• Tell Chicago ICE: Don't deport Jose Juan, father of 5
    My church took emergency moral action when Jose Juan was placed in deportation proceedings and ordered to leave the country and his family by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Chicago Field Office. "Abandoning my children is not a choice I can make. I live for them, and I will fight to stay with them,” says Jose Juan. As people of faith, we opened our doors to Jose Juan and offered him a sanctuary so that he can continue to fight to stay with his family. On behalf of University Church, my congregation, and signers of this petition, I urge you to reconsider Mr. Moreno’s request for use discretion, and allow him to stay with his family. I understand that Mr. Federico Moreno has a charge for an “aggravated” DUI, and that the aggravated charge is solely because as an undocumented immigrant he had no access to a driver’s license and that Illinois law unfairly punishes those without one. As people of faith, we also understand that we are more than our mistakes and that all of God’s children deserve second chances. Faith compels us to respond to injustice, to welcome the stranger, and to promote families staying together. My church first offered Sanctuary to immigrants fleeing violent war in Guatemala and El Salvador in 1985. Now, because of cruel US immigration enforcement practices, my church has once again opened its doors for Sanctuary. As a church, we have seen firsthand the loving and generous sacrifices Jose Juan makes for his family each day. As people of faith, we call on you to stop his deportation to allow this family to stay together.
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  • Declare Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.
    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955), priest, geologist, paleontologist, philosopher, theologian, and mystic, was both a distinguished scientist and one of the most influential and visionary thinkers that the Catholic Church produced in the twentieth century. Grounded in the theology of St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Ignatius Loyola and informed by the modern scientific discovery of cosmic and organic evolution, Teilhard created a pioneering synthesis of religious and scientific thought that many have found to be profoundly fruitful. His concept of the “noosphere” was startlingly prescient in its anticipation of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and other forms of electronic communication that have truly unified humanity as a single community of thought. He is recognized by many scientists and theologians as one of those whose ideas paved the way for the work of the Second Vatican Council, whose 50th anniversary has just been celebrated. Teilhard’s synthesis continues to stimulate theological thought, inside the Catholic Church and beyond, including notably the development in recent decades of vigorous scholarly and popular movements of evolutionary theology and creation spirituality. His hopeful eschatological vision continues to inspire people throughout the world. For these reasons, Teilhard is already, in all but name, justly acclaimed as a Teacher par excellence of the universal Christian Church. Doctors of the Church comprise about three dozen ecclesiastical writers, from early Christian to modern times, who have been honored posthumously by popes or general councils with that title due to the integrity of their faith, eminent learning, and personal holiness. Although those formally designated in the past as Doctors of the Church had previously been canonized, there is no requirement for this in Canon Law. Therefore, we respectfully and earnestly petition His Holiness Pope Francis to declare Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.
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  • Release Uriel Rosales Martinez
    Uriel’s health is deteriorating in the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. The Center is unable to provide adequate health care to him, and both the stress of being away from family members and fear of a fatal return to El Salvador are complicating his condition. Recently, Uriel has had trouble urinating and has been fainting. After surgery, his urinary problems persist with gall bladder inflammation exacerbating the pain and discomfort he is in. We are extremely worried for Uriel, who is only 19 years old. Uriel has been in custody for more than 180 days and this is too long for someone to face as he has already suffered so much. Uriel faced threats in El Salvador to join a gang. Other members of his family who refused to join gangs have been killed. The gangs are especially interested in Uriel because he is very good in karate. He has won various international competitions including, the Caribbean and Central American games. Uriel’s claim on asylum is more than real; we will continue to appeal until his credible fear is recognized in the courts. Uriel’s brother is a leader in the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign in Long Island and New York State. Allies in the cause are allies to Uriel, as well. Now we must stand beside Uriel and his brother.
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  • Reunite Michel and Heidi with their Mother Myrna
    It is important that we keep our families together. Children flourish when they have their parents with them. It is important for the family and it is important for the community. Michele is 9 years old and Heidi is 14. This is a very critical time of their young lives and they need to have their parents with them. Michele cries every night to be with her mother. The only reason that Myrna cannot be with her daughters is that she does not have a piece of paper that says that she is allowed to enter into the US. Both Michel and Heidi are United States citizens but they cannot legally petition for their mother to come into the country because they are too young. And the fact that they are too young also means that this is the time they need their mother the most. Why are they being punished just for being young and children? Here's how you can support Michel, Heidi and their mother Myrna. 1) Sign the petition to reunite Michel, Heidi and their mother Myrna. 2) You can donate for this campaign by going to the NY New Sanctuary website and clicking on the donate button http://newsanctuarynyc.org/index.html. Add a memo to Reunite Michel/Myrna. 3) You can mail a check to help to New Sanctuary at 239 Thompson St NY NY 10012 and write Reunite Michel/Myrna on the memo line
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  • Stop Anti-LGBTQ Laws: Discrimination is not a Religious Value
    2016 has been a startling year for legislative attempts to restrict justice, dignity, and equality for LGBTQ people. More than 175 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed in 32 states. Of the record 175+ anti-LGBTQ bills filed, 45 of those bills directly target transgender people. Already in 2016, legislatures in South Dakota, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, and North Carolina have considered and, in some cases, passed anti-transgender bills. Too often these anti-LGBTQ efforts are perpetrated in the name of religion. These bills and their proponents perpetuate false narratives about transgender people and vilify transgender women, in particular, as threatening safety in women's restrooms. This dishonest rhetoric perpetuates hostility and violence toward transgender and gender non-conforming people seeking to access public accommodations. Some of this anti-LGBTQ legislation, like the recently passed bill in North Carolina, override local ordinances protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination—preventing local municipalities from outlawing discrimination against LGBTQ people. *When you sign this petition, you'll be invited to the Religious Institute’s network of more than 15,000 people of faith.
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  • Tell NY Lawmakers: Don't back down on #FightFor15
    Whether or not New Yorkers win a $15 minimum wage could be decided in the next two weeks -- and right now, we as people of faith have reason to be concerned. Opponents of the raise are fighting back by trying to delay the increase, introduce industry exemptions, or keep the wage lower outside New York City. New Yorkers like Monya, a certified nursing assistant in Buffalo, deserve a just wage. “The work I do is important in the lives of the resident I care for, but the pay ($10/hour) leaves me painfully short in my ability to take care of my own family,” she says. Low-wage workers can’t afford for the fight for a $15 minimum wage to fall short. And as people of faith, we can’t afford to be silent. Add your name now to tell New York State lawmakers to stand strong for a $15 minimum wage for all New Yorkers.
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  • Tell Congress To Vote For A Budget That Helps Flint
    The recent tragedy in Flint, Michigan makes all too clear what occurs when severe austerity budgets are implemented: innocent people suffer. And all too often, it’s low-income and communities of color that suffer the most. That's why the People’s Budget includes $765 million for Flint to replace toxic pipelines and provide needed health, education, and other services for our people exposed to lead. The teachings of our respective faiths are steeped in the understanding that we have a communal responsibility to care for the most vulnerable in society. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, ensuring that all workers receive a fair wage are not simply policy positions: they are sacred obligations. The People’s Budget would also invest in housing, education, transportation, clean energy and safe water to create millions of jobs. It would increase educational opportunities by providing Pre-K and debt-free college for all. And it would fulfill our communal obligations to our parents and grandparents by increasing, not cutting, Social Security and health care. In short, The People’s Budget, if passed, would set our nation on the path toward a fair and healthy economy. You can read more about the "People's Budget" here: http://1.usa.gov/2200IQb Our government should serve all of its citizens. By bolstering the social safety net for those who most need it and prioritizing measures that reduce the growing inequality in our nation, The People’s Budget does just that, and it deserves the support of Congress. We urge you to vote for it when it comes to the House Floor. Thank you for your consideration.
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  • Tell the Obama Administration: Stop the Deportation of Asylum Seekers Hilda Ramirez and her son Ivan
    Hilda Ramirez is an asylum seeker in danger of deportation to a country where her family will be subjected to violence, discrimination, and extreme poverty. A 28-year-old Mayan mother from San Marcos, Guatemala, Hilda fled to the United States with her 9-year-old son Ivan after facing threats of violence. Arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 hoping to find safety, she was instead detained at the border and jailed at the Karnes detention center with her son in inhumane conditions for 11 months. There, Hilda participated in a courageous hunger strike with another 77 immigrant moms to shut down family detention centers.1 Hilda was eventually released on bond and forced to wear an ankle bracelet. After several months of staying in an Austin shelter for immigrants, the danger of impending ICE raids became overwhelming, leading Hilda and Ivan to seek Sanctuary in St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas while she fights deportation orders for herself and her young son. Although she was previously unable to win her asylum case, she continues to appeal her case with the assistance of legal counsel. After the recent decision from the Obama administration to target Central American asylum seekers for immigration raids and deportation, many immigrant communities have been left in a state of fear. As a result, many families and individuals in danger of losing their lives and loved ones are looking for safe haven and support with legal services. Already, more than 120 people have been apprehended in the raids, 77 people immediately deported, including parents with U.S. citizen children.2 Another round of raids has been announced, but no one knows where or when they will happen. OUR VALUES Families like Hilda and her son should not be targeted by immoral and unjust ICE raids. They should be provided the safety they seek, not met with further violence and discrimination. With continued raids announced, it is more important than ever that we stand with Hilda, Ivan, and all our immigrant brothers and sisters living in danger of deportation and separation. On February 9th, 2016, Hilda and Ivan took the prophetic and courageous step to enter into Sanctuary at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. Hilda explains that, "I feel safe here. I don't think immigration agents will break down the door and take me away. That is why I came here." Sanctuary is a place where God’s love and protection is a living reality. Our faith demands that we treat refugees as neighbors. Our faith demands that we open our doors, even when others are shutting theirs. As people of faith and people of moral courage, we cannot stand idle in midst of the inhumanity of raids, deportation and detention. We must be in solidarity with Hilda, Ivan and our immigrant neighbors who are facing similar situations where a deportation could have fatal consequences when returned to their countries of origin. All families are sacred and each individual deserves justice, dignity and hospitality, regardless of their immigration status. TAKE ACTION By signing this petition, you are taking action to stand in solidarity with Hilda and Ivan, and all people suffering because of the United States’ inhumane mass deportation system. Your support of immigrants and refugees as a person of faith or a person of moral courage can help us put pressure on the Obama administration to use their power to end unjust and inhumane raids and deportations. Watch the video of our press conference at St. Andrews Church: https://vimeo.com/154776260 [1] "Mothers held at Texas detention centre go on hunger strike to demand release," The Guardian. April 1, 2015. [2] "U.S. authorities begin raids, taking 121 illegal immigrants into custody over the weekend," The Washington Post. Jan. 4, 2016.
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  • Stand with Native Alaskans: Protect the Arctic Refuge
    For decades, the Gwich'in people have been defending their ancestral land and culture from the imminent threat of oil exploration and drilling. For daily sustenance, the Gwich’in depend on the Porcupine caribou herd, whose birthing patterns would be disrupted by oil exploration. The Gwich'in call the caribou birthing grounds "the sacred place where life begins," and they believe the caribou and Gwich'in people share a piece of each others' hearts. Defending the ecological integrity of the Arctic Refuge is also about defending the lives, livelihoods, spirituality, and culture of the Gwich'in people.
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  • Join In Interfaith Friendship and Support for Sonoma County's Muslim Community
    An alarming wave of Islamophobia is sweeping our nation. It has taken the form of hate crimes, profiling and verbal attacks. Increasingly inflammatory political rhetoric has included calls for internment camps and halting the resettlement of Muslim refugees who are fleeing war and terror. As people of many faith backgrounds living and worshiping in Sonoma County, we, the undersigned, and so many other people, are committed to working for justice, equality, inclusion and safety for all the members of our community. We are keenly aware that the scapegoating of religious minorities has never ended well - in this country or elsewhere - and we do not want to see it in our county or under our watch. We call on this community to oppose and reject Islamophobia in all its forms. We will not be silent or indifferent. We call on all people of good conscience to stand up for peaceful coexistence. We call on this community to extend the hand of friendship to our Muslim neighbors so they know they do not face this challenging time alone. Sponsored by: INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF SONOMA COUNTY SonomaCountyInterfaith@sonic.net (707) 206-2650 Endorsed by: Interfaith Council of Sonoma County, First Congregational United Church of Christ – Santa Rosa, Congregation Ner Shalom – Cotati, Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, Redwood Forest Friends Meeting, Congregation Shomrei Torah – Santa Rosa, Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Santa Rosa, Islamic Center of North Marin, First Congregational Church of Sonoma - UCC, North Bay Organizing Project, Institution of None And All, Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, Congregation Shir Shalom – Sonoma, and Presbyterian Church of the Roses – Santa Rosa
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  • Multifaith sign-on: Reinstate Wheaton Professor Hawkins
    Our hearts broke when we learned that Professor Larycia Hawkins – the first tenured African American woman at Wheaton College since 1860, and the only full-time African American woman on faculty – was put on leave after wearing a hijab in solidarity with Muslims in America. She wrote on Facebook, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” While the College has framed the issue around theological concerns on whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God, it has handled the situation in ways that unveil issues of race, gender and religion. Teaching in the evangelical academy is difficult for people of color, especially black women. The white leaders of evangelical institutions need to take the time to listen and learn from black women. The Black Lives Matter Movement, led by black women, is bringing to light both the suffering and hope of a growing faith-rooted movement for justice. As people of faith, we also cannot be bystanders to the rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment in our nation, including the spike in acts of hate and violence against Americans who are Muslim, Sikh, Arab, and South Asian. We were all inspired by Prof. Hawkins' brave statement of embodied solidarity. Her courageous composure is a powerful testimony that love, not fear, will have the last word. Forged in the fires of the movement to abolish race-based slavery, Wheaton College has a historic commitment to standing in solidarity with those who are hurting. As the prophet Zechariah says “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor” (7:10). As people of faith we should applaud Prof. Hawkins’ decision to stand in solidarity with those who are experiencing violence and misunderstanding. Instead, by firing her and revoking her tenure, an unchristian message would be sent that it's okay to punish someone who is using their body as a holy sanctuary against hatred and fear. We understand that you are seeking to deal with this situation through the doctrines and protocols of the College, but we call on you to attend to a higher judge, your conscience, and Jesus’ Parable of the Sheep and Goats. Jesus says we will be judged based on how we treat the least and the lost: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (Matthew 25:40). Jesus clearly exercises solidarity with those on the margins, calling us to follow his example as he aligns himself with the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and prisoner. As people of faith and moral courage, it is vital that we stand in embodied solidarity with African Americans, Muslims, and women. Wheaton College has the opportunity to shine like the sun as an example of what moral courage and compassionate justice look like in the diverse community of creation. Our earnest prayer is that you will do what is right and reinstate Prof. Hawkins as Associate Professor of Political Science. In reconciling with her, Wheaton will reclaim its prophetic legacy through modeling just and compassionate devotion to ‘Christ and the Kingdom.’ In faith, Rev. Dr. Peter Goodwin Heltzel (Wheaton, Class of 1994) Rev. Dr. William Barber II Rabbi Sharon Brous Sister Simone Campbell Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño Dr. Sharon Groves Lisa Sharon Harper Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson Valarie Kaur Rabbi Stephanie Kolin Rev. Dr. Jacqui J. Lewis Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews Rev. Brian McLaren Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III Bishop Gene Robinson Linda Sarsour Rev. Dr. John Vaughn Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock
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  • Tell the Obama Administration: Stop the Raids on Central American Refugees
    On January 2, the Department of Homeland Security began to raid homes of Central American mothers and children who entered the United States seeking asylum in states across the country. ICE officers showed up at their doors unannounced, deceiving them to gain entry, waking up sleeping children, and taking away the families to detention centers, where mothers and children will spend months jailed until they are deported back to the dangerous situations they fled. Raids are a traumatizing experience, especially for those already suffering from the distress of rape, murder, domestic violence, and deadly poverty in the countries they have fled. These raids are being used as scare tactics against the immigrant community — resulting in fear of being separated from their families, fear that keeps mothers from sending their children to school, fear that keeps workers from returning to much-needed jobs, fear that has a domino effect on all of our communities. What is happening to our brothers and sisters in Central America is a humanitarian crisis, and must be met with a compassionate response that integrates respect for human rights, finds and heals the root causes of migration, and provides safe haven for the families and individuals in need of safety and compassion. OUR VALUES Faith communities have a long-standing history of providing sanctuary and accompaniment for our immigrant brothers and sisters. Back in the 1980s when Central Americans were fleeing the horrific violence of civil war, they came to our country seeking asylum but were met with deportation orders and were sent back to the death squads they sought to escape. And so communities of faith did the only thing we could: We formed an underground railroad and declared sanctuary for Central American refugees. During the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, over 400 congregations were involved and thousands of refugees were protected from deportation. Leaders in this movement ended up suing the U.S. government for failing to follow their own asylum laws — and they won. The U.S. government agreed to stop all deportations to Central America, granted refugees from these areas temporary protected status, and reformed their refugee law. More than 30 years later we find ourselves in the same situation with the U.S. government once again violating their own asylum law and international human rights standards. And once again we feel as if we have no choice but to do everything we can to resist these recent actions by the Department of Homeland Security targeting asylum seekers for deportation, because once again, human lives are on the line. Last year, the Sanctuary Movement was rebirthed at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, and over 300 congregations and synagogues joined them in a pledge to protect mothers, fathers, and individuals with the courage to defy the deportation orders threatening to separate them from their families and communities. Every day we are talking to a new congregation who wants to get involved and every day we are hearing of a new family devastated — that’s why we’re asking the Obama Administration to stop the raids and deportations now! The movement will continue to grow stronger until there is not one more family living in fear of deportation.
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