Faith Leaders to Host Rally Against the Death Penalty in Virginia

April 15, 2016, 2:04 pm | Posted by

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2016

Contact:
Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, 202-735-7123
Allison Walter, awalter@faithinpubliclife.org, 913-375-7730

Faith Leaders to Host Rally Against the Death Penalty in Virginia

Clergy gather ahead of veto session to oppose secrecy in Virginia’s executions and veto HB


Richmond, VA
— More than 500 faith leaders, including over 150 Virginia clergy and women religious, are calling on Virginia’s legislature to reject a secrecy amendment added to the ‘electric chair’ bill by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The amendment would allow the state to obtain lethal injection drugs from compounding pharmacies without having to reveal their identities.

This prominent coalition of interfaith clergy believe that the new secrecy amendment is dangerous and immoral because it would shield the pharmacies from accountability, even in lawsuits or Freedom of Information Act requests. These clergy share a common belief that the death penalty is wrong and ineffective, born of a mistaken conception of justice that can only be made worse by secrecy and deception.

Gov. McAuliffe stated that if the legislature rejects the secrecy amendment, he’ll veto the electric chair bill, effectively ending the death penalty in Virginia. The General Assembly will convene on April 20th to decide whether to reject or accept the Governor’s amendments.

WHAT: Press conference opposing Gov. McAuliffe’s ‘secrecy amendment’

WHEN: Monday, April 18th, 11:00 AM

WHERE: House Briefing Room, General Assembly Building, 201 N 9th St, Richmond, VA 23219

WHO:

Bishop Carroll Baltimore, Immediate National Past President, PNBC, Lorton
Rich Cizik, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, Fredericksburg
Sr. Ilaria Buonriposi, Comboni Missionary Sisters, Richmond
Rev. Max Blalock, William & Mary Wesley Foundation, Williamsburg
Min. Paul Amrhein, St. Bridget Catholic Church, Richmond
Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell, Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church, Richmond
Harold Wilson, Death Row Exoneree, Witness to Innocence

To view the complete list of signers, click here.

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Statement from John Gehring on Pope’s New Document About Families

April 8, 2016, 10:07 am | Posted by

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2016

Contact:

Statement from Faith in Public Life’s Catholic Program Director on Pope’s New Document About Families

Washington, D.C. —   In a newly released document entitled “Amoris Laetitia,” Latin for “The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis calls for the Catholic church to be more welcoming of all people, especially single parents, gay people and unmarried straight couples who are living together.

“The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone; it is to pour out the balm of God’s saving love,” writes Francis.

John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life and author of the recently released book, The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church:

“Pope Francis again reminds us that a church of encounter and healing puts human beings at the center of doctrine. He is driving a nail in the coffin of fortress Catholicism by asking church leaders to build bridges, not walls. It’s both a hopeful document and a powerful rebuke to those who put judgement before grace.”

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Faith in Public Life (FPL) is a strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good.

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More than 500 Faith Leaders Unite Against ‘Electric Chair’ Bill in Virginia

April 7, 2016, 12:09 pm | Posted by

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2016

Contact:
Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, 202-735-7123
Allison Walter, awalter@faithinpubliclife.org, 913-375-7730

More than 500 Faith Leaders Unite Against ‘Electric Chair’ Bill in Virginia

petition 3

Richmond, VA — More than 500 faith leaders, including more than 150 Virginia clergy and women religious, are calling on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to veto HB 815. The prominent group of interfaith clergy believes that the death penalty is wrong, ineffective, born of a mistaken conception of justice, and they stand morally opposed to the ‘electric chair’ bill.

Pope Francis has vigorously expressed the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty, calling it “inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed,” and proclaimed 2016 the “Year of Mercy.” Faith leaders are urging McAuliffe to honor the teaching of his Catholic faith that says execution by the state violates the sanctity of life and human dignity.

The Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell of Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church and Rev. Ben Hadley-Goggin of Duncan Memorial UMC represented this diverse and growing coalition of Virginia and national faith leaders, including over 200 Catholic sisters, by delivering the petition to Gov. McAuliffe’s office.

To view the complete list of signers, click here.

Father Gerry Creedon, Holy Family Catholic Church, Dale City, VA:

“Catholic teaching about mercy and the sanctity of life is crystal clear. As a Catholic, Gov. McAuliffe knows that our savior was executed in exceptionally brutal fashion. Reintroducing similar cruelty into the justice system he oversees is incompatible with our faith.”

Richard Cizik, President, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, Fredericksburg, VA:

“At the heart of the Christian faith is a belief in redemption and a rejection of cruelty. Resurrecting a brutal killing machine such as the electric chair violates these values. Gov. McAuliffe has no moral choice but to veto this bill.”

Sign the petition here.

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New Values Voter Reflection Guide Tackles Moral Issues at Stake in Presidential Election

March 31, 2016, 4:13 pm | Posted by

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2016

Contact:
Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, 202-735-7123
John Gehring, jgehring@faithinpubliclife.org, 410-302-3792

Values Voter Reflection Guide Tackles Moral Issues at Stake in Presidential Election

Interfaith leaders call for a “politics of the Golden Rule.”

As presidential candidates ramp up outreach to religious voters in battleground states, prominent faith leaders are equipping their congregations with a non-partisan voter reflection guide. More than 250 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders support the guide, released today by Faith in Public Life. It will be distributed to congregations across the country as part of efforts to educate and register voters.

“Elections should be about more than partisan divisions, the latest poll numbers, Super PACs and billionaire donors,” reads the document, entitled Faith, Values and the 2016 Election: Toward A Politics of the Golden Rule. “Politics as usual is insufficient for the urgent task of addressing the defining moral issues of our time.”

The guide highlights the need to address growing economic inequality, climate change, a broken immigration system, mass incarceration, gun violence and confronting terrorism “without abandoning our values” as believers.

Prominent leaders who endorse the guide include Rev. Jim Wallis, President & CEO of Sojourners; Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches; Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism; Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Richard Cizik, President, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good; Salam Al-Marayati, President, Muslim Public Affairs Council; the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, and Rev. Sally Bingham, President and Founder, Interfaith Power & Light.

“A presidential election should be a time for moral courage and clarity,” said Rev. Tim Ahrens, Senior Minister at the First Congregational Church in Columbus, OH. “Sadly, the toxic rhetoric directed at Muslims and immigrants divides Americans when we should unite to build a moral economy that serves the common good. This guide is a refreshing antidote to the ugliness of our current politics and will be an indispensable resource for my congregation.”

The guide calls for public policies that support a “pro-family economy,” which include living wages for workers and paid parental leave. It underscores the diverse religious support for comprehensive immigration reform, challenges candidates to address gun violence, and asks voters to reflect on how mass incarceration disproportionately impacts African Americans. Climate change is “a threat to Creation and our children’s future,” the guide reads, noting that over 18,000 faith communities are working with Interfaith Power & Light to green their facilities, teach and preach about global warming, and mobilize for policy change.

“Values voters will be critical to winning the presidency, and the narrow agenda of the religious right does not speak for most people of faith,” said Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life, and chair of the White House Council on Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships. “Clergy are mobilizing because we’re on the front lines fighting for struggling families, immigrants and those on the margins.”

The full guide can be found here.

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GA Clergy Applaud Governor’s Veto of Discriminatory “Religious Freedom” Bill

March 28, 2016, 2:43 pm | Posted by

For Immediate Release
March 28, 2016

Contact:

GA Clergy Applaud Governor’s Veto of Discriminatory “Religious Freedom” Bill

Atlanta, GA – On Monday, March 28th, Governor Nathan Deal vetoed HB 757, a dangerous bill that would have allowed faith-based organizations to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion. During a press conference, Gov. Deal said, “I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith based community in Georgia of which I and my family have been a part of for all of our lives.”

More than 300 clergy from across the state advocated fiercely to defeat the overly broad, discriminatory bill. Today, the faith community is heartened by the governor’s actions and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Georgia is a state of inclusion by pushing for comprehensive civil rights protections. 

Rabbi Joshua Heller, Congregation B’nai Torah:
“As a Rabbi, I’m relieved and grateful that religion will not be used to excuse or legalize discrimination in our state, thanks to Governor Deal’s decision to veto HB 757.  I am one of many Georgians who feel that our faith demands that we treat others fairly and kindly, as we would wish to be treated ourselves.” 

Rev. James E. Lamkin, Northside Drive Baptist Church: 
“I am grateful to Governor Deal for his courageous leadership in vetoing HB 757.  Religious Freedom doesn’t mean freedom to discriminate in the name of religion.  As Georgians, we affirm that robust religious freedom is already woven into the fabric of our community; and it is done so by the threads of responsibility, fairness, and equality.” 

Rev. William Flippin Jr., Emmanuel Lutheran Church:
“I applaud Governor Deal for his decision to veto a bill that sanctioned discrimination in the name of religion. My faith teaches that we are to treat others fairly, as we would wish to be treated ourselves. By vetoing this bill, the governor has sent a clear message that inclusion is a value that Georgia must embrace. The next step to protect all Georgians from discrimination is to pass comprehensive civil rights protections into law.”

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