Praying for Broken Hearts in the GOP

October 16, 2013, 2:24 pm | Posted by

Faith in Public Life led press outreach and helped to organize the pilgrimage to end the government shutdown.

Yesterday in the Canon House Office Building rotunda on Capitol Hill, Rabbi David Shneyer led an interfaith group of approximately 150 clergy leaders, locked-out workers, and people of faith, in song.

“Of love and justice I will sing,” sang the rabbi, playing a guitar and riffing off of Psalm 101.

As the others joined in, their voices rang out powerfully and could be heard clearly a floor below.

The group had gathered to participate in an action organized by Faith in Public Life and the Washington Interreligious Staff Community. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Unitarians and others marched on the offices of key Republican Members—including GOP Leadership—and urged a vote to immediately end the shutdown and to raise the debt ceiling without preconditions. Petitions with over 32,000 signatures were simultaneously delivered to members’ home district offices around the country.

When the song ended, Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, offered a prayer: “It is the common good that is the way forward for our nation…. And so let us pray for their courage that they can act on behalf of all of our people. And may our walking these halls, and praying with Congress, be the bridge that you need for healing and for some sanity in caring for all.”

The group then began its procession while singing “Amazing Grace” and other hymns. Police officers quickly told them to keep their volume low and stay to the sides of the corridors, or risk arrest. The group complied. It wasn’t that they feared arrest—many of these faith leaders have engaged in civil disobedience in the past—but that wasn’t their mission on Tuesday.

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Faith-based group delivers statement to Hurt’s office on shutdown

October 15, 2013, 2:38 pm | Posted by

Faith in Public Life led press outreach and worked with Faithful America to organize the petition and delivery. 

A faith-based social justice organization delivered a statement with more than 32,000 nationwide, online-culled signatures calling for an end to the federal government’s partial shutdown to the Charlottesville-area office of Rep. Robert Hurt.

Presented Tuesday afternoon, the petition signers included more than 150 Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders who are members of Faithful America, an online community that’s working to put faith into action for social justice.

“As Christians and citizens, we are appalled that elected officials are pursuing an extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families,” the 195-word statement says.

 

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Sister Simone Campbell Makes Capitol Hill Pilgrimage: Religious Leaders And Workers Sing And Pray For Moderate Republicans

October 15, 2013, 2:29 pm | Posted by

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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Over 70 Prominent Faith Leaders and Locked-Out Workers March on House GOP Offices, Pray for End to Shutdown

October 15, 2013, 1:24 pm | Posted by

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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Group calls on Meadows to end government shutdown

October 15, 2013, 12:40 pm | Posted by

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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