Progressives on Christian Radio

October 29, 2008, 3:53 pm | Posted by

*For RealAbortionSolutions.org, FPL built a coalition of religious leaders who were already dedicated to common ground solutions to reduce abortions to support an ad campaign to raise awareness about this approach. So far, ads have run in 11 states and during the March for Life in Washington, DC.

From TIME’s Amy Sullivan:

There’s been growing momentum over the past few years behind an

alternative approach to the abortion issue, an effort some people

refer to as “abortion reduction.” The idea is that whether they’re

pro-choice or pro-life, most people agree that it would be a good

thing if the abortion rate could be lowered–whether through

preventing unplanned pregnancies or by providing economic and social

supports for women who would like to carry their pregnancies to term.

The effort got a big boost this year when Barack Obama plugged it

in his acceptance speech. And it seems to resonate with Americans who

are tired of the shouting matches that usually occur whenever abortion

comes up–when Obama mentioned it again in the third presidential

debate, focus groups dials soared.

This morning, a religious coalition is going up on the air with a

radio ad calling for support for abortion reduction policies. The ad is running on

Christian radio stations in 10 swing states, including Ohio, Indiana,

North Carolina, and Missouri. Here’s how it starts: “With 1 in 5

pregnancies in America ending in abortion and the number of abortions

unchanged from 32 years ago, it’s time to stop the political posturing

and get serious about protecting life.” (The full script and other

resources are available at an accompanying website:

http://www.realabortionsolutions.org)

The ad buy comes at the same time that a progressive Catholic

organization–Catholics United–is sending a direct mail piece to 50,000

households in Ohio and Pennsylvania, asking Catholic voters to

consider ways to deal with abortion apart from trying to overturn

Roe. And it argues for an expanded definition of “pro-life”

that includes opposition to torture, support for universal health

care, and alleviating poverty.

Will these messages make any difference in states with large

Catholic and Evangelical populations? The economy is already trumping

social issues for many moderate-to-conservative religious voters. But

there’s still a significant number of undecided Catholics and

Evangelicals out there. In 2004, they broke heavily for Bush.

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Shocking Radio Ad Pushes For Common Ground Abortion Reduction

October 29, 2008, 3:50 pm | Posted by

This campaign season has brought a new species: ads that advocate for fewer abortions but are implicitly pro-choice. Matthew25 did the first wave of such ads.

Now, Faith in Public Life has begun running an unusual radio ad in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri.

Pro-life activists will bristle at the notion that “we need to ask ourselves what it really means to be pro-life.” Pro-choice activists will dislike the call to help young mothers “choose life.” But all in all, the language is actually closer to where many Americans are: wanting abortion legal but more rare.

The text of the ad:

With 1 in 5 pregnancies in America ending in abortion and the number of abortions unchanged from 32 years ago, it’s time to stop the political posturing and get serious about protecting life.

2,400 late-term abortions a year is tragic, but what often gets ignored is that 10 times more infants die each year in America largely because of inadequate healthcare.

We need to ask ourselves what it really means to be pro-life and help move the conversation beyond bumper sticker slogans.

Thankfully, some lawmakers are already working on real solutions that will drastically reduce abortions by expanding programs that encourage adoption, increasing pre- and post-natal healthcare, preventing unintended pregnancies, and helping young mothers choose life.

It’s time for Democrats and Republicans to come together around solutions based on results, not rhetoric. Please learn more by visiting www.realabortionsolutions.org.

Given that most ads are either attacking Obama for supporting infanticide or McCain for putting pregnant women’s lives at risk, it’s rather amazing to hear an ad like this right now. I’m obviously especially sympathetic with their point about the failure of politicians (pro life and pro choice) to look at the 28,000 babies who die in what I called “the seventh trimester.”

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Ohio Faith Leaders Call for Focus on Issues, Civility on Election Day

October 27, 2008, 5:24 pm | Posted by

We Believe Ohio recognizes candidates who have run positive campaigns that focus on the issues that matter most to Ohioans.

October 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Felix Hoover at felixhoover@sbcglobal.net or (614) 849-8173

(Columbus, Ohio) – Nearly a year after declaring Ohio a “Political Sleaze-Free Zone,” We Believe Ohio, a statewide coalition of religious leaders, today recognized candidates who have answered the call to run positive campaigns that focus on the economic issues that matter most to Ohioans.

“A number of candidates have signed the pledge and we appreciate their commitment, but many of those not signing have run countless that tear down their opponents. In this time of economic crisis, as Ohioans lose their jobs, their homes and their retirement, it is more important than ever for candidates to focus on the issues, and too often this hasn’t happened,” said Rev. Tim Ahrens, a leader of We Believe Ohio and pastor of First Congregational Church in Columbus.

The need for constructive campaigning extends not only to candidates’ races, but also to referenda. We Believe Ohio has worked for passage of Issue 5, the referendum on payday lending regulation, which has been subject to deceptive advertising.

“When people see the advertisement to Vote ‘No’ on Issue 5 and save jobs, our thought is that they are portraying their cause as protection for the poor, when in fact a ‘No’ vote will further burden poor Ohioans in debt,” said Rev. Susan K. Smith of Advent Church of Christ.

In addition to urging constructive campaigning, the leaders of We Believe highlighted the need for civility and safety on Election Day.

“I am also the pastor of a congregation that will be serving as a voting site in this year’s election. Our congregation is concerned for the safety and respect of those who are voting and working not only at our site, but all places where people will be exercising their right to vote,” said Mark Diemer, a leader of We Believe Ohio and pastor of Grace of God Lutheran Church.

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Evangelical Group Releases Poll on Latino Protestant Attitudes in 2008 Election

October 16, 2008, 1:35 pm | Posted by

Poll Finds Significant Shift Away from Republican Ticket;

Immigration on Par with Abortion as a Priority “Faith” Issue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Katie Paris or Kristin Williams, 202-459-8625

or Paco Fabián, 202-463-8602×305, pfabian@americasvoiceonline.org

October 16, 2008

(Washington, DC) – Today, several groups released a national survey of Latino Protestant voters and their views towards immigration in the 2008 election. One of the survey’s most significant findings is that Latino Protestant support for the Republican ticket has been cut nearly in half since the 2004 election.

On the issue of immigration, the survey found that 70.8 percent of Latino Protestants believe that immigration reform is an “extremely” or “very” important priority in determining who they will vote for. This number is higher than the issue of gay marriage as a priority (55.8 percent) and is on par with the issue of abortion (74.8 percent). Furthermore, 76.8 percent of respondents say that their religious beliefs are important in influencing their views on immigration.

“The Biblical mandate to welcome the immigrant could not be clearer and we draw our values from our Bibles,” said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who spoke during the press conference announcing the survey results. “This poll powerfully demonstrates that immigration is a profoundly religious issue for Hispanic evangelicals. We will vote our faith and we will vote our values. It’s time that all candidates take notice.”

However, both parties still have work to do when it comes to immigration. According to the survey results, a clear majority say they have heard public officials speak negatively about immigrants (62.2 percent). Those who have heard this negative rhetoric are as likely to associate it with both parties (43.4 percent) as they are with only Republicans (40.5 percent). 7.7 percent associate it with only Democrats.

“The findings indicate that both political parties have to work hard to secure and maintain their Latino support,” said Gastón Espinosa, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College. “The Latino Protestant community is a volatile voting constituency that is sensitive to direct political canvassing and bread-and-butter issues like immigration.”

According to the survey results, Latino Protestant registered voters favor Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain 50.4 percent to 33.6 percent with 10.4 percent of respondents still undecided. This represents a dramatic shift from 2004 when George W. Bush soundly won the Latino Protestant vote. According to 2004 post-election survey data, Bush won 63 percent of this segment of the Latino electorate.

“This poll shows that the pendulum of the Protestant Hispanic electorate has swung towards the Democratic Party,” said Jesse Miranda, of the Jesse Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership. “However, this energy can shift in the opposite direction unless there is support of what is important in terms of the interests and concerns of the largest minority in this country. This should be a clarion call to the next U.S. president,” he concluded.

“Latino Protestant voters are demonstrating a faith-based politics that puts moral solutions above ideology and sound bites,” added Katie Paris, Director of Communications Strategy at Faith in Public Life, a sponsor of the poll. “Consequently, they are commanding the attention of both parties and defying the outdated stereotype that people of faith are mired in partisanship,” she concluded.

More than 80 percent of Hispanic Protestants in the poll self-identified as born-again and/or attended an Evangelical denomination.

Sponsored by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, The Jesse Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership at Vanguard University, Faith in Public Life, America’s Voice Education Fund and Gaston Espinosa, Ph.D., Claremont McKenna College and conducted by SDR Consulting, the poll was in the field from October 1-7, 2008. The results are based on telephone interviews with 500 Latino Protestant registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

To view a full version of the polling memo, please visit http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/content/nslp/

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Colorado Faith Community Launches Campaign For Amendment 59

October 14, 2008, 3:00 pm | Posted by

Speaker Romanoff, We Believe Colorado work to protect education, taxpayers

Prominent leaders from the religious community and Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff will hold a press conference on Wednesday October 15, at 1:30 pm at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church to announce the faith community’s extraordinary campaign to mobilize voters to vote YES on Amendment 59 on the November ballot. The campaing, called “Embracing the Common Good,” is an effort of remarkable coordination and scope, in which religious leaders and legions of volunteers have mobilized more than 2,500 congregations statewide to support Amendment 59.

Amendment 59, which creates the Savings Account For Education (SAFE), ensures that government saves surplus funds in good economic times so Colorado’s children do not suffer from harsh education cuts during bad times — without raising taxes. This focus on sound stewardship and the common good is uniting diverse communities of faith, and many of the state’s prominent religious leaders – including Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Jews — have officially joined this campaign in favor of Amendment 59.

Faith leaders will be speaking in both Spanish and English at the press conference.

WHAT: Press conference announcing faith community campaign supporting Amendment 59

WHERE: Our Savior Lutheran Church, 915 E. 9th St, Denver, front steps

WHEN: Wednesday, October 15, 1:30 pm

WHO: Bishop Allan Bjomberg, Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

• House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Co-sponsor of Amendment 59 (S.A.F.E.)

• Jennifer Kraska, Executive Director, Colorado Catholic Conference

• Rev. Patrick L. Demmer, Vice-President, Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, Senior Pastor, Graham Memorial Church of God in Christ

• Rev. Andrew Simpson, Presiding Elder, Rocky Mountain District, African Episcopal Methodist Church, Upcoming President, Colorado Council of Churches

• Rev. Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, Chair, Public Policy Commission, The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Jefferson Unitarian Church

• Pastor Jay McDivitt, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will be our Spanish speaker

• Imam A. Rahim Ali, Northeast Denver Islamic Center and Greater Denver Interfaith Alliance

• Rev. Jann Halloran, We Believe Colorado and Chair, Justice Commission, Colorado Council of Churches

Sponsoring organizations include We Believe Colorado; Hunger for Justice: Interfaith Voices Against Poverty; and Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado.

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