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2,000+ Faith Leaders Condemn Governors’ Rejection of Syrian Refugees

November 19, 2015, 5:28 pm | Posted by

November 18, 2015
Contact: Allison Walter, 913-375-7730awalter@faithinpubliclife.org 

2,000+ Faith Leaders Condemn Governors’
Rejection of Syrian Refugees
Open letter from faith community also commends leaders welcoming refugees


Washington, DC - More than 2,000 faith leaders from across the nation have adamantly rejected the proposals of two dozen United States governors to close their states’ doors to Syrian refugees fleeing the unspeakable cruelty of ISIS.

Today, Faith in Public Life released an open letter from a broad range of religious leaders  – including Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life; Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; Dr. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta; and prominent theologian Walter Brueggemann– calling the governors to welcome refugees and reject the politics of fear and cruelty.

“The Statue of Liberty is not etched with the message ‘Christians only,’” said Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life. “Our elected officials have a responsibility to protect the nation, but turning away families who risk their lives to escape the destruction of war is unnecessary and wrong. America can prevent attacks without turning our backs on desperate refugees.”

The letter reads in part: 

As faith leaders, we seek to honor Scripture’s call to protect the refugee and the immigrant. As it is written in the Hebrew Scriptures, “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”

These leaders also condemn in the strongest terms proposals to discriminate against refugees on the basis of religion.

Read the complete statement and view the list of signatories.


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White House names Faith in Public Life CEO chair of President’s Council

November 5, 2015, 1:56 pm | Posted by

November 5, 2015
Contact: Allison Walter – awalter@faithinpubliclife.org / (202) 499-4093

Faith in Public Life CEO Jennifer Butler Named Chair of President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships


Washington, DC– Faith in Public Life is pleased to announce that Executive Director and CEO, Rev. Jennifer Butler, has been named the chair of the President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Said Butler, on learning of the appointment, “I’m deeply honored to be chosen for this position and very excited about the opportunities this platform presents to move forward the faith community’s work on issues of poverty and inequality. When the faith community comes together, we really can transform society. That’s the beauty of this council.”’

The council brings together religious and secular leaders, as well as experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and community organizations. The charge for the group is to focus on steps the government should take to in partnership with faith- and community-based organizations to reduce poverty and inequality and create opportunity for all. Such steps include changes in policies, programs and practices that affect the delivery of crucial services in low-income and underserved communities.

The council also includes Dr. Stephen Schneck, Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America; Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs; Rev. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World; and 14 other prominent faith leaders.

Rev. Butler is the founding CEO of Faith in Public Life. From 1996 to 2005, she represented the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the United Nations. She is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. Faith in Public Life is incredibly proud of Rev. Butler and her work to advance justice, compassion and the common good.

To interview Rev. Butler, please contact Allison Walter at awalter@faithinpubliclife.org or 202-499-4093.

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FPL Catholic Program Director Writes “The Francis Effect”

October 28, 2015, 5:07 pm | Posted by

FPL Catholic Program Director, John Gehring, has authored a new book, The Francis Effect. Check out the reviews and buy a copy

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The Francis Effect

A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church


The Francis Effect explores how a church once known as a towering force for social justice became known for a narrow agenda most closely aligned with one political party, and then looks at the opportunities for change in the “age of Francis.” Pope Francis has become an unlikely global star whose image has graced the covers of Rolling StoneThe New YorkerTime, and even the nation’s oldest magazine for gays and lesbians. The first Latin American pope, the first Jesuit, and the first to take the name of a beloved saint of the poor, Francis is shaking up a church that has been mired in scandal and demoralized by devastating headlines. His bracing critique of an out-of-touch hierarchy, pastoral style when it comes to divisive issues, and humble gestures rejecting the trappings of papal power have changed the conversation about the world’s most powerful religious institution. 

But in the United States, Pope Francis finds a church that has been transformed over the past three decades by a vocal minority of culture warrior bishops, conservative intellectuals, and Christian evangelicals. The first half of the book analyzes the key trends that shaped the Catholic Church over the past century, while the second half looks at the words and actions of Pope Francis, and what they mean for real change.

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Georgia Clergy Call Legislators to Support Working Families

October 26, 2015, 12:41 pm | Posted by

October 26, 2015
Contact: Graham Younger, (678) 739-8584gyounger@faithinpubliclife.org 


Georgia Clergy Call Legislators to Support Working Families

Atlanta, GA – On Thursday, October 22, faith leaders delivered a letter signed by more than 100 Georgia clergy to Senator Isakson calling on Congress to protect the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. 

Signers include Rabbi Peter Berg, Rev. Dr. Sam Davis, Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale and Rev. Kelly Barge. 

John A. Berry, CEO of Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia called attention to the importance of these tax credits saying,

“Many people struggle to meet every day needs and the relief that the EITC would provide around tax time would be a great help in making their lives a little easier as they continue to work to provide for their families”

The EITC and CTC are among the nation’s strongest tools to help working families escape poverty and achieve greater self-sufficiency and dignity. Together, they lifted 9.4 million people out of poverty— and made 22 million others less poor – in 2013.

Rev. William Flippin Jr., part of the group that delivered the letter, reacted to the experience: 

“We were glad to get to discuss the EITC with the Senator’s office. It is crucial to find ways to aid working families and Senator Isakson’s commitment to helping them is refreshing.”

A full copy of the letter can be found here


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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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