Clergy to Deliver Letter Signed by 500 Georgia Faith Leaders Calling for Gissendaner to be Spared

March 2, 2015, 8:47 am | Posted by

Atlanta, GA – Today at 10:30AM, a group of prominent clergy will hold a press conference before delivering a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal signed by more than 500 Georgia faith leaders calling for Kelly Gissendaner to be spared. Hundreds of clergy and people of faith from the across the country have also signed the letter. Gissendaner is scheduled to be executed tonight.

An online petition has also gathered nearly 50,000 signatures calling for the execution to be stopped.

WHAT:
Press conference and delivery of a letter signed by more than 500 Georgia clergy calling for Kelly Gissendaner to be spared.

WHO:
Bishop Rob Wright, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
Deacon Richard Tolcher, Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

WHERE:
Georgia State Capitol Rotunda
206 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334

WHEN:
Today – Monday, March 2nd at 10:30AM

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Clergy Lobby Legislators against “Religious Freedom” Bills

February 25, 2015, 2:39 pm | Posted by

Atlanta, GA  – A group of clergy from across the state gathered at the Georgia State Capitol Wednesday to call on their legislators to oppose a pair of “religious freedom” bills being proposed in the state legislature. After a morning of lobby visits, the group gathered to reiterate their moral and religious objections to the proposed legislation.

Rev. Pam Driesell, Senior Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, said, “This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It gives the appearance of being something good, when in reality, it’s something harmful. These bills perverts freedom into an opportunity to harm others, and they violate the most basic religious principle: not to use our freedom to harm, but to use our freedom to do good.”

Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim said, “I believe these bills weaponize religion. They erode the common good through discrimination. I thought Georgia had grown to be a more tolerant state, but this legislation proves we have not.”

Rev. David Key, Sr., Director of Baptist Studies at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, said, “As a Georgia Baptist, I believe strongly in religious freedom, but I do not support this legislation. RFRA is not about religious freedom, it’s about discrimination. Religious freedom doesn’t give any of us the right to harm others. This legislation is unnecessary, this legislation is harmful, and the state of Georgia doesn’t need it.”

The delegation that gathered at the State Capitol on Wednesday is a fraction of the more than 180 clergy from many denominations who signed a letter released at the beginning of the legislative session that urged legislators not to pass the “religious freedom” bills.

The lobby day is part of an ongoing campaign by Georgia clergy to lobby against the passage of controversial “religious freedom” bills.

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Memphis People of Faith to Hold Town Hall, Prayer Vigil for Mass Incarceration Reform

February 12, 2015, 6:09 pm | Posted by

“Locked in Solidarity” to raise up voices of those impacted by unjust criminal justice system

Memphis, TN – Today, February 12th at 7:00PM people of faith and local advocates for criminal justice reform will gather  for an event titled “Locked in Solidarity,” a town hall conversation and prayer vigil.

Those personally impacted by mass incarceration will share their stories and experiences to help others better understand the issue and chart a path toward reforming this unjust system. As the issue of criminal justice reform gains national attention, members of Two by Two House of Prayer hope to build on the personal experiences of community members to better advocate for systemic change.

The event is one of more than twenty being held around the country tomorrow by the Christian Community Development Association.

WHAT: “Locked in Solidarity,” one of more than twenty town halls and prayer vigils on mass incarceration to be held around the country.

WHO: Memphis people of faith and advocates for mass incarceration reform

WHERE: Two by Two House of Prayer, 19 N. Century St., Memphis TN 38111

WHEN: Thursday, February 12th at 7:00PM

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Baptist Clergy Call on Legislators to Oppose Controversial “Religious Freedom” Bills

January 28, 2015, 1:30 pm | Posted by

Baptists from across Georgia speak out against divisive “religious freedom” legislation

Atlanta, GA  – A group of prominent Georgia Baptist clergy gathered at the State Capitol Wednesday to speak out against proposed legislation labeled “religious freedom” bills. Citing their faith, the group called on lawmakers to not pass the legislation. An opposing group from the Georgia Baptist Convention spoke at the Capitol in favor of the potentially discriminatory bills.

“Religious liberty is important to Baptists around the world and here in Georgia,” said Rev. Julie Pennington-Russellof First Baptist Church of Decatur. “But it doesn’t give us a right to discriminate. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am called to treat every human being the way I would want to be treated.”

“I am for religious liberty and for religious freedom, but I am not for this bill,” said Rev. Timothy McDonald III of First Iconium Baptist Church. “I believe this bill will have unintended consequences. I worked on the federal RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] in 1993. But this is not 1993.”

“No one voice, no one denomination speaks for all people of faith,” said Rev. Dr. James Lamkin of Northside Drive Baptist Church. “Georgia’s citizens and elected officials need to decide if they want to move forward or take our state back in time. As a Georgia Baptist, I do not want discrimination to happen in my name. Everyone has a right to their religious beliefs, but nobody has the right to discriminate. This is Atlanta, the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We don’t teach hate here.”

The group is a fraction of the more than 160 clergy from many different denominations across Georgia who signed a letter released at the beginning of the legislative session that urged legislators not to pass these discriminatory, unnecessary “religious freedom” bills.

The press conference was part of an ongoing campaign by Georgia clergy to prevent passage of controversial “religious freedom” bills.

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100+ Catholic Leaders to House: Immigration Reform is a Pro-Life Issue

January 21, 2015, 11:42 am | Posted by

 On eve of March for Life rally, prominent Catholic leaders challenge “pro-life” members of Congress to pass immigration reform

Washington, DC – A prominent group of Catholic leaders is sending a message to their fellow Catholics in the House of Representatives who identity as “pro-life” on the eve of a national anti-abortion rally in Washington.

“As Catholics committed to building a culture of life, we write to urge our fellow Catholics in Congress to support the U.S. bishops’ efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” more than 100 Catholic university presidents, priests, nuns, theologians and immigration policy experts write today in a statement released by the Washington-based organization Faith in Public Life.

“Our nation’s inhumane and flawed immigration policies leave migrant women, children and families abandoned by the side of the road,” the letter reads.

The statement will be sent to Catholics in the House, and will also appear as a full-page ad in Politico on Thursday. Nearly a third of all members of Congress are Catholic – the largest religious denomination represented on the Hill.

While the Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013, the House has failed to vote on a comprehensive package, and last week voted to block funding for President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. House Speaker John Boehner supported the measure to defund the president’s action to offer deferrals to immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The president of Speaker Boehner’s alma mater, Xavier University in Cincinnati, was among the signers of the statement. Other prominent signers included Helen Alvare, professor at George Mason University School of Law, an adviser to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a former USCCB pro-life spokeswoman; Father Larry Snyder, outgoing president of Catholic Charities USA; retired Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston and retired Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., both former presidents of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Rev. Timothy Kesicki, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference USA, Rev. James Greenfield, OSFS, President of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and Sr. Sharon Holland, President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

There are more than two dozen Catholics in the House who identity as pro-life, and some will attend the March for tomorrow in Washington. The statement directly appeals to them.

“As brothers and sisters in faith, we urge these elected officials and all Catholics to defend the sanctity of human lives at all stages,” the letter reads. “We recognize the image of God in the migrant at the border, in the prisoner on death row, in the pregnant woman and in the hungry child.”

“We fail a basic moral test and will never build a true culture of life if we keep turning our backs on immigrants relegated to the shadows,” said Stephen Schneck, Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America. “Catholic lawmakers who are proud of their pro-life record but who fail to act on comprehensive immigration reform have a particular responsibility to consider their Church’s teachings on this urgent moral issue.”

The full statement and list of signatories can be found here. The Politico ad can be viewed here. Signers’ affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

 

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