FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2007
Washington, D.C. â€“ In response to the announced withdrawal of the judicial nomination of William J. Haynes, Jeanne Herrick-Stare, Chair of the Coordinating Committee for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, released the following Statement:
“The National Religious Campaign Against Torture welcomes the withdrawal of William J. Haynes’ judicial nomination. As General Counsel for the Department of Defense, Mr. Haynes was the primary architect of the Departmentâ€™s policies with regard to adoption of a narrow definition of torture; failure to apply Geneva Convention protections to detainees captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world; authorization of private and therefore unaccountable interrogation sessions. These erosions of safeguards intended to prevent the abuse of detainees paved the way for the incidents of abuse, torture, and violations of human rights by U.S. personnel at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere.
â€œOur communities of faith share a profound commitment to affirm the worth and dignity of all people. Every person should have the protection of law. We reject torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and we endorse human rights principles because these flow directly from our religious experience of every person as a child of God. Further, as representatives of our communities of faith we believe that expediency and short term ‘necessity’ are no excuse for rejecting the rule of law or the moral imperative of justice. Let us abolish torture now — without exception.”
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) empowers members of Americaâ€™s faith community to join one another in religious witness to ensure torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment never play a role in U.S. policy. With more than 80 religious member organizations, NRCATâ€™s â€œTorture Is a Moral Issueâ€ statement has been endorsed by such high profile leaders and groups as Rick Warren, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Jimmy Carter and Eli Weisel. Full membership and more information about NRCAT is available on the NRCAT website at www.nrcat.org.
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*** Tele-Press Conference Tuesday***
Faith leaders will hold a press teleconference at 11 AM this Tuesday to hold Congress accountable to the faith agenda.
Successful candidates across the country spoke on the campaign trail more than ever about their faith and how it influenced their positions on Iraq, poverty, the minimum wage, and other issues. Religious groups working to expand the values debate also were more organized and active than in any previous election.
As the headlines boasted â€“ and post-election polls demonstrated â€“ on Election Day, faith voters rejected a go-it-alone strategy in Iraq and politicians that put power ahead of policies that promote the common good.
Join faith leaders on Tuesday as they discuss how Congressional leaders now have an opportunity to move American forward on issues that are not a matter a right a left, but a matter of right and wrong.
Teleconference with prominent faith leaders, each representing a national campaign aimed at a critical legislative issue.
Jeff Carr, COO, Sojourners and ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. Carr will discuss Sojournerâ€™s grassroots lobbying campaign around the Covenant for a New America, a policy agenda designed to overcome domestic and global poverty.
Rev. Sam Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which serves approximately 15 Million Evangelical/Born Again Christians. Rodriguez will discuss how Hispanic Evangelicals and working with other faith leaders to press the 110th Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Rev. Dr. Paul de Vries, National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) board member and President of New York Divinity School, will discuss the Evangelical Climate Inititive and how the NAE is taking action on the creation care agenda.
Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry, National Coordinator of Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign, which played a major role in state minimum wage increases in 2006. Sherry will discuss Let Justice Rollâ€™s efforts to pressure Congress to pass a clean wage increase bill, which included sending a letter signed by more than 1,000 faith leaders to Congress and mobilizing thousands of people of faith to call Congress in support of the issue this week.
Rev. Rick Ufford Chase, Christian Peace Witness for Iraq. Chase will discuss efforts to pressure Congress to end the US occupation of Iraq and improve support for our troops when they come home. Chase will discuss a massive upcoming mobilization, including a service at the National Cathedral and an all-night prayer vigil at the White House.
Jeanne Herrick-Stare, Chair of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Herrick-Stare will discuss NRCATâ€™s request for hearings on the military commissions legislation passed last year, which permitted torture and inhumane treatment of detainees. NRCAT works for passage of legislation that will prohibit all policies that allow for or encourage torture â€“ without exception.
Tuesday, January 9, 2006 at 11 AM Eastern
Call-in number: 1-800-658-0035
Password: Faith Agenda
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For Immediate Release
January 5, 2007
In the wake of comments by Rep. Virgil Goode regarding the swearing in of now Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, a diverse coalition of Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leaders are calling on people of every faith to stand together with our Muslim neighbors in defense of religious liberty, mutual respect and tolerance.
Religious leaders are inviting persons of every faith to sign a petition urging Rep. Goode to make public his affirmation of the importance of preserving religious toleration by attending a mosque in his district with a delegation of interfaith leaders. By this action, Congressman Goode can show that he supports the rights of all Americans to worship as they see fit and that it is possible for all of us to live in peace with people whose views are very different from our own.
Signatories of the petition already include George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary; David A. Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA; Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches; Joseph C. Hough, Jr., President, Union Theological Seminary; and Rev. Timothy F. Simpson, Christian Alliance for Progress.
For more information, please contact:
Rev. Timothy F. Simpson, President, Christian Alliance for Progress at 888-381-0108 or 904-737-3906 cell
George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary, at 609-252-2114 or 609-683-7830
Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches, 917-821-0852 or 201-947-9378 or 212-870-2025
The text of the petition, which can be found at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/virgilgoode, is as follows:
A Call for Inter-Faith Reconciliation
As religious people from diverse traditions, we call upon Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode to re-examine his opposition to newly-elected Representative Keith Ellison, a Muslim, taking his unofficial oath of office using the Quran, and to apologize for his statement that, without punitive immigration reform, “there will be many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran.”
Mr. Goode insinuates that having more Muslims in the United States would be a danger to our country. As people of faith, we reject such ill-considered words.
An attack against one religion is an attack against them all. Next week, it could be Jews. Next month, it could be Christian fundamentalists or evangelicals. Right now, it is Muslims. It is they who feel targeted by repression and abuse, and they who live among us in a growing climate of fear.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once implored us: “No religion is an island! We are all involved with one another. Spiritual betrayal on the part of one of us affects the faith of all of us.”
We hold it to be self-evident that all Americans have the right to practice their faith, whatever it may be, and that any Americans – regardless of race, color or creed – may be elected and sworn into office holding whatever book they consider sacred.
We would point out that there are some five million Muslims in the US. Many have been here for generations. They are every bit as American as Rep. Goode. Some Americans have also converted to Islam, including Rep. Ellison. We call for a renewed unity among people of conscience and of faith.
We would further point out that just as it was appropriate for the late President Ford to be honored by a profoundly Christian memorial service, so it is equally appropriate for Rep. Ellison to be sworn into office, in a private ceremony, holding the book representing his deepest religious convictions.
Above all, we urge all Americans to stand up for religious freedom and to deplore the hurtful words of any public figure who would disparage a particular religion.
In a spirit of reconciliation and peace, we invite Rep. Goode to join with us in an inter-religious delegation to visit a mosque in his district, in order that the healing may begin.
Please visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/virgilgoode for a list of signatories so far.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2006
On November 7, the people of Ohio recognized what was at stake for the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who struggle every day to make ends meet. They stepped into the polls, and voted to increase our stateâ€™s minimum wage. They stood up for human dignity, and embraced the common good.
Now, however, some elected officials at the State House are attempting to undermine the will of the people of Ohio. Senator Steve Stivers and Representative Bill Seitz have introduced legislation that would exclude home health care providers from the minimum wage and change existing Ohio law to make it harder or impossible for minimum wage workers who feel their rights are violated to go to court.
We Believe Ohio stands with Ohioans for a Fair Minimum Wage and Let Justice Roll in opposing any and all efforts to exclude some low wage workers from the new minimum wage.
In the religious community, we actively search for the common good, and in this quest there is no room for stealth efforts to undermine the peopleâ€™s will to lift up their brothers and sisters who so desperately deserve a hand.
It is because we value the personal dignity of every citizen of this state, and the soul of our society, that we will continue to stand up for the minimum wage increase as it was passed by the people of Ohio on Election Day.
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 Godâ€™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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A new exit poll offering explanations of the substantial shift in religious voters in the midterm elections will be released on a press teleconference on Wednesday.
The new exit poll, commissioned by Faith in Public Life and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, will show the impact of a growing movement of religious groups urging voters to consider â€˜kitchen tableâ€™ moral issues like peace in Iraq and poverty. These findings have implications for the priorities faith voters will be looking for in the new Congress, and how the values vote may impact 2008.
Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and author of Godâ€™s Politics, Tom Perriello, co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Katie Barge, Director of Communications Strategy for Faith in Public Life, will unveil and discuss the poll’s findings. The poll of 16,477 voters nationwide, including 4,186 Catholics, 3,807 Born-again Christians and 6,032 weekly or more church attendees was conducted by Zogby International on November 7-10.
Some initial findings include:
â€¢ Faith groups urging people to vote according to kitchen table moral issues had a 20-point higher national favorability rating and a 20-point lower unfavorable rating than religious groups urging people to vote according to abortion and same-sex marriage. This difference was even starker between Catholic groups.
â€¢ In Ohio â€“ an epicenter of faith organizing â€“ religious groups urging people to vote according to kitchen table moral issues had a 25-point higher favorability rating and a 26-point lower unfavorable rating than those urging people to vote according to the wedge issues.
â€¢ Iraq was considered the â€œmoral issue that most affected your voteâ€ by 45.8% of voters, almost 6 times as many voters as abortion and almost 5 times as many as same-sex marriage. Iraq was the top moral issue among Catholics, Born-again Christians and frequent church attendees.
â€¢ Poverty and economic justice topped the list of â€œmost urgent moral problem in American culture.â€
â€¢ When Catholics were asked to name the most important value guiding their vote, 67% chose â€œA commitment to the common good â€“ the good of all not just the fewâ€ while 22% chose â€œOpposing policies such as legal abortion, gay marriage, and embryonic stem cell research.â€
WHO: Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners/Call to Renewal
Tom Perriello, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Katie Barge, Faith in Public Life
WHEN: Wednesday, November 15 at 11 AM Eastern
WHERE: Call-in number: 1-800-658-0035
Password: Exit Poll
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