Comprehensive Religion Polling Database Launched

September 8, 2008, 10:57 am | Posted by

FPL Poll Spot:

September 8, 2008

Faith in Public Life today launched FPL Poll Spot, the most comprehensive database of recent of faith and politics polls online. The searchable database includes polls released since 2006 that surveyed specific religious groups or significantly focused on religion.

FPL Poll Spot features direct links and summaries of findings for more than 70 polls sponsored by major news networks and publications, research institutions such as Pew Research Center, Barna Group, and Gallup, and issue or constituency-based organizations.

The polls in the database are organized and searchable by year, religious affiliation, and category. Categories include issues, party affiliation, the presidential race, and religion in public life.

FPL Poll Spot debuts at a dynamic moment at the intersection of faith and politics. People of faith are re-evaluating their issue priorities, political allegiances and the role religion should play in public life. This resource will help users find data that explores these trends.

In addition to FPL Poll Spot, Faith in Public Life distributes Faith in Public Life Daily News, a roundup of the top faith and politics news delivered each weekday to subscribers’ email inboxes.

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Faith in Public Life is dedicated to transforming the values debate by increasing the visibility of faith leaders dedicated to justice, compassion and the common good. Faith in Public Life is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization.

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Community Organizing Networks Speak Out About “Actual Responsibilities”

September 4, 2008, 4:39 pm | Posted by

Respond to Governor Palin’s Remarks

(September 4, 2008) – Faith-based community organizing leaders are speaking out today about the “actual responsibilities” of community organizers and their tremendous impact every day on the lives of millions of Americans.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s remark last night — that her experience as “a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities” — reflects the fact that many of our political leaders have no idea what community organizing is or how it impacts the lives working people in communities across America every day.

Community organizers are equipping tens of thousands of clergy and lay leaders in thousands of congregations across America to take effective action to improve the lives of millions of Americans. PICO, Gamaliel, DART, and Interfaith Worker Justice are four of the congregation-based community organizing networks dedicated to this work. Contact leaders from each to learn more:

“As a life-long Republican, the comments I heard last night about community organizing crossed the line. It is one thing to question someone’s experience, another to demean the work of millions of hard working Americans who take time to get involved in their communities. When people come together in my church hall to improve our community, they’re building the Kingdom of God in San Diego. We see the fruits of community organizing in safer streets, new parks, and new affordable housing. It’s the spirit of democracy for people to have a say and we need more of it,”

said Bishop Roy Dixon, prelate of the Southern California 4th ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ, member of the San Diego Organizing Project and former board chair of PICO National Network.

PICO is comprised of 53 faith-based organizations and 1,000 faith communities from 50 denominations working in 150 cities and town and 17 states. Bishop Dixon may be reached by cell at 619- 921-0738. Alternative contact: 734-255-4029.

“We can thank community organizing for the weekend, the 8 hour day, integrated swimming pools, public transportation, health care for children and safe neighborhoods. Community organizing is behind most of the family-oriented initiatives we benefit from every day. I am proud to work for change in my country, my state, and my city as a community organizer, following the great traditions of Dr. Martin Luther King,”

said Laura Barrett, National Policy Director of Gamaliel/Transportation Equity Network (TEN).

Gamaliel is a multifaith community organizing network in 60 metro regions in the US, as well as Great Britian and South Africa. 2,000 faith congregations, student groups and unions are involved in Gamaliel. Laura Barrett can be reach by cell at 314-443-5915.

“Contrary to Palin’s disparaging remarks, organizers have major responsibilities for creating policy changes. Feeding the hungry and housing the homeless are clearly responsibilities of people of faith. We do that by providing food and shelter and more importantly, by organizing to address the causes of injustice and inequity which lead to hunger and homelessness,”

said Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice and the co-author of “Organizing for Social Change.”

Interfaith Worker Justice includes 60 affiliates and 20 workers centers and organizes people of faith to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers. Kim Bobo can be reached by cell at 773-391-8844.

“Politicians should thank community organizers, not insult them. As a longtime organizer, I’ve seen time and time again the we are the ones who make government work for the poor, the powerless and the marginalized. Politicians’ policies and promises would amount to nothing without grassroots activists to hold them accountable. We are leaders of faith and stewards of democracy. In a time when the face of faith in politics is often ugly, community organizing is a valuable example faith’s positive role in public life,”

said Pastor Mark Diemer, senior pastor of Grace of God Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio and a DART community organizer.

DART has built and strengthened over twenty local affiliated organizations in six states and trained over 10,000 community leaders and 150 professional community organizers. Pastor Diemer may be reached by cell at 614-425-0284.

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Clergy Lead Thousands in Immigrants’ Rights March in Denver

August 27, 2008, 2:45 pm | Posted by

Faith Leaders call for action from political leaders

DENVER – Thousands of immigrants’ rights advocates will gather at Rude Park Thursday morning at 9 am for “We Are America” – a march and rally featuring the state clergy coalition We Believe Colorado and national religious leaders dedicated to just and moral immigration reform.

With the Democratic Convention ongoing in Denver, and the Republican Convention next week, the faith community is calling for just immigration reform to be a centerpiece of the moral agenda.

The event will feature interfaith prayer and a performance by Agape International Choir, visiting from Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention. A police escort will accompany participants on a one-mile march down Colfax Blvd to La Alma/Lincoln Park.

The march will culminate in a rally at 11:30 at Lincoln Park, where a diverse group of prominent faith leaders will speak and pray for the immigrant community and for just and moral immigration reform. As the election looms, now is the time for a faithful witness on this common good issue.

WHAT: Thousands march and rally for immigrants’ rights in Colorado and across the country.

WHERE: Start at Rude Park (Howard Place and Colfax), marching down Colfax to La Alma/Lincoln Park.

WHO: Rev. Butch Montoya, HS Power and Light

Imam A. Rahim Ali, Northeast Denver Islamic Center

Father Bernie Schmitz, Catholic Archdiocese of Denver

Rev. Adam Taylor, Sojourners/Call To Renewal

Rev. Ron Stief, Faith in Public Life

Dr. Michael Beckwith, Agape Spiritual Center

WHEN: 9 am at Rude Park, arriving at La Alma/Lincoln Park 11:30 am.

Media note: GREAT VISUALS: Marchers will have signs and banners.

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Poll on Southern Evangelicals’ Attitudes toward Torture

August 12, 2008, 3:33 pm | Posted by

Results to be Released During National Summit on Torture in Atlanta

ATLANTA — Results of a new poll of Southern Evangelicals on their attitudes toward torture and its connection to their faith and moral values will be released next month in conjunction with a national summit on torture sponsored by 15 diverse faith groups. The conference, titled “Religious Faith, Torture, and Our National Soul,” will convene on Mercer University’s Atlanta campus Sept. 11-12.

The poll results will be released at 10:45 a.m. on the first day of the conference. Commissioned by Mercer University and conference co-sponsor Faith in Public Life, the poll is the first major survey of Southern Evangelicals — a group that has been disproportionately supportive of the Bush administration’s foreign policy — on the issue of torture. Reporters may participate in the press conference in person or via teleconference. Dial-in instructions will be provided to journalists a week before the conference.

“Religious Faith, Torture, and Our National Soul” is being organized by Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer. Among the more than 50 speakers, presenters and moderators scheduled to participate in the conference are academics from institutions such as Yale University, the University of Notre Dame, New York University, Seton Hall Law School, Morehouse College, Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, Princeton Theological Seminary and Mercer. Presenters will also include retired senior military officers and leaders from Christian, Jewish and Islamic organizations.

Among the other co-sponsors of the conference are the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the Center for Victims of Torture, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Evangelicals for Social Action, Faith and the City, the Islamic Society of North America, Morehouse College, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, No2Torture, Rabbis for Human Rights, Sojourners and Third Way.

Journalists who plan to attend and cover the conference are asked to pick up media credentials at the media desk in the lobby of Mercer’s Administration and Conference Center, which will host the sessions. Credentials will be available beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 11. The conference begins at 9 a.m. A media workroom with wireless Internet access will be set up in Room 240 of the Administration and Conference Center.

Additional program details, including a full schedule, are available at For more information about the conference, call (678) 547-6457. For media-related questions, call (478) 301-5700.

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Faith Leaders Call for Defeat of Ballot Initiative Promoting Racial Profiling

July 28, 2008, 5:09 pm | Posted by

Diverse religious and community leaders will gather on the steps of the Denver City and County Building today from 5:00 – 5:30pm to urge voters to vote NO on Denver Initiated Question 100 on the August 12 primary ballot. If passed, the measure would increase the likelihood of racial profiling and place a tremendous burden on law enforcement and other agencies. The speakers are announcing an unprecedented effort to educate their congregations on the harm this initiative would produce.

“Discriminatory laws clearly do not fit with our understanding of the Common Good, and that’s why We Believe Colorado is embarking on an extensive campaign to encourage people of faith to vote no on Initiative 100,” said the Rev. Jim Ryan, Council Executive of the Colorado Council of Churches and member of We Believe Colorado.

“We’re working hard to defeat Initiative 100 in order to preserve and protect the dignity of all persons and to prevent racial profiling,” says Rabbi Steven Forbes of Congregation Emanuel.

Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, Father Bernie Schmitz says:

“In a city as diverse as Denver, the atmosphere we want to create is one of courtesy and respect for the dignity of every human person. Initiative 100 would only create an atmosphere of fear and suspicion for anyone of diverse ethnicity-whether they are citizens or not. The Archdiocese of Denver urges Denver residents to oppose Initiative 100.”

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the Rocky Mountain Conference of The United Methodist Church says, “I stand in opposition to this unnecessary ballot initiative. It is contrary to the values of Denver’s religious

communities as it encourages discrimination and harassment based on language, ethnicity, and race.”

Imam A-Rahim Ali of the Northeast Denver Islamic Center says, “We firmly believe that the values of tolerance will supplant the politics of fear, and that voters will soundly defeat this divisive and discriminatory measure.”

Where: Denver City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street, front steps

When: Today, July 28, 5:00 – 5:30 pm.

What: Diverse religious and community leaders urge voters to vote NO on discriminatory ballot initiative


• Imam A-Rahim Ali, Northeast Denver Islamic Center/Greater Denver Interfaith Alliance

• Rev. Andrew Simpson, Vice-President , Colorado Council of Churches, Presiding Elder, African Methodist Episcopal Church

• Rev. Janet Forbes, on behalf of Bishop Warner Brown, Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church

• Councilmember Paul Lopez, Denver City Council, cosponsor of Council Proclamation to oppose Initiated Question 100.

• Father Bernie Schmitz, on behalf of Catholic Archdiocese of Denver

• Rabbie Steven Foster, Temple Emanuel

• Lisa Duran, Executive Director, Rights for All People

• Rev. Lucia Guzman, United Methodist Church minister

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