Release of poll on Southern Evangelicals’ attitudes toward torture

September 11, 2008, 10:14 am | Posted by

Poll memo available here

(ATLANTA) — Results of a new poll on Southern Evangelicals’ attitudes toward torture were released at a press conference on September 11, at 10:45 am. The press conference was held at Mercer University’s Atlanta campus during the opening day of A National Summit on Torture, and streamed live over the Internet.

Sponsored by Mercer University and Faith in Public Life and conducted by Public Religion Research, the poll is the first major survey of Southern Evangelicals on the issue of torture.

Among the key findings:

• While a majority of white evangelical Christians in the South think that torture is often or sometimes justified, they are significantly more likely to oppose torture if they rely on Christian teachings or beliefs to form their views on the issue.

• A majority of white evangelical Christians in the South agree with the Golden Rule argument against torture—that the U.S. government should not use methods against our enemies that we would not want used on American soldiers.

Read the poll memo here. The results of the survey are based on telephone interviews with 600 white evangelical Christians in the South conducted under the direction of Opinion Access Corp. August 14-22.

WHEN: Thursday, September 11, at 10:45 am

WHO: Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University and President, Evangelicals for Human Rights

Tyler Wigg Stevenson, Director, Two Futures Project, a nuclear disarmament initiative centered around

young evangelicals

Dr. Robert Jones, President, Public Religion Research

Moderated by: Katie Paris, Director of Communications Strategy, Faith in Public Life

WHERE: LIVE STREAM: The press conference was streamed live over the Internet and the video is available at

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Online Faith Community Runs Ads Thanking Community Organizers

September 10, 2008, 11:13 am | Posted by

View the ad here., an online community of more than 80,000 of people of faith, will run ads this Sunday thanking community organizers of the past, present and future. Last week, in St. Paul and then Cedarburg, Wisconsin, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin remarked that “a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”’s ads will run in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. You can view the ad here. members made contributions to run the ads in response to an email sent Friday evening. “This is not a partisan issue,” the email stated. “Faith-based community organizing does not pit Republicans against Democrats, but rather brings people together to improve their communities. Our faiths call us to walk humbly and work for justice, and organizers at the grassroots level do just that. It is worthy of praise, not punchlines.”

Last week, Faithful America circulated statements from faith-based community organizing leaders about the “actual responsibilities” of community organizers and their tremendous impact every day on the lives of millions of Americans.

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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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