Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Dr. Richard Land Issue Evangelical Call to Action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

March 29, 2007, 8:29 pm | Posted by

Sens. Kennedy, Graham, Menendez, Salazar, and Reps. Gutierrez Rep. Flake Joined Richard Land, Samuel Rodriguez at Press Conference Today

(Washington, D.C.) Today two of the leading conservative evangelical voices in America for comprehensive immigration reform — Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference — called on evangelicals to unite in support of comprehensive immigration reform. While some evangelical leaders remain silent on the immigration crisis, Land and Rodriguez spoke out to urge support for a moral, biblical response — which combines respect for the rule of law and compassion for immigrants and their families.

Joined by Senators Edward Kennedy, Lindsay Graham, Ken Salazar and Bob Menendez and Representatives Luis Gutierrez and Jeff Flake, Land and Rodriguez’s call comes at a critical legislative juncture: following last week’s introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill by Reps. Flake, R-AZ, and Gutierrez, D-IL in the House and in the midst of Senate negotiations on reform legislation.

Rev. Rodriguez, who announced the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s endorsement of the Guiterrez-Flake, said “Whether we pass legislation is not reflective of political will, but rather a demonstration of our spiritual and moral strength. Let us protect our borders, protect all families, and protect our values.” The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is America’s largest Hispanic Evangelical organization, serving 10,700 Hispanic evangelical churches with 15 million members.

“The country in general and evangelicals as well, are ahead of where the Congress is on this issue,” Dr. Land said. “This is a profoundly moral issue and it goes to the core of who we are as Americans. This is a nation of immigrants. But more importantly it’s a nation of settlers who came here to be part of the American dream.”

In response to those who would call comprehensive immigration reform “amnesty,” Dr. Land said, “The idea that you would call having to learn to read and write and speak English and you would have to go through a series of processes to earn your way after a probationary period to earn legal status and citizenship, it does grave harm to the English language to call that amnesty.”

Rev. Gilberto Velez, Senior Pastor of one of the largest Hispanic congregations in the U.S., called on his fellow pastors across the country to support comprehensive immigration, to speak to their congregations about the issue, and to urge their congregants to contact their members of Congress. More than thirty other influential Hispanic evangelical pastors and leaders were also present at the press conference to show their support for passage of comprehensive immigration reform.

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good. Faith in Public Life is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization.

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Leading Conservative White, Hispanic Evangelicals Issue Evangelical Call to Action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

March 27, 2007, 6:05 pm | Posted by

Senator Kennedy to join Richard Land, Samuel Rodriguez at press conference this Thursday

(Washington, D.C.) Two of the leading conservative evangelical voices in America for comprehensive immigration reform — Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference — will call on evangelicals to unite in support of comprehensive immigration reform this Thursday at 11:30 AM on Capitol Hill.

While some evangelical leaders remain silent on the immigration crisis, Land and Rodriguez will speak out to urge support for a moral, biblical response — which combines respect for the rule of law and compassion for immigrants and their families.

Joined by Sen. Edward Kennedy, Land and Rodriguez’s call comes at a critical legislative juncture: following last week’s introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill by U.S. Reps. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, and Luis Gutierrez, D-IL in the House and just ahead of Senate consideration of reform legislation in the coming weeks.

Rev. Gilberto Velez, Senior Pastor of one of the largest Hispanic congregations in the U.S. will also explain how evangelical pastors across the country can mobilize congregants to answer this call. Dozens of other influential Hispanic evangelical pastors and leaders will also be present at the press conference.

WHO: Dr. Richard Land, President, Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Author of the forthcoming book, The Divided States of America? What Liberals and Conservatives Are Missing in the God-And-Country Shouting Match!

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, America’s largest Hispanic Evangelical organization, serving 10,700 Hispanic evangelical churches with 15 million members

Rev. Gilberto Velez, Senior Pastor, Mercy Church, one of the largest Hispanic congregations in the U.S., in Laredo, Texas

WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 430

WHEN: Thursday, March 29th, 2007 at 11:30 AM

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good. Faith in Public Life is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization.

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3,500 Christian Leaders from 48 States to Protest War at National Cathedral, Risk Arrest at White House

March 13, 2007, 6:11 pm | Posted by

Tele-press conference Thursday, Event on Friday

(Washington, DC) – Christian Peace Witness for Iraq will begin with a worship service on Friday, March 16 at Washington National Cathedral to be attended by more than 3,500 Christians from 48 states, followed by a candlelight procession through the center of our nation’s capital, where thousands of Christians will surround the White House bearing the light of peace, and 700 will risk arrest by remaining in prayer in front of the White House. The service begins at 7 p.m., and the White House vigil will begin at 10:30 p.m. It will be the largest Christian peace demonstration, as well as the largest single civil disobedience action at the White House, since the beginning of the Iraq war four years ago.

Prominent participants in Christian Peace Witness for Iraq, including Jim Wallis, Taylor Branch, Bernice Powell Jackson, and Rick Ufford Chase will hold a pre-action tele-press conference on Thursday, March 15 at 10 a.m. to discuss their plans and make a united Christian call for peace to Iraq. To join the tele-press conference, dial in 1-800-909-7113 / password: PEACE.

WHAT: Christian Peace Witness National Cathedral Worship Service, Procession and Action at White House

WHEN: Friday Event: March 16, 2007 at 7pm

Thursday Tele-Press Conference: March 15, 2007 at 10 am

WHERE: The National Cathedral

Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, NW

Washington, D.C. 20016-5098

WHO: Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and author of God’s Politics

Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of America in the King Years and a Presbyterian Elder.

Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, President of the North American Conference of the World Council of Churches.

Rick Ufford Chase, convener of Christian Peace Witness for Iraq’s steering committee and former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.

Celeste Zappala, a United Methodist and founding member of Gold Start Families Speak Out, whose son was killed in Iraq in April 2004

SPONSOR ORGANIZATIONS: Adventist Peace Fellowship, American Friends Service Committee, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Brethren Witness, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Christian Alliance for Progress, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Declaration of Peace, Disciples Justice Action Network, Disciples Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Every Church a Peace Church, Faith in Public Life; Kairos: A Time to Speak, A Time to Act; Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, National Council of Churches, No2Torture, On Earth Peace, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Pax Christi USA, Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Protestants for the Common Good, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Sojourners/Call to Renewal.

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We Believe Ohio Clergy Call for Civility in Budget Process, Announce Day of Prayer in Action

March 13, 2007, 10:57 am | Posted by

(Columbus, OH and Cleveland, OH) – Just two days before the release of Governor Strickland’s proposed budget, Columbus and Cleveland clergy leaders of We Believe Ohio today called on both the administration and the State Assembly to maintain civility in the budget negotiation process, and to keep the focus on the poor. In a teleconference with reporters, We Believe Ohio also announced plans for the “We Believe Ohio Day of Prayer in Action,” on May 3, 2007, the National Day of Prayer.

“Today we are speaking out, on the one year anniversary of our launch in 2006, because We Believe our state budget is a moral document. The values of all Ohioans will not be reflected in this budget if the process is sidetracked by partisan gamesmanship,” We Believe Ohio co-founder Rev. Tim Ahrens, Senior Pastor, First Congregational Church, Columbus said. “We saw terrible incivility in the 2006 campaign season and we have seen the gridlock that happens when partisanship consumes the legislative process. With a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion and a Republican-led State assembly, it is more important than ever to maintain a civil process.”

Rev. Felix Carrion, Senior Pastor of Euclid Avenue Congregational Church in Cleveland spoke of We Believe’s vision of prosperity for all people, especially the “least of these.” “We are not sentimental about poverty. Instead, we are outraged by its force to disintegrate community, the social bounds of covenant. Working together we can shine; together we can make a better life for all our people and secure a lasting promise of well-being for our state.”

In announcing the “We Believe Ohio Day of Prayer in Action” — when clergy and lay leaders from across the state will descend on Columbus to lobby the administration and the legislature — We Believe Ohio co-founder Cantor Jack Chomsky of Tifereth Israel in Columbus said, “We Believe that God is watching. We Believe that Moses, Jesus and Muhammed have taught us what to do. We will be watching. We will be listening. And we will not remain silent.”

Clergy leaders of We Believe Ohio also specifically called on the administration and State Assembly to work together to expand health care coverage for the more and one million uninsured Ohioans and to comply with the Supreme Court’s mandates on public education. “People before things, and people before pork,” Rev. Eric Brown, Senior Pastor of Woodland Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Columbus, proclaimed.

“The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled four times that the school-funding setup violates the state constitution. But so far, Ohio’s public officials have failed our children—and local taxpayers—by refusing to set aside partisan differences and find a funding solution for our public education system,” The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland and Convener of We Believe Ohio in Greater Cleveland, said. “We call Governor Strickland and state legislators from both parties to work cooperatively together to find a solution for public education funding. The future of our children, and our state, depend on it.”

We Believe Ohio is a coalition of hundreds of diverse clergy and lay religious voices united to achieve social justice. We Believe Ohio provides a positive voice of faith in Ohio that respects and reflects the diverse religious traditions across the great State of Ohio. We Believe is committed to acting and speaking in public ways on behalf of the poor, the voiceless, and the unrepresented.

www.webelieveohio.org

We are called as people of faith and loyal Americans to be united in dialogue and action to say:

YES to justice for all; NO to prosperity for only a few; YES to diverse religious expression; NO to self-righteous certainty; YES to the common good; NO to discrimination against any of God’s people; YES to the voice of religious traditions informing public policy; NO to crossing the lines that separate the institutions of Religion and Government.

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good. Faith in Public Life is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization.

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Congressional Briefing: Rethinking U.S. Trade Policy for the Common Good

March 12, 2007, 5:18 pm | Posted by

Briefing Hosted By Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Interfaith Working Group on Trade

(Washington, DC)—U.S. Reps. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), in collaboration with Interfaith Working Group on Trade and Investment (IWG) will host a Congressional briefing entitled “Rethinking U.S. Trade Policy for the Common Good,” tomorrow, Tuesday, March 13, from 8:00am until 2:30pm in Rayburn Congressional Building Room B369.

The briefing follows last week’s reemergence of the bipartisan, bicameral coalition, which first formed during the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) debate. Led by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Reps. Mike Michaud (D-ME), Walter B. Jones (R-NC) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and the IWG, the coalition’s priorities for the 2007 trade agenda are:

Reduce manufacturing job loss

Re-evaluate fast track

Integrate enforceable labor standards and national security requirements in trade deals

Combat currency manipulation; and

Improve workforce competitiveness.

Speakers at the briefing will include U.S. Representatives from both sides of the aisle, academics, religious leaders, and elected officials and activists from the Global South who will share stories about the negative effects CAFTA and other trade agreements are already having on the people of their countries. The briefing will also raise the issue of the role trade agreements have played and will play continue to play in state and local governments in the U.S.

With the goal of persuading members of Congress to think beyond the issues of jobs and the environment to embrace a broader, moral, ethical vision, the briefing will explore three areas:

Trading Away Livelihoods: The current US trade agenda has resulted in job loss, rural dislocation, and increased migration. To be consistent with American values, trade agreements should enable people to have well-paying, safe employment to support their families.

Trading Away Democracy in the U.S. and in State and Local Governments: The “one-size-fits-all” trade model has resulted in a loss of sovereignty for signatory countries, including the U.S. Moreover, an increasing number of states are demanding to be excluded from trade agreements as they discover local policies, such as food safety protections and land use, zoning, environmental and local tax laws can be challenged through trade agreements.

Trade Away Food Security: Farmers and food workers in impoverished countries seek food sovereignty, which respects the right of every country and region to establish food and farm policies based on needs, conservation of natural resources, distribution of economic opportunities and the right of producers to serve local markets at fair prices.

In addition to Reps. Jones and Kaptur, speakers include:

Erika Duenas, Embassy of Bolivia, Economic Adviser

Francis Ng’ambi, Economic Justice Network of the Southern Africa Conference of Churches

Leslie Hossfeld, Assistant Professor of Public Sociology, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Manual Montes, Chief, Policy Analysis and Development Branch at Financing for Development Office of UNDESA, (from the Philippines)

James Hug, SJ, President of the Center of Concern

Robert K. Stumberg, Professor of Law and Director, Harrison Institute for Public Policy, Georgetown University Law Center

Angela Wayue, Food Rights Coordinator, ActionAid Kenya

Victor Quintana, Via Campesiana Mexico

Larry Mitchell, CEO, American Corn Growers Association

The Interfaith Working Group on Trade and Investment (IWG) is a group comprised of religious congregations and faith-based organizations who have long spoken out for trade rules that promote the common good – here in the U.S. and for our trading partners.

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good. Faith in Public Life is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization.

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