Georgia Clergy Call Legislators to Support Working Families

October 26, 2015, 12:41 pm | Posted by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2015
Contact: Graham Younger, (678) 739-8584gyounger@faithinpubliclife.org 

 

Georgia Clergy Call Legislators to Support Working Families

Atlanta, GA – On Thursday, October 22, faith leaders delivered a letter signed by more than 100 Georgia clergy to Senator Isakson calling on Congress to protect the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. 

Signers include Rabbi Peter Berg, Rev. Dr. Sam Davis, Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale and Rev. Kelly Barge. 

John A. Berry, CEO of Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia called attention to the importance of these tax credits saying,

“Many people struggle to meet every day needs and the relief that the EITC would provide around tax time would be a great help in making their lives a little easier as they continue to work to provide for their families”

The EITC and CTC are among the nation’s strongest tools to help working families escape poverty and achieve greater self-sufficiency and dignity. Together, they lifted 9.4 million people out of poverty— and made 22 million others less poor – in 2013.

Rev. William Flippin Jr., part of the group that delivered the letter, reacted to the experience: 

“We were glad to get to discuss the EITC with the Senator’s office. It is crucial to find ways to aid working families and Senator Isakson’s commitment to helping them is refreshing.”

A full copy of the letter can be found here

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Georgia Clergy React to Oregon Shootings

October 2, 2015, 4:21 pm | Posted by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Graham Younger, <gyounger@faithinpubliclife.org>, (678)739-8584

GEORGIA CLERGY REACT TO OREGON SHOOTINGS: PRAY FOR THE VICTIMS, BUT TAKE ACTION

This weekend, churches across Georgia to ring bells in remembrance of lives lost

Atlanta, GA - Today, the Outcry Interfaith Coalition, comprised of more than 300 Georgia faith leaders who are taking action to end gun violence, issued the following statement responding to Thursday’s school shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. 

“As clergy, we pray without ceasing for the nine people whose lives were taken, and whose families will never be the same, after the tragic shooting Thursday in Oregon. That’s why this weekend, in houses of worship across the state, we will ring bells to remember the lives senselessly lost and to pay tribute to the suffering of their loved ones.

“At the same time, as a diverse interfaith coalition who disagree on much, we agree that to address the wave of gun violence in our communities—in our schools, our houses of worship—prayer alone isn’t enough. We are in the midst of an epidemic. There are indeed ‘guns everywhere,’ as the name of Georgia’s misguided law promised. There was even a shameful attempt to pass a ‘campus carry’ law, despite the fact that, since Sandy Hook, there has been an average of one school shooting every week. Every week.

“When do we start respecting lives enough to take action? When do we say it’s time to admit that ‘guns everywhere’ is a problem, maybe THE problem? How many families need to suffer before we can do what’s moral and right?”

Outcry is an interfaith clergy coalition focused on ending gun violence in Georgia. Outcry has played a key role in the campaign for commonsense gun laws, including protections for houses of worship in last year’s “guns everywhere” law and with this year’s controversial campus carry and permit-less carry bills. You can learn more about Outcry here: http://www.OutcryGeorgia.org/

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Faith Leaders Decry Trump’s Call to ‘Round Up Humanely’ Immigrants

September 28, 2015, 4:40 pm | Posted by

For Immediate Release

Contact: Allison Walter, (202) 499-4093 / AWalter@FaithInPublicLife.org

Faith Leaders Decry Trump’s Call to ‘Round Up Humanely’ Immigrants

Just days after Pope Francis called on our nation’s leaders to apply the ‘golden rule,’ it is alarming to hear a candidate for President repeatedly promoting mass deportations. Faith leaders were stunned to hear Donald Trump say about undocumented immigrants: “We’re going to round them up, in a very humane way,” during an interview on 60 minutes.

The following faith leaders have condemned Trump’s statements, and offer these quotes:

Reverend Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life:

“There is no ‘humane’ way to ’round up’ 11 million people for deportation. Mr. Trump is forgetting the Gospel’s call to welcome the stranger. As children of God we know that each person is an important thread in the beautiful tapestry that makes up our nation. What sort of society are we creating where a child has to fear that she could be separated from her parents at any moment?

Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director, NETWORK:

“It is easy for Mr. Trump to make outrageous statements when he does not know the lives of real people. In Kansas City, with the Nuns on the Bus tour, we met Katherine a 15 year old girl caring for her U.S. citizen siblings because her employed parents were deported when they went to pay a traffic ticket. If Mr. Trump is serious about running for President, then he needs to get to know the reality of our nation, not just his imagination and prejudice.”

Michelle Warren, leader of Colorado’s Bibles, Badges and Business Immigration Network:

“Immigrants and their families are contributing members of America’s society, and we as a country benefit greatly from those contributions.  The ridiculous notion that rounding people up, separating families and sending them back to their country of origin to legalize them is somehow “nice” shows the lack of understanding Mr. Trump has on family values, economic capacity and compassionate leadership.”

Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer, Executive Director, Florida Council of Churches:

“Mr. Trump’s plan is neither nice nor practical. It is harmful to families involved, many of whose members are citizens and residents of the US. It is harmful to our economic life, especially in Florida where immigrant economic activity nearly equals the state budget. It is harmful to democracy itself because our nation would become a police state in carrying out such a plan. Mr. Trump intends to win his party’s nomination by generating divisive hostility in order to mobilize support. This is gangsterism not leadership. I pray he chooses a higher path.”

Sr. Dorothy Schlaeger, on behalf of the Sisters of St. Francis, Colorado Springs, CO:

We find Mr. Trump’s language of  “rounding up the illegals” highly offensive.  He says “We don’t want to keep people out—we want to keep illegals out”—insinuating the undocumented are not people who deserve the same dignity we afford ourselves.  He seems to be totally insensitive to the myriads of ways his plan would completely disrupt the lives of not just 11 million human beings but the lives of perhaps 24 to 48 million or more family members.  Who cares for the dependent children and elderly during this time of displacement?  What happens to our economy when millions suddenly leave the workforce and housing market?  Might not a plan that exemplifies “the Golden Rule” be far more efficacious?

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:

“​It is time that we make it very clear to Mr. Trump, that there is nothing ‘nice’ about his plan to deport 11 million men, women and children, and that his unabashed insults towards undocumented immigrants will not be tolerated without strong rebuttal by Christian leaders throughout our nation. As a Mexican-American citizen of the USA, I am calling on all presidential candidates to choose a path that treats everyone with dignity and that offers solutions to our current immigration crisis. The candidate who offers a way to integrate our immigrant neighbors with dignity will gain the support of the America people.”

Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy, Daughter of Charity, American Social Justice Committee, Nun on the Bus

“After Mr Trump speaks, I often find myself praying for a more collective outrage. It is disgraceful that he comfortably talks about our immigrant brothers and sisters as if they were disposable ranch animals. His political campaign rounds up irrational fear and then breeds it. On the other hand, The Pope amasses Hope, then lavishly gives it away. The latter is a far more appealing and befitting demeanor for US Americans. Our country is too strong to capitulate to groundless fear that will rob us of cultural diversity, economic advancement and enhanced entrepreneurial efforts. And we expect hope filled legislation that reflects are our incomparable American community values.”

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60+ Catholic Leaders Sign Call for a Family Friendly Economy

September 25, 2015, 12:37 pm | Posted by

For Immediate Release

Contact: Allison Walter, (202) 499-4093 / AWalter@FaithInPublicLife.org

60+ Catholic Leaders Sign Call for a Family Friendly Economy
“It is Time to Build a More Humane, Just Economy That Strengthens the Family”

As Pope Francis continues his visit to the United States, more than 60 prominent Catholic leaders have signed a call echoing his words and highlighting the serious economic threats faced by American families and the need to respond with policies that will strengthen the family.

Signers include two retired Bishops, both former Presidents of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presidents of the AFL-CIO and SEIU, key clergy, women religious and leaders of Catholic organizations across the country.

The letter says:

The essential role that families play is being threatened by the economic pressure and insecurity faced by countless families. Stagnant wages and diminished social mobility, combined with cuts to essential government programs, threaten the most vulnerable families. This economic exclusion too often is matched by social exclusion and a culture of indifference.

The signers call on Catholics to lead the way, working to ensure that children have access to genuine opportunity and all of their basic needs, from healthcare to a safe home to a good education.

John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life said “Pope Francis has made families the recurring theme of his visit to the US, highlighting them as a key foundation for establishing a society where communities flourish, everyone has a chance to fulfill his or her potential, and the common good reflects the dignity of all.”

The letter is being released ahead of the pope’s culminating visit to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, PA, this weekend.

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Full text of the letter:

Catholics for a Family Friendly Economy

The family is a key foundation for establishing a society where communities flourish, everyone has a chance to fulfill his or her potential, and the common good reflects the dignity of all. In the past few decades, families in the United States have been threatened by a variety of economic and cultural changes. We expect many of these will be discussed at the World Meeting of Families, perhaps even by Pope Francis himself. While there are many topics worthy of dialogue and reflection, we want to highlight one that we hope will receive a great deal of attention: the serious economic threats faced by American families and the need to respond with policies that will strengthen the family.

Pope Francis has repeatedly reminded us of the importance of helping families. He has gone so far as to say, “Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself.” It is in our families where we learn to embrace solidarity and reject the radical individualism and self-centeredness that create a throwaway culture.

But the essential role that families play is being threatened by the economic pressure and insecurity faced by countless families. Stagnant wages and diminished social mobility, combined with cuts to essential government programs, threaten the most vulnerable families. This economic exclusion too often is matched by social exclusion and a culture of indifference.

We can do better. And Catholics should be leading the way.

A culture that respects the family ensures that children have access to genuine opportunity and all of their basic needs, from healthcare to a safe home to a good education. One of the serious economic stresses families face is the skyrocketing cost of childcare. In dozens of states, the cost of childcare now exceeds the cost of attending a public university. Safe, reliable, affordable childcare is integral to achieving stronger families in the 21st century.

As a society, we must ensure that the policies in the workplace make families stronger rather than tearing them apart. Catholic social teaching has thus endorsed a living wage, so that workers can provide for their families. No one who works full-time should live in poverty. An increase in the minimum wage and other measures to guarantee adequate income will go a long way to alleviating the great pressure many families face. Paid family and medical leave is another essential step to strengthening the family. The United States is one of just two nations that do not have any paid maternity leave. This is not how a just society welcomes children into the world. Earned sick time is one more step towards workplaces that respect human dignity and the rights of the person.

A nation that values the dignity of working families must allow its workers to organize and collectively bargain for family-supporting wages and family-friendly work schedules. Protecting workers’ ability to form unions, as well as repealing “right to work” laws that strip crucial labor rights, are essential to a pro-family nation.

Strengthening families means looking out for pregnant women. Pregnant women should not face discrimination in the workplace or be denied the reasonable accommodations they need. No woman should ever have to choose between her job and her child.

Pope Francis has said, “This economy kills.” We might add, “This economy kills families.” It is time to build a more humane, just economy that strengthens the family, so that our families and our society can flourish together.

In Faith,

Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza
Former President
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Washington, DC

Bishop William Skylstad
Former President
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Washington, DC

Rev. Timothy Kesicki, SJ
President
Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States
Washington, DC

Sr. Mary Scullion
Executive Director
Project HOME
Philadelphia, PA

Sr. Simone Campbell
Executive Director
NETWORK
Washington, DC

Fr. John Baumann, SJ
Founder & Director of Special Projects
PICO National Network
President Richard Trumka
AFL-CIO
Washington, DC

President Mary Kay Henry
Service Employees International Union
Washington, DC

Sr. Patricia Chappell
Pax Christi USA
Washington, DC

Rev. Dr. Elliott Bush
St. Stephens
Columbus, OH

Rev. Thomas Dymowski
Chaplain
University of the Incarnate Word
San Antonio, TX

Rev. James Hug, S.J.
Adrain, MI

Rev. Bruce Teague
Sheffield, MA

Rev. Drew Christiansen
Distinguished Professor
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

Rev. T. Michael McNulty
Scholar in Residence
Marquette University
Milwaukee, WI
Sr. Maryann Mueller
Felician Sisters
Lodi, NJ

Sr. Marge Clark
Sisters of Charity, BVM
Washington, DC

Sr. Christine Pratt
Social Justice Coordinator
Ursulines of Brown County
St. Martin, OH

John Gehring
Catholic Program Director
Faith in Public Life
Washington, DC

Deacon Michael Bellinder
The Holy Name of Jesus
Redlands, CA

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network
Stratford, CT

Sr. Sister Carren Herring
Sisters of Mercy
Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Joseph Fahey
Chair
Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice
White Plains, NY

Sr. Doreen Charest
Woodbury, MN
Sr. Patricia Caraher
Sinsinawa Dominican
Sinsinawa, WI

Sr. Nancy Sylvester
President
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
Detroit, MI

Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski
Director
Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart
Dayton, OH

Sr. Anne Clifford
Msgr. James A. Supple Chair of Catholic Studies
Iowa State University
Ames, IA

Sr. Nancy Sylvester
President
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
Detroit, MI

Christopher Hale
Executive Director
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Washington, DC

Dr. Dennis Doyle
Professor of Religious Studies
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH

Dr. Terrence W Tilley
Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. Professor of Catholic Theology
Fordham University
Bronx, NY
Dr. Ronald Pagnucco
Associate Professor
College of St. Benedict
St. Joseph, MN

Dr. Eugene McCarraher
Associate Professor of Humanities
Villanova University
Ardmore, PA

Dr. John Sniegocki
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Xavier University
Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Joseph A. McCartin
Professor
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

Dr. MT Dávila
Professor
Andover Newton Theological School
Newton Center, MA

Dr. Dolores Christie
CTSA Executive Director (retired)
Carmel of the Holy Family
Shaker Heights, OH

Dr. Alex Mikulich
Jesuit Social Research Institute
New Orleans, LA

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

Dr. Gerald Beyer
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Villanova University
Villanova, PA
Dr. Susan Ross
Professor and Chair
Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, IL

Dr. Jana Bennett
Associate Professor
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH

Dr. Peter Gathje
Manna House
Memphis, TN

Dr. Christopher Pramuk
Associate Professor of Theology
Xavier University
Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Una Cadegan
Department of History
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH

Eli McCarthy
Director of Justice and Peace
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Silver Spring, MD

Mary Jeanne Lindinger
Pastoral Associate
St. Benedict Parish
Harvard, IL

James Salt
Board Director
Catholics United
Washington, DC

Dr. Kathryn Getek Soltis
Director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education
Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics
Villanova University
Havertown, PA

Judith Fean
Saint Mary’s College
Notre Dame, IN

David Gauthreaux
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans
Westwego, LA

Denise DeBelle
St. Gertrude Catholic Church
Chicago, IL

Dr. Susan Weishar
Jesuit Social Research Institute
New Orleans, LA
Michael Fuchs
St. Francis
Knightdale, NC

Dr. Marian Ronan
Research Professor of Catholic Studies
New York Theological Seminary
New York, NY

Dave O’Brien
Professor of Catholic Studies, Emeritus
Holy Cross
Worcester, MA

Tobias Winright
Maeder Endowed Chair of Health Care Ethics
Saint Louis University
St. Louis, MO

Dr. Mark Allman
Professor of Theology
Merrimack College
North Andover, MA

 

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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.

WHO
·   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

WHAT
Poll release and panel discussion.

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

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

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