Clergy and lay leaders of We Believe Ohio put their prayers into action at the Statehouse earlier this month on the National Day of Prayer to call for passage of a moral state budget. More than 100 clergy and lay people met in Columbus for prayer and preparation before marching to the Statehouse and participating in meetings with 22 State Representatives and Senators — including 8 Democrats and 14 Republicans, most in positions of leadership — as well as Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Governor Ted Strickland’s office.
They were extremely well-received by all offices and repeatedly told that We Believe has helped set a civil tone and a spirit of bipartisanship!
We Believe Ohio clergy and lay leaders asked legislators to resolve long-term funding inequalities in public education, because every child in the state of Ohio is entitled to have the opportunity to receive a quality education; lift the cap on the Housing Trust Fund, because We Believe Ohio acknowledges God’s call that we care for the poor, the wayfarer and the stranger; and raise parents’ eligibility for Medicaid and allow uninsured children in families with incomes over 300% of the poverty level to buy into Medicaid/SCHIP, because our Creator desires health and wholeness for all people and quality healthcare is a God-given and constitutional right. For more details on We Believe’s legislative ‘asks’ see the press release here.
We Believe Ohio is a coalition of clergy and lay leaders that Faith in Public Life helped launch in 2006 to provide a positive faithful voice for social justice in the state.
A solidly conservative leader, Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has recently come out in support of comprehensive immigration reform against the majority of the religious Right. Dubbed here by Fox News as the “Power Player” this week, Dr. Land goes through a list of GOP presidential candidates and gives his quick opinion on who he likes and what reservations he has about several of the front runners. In calling himself a conservative, he notes that:
“God may not have a side when it comes to NAFTA and CAFTA, but I believe fervently that God has a side when it comes to the protection of all human life, from conception to natural death and everywhere in between.”
Recently Dr. Land has teamed up with diverse leaders, from George Soros’ Open Society and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to push for six party talks with North Korea as well as working with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, and yes, even Sen. Ted Kennedy during a Capital Hill press conference on solving the immigration issue with compassion. It will be interesting to see how the most powerful official Southern Baptist leader continues to influence American public life and the sixteen million Southern Baptists he serves.
Too often too many conservative Christians assume that God is on their side or they tend to conflate God’s interest with America’s interest. That’s an assumption that no one can make about any country, even the United States. As Lincoln put it so eloquently, our responsibility and obligation is to do our very best to be on God’s side rather than assume that God is on our side. We have to understand that our ultimate allegiance belongs to God, not to the United States. If we make patriotism an ultimate value, then it becomes an idol. As important to me as patriotism is, I was always taught by my parents to love my country, and to respect my heritage, and always to love and to respect God even more.
This morning, Christian faith leaders from across the country gathered for a press conference on Capitol Hill to launch Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a grassroots and ad campaign calling for comprehensive immigration reform that is consistent with biblical values. Ads announcing the campaign ran in Roll Call and CongressDaily today to coincide with the launch.
Faith in Public Life coordinated the press conference, and has full video of the event available below.
For the rest of the press conference, follow these links:
After watching the PBS documentary on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Faithful Progressive reflects on religious tolerance. But then he goes after Sam Harris’ intolerance toward religion, noting that Harris recently wrote: “The very ideal of religious tolerance–born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God–is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.”
This is, of course, a very dangerous idea–whether it comes from zealots on the religious right or from atheists who would ban the binding together that is at the essence of religious expression. . . . I don’t care how shrill Mr. Harris and his supporters are in inviting others to share their view that religious belief is inherently flawed. But when they they denounce tolerance, when they seek to deny me my own autonomy and choices, they become bullies who believe they have a monopoly on truth.
Bruce Wilson takes up the issue of intolerance with a massive (and graphic) post on : Gay Hating, Abortion Clinic Bombings, Veiled Threats on “race mixing.”
The Rev. Chuck Currie points to Wal-mart and says that “Americans ought to demand moral leadership from the corporate community. And all of us – myself included – need to really think about where we shop and invest our money in.”
Talkin’ ’bout public life in faith, Street Prophets’ Pastor Dan notes that former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey will be attending Episcopalian seminary. Xpatriated Texan comments: “I have to admit that I’m a bit hesitant to embrace his path to the priesthood, though. For one, I’ve seen far too many conversions collapse under the weight of disappointment and disillusionment. A person doesn’t mean to set too high of a standard for their church – after all, the church is just a bunch of people – but we do, and it hurts when we realize that and sometimes that leads to withdrawal and abandonment.”
With the news that the Bush administration wants to impose travel restrictions on the British citizens of Pakistani origin, City of Brass asks, can we call it racism now?
Mainstream Baptist notes the new Pew report out on how Latinos are changing American religion. FPL’s David also catches and adds analysis to this interesting data, noting that “Whether Catholic, Evangelical, or Secular, Hispanics by wide margins favor government guaranteed health insurance, and are willing to pay higher taxes for government services.”
Christian Alliance for Progress notes that the former president of the college where Bush will be speaking has written an op-ed in the school paper denouncing the visit.
Whispers in the Loggia opines on “Pope Benedict’s repeatedly-delayed motu proprio on the celebration of the Tridentine Mass>
In the mood for some Muslim satire? You may have picked up some of the far right complaints about PBS not airing a documentary on “moderate Islam in America,” well, Progressive Islam (Sheep are for Eid) pokes lots o’ funny holes.