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Georgia Clergy React to Oregon Shootings

October 2, 2015, 4:21 pm | Posted by


Contact: Graham Younger, <gyounger@faithinpubliclife.org>, (678)739-8584


This weekend, churches across Georgia to ring bells in remembrance of lives lost

Atlanta, GA - Today, the Outcry Interfaith Coalition, comprised of more than 300 Georgia faith leaders who are taking action to end gun violence, issued the following statement responding to Thursday’s school shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. 

“As clergy, we pray without ceasing for the nine people whose lives were taken, and whose families will never be the same, after the tragic shooting Thursday in Oregon. That’s why this weekend, in houses of worship across the state, we will ring bells to remember the lives senselessly lost and to pay tribute to the suffering of their loved ones.

“At the same time, as a diverse interfaith coalition who disagree on much, we agree that to address the wave of gun violence in our communities—in our schools, our houses of worship—prayer alone isn’t enough. We are in the midst of an epidemic. There are indeed ‘guns everywhere,’ as the name of Georgia’s misguided law promised. There was even a shameful attempt to pass a ‘campus carry’ law, despite the fact that, since Sandy Hook, there has been an average of one school shooting every week. Every week.

“When do we start respecting lives enough to take action? When do we say it’s time to admit that ‘guns everywhere’ is a problem, maybe THE problem? How many families need to suffer before we can do what’s moral and right?”

Outcry is an interfaith clergy coalition focused on ending gun violence in Georgia. Outcry has played a key role in the campaign for commonsense gun laws, including protections for houses of worship in last year’s “guns everywhere” law and with this year’s controversial campus carry and permit-less carry bills. You can learn more about Outcry here: http://www.OutcryGeorgia.org/



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Faith Leaders Decry Trump’s Call to ‘Round Up Humanely’ Immigrants

September 28, 2015, 4:40 pm | Posted by

For Immediate Release

Contact: Allison Walter, (202) 499-4093 / AWalter@FaithInPublicLife.org

Faith Leaders Decry Trump’s Call to ‘Round Up Humanely’ Immigrants

Just days after Pope Francis called on our nation’s leaders to apply the ‘golden rule,’ it is alarming to hear a candidate for President repeatedly promoting mass deportations. Faith leaders were stunned to hear Donald Trump say about undocumented immigrants: “We’re going to round them up, in a very humane way,” during an interview on 60 minutes.

The following faith leaders have condemned Trump’s statements, and offer these quotes:

Reverend Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life:

“There is no ‘humane’ way to ’round up’ 11 million people for deportation. Mr. Trump is forgetting the Gospel’s call to welcome the stranger. As children of God we know that each person is an important thread in the beautiful tapestry that makes up our nation. What sort of society are we creating where a child has to fear that she could be separated from her parents at any moment?

Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director, NETWORK:

“It is easy for Mr. Trump to make outrageous statements when he does not know the lives of real people. In Kansas City, with the Nuns on the Bus tour, we met Katherine a 15 year old girl caring for her U.S. citizen siblings because her employed parents were deported when they went to pay a traffic ticket. If Mr. Trump is serious about running for President, then he needs to get to know the reality of our nation, not just his imagination and prejudice.”

Michelle Warren, leader of Colorado’s Bibles, Badges and Business Immigration Network:

“Immigrants and their families are contributing members of America’s society, and we as a country benefit greatly from those contributions.  The ridiculous notion that rounding people up, separating families and sending them back to their country of origin to legalize them is somehow “nice” shows the lack of understanding Mr. Trump has on family values, economic capacity and compassionate leadership.”

Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer, Executive Director, Florida Council of Churches:

“Mr. Trump’s plan is neither nice nor practical. It is harmful to families involved, many of whose members are citizens and residents of the US. It is harmful to our economic life, especially in Florida where immigrant economic activity nearly equals the state budget. It is harmful to democracy itself because our nation would become a police state in carrying out such a plan. Mr. Trump intends to win his party’s nomination by generating divisive hostility in order to mobilize support. This is gangsterism not leadership. I pray he chooses a higher path.”

Sr. Dorothy Schlaeger, on behalf of the Sisters of St. Francis, Colorado Springs, CO:

We find Mr. Trump’s language of  “rounding up the illegals” highly offensive.  He says “We don’t want to keep people out—we want to keep illegals out”—insinuating the undocumented are not people who deserve the same dignity we afford ourselves.  He seems to be totally insensitive to the myriads of ways his plan would completely disrupt the lives of not just 11 million human beings but the lives of perhaps 24 to 48 million or more family members.  Who cares for the dependent children and elderly during this time of displacement?  What happens to our economy when millions suddenly leave the workforce and housing market?  Might not a plan that exemplifies “the Golden Rule” be far more efficacious?

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:

“​It is time that we make it very clear to Mr. Trump, that there is nothing ‘nice’ about his plan to deport 11 million men, women and children, and that his unabashed insults towards undocumented immigrants will not be tolerated without strong rebuttal by Christian leaders throughout our nation. As a Mexican-American citizen of the USA, I am calling on all presidential candidates to choose a path that treats everyone with dignity and that offers solutions to our current immigration crisis. The candidate who offers a way to integrate our immigrant neighbors with dignity will gain the support of the America people.”

Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy, Daughter of Charity, American Social Justice Committee, Nun on the Bus

“After Mr Trump speaks, I often find myself praying for a more collective outrage. It is disgraceful that he comfortably talks about our immigrant brothers and sisters as if they were disposable ranch animals. His political campaign rounds up irrational fear and then breeds it. On the other hand, The Pope amasses Hope, then lavishly gives it away. The latter is a far more appealing and befitting demeanor for US Americans. Our country is too strong to capitulate to groundless fear that will rob us of cultural diversity, economic advancement and enhanced entrepreneurial efforts. And we expect hope filled legislation that reflects are our incomparable American community values.”

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Rev. Jennifer Butler appointed to President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

September 24, 2015, 9:30 am | Posted by

September 24, 2015

Rev. Jennifer Butler appointed to President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Butler photoToday, President Obama announced his intent to appoint Faith in Public Life’s CEO, Reverend Jennifer Butler, to the President’s third Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Rev. Butler is one of 18 prospective members whose appointments were announced. President Obama said, “I am confident that these outstanding men and women will serve the American people well, and I look forward to working with them.”

The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships brings together religious and secular leaders as well as scholars and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations. The charge for this Council focuses on steps the government should take to reduce poverty and inequality and create opportunity for all, including changes in policies, programs, and practices that affect the delivery of services by faith-based and community organizations and the needs of low-income and other underserved persons.

Faith in Public Life is proud of Rev. Butler and her work to create a world dedicated to justice, compassion, and the common good.



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Poll Release, National Press Club Panel: A “Francis Effect” on Catholic Voters?

September 16, 2015, 9:04 am | Posted by

Poll Release, National Press Club Panel:
A “Francis Effect” on Catholic Voters?

In less than ten days, Pope Francis will make his first trip to the United States and become the first pontiff in history to address Congress. Many have speculated about how the pope’s leadership and priorities might impact the nexus of religion and politics in this country. How is a pope who puts the moral dimensions of economic inequality and climate change at the forefront of his papacy shaking up the Catholic political narrative? At a time when eight Catholics are running for president, many of the nation’s most powerful elected officials are Catholic and Catholic voters in battleground states could prove decisive in the 2016 election, is there likely to be a “Francis effect” on American politics?

Faith in Public Life and The Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey testing how Catholic voters are responding to the pope’s messages. The results, based on data collected from 1,400 likely Catholic voters, will be released at the National Press Club as part of a panel discussion with prominent Catholic analysts, academics and journalists.

A copy of the survey report is available here.

·   Moderator: Luke Russert, NBC News
·   Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
·   David Buckley, Professor of Political Science, University of Louisville
·   Melinda Henneberger, Senior Writer, Bloomberg Politics
·   John Gehring, Catholic Program Director, Faith in Public Life
·   Stephen Schneck, Director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America

Poll release and panel discussion.

The National Press Club
First Amendment Room
529 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20045

9:30-11:00 am (EST)
Wednesday, September 16

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Christian Leaders Speak Out Against Clerk’s Refusal to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

September 11, 2015, 11:50 am | Posted by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 10, 2015
CONTACT: Allison Walter, Faith in Public Life, awalter@faithinpubliclife.org / (202) 499-4093

Christian Leaders Speak Out Against Clerk’s Refusal to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Denying Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples a Clear Violation of Religious Liberty

WASHINGTON, DC – An open letter signed by over 200 faith leaders and published today argues that Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a clear violation of religious liberty.

“Religious freedom guarantees that no religion shall oppress those who hold to different beliefs,” said Reverend Jennifer Butler, Executive Director of Faith in Public Life, which organized the letter. “If as a matter of conscience a public official cannot provide equal treatment as required by law, the proper course of action is to resign,” continued Butler.

Signing the letter are prominent faith leaders of diverse denominations, including Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Church; Reverend Ken Wilson, Co-Pastor of the Blue Ocean Faith Church; Alan Chambers, author of “My Exodus Story” and former director, Exodus International; Dr. James Trent, professor at Gordon College.

The letter reads in part: “By refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on her religious convictions, Ms. Davis subverted the religious liberty of citizens of Rowan County who do not share her beliefs. Her failure to administer the law equally to those who do not share her beliefs, in defiance of a court order, flouted the Constitution and undermined the values of religious freedom and pluralism that undergird our democracy.”

The full letter and its growing list of signatories can be found at ThisIsOurWitness.com.

The letter’s signatories call on fellow Christians to respect religious liberty by refraining from imposing individual religious beliefs on American citizens and to remember that Jesus calls us to treat each and every person as created in the image of God, even when we disagree.


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