Prominent Christian evangelicals — including leaders of the Christian Coalition and National Association of Evangelicals — will host a press teleconference Thursday to announce The Great Warming Call to Action to convince people of faith that creation care and environmental stewardship must be a top policy priority.
The leaders on the call will announce extensive plans to promote a new Statement — signed by high-profile religious leaders from across the faith and ideological spectrum, key policy-makers, celebrities, environmental groups and many of the most respected scientists in the world — calling on our country to take immediate action to address climate change.
Plans to promote the Statement and Call to Action include airing ads on Christian radio stations across the country and widely distributing the statement to people of faith through churches and national and local religious organizations.
Speakers on the teleconference will address the importance of this issue to their communities and will take questions from reporters about the Statement, the Call to Action and the potential implications of both on the American religious and political landscape.
The Call to Action precedes the release of The Great Warming in Regal Cinemas on Nov. 3. The documentary will be initially shown in the top 50 markets in the country — a bigger initial release than that of Al Gore’s The Inconvenient Truth. Regal Cinemas, which does not generally release independent documentary films, committed to a national release of The Great Warming following months of calls from people who viewed the documentary in their communities and churches and became convinced that the movie must reach a broad audience in order to galvanize action on climate change.
Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter, president of the Christian Coalition and Pastor of the 12,000-member Northland Church in Longwood, Fla.
Rev. Dr. Paul De Vries, National Association of Evangelicals board member and president of New York Divinity School
Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta and civil rights leader
Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo, founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education and professor emeritus at Eastern University
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Call-in number: 1-800-658-0035, password: Great Warming, or visit http://www.thegreatwarming.com/
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RELIGIOUS GROUPS MOURN AS PRESIDENT CELEBRATES
People’s Signing Statement Rejects Military Commissions Act of 2006
What: As President Bush hosts a signing ceremony to celebrate the speedy enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, legislation that deeply shames America, the Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture will hold a vigil to mourn the attack this legislation wages on basic American and religious values. Religious leaders stand together against the legalization of torture and severe abuse, provision for unlimited detentions, denial of habeas corpus, creation of kangaroo courts, and retroactive pardons of individuals for gross violations of U.S. law.
Â· A coffin will call attention to the death of some of our most cherished values.
Â· A choir will sing hymns, and religious leaders of different faiths will speak.
Â· The People’s Signing Statement will be presented to the White House during which some participants are prepared to commit acts of civil disobedience in order to deliver the People’s Signing Statement to the President.
When: Tuesday, October 17th, 9:00 a.m.
Where: In front of the White House on the Lafayette Park side.
Who: The Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture (www.wrrcat.org), in coordination with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the Shalom Center, the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, PeaceAction Montgomery, Rabbis for Human Rights, and many others.
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Born Again: The Christian Right Globalized: An Insiderâ€™s Account of the Global Reach of the Christian Right
Rev. Jennifer S. Butler, former human rights advocate at the United Nations, launches her new book today, Born Again: The Christian Right Globalized. This compelling narrative reveals how todayâ€™s most powerful Christian Right organizations are building international, interfaith coalitions and shaping policy in every corner of the world. Rev. Butler provides the first insiderâ€™s account of the strategies and effectiveness of Christian Right lobbying the United Nations, and their efforts to build a global conservative family values movement.
In her book, Born Again, The Christian Rights Globalized, Rev. Butler provides a unique perspective on the Christian Rightâ€™s massive political power and what impact it may have on shaping future global policies. Drawing on interviews with Christian Right leaders, she reveals how todayâ€™s most powerful Christian Right organizations are poised to challenge progressive social policy on a worldwide scale.
â€œButler pulls aside the veils religiosity to show the mean-spirited and elitist ideologies, and yet she never stoops to caricature theology nor bash sincere religious belief.â€ says Chip Berlet, co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America.
During her nine years as a Presbyterian Church (USA) Representative at the United Nations, Rev. Butler witnessed Christian Right groups working with Catholic, Mormon and Muslim allies to advance a conservative agenda. The United States recently has joined this alliance, and President George W. Bush has given them significant voice in shaping U.S. positions on issues including womenâ€™s rights, reproductive health, human cloning, childrenâ€™s rights and AIDS.
â€œIt is a global movement,â€ says Butler. â€œItâ€™s a phenomenon that promises to challenge progressive activism on a worldwide scale.â€
Rev. Butlerâ€™s research for this book inspired her to become Executive Director of Faith in Public Life, where she urges moderates and progressives to avoid losing a pending global culture war by more effectively engaging religious communities.
â€œI joined Faith in Public Life to strengthen the effectiveness, collaboration, and reach of faith movements that share a call to pursue justice and the common good,â€ says Butler. â€œOur work is critical to ensuring that those using religion as a tool of division and exclusion do not dominate public discourse.â€
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The abuse and cover-up scandal of Rep. Foley has shown once again that leaders of the Religious Right are out of step with the values of mainstream Americans. While Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins rationalizes the cover-up of Rep. Foley’s predatory behavior by saying members of Congress and their staffs were simply “fearful of acting because they would be seen as homophobic or gay bashing,” faith leaders around the country are speaking the truth that Perkins’ partisan loyalties prevent him from saying. Protecting vulnerable children can never be subordinated to the quest for political power. A group of diverse faith leaders made this points strongly in a letter to House leaders. African American Ministers in Action and the African American Ministers Leadership Council issues a joint statement pointing out that the scandal reveals the hypocrisy of politicians and religious leaders who claim to have a monopoly on ‘values.’
Click here for audio responses from faith leaders available for comment. And please call Jessica Watson with Faith in Public Life at 202.544.7821 or 781-367-7746 to arrange interviews.
Rev. Jennifer Butler is the Executive Director of Faith in Public Life
“The failure of Congressional leadership to take swift action in response to Mark Foley’s behavior exemplifies placing personal power and greed above moral behavior.”
Rev. Joseph Darby is Senior Pastor at Morris Brown AME Church, Charleston, SC
“The Foley incident and the resultant fallout should be a cautionary tale for those who take a narrow view of faith and morality, with exclusionary moral absolutes which do not allow for what those of the Christian tradition call ‘grace.’ Those on the so-called “religious right” have been vocal, judgmental and mean spirited on issues of gender and have drawn a strict “us versus them” line in the sand.”
Rev. Debra Haffner is the Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, & Healing
“How ironic that Rep. Foley was chair of the Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and that the bill he championed in July concentrated on registering treated sex offenders rather than the prevention methods we know keep children safe from abuse.”
Sr. Simone Campbell is National Coordinator of NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby
“What the Foley cover-up brings to mind is that the use of power to protect self-interest is inevitably corrupting….Congress must face its sins to come to redemption as an institution. ”
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Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Leaders Agree: Direct Talks are Needed
*** Telephone News Conference Call Tuesday, September 26 at 10:00 a.m.***
Over one hundred religious leaders will call on Congress this week to assert its oversight function to prevent a preemptive attack on Iran. Religious leaders are encouraging Congress to pursue unconditional negotiations with Iran.
Evangelical Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, including Dr. Brian McLaren, Dr. Susannah Heschel, and Reverend Jim Wallis will hold a telephone news briefing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the call to action.
The leaders, alarmed at parallels between the White Houseâ€™s public relations campaign and trumped-up intelligence that led to war with Iraq and the administrationâ€™s current maneuvering on Iran, will urge Congress to assert its oversight function.
Specifically, the religious leaders cite four causes for concern:
1) As reported by the Los Angeles Times and NPR, the administration is repeating the same tactic to justify a military strike against Iran as it used against Iraq. The creation in March of the Iranian Directorate in the Defense Department is staffed with the same objective and the same stove-piping of intelligence as the Office of Special Plans. Douglas Feith ran the Office of Special Plans while Abraham Shulsky, a senior Iranian policy advisor to Vice President Cheney, directs the new Iranian Directorate.
2) The administration is using Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian terrorist organization on the State Departmentâ€™s List of terror groups, to destabilize the southern region of Iran. Some intelligence officials believe that the administration is outsourcing to the MEK in an effort to pave the way for United States military action.
3) Time magazine reported September 17th, the U.S. Navy has communicated â€œPrepare to Deployâ€ orders and are revising long-standing plans to blockade two Iranian oil ports on the Persian Gulf.
4) Currently, the EU states have given diplomacy a boost and are reaching an agreement with the Iranians on the details of a suspension that would enable full negotiations to take place. Secretary Rice even agreed to give the Europeans a bit more time to reach a deal. For the White House to go behind the back of the Security Council and its EU allies â€“ in the midst of the talks with Iran â€“ and take significant steps towards military action, makes the conduct of the Bush Administration on Iran even worse than it was on Iraq.
WHEN: Tuesday 10:00 a.m. EST
HOW: Dial 1 (800) 795.1259, Conference ID: â€œTalk to Iranâ€
WHO: Jim Wallis is the leading figure at the crossroads of religion and politics in America today. He is a public theologian, nationally renowned preacher, faith-based activist, author of seven books, including the best-selling Godâ€™s Politics, and the founder of Sojourners, a nationwide network of progressive Christians working for justice and peace.
Brian McLaren: Listed as one of Americaâ€™s 25 most influential evangelicals, Brian McLaren is the founder and pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative multi-denominational church in Spencerville, Maryland. He holds a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Carey Theological Seminary. McLaren is a frequent guest on television, radio, and news media programs, and has appeared on many broadcasts including Larry King Live, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and Nightline.
Dr. Susannah Heschel, daughter of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, holds the Eli Black Chair in Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. Dr. Heschel has written and lectured frequently on Jewish issues, served for several years as the co-chair of Tikkun, with Michael Lerner and Cornel West, and sits on the advisory board of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom.
To attend the telephone press conference please dial:
1(800) 795.1259, Conference ID â€œTalk to Iranâ€
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