Rev. Jennifer Butler appointed to President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

September 24, 2015, 9:30 am | Posted by

September 24, 2015

Rev. Jennifer Butler appointed to President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Butler photoToday, President Obama announced his intent to appoint Faith in Public Life’s CEO, Reverend Jennifer Butler, to the President’s third Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Rev. Butler is one of 18 prospective members whose appointments were announced. President Obama said, “I am confident that these outstanding men and women will serve the American people well, and I look forward to working with them.”

The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships brings together religious and secular leaders as well as scholars and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations. The charge for this Council focuses on steps the government should take to reduce poverty and inequality and create opportunity for all, including changes in policies, programs, and practices that affect the delivery of services by faith-based and community organizations and the needs of low-income and other underserved persons.

Faith in Public Life is proud of Rev. Butler and her work to create a world dedicated to justice, compassion, and the common good.



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Poll Release, National Press Club Panel: A “Francis Effect” on Catholic Voters?

September 16, 2015, 9:04 am | Posted by

Poll Release, National Press Club Panel:
A “Francis Effect” on Catholic Voters?

In less than ten days, Pope Francis will make his first trip to the United States and become the first pontiff in history to address Congress. Many have speculated about how the pope’s leadership and priorities might impact the nexus of religion and politics in this country. How is a pope who puts the moral dimensions of economic inequality and climate change at the forefront of his papacy shaking up the Catholic political narrative? At a time when eight Catholics are running for president, many of the nation’s most powerful elected officials are Catholic and Catholic voters in battleground states could prove decisive in the 2016 election, is there likely to be a “Francis effect” on American politics?

Faith in Public Life and The Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey testing how Catholic voters are responding to the pope’s messages. The results, based on data collected from 1,400 likely Catholic voters, will be released at the National Press Club as part of a panel discussion with prominent Catholic analysts, academics and journalists.

A copy of the survey report is available here.

·   Moderator: Luke Russert, NBC News
·   Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
·   David Buckley, Professor of Political Science, University of Louisville
·   Melinda Henneberger, Senior Writer, Bloomberg Politics
·   John Gehring, Catholic Program Director, Faith in Public Life
·   Stephen Schneck, Director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America

Poll release and panel discussion.

The National Press Club
First Amendment Room
529 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20045

9:30-11:00 am (EST)
Wednesday, September 16

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Christian Leaders Speak Out Against Clerk’s Refusal to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

September 11, 2015, 11:50 am | Posted by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 10, 2015
CONTACT: Allison Walter, Faith in Public Life, / (202) 499-4093

Christian Leaders Speak Out Against Clerk’s Refusal to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Denying Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples a Clear Violation of Religious Liberty

WASHINGTON, DC – An open letter signed by over 200 faith leaders and published today argues that Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a clear violation of religious liberty.

“Religious freedom guarantees that no religion shall oppress those who hold to different beliefs,” said Reverend Jennifer Butler, Executive Director of Faith in Public Life, which organized the letter. “If as a matter of conscience a public official cannot provide equal treatment as required by law, the proper course of action is to resign,” continued Butler.

Signing the letter are prominent faith leaders of diverse denominations, including Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Church; Reverend Ken Wilson, Co-Pastor of the Blue Ocean Faith Church; Alan Chambers, author of “My Exodus Story” and former director, Exodus International; Dr. James Trent, professor at Gordon College.

The letter reads in part: “By refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on her religious convictions, Ms. Davis subverted the religious liberty of citizens of Rowan County who do not share her beliefs. Her failure to administer the law equally to those who do not share her beliefs, in defiance of a court order, flouted the Constitution and undermined the values of religious freedom and pluralism that undergird our democracy.”

The full letter and its growing list of signatories can be found at

The letter’s signatories call on fellow Christians to respect religious liberty by refraining from imposing individual religious beliefs on American citizens and to remember that Jesus calls us to treat each and every person as created in the image of God, even when we disagree.


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Faith Leaders Call for DC Climate Rally to Welcome Pope Francis

September 1, 2015, 4:39 pm | Posted by

For Immediate Release

August 31st, 2015

Contact: Josh Levin, Faith in Public Life, / (202) 499-4091

Faith Leaders Call for DC Climate Rally to Welcome Pope Francis
Moral Urgency for Action on Creation Care Grows


 Download the call here. 

Leaders from the Catholic, Evangelical and Jewish communities will hold a press briefing call on World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation (Tuesday, Sept 1st) to announce a major welcome rally in Washington for Pope Francis during his visit to the Capitol on September 24th.

The pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si, On Care for Our Common Home, has created new interest and action on environmental and climate issues among Catholics and other people of faith across the United States and the world.

Faith leaders will describe the new action they’re witnessing, the critical importance of creation care and the growing partnerships with secular environmental and social justice organizations.


Sister Patty Chappell, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

Rev. Rich Cizik President, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Director of Social Justice, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Moderator: Rev Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life


Press call announcing a rally scheduled for Thursday, Sept 24th on the National Mall


Dial In Number: (877) 876-9177
Conference ID: CLIMATE


11am eastern, Tuesday, September 1st World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation

For further information, see
or contact Josh Levin, / (202) 499-4091


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Christian Leaders Cite Pope Francis in Lead-up to GOP Debate

August 4, 2015, 11:34 am | Posted by


August 4, 2015

Contact: John Gehring, 410-302-3792,


Ahead of Presidential Debate, Christian Leaders Urge Candidates to address Economic Inequality & Climate Change

Cite Pope Francis’s recent statements and encyclical on the urgency to act


Washington, DC - As presidential candidates take the stage for the first debate in Cleveland on Thursday, Christian leaders are challenging all contenders for the White House to tackle inequality and climate change.

“The 2016 election is an opportunity for a national examination of conscience,” more than 70 prominent Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders write in a public statement released today that will be sent to representatives of all the campaigns. “Candidates for the most powerful office in the world have a responsibility to clearly articulate plans for addressing two of the most urgent moral challenges of our time: economic inequality and climate change.”

The leaders cite Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, which highlights the links between poverty, inequality and ecological devastation.

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” the pope writes in his encyclical. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” Pope Francis affirmed the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is exacerbated by human activity. In blunt language, the pope also challenged what he called “obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers,” as obstacles to progress.

Signatories on the statement include Sister Donna Markham, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA; Dan Misleh, Executive Director of the Catholic Climate Covenant; several Catholic university presidents; Rev. William Kelley, S.J., Secretary for Social and International Ministries at the Jesuit Conference; Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; Jim Winkler, General Secretary and President of the National Council of Churches; Rev. Dr. J Herbert Nelson II, Director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness; Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners; Rev. Richard Cizik, President of New Evangelicals for the Common Good; Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary and the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Poverty, climate change and inequality are “life and death issues,” the leaders write, noting that in Cleveland, where the GOP debate is taking place, more than half of the children in the city grow up in poverty. Northeast Ohio also has some of the worst air pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association. African-American and Latino children suffer from disproportionate levels of asthma and lead poisoning. A five-year study from the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions would prevent nearly 70,000 premature American deaths per year by the end of the century.

A record number of Catholics are campaigning for president, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Candidates from both parties are seeking Catholic and evangelical voters in key swing states like Ohio and Florida, where religious voters are critical to the election.

The priorities emphasized by Pope Francis are impacting U.S. political discourse.

“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for this from my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” Jeb Bush said in reaction to reporters’ questions about the encyclical released last month. Religion, he added, “ought to be about making us better as people, less about things that end up getting into the political realm.”

When asked by CNN about the candidate’s comments, Cardinal Peter Turkson – prefect of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and a key advisory to Pope Francis on the encyclical – called them “unfortunate” and asked “what is morality about, if not our conduct, our decisions, our conscience, and the choices we make?”

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich has described economic inequality “a powder keg that is as dangerous as the environmental crisis the world is facing today.” He recently joined President Obama’s EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to make a moral case for action on climate change.

The complete statement and full list of signatories can be found here.


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