Faith in Public Life led press outreach and helped to organize the pilgrimage to end the government shutdown.
Like most Americans, Sister Simone Campbell is feeling desperate about the current stand-off and shut down of the government. So Sister Simone along with an interfaith group of religious leaders decided to do something about it. Over 70 prominent religious leaders joined with locked-out federal workers in a pilgrimage on Capitol Hill this morning; an action organized by Faith In Public Life together with other religious groups.
“We held a pilgrimage through the capitol to pray that Congress finds the courage to act on behalf of the common good,” the Catholic nun explained to the Huffington Post over the phone. “We called upon the offices of moderate Republicans to pray that they would exercise courage and not be intimidated by the extremes in the Republican party.”
The group processed through the halls of Congress singing ‘Amazing Grace’, unaware that the House Republican caucus had used the same song to open their session that morning. The multi-faith group visited several Republican offices that had indicated a willingness to find a solution and, according to Sister Campbell, they received a touching reception.
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Pilgrimage with poor workers ratchets up moral pressure as shutdown harms low-income families, seniors, and veterans.
Washington, DC – Today, over 70 prominent religious leaders joined with locked-out federal workers in a pilgrimage, marched on key House GOP offices – including Leadership – and urged an immediate end to the government shutdown. At each office, the group prayed for the Member to do what is right and vote to immediately end the shutdown with a clean and unconditional continuing resolution and to raise the debt ceiling without preconditions.
During the Pilgrimage, faith leaders invited moderate Republicans to join them in challenging their colleagues who are putting political agendas ahead of the common good.
An extreme faction of Congress is recklessly playing politics with the lives of countless Americans: seniors seeing “Meals on Wheels” cut, pregnant women and infants losing vital nutrition support, workers locked out of their jobs as bills pile up, veterans facing benefit cuts, and communities put in peril by the suspension of crucial environmental protection efforts.
“It’s time for irresponsible factions in Congress to stop this reckless behavior and end this shutdown immediately,” said Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. “There is no moral justification for holding struggling families, pregnant women and seniors hostage.”
The marchers also included low-wage workers locked out of their jobs by the shutdown.
“Before the shutdown, I was struggling to support my unemployed father and little sister,” said Alex Vesquez, a contract food worker at the Smithsonian. “Now I’ve gone from low wages to no wages. Tea Party Republicans need to stop these political games and let me get back to work.”
At each office the group prayed for the Member and left a letter endorsed by religious organizations, saying “As people of faith and conscience, we urge you to place shared democratic values above short term political expediency, exercise the courage to fund our nation’s government, raise the debt limit without preconditions and get back to work on a faithful budget that serves the common good.”
Faith leaders had a clear moral message for the Congressmen responsible.
“Locking low-income workers out of their jobs and holding them for ransom is simply un-Christian. This inflicts needless pain on families already struggling to make ends meet,” said Rev. Michael Livingston, Policy Director at Interfaith Worker Justice. “We’re urging the members of Congress responsible for this hardship to vote now to put these workers back in their jobs.”
Simultaneously, people of faith delivered over 32,000 petitions to Congressional offices around the country calling on House Members to end the government shutdown. The petition signers are members of Faithful America — a fast-growing online community dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right and putting faith into action for social justice.
This statement, which was also signed by more than 150 clergy and theologians, sharply rebuked irresponsible elected officials for pursuing an “extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families” by shutting down the federal government.
Participants in the march included leaders from NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; The Salvation Army, Interfaith Worker Justice, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness, The Shalom Center, Faith in Public Life, Church World Service, American Friends Service Committee, Unitarian Universalist congregations and fellowships, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ), Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ), Disciples Home Missions, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Franciscan Action Network, United Church of Christ, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and The Coalition on Human Needs.
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FPL led press out outreach and worked with Faithful America to organize the petition and delivery to Rep. Meadows’ office.
A representative of an online social justice network delivered a petition to Congressman Mark Meadows’ Hendersonville office Tuesday, calling on Meadows to end the partial government shutdown.
Dr. Robert Fulbright, a retired educator and a volunteer with Faithful America, gave Meadows’ representative Deborah Potter documents containing 32,000 signatures. Faithful America describes itself as “a fast-growing online community dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right and putting faith into action for social justice.”
Though the petition was signed by people from across the United States, Fulbright said it contained signatures from residents in 25 towns that lie in Meadows’ 11th Congressional District.
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FPL led press outreach for the event.
Organizers say several hundred people took part in an immigration- reform rally in Ohio outside U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s office.
It was one of dozens of rallies across the nation to call for reforms in the nation’s immigration laws.
The events Saturday were part of the “National Day for Dignity and Respect.”
Immigrant families, religious leaders and union representatives were among those attending the rally in Springfield in southwest Ohio.
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Hundreds Rally outside Boehner’s Springfield Office, Urge Congress to Pass Long Overdue Reform
Springfield, OH – Hundreds of people, including immigrant families, faith leaders and labor leaders, marched to Speaker John Boehner’s Springfield office today to call on him to immediately pass immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship. The Springfield event was one of 177 events in 40 states across the country as part of a national day of action to urge Congress to move forward with long-overdue reform.
Sponsored by Ohio Prophetic Voices, PICO National Network’s Campaign for Citizenship, Cincinnati Workers Center, SEIU, UFCW and IUE-CWA, the march featured prominent clergy, labor leaders and diverse people of faith urging Congress to recognize that fixing America’s broken immigration system is crucial for Ohio’s families and economy. Reform will put $4.6 billion in Ohioans’ pockets over ten years.
Faith leaders spoke out at the march about the moral principles at stake in the immigration debate.
“The time for political games and delays is over,” said Rev. Troy Jackson, Director of Ohio Prophetic Voices. “Immigrant families are torn apart every day while Congress sits on the sidelines. We’re not backing down until Speaker Boehner and Members of Congress heed the faith community’s demand for commonsense immigration reform.”
Rev. Mother Paula Jackson of the Church of Our Savior in Cincinnati said, “The Torah, the prophets, and Gospel all require us to welcome the immigrants who live among us. We are calling on Speaker Boehner to give Comprehensive Immigration Reform a vote: to bring hardworking people out of the shadows, to stop destroying the families of citizen children, and to provide a path to citizenship for people who are contributing to our society.”
Labor leaders and immigrants at the march spoke to the devastation caused by our broken system and the benefits of immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship.
Marco Saavedra, a DREAMer and member of the DREAM 9, said, “Every day that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans fail to pass a path to citizenship, a staggering 1,100 families are torn apart by deportations. We can’t stand by and watch this occur any longer. I call on both Congress and the President to treat this like the moral outrage it is – starting with a just and fair end to the detention of the Dream30.”
“We call on Speaker Boehner to take action right now to pass commonsense immigration reform that will grow Ohio’s economy and protect its workers,” said Bill Dudley, Director of Strategic Campaigns at the United Food and Commercial Workers. “Reform that includes a road to citizenship is good for all Ohio workers — immigrant and native-born alike. That’s why labor leaders and the faith community stand together to demand that Congress get back to work on this urgent priority.”
The rally at Boehner’s Springfield office was a part of a National Day for Dignity and Respect targeting House members around the country, demanding that they pass comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrant families and faith and labor leaders will continue to urge the Republican-led House of Representatives to stop obstructing crucial reform and immediately pass a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.
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