Pope Francis, Economic Justice and the Catholic Challenge to Libertarianism

April 11, 2014, 10:19 am | Posted by

New guide helps university students bring the Catholic social tradition to political debates over minimum wages, inequality and role of government

As Pope Francis denounces “an economy of exclusion and inequality,” Faith in Public Life is releasing a new guidebook and website that will help Catholic university students make the connection between the Church’s social tradition and current political debates over minimum wages, taxes, inequality, unions and the role of government.

In this Together: Catholic Teaching and a Moral Economy, a guide that references Church  teaching on labor, workers’ rights and a broad array of economic justice issues, will be distributed to more than 100 Catholic university campuses over the next year. It challenges the recent surge of libertarian, anti-government ideology as incompatible with a Catholic vision of the common good.

The guide includes facts about poverty and inequality with quotes and resources from Pope Francis, Catholic bishops, prominent Catholic theologians and the Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. An accompanying web site, www.InThisTogether.org, provides more in-depth analysis and videos of prominent Catholics talking about the Church’s economic justice teachings on popular programs such as The Colbert Report.

The effort is endorsed by NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; The Conference of Mercy Higher Education; the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice; the Franciscan Action Network; Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good; and the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach.

“Catholics have a centuries-old tradition that offers a powerful antidote to the anti-government ideology and free-market fundamentalism that distort our political debates,” said John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life. “Catholics should know that efforts to oppose living wages, attack unions and slash food aid to struggling families are an affront to Catholic values. This guide can help provoke reflection and encourage students to put their faith into action.”

In This Together has already been distributed to administrators, campus ministers, theologians and social justice directors at the University of San Diego, Creighton University, John Carroll University, the University of Dayton, Santa Clara University and Villanova University. Catholic students at Yale University, Stanford University and Michigan State University have also received the guide.

“I’m grateful for this important effort to stimulate more awareness of the Church’s economic justice teachings at a time when young Catholics are struggling to find their way through a culture that puts individualism and materialism before the common good,” said Moya K. Dittmeier, Executive Director of The Conference for Mercy Higher Education. “I hope this project will encourage Catholic students and others to become citizen-advocates who put our Catholic social tradition into practice by standing in solidarity with those on the margins, especially women and children.”

“Catholics can’t remain passive spectators when workers’ rights are under attack and inequality is soaring,” said Joseph J. Fahey, Chair of Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice and a Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College. “Catholics have always been at the forefront of struggles for economic justice. A new generation of Catholics must now take the lead in fighting for a moral economy.”

“This timely resource will help our university’s ongoing efforts to encourage students to engage with current moral and political debates by using the wisdom of Catholic social teaching as a foundation,” said Carmen M. Vazquez, Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of San Diego. “As Catholics, we have a responsibility to be faithful citizens who bring our commitment to human dignity and a preferential option for the poor to the public square.”



Follow In This Together on Twitter @CatholicEconomy

Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CatholicEconomy


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Immigration advocates plot a resurrection

April 10, 2014, 11:55 am | Posted by

Faith in Public Life helped to lead communications and media outreach for the bus tour.

The political staffer looked perturbed as 20 immigration activists, all clad in brown sweatshirts with the words “Act. Fast,” filed out of their charter bus one by one and crammed into Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s district office.

Some had been on the road for a full six weeks, collectively logging 14,000 miles, crossing 31 states and stopping in more than 80 congressional districts on a cross-country bus tour that had commenced in Los Angeles. They had politely and persistently made the case for immigration reform to any lawmaker (but mostly staff members) who would listen, and on a wet spring day this week, their journey had led them to the foggy hills of the Shenandoah Valley.

So goes the grueling, often glacially slow struggle for those who have dedicated not just six weeks but months, years and decades of their lives to immigration reform — a mission like a mirage, one that has been as elusive as it seems tantalizingly close.

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Faith Leaders Denounce Mississippi’s Proposed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” as Echo of “Jim Crow” South

March 12, 2014, 12:29 pm | Posted by

African-American Clergy, Evangelical Leaders, and Christian Scholars Denounce Mississippi’s Proposed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” as Echo of “Jim Crow” South

With the Mississippi House of Representatives on the verge of passing a bill that would legalize discrimination by commercial businesses throughout the state, more than 350 clergy leaders from across the country released a statement denouncing the bill and challenging their fellow Christians who support it to examine their conscience.

The “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which would allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation, is closely modeled on the Arizona bill that made national news last month when it was vetoed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer under a storm of controversy.

The signers represent hundreds of congregations and include Mississippi clergy leaders along with some of the most high-profile national evangelical and mainline protestant leaders in the country, including:

Bruce Case, Senior Pastor of Parkway Hills United Methodist Church in Madison, MS; Rev. Austin Hoyle, Youth Minister and Associate Pastor of Parkway Hills United Methodist Church in Madison MS; Rev. Michael McLaughlin, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, MS; Rev. Richard Cizik, President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good; Rev. Dr. James C. Perkins, President-elect of the Progressive National Baptist Convention; Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL; Noel Castellanos, CEO Christian Community Development Association; Mr. James Winkler, President of the National Council of Churches; Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and more.

The statement read, in part:

“These misguided efforts eerily echo Jim Crow laws that robbed African Americans of their basic human dignity. Businesses once barred not only blacks, but Jews and Asians from buying homes in certain neighborhoods or eating in restaurants even after Supreme Court rulings overturned segregation laws.”

Signers of the statement applauded those lawmakers who are rejecting the discriminatory legislation that would return to Mississippi to an era when religious claims and government policy were used to further Jim Crow laws.

Religious leaders’ stances on this issue will also shape the future of the church. A poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute showed that 55 percent of white evangelical Protestant Milliennials believe religious groups are alienating young adults by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues.

The full list of signers and the full text of the statement are below and can be found here. Signers’ affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

As evangelicals, mainline Protestants and Catholics we are alarmed by the pending Mississippi bill that would allow virtually anyone, including businesses, to discriminate against customers in the name of religious liberty. We call on Mississippi and all states to abandon legislation that threatens democracy, civil rights and religious freedom itself.

These misguided efforts eerily echo Jim Crow laws that robbed African Americans of their basic human dignity. Businesses once barred not only blacks, but also Jews and Asians from buying homes in certain neighborhoods or eating in restaurants even after Supreme Court rulings overturned segregation laws.

We must not allow faith to be used in the service of discrimination.

When we seek to codify legislation that discriminates against any class of people—no matter our diverse theological beliefs about marriage—we tarnish the treasure of religious freedom and the highest ideals of our democracy. Most of all, we are complicit in violating the Golden Rule that unites us as Christians—to love God and our neighbor as we love ourselves.


Pastor Bruce Case
Parkway Hills UMC
Senior Pastor
Madison, Mississippi

Rev. Austin Hoyle
Parkway Hills UMC
Youth Minister and Associate Pastor
Madison, Mississippi

Rev. Michael McLaughlin
First Presbyterian Church
Cleveland, Mississippi

Rev. James C. Perkins
Progressive National Baptist Convention
President elect
Detroit, Michigan

Rev. J. Herbert Nelson
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness
Washington, D.C

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
Trinity United Church of Christ
Chicago, Illinois

Mr. James Winkler
National Council of Churches
Washington, D.C.

Sr. Ann Scholz
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Associate Director for Social Mission
Silver Spring, Maryland

Rev. Richard Cizik
New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
Oak Ridge, Tennesse

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler
Calvary Baptist Church
Senior Pastor
Washington, D.C

Francis X. Doyle
Associate General Secretary (retired)
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. Noel Castellanos
Christian Community Development Association
Chicago, Illinois

John Sniegocki
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Xavier University
Cincinnati, Ohio

Christopher Pramuk
Associate Professor of Theology
Xavier University
Cincinnati, Ohio

Rev. Drew Christiansen, S. J.
Distinguished Professor of Ethics
and Global Human Development
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Brian McLaren
Marco Island, Florida

Dennis M. Doyle
Professor of Religious Studies
University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio

Anthony B. Smith
Associate Professor
Department of Religious Studies
University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio

Una M. Cadegan
Department of History
University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio

Sr. Christine Dobrowolski
Louisville, Kentuck

Rev. Jack Haberer
The Presbyterian Outlook
Richmond, VA

Rev. Chuck Currie
Sunnyside and University Park Churches
Portland, Oregon

Rev. Kendrick Curry
The Pennsylvania Ave Baptist Church
Senior Pastor
Washington, DC

Dr. David P. Gushee
Mercer University
Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life
Atlanta, Georgia

Rev. Egon Cohen
Temple University Department of Religion
University Fellow
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Rev. Kay Huggins
Saint Mark Presbyterian, North Bethesda
Parrish Associate
North Bethesda, Maryland

Rev. Michael Livingston
National Public Policy Director, IWJ
Trenton, New Jersey

Rev. Steven Martin
New Evangelical Partnership For The Common Good
Executive Director
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Rev. Chuck Currie
Sunnyside and University Park Churches
Senior Minister
Portland, Oregon

Rev. Jacob Simpson
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church
Baltimore, Maryland

Rev. Sung Moy
Pawling UMC
Pawling, New York

Rev. Dawn Rosignol
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Burnet, Texas

Rev. Doug Hagler
Interim Pastor
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania

Rev. Deborah Vaughn
Hospital Chaplain
Washington, D.C.

Rev. Paul Frazier
Paul D. Frazier
First Presbyterian Church
Hardin, Illinois

Rev. Ray McKinnon
University City United Methodist Church
Missions Director
Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Jennifer Krushas
High Point, North Carolina

Rev. Wayne A. Laws
Mountain View United Church
Minister of Social Justice
Aurora, Colorado

Rev. Richard Kidd
Boardman, Ohio

Rev. William Moore
Bedford Christian Church
Bedford, Virginia

Rev. Robert Norman
Leland, North Carolina

Rev. Matt Gough
First Presbyterian Corvallis
Corvallis, Oregon

Rev. Molly Casteel
Assistant Stated Clerk
Louisville, Kentucky

Rev. Tricia Tedrow
First Presbyterian Church
Port LaVirginiaca, Texas

Rev. Mark Koenig
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
New York, New York

Rev. Ann Tiemeyer
National Council of Churches, USA
Assoicate General Secretary for Joint Action and Advocacy
New York, New York

Rev. Lynette Sparks
Third Presbyterian Church
Associate Pastor
Rochester, New York

Rev. Margaret E Howland
South Presbyterian Church of Yonkers, NY
Pastor Emeritus
Orlando, Florida

Rev. Cynthia Ruiz
San Francisco de Assisi
Austin, Texas

Rev. Sharon Baker
Gary, Indiana

Rev. Nevin Werron
Pennsauken, New Jersey

Rev. Richard Mosley, Jr.
Hemenway U.M.C.
Evanston, Illinois

Rev. Lyn Barrett
First Congregational United Church of Christ
Woodbury, Connecticut

Rev. Douglas Holmes
First Presbyterian
Albion, New York

Rev. Catherine George
Minister at Large
Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Richard Huggins
McLeod Memorial PC
Lakeland, Florida

Rev. Christen Miller
Peace United Church of Christ
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite
Chicago Theological Seminary
Professor of Theology
Chicago, Illinois

Rev. Gary Nims
Des Moines, Iowa

Rev. Susan Ezell
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Honorably Retired, Pastor Emerita
Annandale, Virginia

Rev. Mary Love
Mid-Kentucky Presbytery
Crescent Hills Presbyterian Church
Parish Associate
Louisville, Kentucky

Rev. Ana Wilson
Senior Minister
Jacksboro, Texas

Rev. Susan Trigger
First Presbyterian Church
Rockaway, New Jersey

Rev. Paul Turner
Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Senior Pastor
Decatur, Georgia

Rev. Tricia Dykers Koenig
Covenant Network of Presbyterians
Forest Hill Church
National Organizer
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Rev. Edward Gehres
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Executive Presbyter-Retired
Media, Pennsylvania

Rev. John Ericson
Living Water Lutheran Church
Hampton, Virginia

Rev. Holly Hallman
Holly Hallman
Issaquah, Washington

Rev. Robert Carter
East Brunswick, New Jersey

Rev. Lorelei Kay
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Designated Pastor
Gallup, New Mexico

Rev. Brett Kelly
United Methodist
Findlay, Ohio

Rev. Jill Mills
Sterling Heights, Michigan

Rev. Robert Williams
Roswell, New Mexico

Rev. Patricia Lavery
Church of Epiphany
Grove City, Pennsylvania

Rev. Janet Rhind
St. Paul’s UMC
Prairie Village, Kansas

Rev. Nancy Neal
Church of the Pilgrims
Parish Associate
Washington, D.C.

Rev. John Long
Presbytery of Western New York
First Presbyterian Church
Ecumenical Liaison
Buffalo, New York

Rev. Rebecca Tollefson
Executive Director
Columbus, Ohio

Rev. Taryn Mattice
Protestant Cooperative Ministry at Cornell
Ithaca, New York

Rev. Nathan Mahand
Calvary Baptist Church
College Minister
Waco, Texas

Rev. Terrence Tilley, SJ
Fordham University
Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Professor of Catholic Theology
New York, New York

Rev. Barbara Peter
Presbyterian Church (USA)
1st Presby, Libertyville, IL
Honorably Retired
Lake Forest, Illinois

Rev. David Pickett
First Presbyterian Church
Associate Pastor
West Chester, Pennsylvania

Rev. Mark Fischer
Twelve Apostles Church
Saegertown, Pennsylvania

Rev. Mary Beth Konen
Ironwood, Michigan

Rev. Hannah Flynn
Anglican Church of North America
Resurrection Anglican Church
Shalimar, Florida

Rev. Brian Wharton
Faith UMC
Associate Pastor
Spring, Texas

Rev. Harry Knox
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
President and CEO
Washington, D.C.

Rev. John A. Coleman, SJ
Saint Ignatius Parish
Parochial Vicar
San Francisco, California

Rev. David Harris
Palmyra, Pennsylvania

Rev. Scott Marrese-Wheeler
Presbyterian Church (USA)
McFarland, Wisconsin

Rev. Douglas Mitchell
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Associate Pastor for Faith in Action
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rev. Jerrod Lowry
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Community of Grace Presbyterian Church (USA)
Sandy, Utah

Rev. Barbara Robberson
United Methodist Church
Missouri City, Texas

Rev. Charlotte Coyle
Paris, Texas

Rev. Mark Wendorf
Sanford, Maine

Rev. Bobbi Neason
First Presbyterian Church
Bandon, Oregon

Rev. Rosa Lee Harden
Cathedral of All Souls
Canon for Money and Meaning
Asheville, North Carolina

Rev. Martha Sexton
La Jolla, California

Rev. Heather Bartlow
John Calvin Presbyterian Church
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Rev. Ellen Acton
Seattle, Washington

Rev. Dwyn Mounger
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Eusebia Presbyterian
Knoxville, Tennessee

Rev. Daryn Holdsworth
Central States Synod – ELCA
Florissant, Missouri

Rev. Craig Swan
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Camillus, New York

Rev. Katherine Michael
Westminster Presbyterian
Associate Pastor
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rev. Loren Mote
Legacy Church

Rev. Loren Mote
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Rev. Duane Clinker
United Methodist
Pastor (retired)
Cranston, Rhode Island

Rev. Anne Clement
United Methodist
Sapulpa, Oklahoma

Rev. Eric Gates
Hyde Park Christian Church
Austin, Texas

Rev. Emily Proctor
Riverside Presbyterian Church
Director of Young Adult and Global Outreach
Jacksonville, Florida

Rev. Brenton Thompson
Crossroads Presbyterian Church
Limerick, PA

Rev. Lois Ann Wolff
Albany Presbytery
Honorably Retired
Lake Luzerne, NY

Rev. John Frey
Cypress Creek Christian Church
Teaching Pastor
Spring, Texas

Rev. Mark Meeks
Capitol Heights Presbyterian Church
Denver, CO

Rev. Sue Lowcock Harris
First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, MD
Columbia, Maryland

Rev. Kendrick Curry
The Pennsylvania Ave Baptist Church
Senior Pastor
Washington, DC

Rev. J.F. Wickey
Alva, OK

Rev. Pam Watkins
Durham, North Carolina

Rev. Dale Nixon
Southern Baptist Convention
Terry Parker Baptist Church
Jacksonville, Florida

Rev. Dan Vaughn
St. John’s Church
Mount Aetna, PA

Rev. B. Gordon Edwards
Presbyterian Church USA
Honorably Retired
Stillwater, OK

Rev. Kimberly Chastain
United Presbyterian Church of Binghamton, NY
Executive Pastor
Binghamton, NY

Rev. Phyllis Zoon
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Plumsted Presbyterian, New Egypt, NJ
Interim Pastor
New Egypt, NJ
Rev. Susan Joseph Rack
Martinsville, NJ

Rev. Troy Braswell
Circleville Presbyterian Church
Circleville, Ohio

Professor David O’Brien
College of Holy Cross
Professor Emeritus
Worcester, Massachusetts

Professor Jeannine Hill Fletcher
Fordham University
Professor of Theology, Department of Theology and Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice
New York, New York

Prof. Kathleen Maas Weigert
Loyola University Chicago
Carolyn Farrell, BVM, Professor of Women and Leadership
Chicago, Illinois

Prof. Alex Mikulich
Jesuit Social Research Institute, Loyola University New Orleans
Assistant Professor
New Orleans, Louisiana

Ms. Lisa Sharon Harper
Senior Director of Mobilizing
Washington, D.C.

Ms. Gail Mott
Downtown Presbyterian Church
Rochester, New York

Ms. Rita Brown
First Presbyterian Church Haddonfield, NJ
Berlin, New Jersey

Ms. Donell Seager
Spiritual Director
Pace, Florida

Ms. Angelyn Forbes-Freeze
First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, NY
Cortland Manor, New York

Ms. Amy Wharton
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Robinson, Illinois

Ms. Nancy Horman
Woodland Park Presbyterian Church
retired elder
Seattle, Washington

Ms. Merilie Robertson
Woodland Hills Presbyterian
Canoga Park, California

Ms. Carole Eckerd
First Presbyterian
Roseburg, Oregon

Ms. Sarah Brownlee
Atlanta, Georgia

Ms. Nancy Ellingham
Newport Presbyterian Church
Bellevue, Washington

Ms. Kaila Coo
Colorado Christian university
Adjunct Professor of theology
Lakewood, Colorado

Ms. Peri Erdmann
Ruling elder
Aberdeen, South Dakota

Ms. Laura Hovland
Mt. Washington
Cincinnati, Ohio

Ms. Evelyn Stewart
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Portland, Oregon

Ms. Karen Wilson
College Avenue Presbyterian Church
Alton, IL

Ms. Sally Mackey
Lake Burien PC(USA)
Burien, WA

Ms. Nancy Lister-Settle
Presbytery of Des Moines
Dallas Center, IA

Mr. Jason Redick
Holy Covenant United Methodist
Youth Minister
Carrollton, Texas

Mr. Keith Dager
La Tijera UMC in Los Angeles
Layman in UMC Reconciling Ministry Network
Los Angeles, California

Mr. David Osio
Catholic Charities Diocese of Wichita
Director of Immigration Services
Wichita, Kansas

Mr. Billy Roberts
Forest Hills Presbyterian Church
Youth Ministry Director
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dr. Greg Smith
LUCHA Ministries, Inc.
Administrative Coordinator
Fredericksburg, Virginia

Dr. Layne Smith
Interim Transition Specialist
Hendersonville, North Carolina

Dr. Todd Gile
United Methodist
Trinity UMC
Evansville, Indiana

Dr. Margaret Oget
Associate Professor of New Testament
Decatur, Georgia

Dr. Karyn L. Wiseman
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
Associate Professor of Homiletics
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Rodney Petersen
Boston Theological Institute
Executive Director
Newton, Massachusetts

Dr. M. Shawn Copeland
Boston College
Professor of Systematic Theology
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Dr. Tobias Winright
Saint Louis University
Hubert Maeder Chair of Health Care Ethics
St. Louis, Missouri

Dr. Mark J. Allman
Merrimack College
Professor, Chair, Religious and Theological Studies Department
North Andover, Massachusetts

Dr. Judye Pistole
First Presbyterian Church

Dr. Connie E Cochran
Paxton Presbyterian Church
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Dr. Tom Gregory
First Presbyterian Church
Wooster, Ohio

Dr. Joseph J. Fahey
Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice

Dr. Joel wright
Chair, Education Department
Gillette, Wyoming

Dr. Carol Lapp
Covenant Presbyterian
Augusta, Georgia

Dr. James Cogswell
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Rev. James Cogswell, PhD
Black Mountain, North Carolina

Dr. Samuel Massey
First Presbyterian Church, Iowa City, IA
Iowa City, IA

Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree
Florida Conference United Church of Christ
Interim Conference Minister
Orlando, FL

Dr. Gary Sturni
Retired Episcopal Priest
Pomfret, CT

Dr. Stephen Schneck
The Catholic University of America
Director, Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
Washington, D.C.

Steve Knight
TransFORM Network
Founder and director
Charlotte, North Carolina

Dolores Christie
John Carroll University
University Heights, Ohio

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Prominent evangelicals applaud veto of Arizona bill discriminating against gay community

February 27, 2014, 9:48 am | Posted by

Open letter rebukes those who use religion to justify discrimination

Washington, DC – Following Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of SB 1062, which would have permitted businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation, nationally prominent evangelical leaders released a statement not only condemning the bill, but also challenging fellow Christians who supported it and similar legislation in other states. Signatories include Alan Chambers, the former president of Exodus International, Ted Haggard, pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Rachel Held Evans, a leading millennial Evangelical. The statement said in part:

As evangelicals we are saddened to see our brothers and sisters in Christ leveraging their faith to support an Arizona law that would allow business owners to discriminate against the gay community and many others on the basis of religion. We believe that Christians should oppose this law and others like it in Kansas, Georgia and Florida.

To support such a law is to fail to walk in the footsteps of Jesus who was known for associating with and loving those who were considered outcasts by his society.

Signers of the statement also commended Gov. Brewer’s veto.

“Gov. Brewer did the right thing,” said Rev. Ted Haggard. “In public commerce religion must not be a basis upon which we deny a fellow human being our services.”

Religious leaders’ stances on this issue will also shape the future of the church. A poll released yesterday by Public Religion Research Institute showed that 55 percent of white evangelical Protestant Milliennials believe religious groups are alienating young adults by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues.

Signers of the statement include clergy, theologians and thought leaders from across the spectrum, from Haggard to progressive evangelical leader Brian McLaren. The full list of signers and the full text of the statement are below and can be found here. Signers’ affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

As evangelicals, we are saddened to see our brothers and sisters in Christ leveraging their faith to support an Arizona law that would allow business owners to discriminate against the gay community and many others on the basis of religion. We believe that Christians should oppose this law and others like it in Kansas and Georgia.

To support such a law is to fail to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, who was known for associating with and loving those who were considered outcasts by his society. Serving people with whom we disagree is a central calling for those who follow Jesus. We believe that the current position that many Evangelical leaders are taking on issues of discrimination toward the gay community directly contradict that posture of radical love and grace that Jesus so powerfully embodied in his life and teachings.

Many Millennials are leaving the church because far too often the church has failed to live in the pattern that Jesus has called us to. Many of us are committed to following Jesus but have become increasingly disheartened by the uncompassionate postures that many of our leaders in the evangelical church continue to take on many important social issues. We are saddened by the lack of Christ-likeness displayed by our leaders and deeply desire to see our churches return to speaking and living like Jesus. We believe that the time has come for church leaders to stop allowing fear to dictate their theological and social positions, and start acting in the radical love of Jesus.

In Christ,

Rev. Ted Haggard
St. James Church
Former President, National Association of Evangelicals
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Alan Chambers
Former President, Exodus International
Orlando, Florida

Rachel Held Evans
Author and speaker
Dayton, Tennessee

Brian McLaren
Author and activist
Marco Island, Florida

Doug Pagitt
The CANA Initiative
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Steve Knight
Founder and director
TransFORM Network
Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Amy Butler
Senior Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church
Washington, DC

Rev. Lillian Daniel
Senior Minister
First Congregational Church
Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Dr. Michael Hardin
Executive Director
Preaching Peace
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Heidi Weaver
Lexington, Kentucky

Brandan Robertson
Founder and director
The Revangelical Movement
Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Phillip Clayton
Ingraham Professor of Theology
Claremont School of Theology
Claremont, California

Dr. Joel Cruz
Chicago Theological Seminary
Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Egon Cohen
Department of Religion
Temple University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Rev. Jack Haberer
The Presbyterian Outlook
Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.
Richmond, Virginia

Rev. Dr Troy Jackson
Ohio Prophetic Voices
Cincinnati, Ohio

Mr. Jason Wiedel
Surry, Virginia

Mr. Hye-Sung Gehring
Kingsway Christian Church
Disciples of Christ (Christian Church)
Memphis, Tennessee

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The Year of Pope Francis, Top Ten Papal Quotes

December 23, 2013, 3:13 pm | Posted by

John Gehring is the Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life.

Pope Francis has dominated headlines and become a global spiritual rock star since his election on March 13. The 77-year old Argentine Jesuit is making waves by challenging Catholic leaders to build a “church for the poor,” urging the hierarchy not to be “obsessed” with a few hot-button issues and challenging “trickle-down” economic theories. In a sign of his unlikely widespread appeal, Pope Francis was named Person of the Year by Time magazine and The Advocate, America’s oldest magazine for the LGBT community

This is surely one of the most quotable Vicars of Christ in memory. Here are my favorites.

1. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” — Interview aboard the Papal Plane after World Youth Day in Brazil.

2. “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?” We must always consider the person. — Interview with Jesuit Catholic journals around the world.


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