Several polls were released this week examining American public attitudes toward the Pope in advance of his visit to the US in September. The polls showed that the Pope continues to enjoy remarkably strong approval ratings with American voters of all stripes, who agree with his message of equality and inclusion and his call to do more to address climate change.
A Lake Research Partners poll of religious or faith-affiliated likely 2016 voters showed that the Pope is more popular than Oprah, and that his messages of togetherness, community, inclusion, and equality have broad reach and acceptance with these voters.
Quinnipiac University’s survey of registered voters in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia found that voters agreed by a more than 2-1 margin with the Pope’s call for the world to do more to address climate change.
That’s on the heels of a Gallup survey of US adults (not just voters) that found some polarization in attitudes and a drop in favorability among political conservatives.
Faith in Public Life’s Catholic program director, John Gehring, is the author of the upcoming book The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church. John looked at all three polls, and said:
“Pope Francis brings a powerful message that is both inspiring and challenging. He is making new again what is ancient wisdom about the common good at a time when our politics and culture are too often shaped by individualism on both the right and left. The pope is connecting with people because he taps into a deeper hunger for community that goes beyond self-interest. This has implications for the values that must frame our political and policy debates. Voters are paying attention to the pope’s insistence that addressing climate change, honoring the dignity of work and building an economy of inclusion are at root moral issues.”
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Faith leaders will outline legislative goals, release compact signed by over 100 clergy from across Ohio
Columbus, OH – Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8th at 1:00PM, a diverse group of Ohio clergy will gather at the statehouse to kick off a campaign to end workplace discrimination against pregnant women.
No woman should ever have to choose between her job and her pregnancy. But in Ohio it is perfectly legal to deny pregnant women reasonable accommodations that let them work safely as they carry their child. It’s time for the state legislature to stand up for workers and family values by outlawing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
A background memo on the issue will be circulated to press today.
Ohio Family Values is made up of Republicans and Democrats, pro-choice and pro-life advocates, and clergy from across the theological perspective, including Catholics, Jews, Evangelicals, Muslims, Mainline Protestants and Unitarian Universalists.
At the press conference, the clergy will release the Compact for Ohio Families, signed by over 100 clergy from across the state that are committed to passing pregnancy discrimination legislation.
More information about the coalition can be found at: http://www.ohiofamilyvalues.com/
Ohio Family Values clergy coalition press conference announcing campaign to pass legislation to end pregnancy discrimination
Rev. June Wilkins, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Columbus
Rev. Joshua Stoxen, Vineyard Central Church, Cincinnati
Rabbi Eric Woodward, Congregation Tifereth Israel, Columbus
Amanda Hoyt, Faith in Public Life
George Washington Williams Room, Ohio Statehouse
Wednesday, July 8th at 1:00PM
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Impact of climate change is a “pro-life issue” and “costs of delay are unacceptable,” leaders write in full-page message in Politico newspaper
Washington, DC – Just Just days after Pope Francis released a powerful encyclical on environmental justice and ecology that has reverberated around the world, Catholic and evangelical leaders are asking members of Congress and presidential candidates to recognize climate change is a moral issue that requires an urgent response.
“Pope Francis has issued a bold call to action, and the clock is ticking on a challenge that requires a collective effort in service of the global common good,” Catholic university presidents, clergy, nuns, faith-based advocates and prominent evangelicals write. “As citizens of the most powerful nation in human history, we have a unique responsibility to promote sustainable development, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and build a thriving culture of life that protects human dignity.”
The open letter, which will be sent to leadership in the House of Representatives and Senate as well as candidates running for president, is published as a full-page advertisement in Politico newspaper today.
Signatories include 20 Catholic university presidents; two past presidents of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Dan Misleh, the executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant; Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; Miguel Diaz, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners; Rev. Mitchell Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network; Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action; noted Old Testament theologian Walter Brueggemann and Richard Mouw, the former president of Fuller Theological Seminary.
The leaders specifically encourage “presidential candidates, Members of Congress and Governors who have raised doubts about the seriousness of climate change to consider the moral dimensions of this issue and the urgent need for action.” Prominent political leaders who are Catholic, including House Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, have denied or downplayed the scientific consensus that human behavior is driving climate change, and frequently criticize the Obama administration for policies intended to reduce carbon emissions.
In recent days, several Catholics running for president, including Rick Santorum and Jeb Bush, have questioned the pope weighing in on timely moral issues. Pope Francis and the church should leave “science to the scientists,” Santorum said, and focus on “what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.” Asked about the pope’s message during a recent event in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush said “religion ought to be about making us better as people, less about things that end up getting into the political realm.”
When asked by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about Bush’s comments, Cardinal Peter Turkson — prefect of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and a key advisor to Pope Francis on the encyclical – called them “unfortunate” and asked “what is morality about, if not about our conduct, our decisions, our conscience, and the choices we make?”
The statement from Catholic and evangelical leaders also puts pressure on politicians who have failed to take action when it comes to the poor and most vulnerable disproportionately impacted by climate change. “At their core, climate change and air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels are pro-life issues,” the leaders write. “The toxic pollution released from coal-fired plants and chemicals spewing into rivers and oceans present especially grave risks for life in the womb, young children and the elderly. The costs of delay are unacceptable.”
In his 184-page document, Laudato Si (Praised Be to You) released June 18, Pope Francis describes climate change as “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” He affirms the overwhelming scientific consensus that human behavior is exacerbating global warning, links growing economic inequality and poverty with ecological devastation, and has pointed words for “obstructionist” climate change skeptics who the pope writes, “seem mostly concerned with masking the problems or concealing the symptoms.”
The full statement with signatories can be found here.
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Atlanta, GA - Today, the Outcry Interfaith Coalition issued the following statement responding to last night’s tragic events in Charleston, South Carolina.
Only a few hours ago, members of Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina entered the sacred space of their church for the spiritual uplift they receive each week on Wednesday evenings as they pray and study the Bible. But last night, the terror of violence shattered through the sanctity of life gathered in the presence of God and in the hope of prayer.
Today is a time to mourn the deaths of those who perished in gunfire last night in Emanuel AME Church. “Sanctuary” is a place to which one goes for safety and to be with a sacred community.
We, the Outcry Interfaith Clergy Coalition, pray together for the nine people whose light was extinguished, the nine families whose hearts are broken, and the community whose holy sanctuary has been emptied with violence. Life is sacred. On this we agree.
s an interfaith clergy coalition focused on ending gun violence in Georgia. Outcry has been played a key role in the campaign for common sense gun laws, including protections for houses of worship in last year’s “guns everywhere” law, and with this year’s HB 492. You can learn more about Outcry here:http://www.OutcryGeorgia.org/
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John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington, responds to the official release today of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’s encyclical on environmental justice. Gehring is the author of the forthcoming, The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church (Rowman & Littlefield, August 2015) Gehring is available for interviews on this topic, has broadcast experience and can appear live from Washington.
“Pope Francis has given us all a profound spiritual meditation on humanity’s broken relationship with the earth and a bold call to action that challenges political leaders to wake up,” said John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington. “This should elevate the moral dimensions of climate change to the top of our political agenda.”
“A pope who insists that economic inequality and our ecological crisis are central moral issues also explodes the Catholic political narrative in this country,” Gehring added. “Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum and other GOP Catholics are being reminded that our church recognizes threats to human life and dignity are found in unjust and sinful structures that must change.”
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