial discrimination in Alabama. If he maintains his past positions on civil rights and voting rights, he could overturn and undermine years of victories and protections secured and signed in the blood of the martyrs. Equally insulting to African-Americans is your nomination of Ben Carson, a black man with no experience in government or housing, to head HUD. But race can never be separated from class in America. We are equally concerned about Andy Puzder’s resistance to the movement for a living wage, which impacts over 60 million Americans and 54% of all African-Americans. We are concerned about Tom Price’s expressed commitment to repeal the ACA and take away healthcare from people with preexisting conditions, veterans, and nearly 30 million Americans. We are troubled that you have chosen several people to lead federal agencies that they have publicly attacked in the past. Both this nation and the rest of the world desperately need your heart to grow into a source of courage, so you might work with all people of goodwill to uphold the most sacred moral principles of our faith and constitutional values, which are: 1. Protecting and expanding voting rights and ending voter suppression and unconstitutional gerrymandering. We must also pursue women’s rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, labor rights, religious freedom rights, all with a commitment to the fundamental principle of equal protection under the law. 2. Pro-labor, anti-poverty, anti-racist policies that build up economic democracy through employment, living wages, the alleviation of disparate unemployment, a just transition away from fossil fuels, labor rights, affordable housing, direct cash transfers and other support for all families struggling to get by, and fair policies for immigrants; and by critiquing policies around warmongering that undermine our moral standing and ability to address domestic issues; 3. Equality in education by ensuring every child receives a high quality, well-funded, constitutionally diverse public education, as well as access to community colleges and universities and by securing equitable funding for minority colleges and universities; 4. Healthcare for all by expanding Medicaid in every state, ensuring access to Medicare and Social Security, moving decisively towards a universal, transparent, and equitable healthcare system, and by providing environmental protection and protecting women’s health; 5. Fairness in the criminal justice system by addressing the continuing inequalities in the system for black, brown and poor white people and fighting the proliferation of guns; We do not believe that these are left or right issues. They are right or wrong issues. And while we know no human being is perfect, we wish to speak with you about these moral issues because far too much is at stake for you to succumb to your worst demons while in public office. Our faith calls us to love all people but this love can never refuse to tell the truth and stand against hate, systemic racism, and economic inequality. We cannot simply congratulate you on your victory and say, “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. We are bound by our vows to tell the truth in love and stand together for justice, love and truth. As this tumultuous year draws to a close, we will hold a National Watch Night service on December 31st at the historic Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC. We will gather to remember the enslaved people who came together to celebrate the possibility of a more perfect union of the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Like them, we will also enlist free women and men to fight for freedom and justice for all people in 2017 and beyond.
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