National Religious Campaign Against Torture Announces Support for “Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007″

February 13, 2007, 2:35 pm | Posted by

Bill Would Restore Right of Habeas Corpus

(Washington, DC) – The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) today announced its support for legislation introduced by Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Russell Feingold (D-WI), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to rollback key provisions of the Military Commissions Act signed into law in October of last year by President Bush. The bill, “Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007 — A Bill to Provide for the Effective Prosecution of Terrorists and to Guarantee Due Process Rights”, would restore the right of habeas corpus, reinstate the United States’ commitment to the Geneva Conventions with respect to the treatment of detainees, and restore important elements of due process to hearing procedures for detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay.

“This legislation is urgently needed,” Jeanne Herrick-Stare, Chair of NRCAT Coordinating Committee, said, “to not only restore the core elements of due process to our treatment of detainees, but also to restore the United States’ role as a world leader in human rights. Enactment of the Military Commissions Act was a dark day in our nation’s history; the legislation introduced today — if enacted — will help restore a measure of dignity to an America we can again believe in.”

NRCAT empowers members of America’s faith community to join one another in religious witness to ensure torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment never plays a role in U.S. policy. Since its formation in January 2006, 100 religious organizations have joined NRCAT, including representatives of the Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Mainline Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities. NRCAT’s “Torture Is a Moral Issue” statement has been endorsed by prominent religions leaders and organizations such as Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Jimmy Carter and Eli Weisel.

Full membership and more information about NRCAT are available on the NRCAT website at www.nrcat.org.

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good. Faith in Public Life is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization.

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Religious, Enviro Coalition Aims to Screen Climate Change Film in 10,000 Churches Prior to ’08 Elections

February 7, 2007, 12:42 pm | Posted by

DVD Release of Movie Announced

Emblematic of the growing movement that pairs religious leaders with scientists, a national coalition of clergy, religious groups, policymakers, scientists and environmental groups today announced the DVD release of the critically-acclaimed climate change film The Great Warming and the goal of getting the movie screened in 10,000 churches prior to the 2008 election. Already seen in 500 churches by at least 30,000 people, The Great Warming presents climate change as a moral, ethical and spiritual issue.

The DVD release is part of a major initiative to engage Americans in proactive action and advocacy to make environmental stewardship and creation care a top policy priority. A special package is being offered to churches, which includes a copy of the DVD and a set of downloadable guides specifically designed for religious audiences, including a Sunday School discussion guide and a 60-page Creation Care sermon guide with source material from the Old and New Testaments.

Rev. Dr. Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals, a signer of the recent statement by evangelicals and scientists demanding policy and lifestyle changes to combat global warming is one of the faith leaders in the film. In an NAE letter recommending the film, Cizik wrote, “The Great Warming presents an objective, balanced, overview of climate change – the science, the consequences, and, most importantly, the solutions. It also features a major sequence about the evangelical response to climate change, emphasizing Christian action… May this film challenge, inspire, and ultimately change you, as it has me!”

Following months of calls from people who viewed the documentary in their communities and churches, Regal Cinemas released the film on the big screen last November. Now, convinced that the movie must reach a broad audience in order to galvanize action on climate change, clergy and religious organizations from across the country are all working to promote the film’s DVD release to their congregations and constituencies.

Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter, pastor of the 12,000-member Northland Church in Longwood, Florida who recently stepped down from becoming the president of the Christian Coalition because of the organization’s refusal to broaden its focus, is among the many pastors who have hosted church viewings of The Great Warming. Dr. Hunter is also a member of the Evangelical Climate Initiative and a signer of the recent climate change statement by evangelicals and scientists. “I’m part of the religious right, and am one of those leaders who wants to expand the agenda… to the compassion issues that really care for people and really care about God’s creation,” Dr. Hunter said on a teleconference promoting The Great Warming Call to Action.

Also featured in The Great Warming is Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, Pastor of Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta: “It became crystal clear to me as I watched The Great Warming that environmental concerns must become an integrated, active part of the life-sustaining messages in the African-American community. These essential messages must be mandatory teachings throughout all faith traditions, if we are to survive.”

Click here for audio from the teleconference with evangelical leaders — Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter, Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, Rev. Dr. Paul de Vries, and Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo — announcing The Great Warming Call to Action in October 2006, which has included airing ads on Christian radio stations and widely distributing a unified statement through churches and religious organizations.

DVDs of The Great Warming and the special church exhibition kit can be ordered online by visiting www.thegreatwarming.com or by calling 800-493-9369.

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good. Faith in Public Life is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization.

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Christian Peace Witness Denounces Senate’s Inaction on Iraq Resolution

February 6, 2007, 5:15 pm | Posted by

Plans are under way for unprecedented Christian Peace Witness on March 16, with thousands of people and more than 20 organizations participating

In a show of bickering and partisan maneuvering, the Senate failed to confirm the will of the American people with a resolution condemning President Bush’s escalation of the war in Iraq. Rick Chase, leader of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and an organizer of Christian Peace Witness is disappointed by the lack of action in Congress.

“Jesus taught us that nothing could be more impractical, or more foolish, than responding to violence with more violence,” said Chase. “Congress needs to act swiftly and boldly to challenge the escalation of the War in Iraq. Each day brings news of bloodshed of civilians and soldiers alike. As Christians, we can no longer allow our leaders fail to challenge the actions of a President who disregards the will of the American people and the teachings of Jesus. We will pray, worship and protest on March 16th and send a message to our leaders and the world that peace and reconciliation stand at the very heart of the Christian message and our respective traditions.”

Thousands will come to Washington on March 16th for The Christian Peace Witness,, which will call for an end to the U.S. occupation, real support for our troops, a total rejection of torture and an international commitment to the physical and human reconstruction that is so desperately needed in Iraq.

To arrange interviews with Rick Ufford-Chase, please contact Katie Barge with Faith in Public Life at 202-481-8147 or 202-243-8289 or kbarge@faithinpubliclife.org.

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good.

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African-American Ministers Put Gulf Coast in Focus at New Orleans Conference

January 24, 2007, 6:36 pm | Posted by

While President Bush failed to mention Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in last night’s State of the Union speech, African-American ministers and lay leaders will put the devastated region in focus at their annual meeting, to take place in New Orleans February 5-8. The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc., the nation’s fastest growing ecumenical, social justice organization, will convene its 4th annual meeting, “In the Wake of Katrina: Lest We Forget…Call To Renewal” to address concerns surrounding Hurricane Katrina restoration and to examine public policies affecting the African-American church and community.

Participants will take “Sacred Pilgrimages” to hurricane-ravaged areas to engage in hands-on-ministry and help restore homes, churches and communities. Open forums, powerful evening worship and commemorative sunrise services are planned for the 1,000 nationally-recognized civil rights leaders, ministers and community advocates scheduled to attend.

The Conference has released “the breach: Bearing Witness,” a comprehensive report by the National Katrina Justice Commission (sponsored by SDPC), with introductory remarks by Sen. Barack Obama, (D-IL), which includes 23 recommendations on Gulf Coast restoration and highlights stories of those who were displaced. The report includes testimony from first responders, evacuees, political officials, Red Cross and FEMA and sheds light on the public policy implications the hurricane has had on Homeland Security, poverty, race and class-based disparities.

WHO:

• The Honorable James E. Clyburn (D-SC), House Majority Whip, U. S. Congress

• Atty. Marian Wright Edelman, Founder/President of Children’s Defense Fund. Washington, DC

• The Honorable Cynthia Willard-Lewis of New Orleans City Council

• Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network, New York, NY

• Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Senior Pastor, The Riverside Church, New York, New York

• Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL

• Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., professor and author of The Politics of Jesus, Montclair, NJ

• Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, Washington, DC

• Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio

• Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, North American President World Council of Churches, New Orleans, LA

WHEN: February 5th – 8th, 2007, see Proctor program for details www.sdpconference.info

WHERE: Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans, LA

500 Canal Street (504) 525-2500

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders and groups sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good.

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National Religious Campaign Against Torture Speaks Out About President Bush’s Failure to Adress Torture in State of the Union

January 24, 2007, 6:33 pm | Posted by

“The soul of our nation is at stake. ”

In reaction to President Bush’s failure to mention the controversy surrounding the treatment of military detainees in last night’s State of the Union speech, Dr. George Hunsinger, founder of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary said, “How can the president dare to address the state of the union while saying absolutely nothing about U.S.-sponsored torture, abuse, indefinite detention, and secret prisons? The soul of our nation is at stake. The time has come for all religious people and all people of conscience to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’ Let us renew our efforts to reverse the shame, and restore a measure of dignity to an America we can again believe in.”

With more than 90 religious member organizations, NRCAT’s “Torture Is a Moral Issue” statement has been endorsed by leaders and groups as Rick Warren, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Jimmy Carter and Eli Weisel.

Jeanne E. Herrick Stare, the chair of the Coordinating Committee of NRCAT and a member of the staff of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, explained the controversy surrounding military regulations governing the treatment of detainees: “Despite requests from congressional leaders, human rights advocates, and military and civilian defense attorneys, the Pentagon refused to allow any public comment on the military regulations drawn up to govern the military commissions anticipated by the Military Commissions Act. They were adopted this week after having been analyzed only by Alberto Gonzales’ Department of Justice.”

Herrick-Stare went on to note the danger of the existing regulations, saying, “The resulting regulations include dramatic procedural flaws that no civilized nation in the world would consider sound if applied to its own citizens – including admission of evidence that could have been compelled through coercion or torture.”

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) empowers members of America’s faith community to join one another in religious witness to ensure torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment never play a role in U.S. policy. Full membership and more information about NRCAT is available on the NRCAT website at www.nrcat.org.

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Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders and groups sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good.

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