Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami joined the calls of fellow U.S. Catholic Bishops last week with this op-ed urging lawmakers to pass legislation that will create a road map to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans:
“An earned path to citizenship for the undocumented, supported by the U.S. Catholic bishops and a strong majority of the American people, does not have to mean an “amnesty”. Reasonable requirements for permanent legal status and a chance at citizenship — such as paying a fine and any back taxes still owed or learning English — would in fact be gladly embraced by these immigrants who remain in illegal status not because they want to but because legal remedies are not available to them…
A path to citizenship for the undocumented should be the centerpiece of any immigration reform effort this year. A path to citizenship offers immigrants the opportunities and freedom that are the essential components of the American dream.”
Archbishop Wenski is not the only religious leader urging lawmakers to create a roadmap to citizenship. At PICO National Network’s “Separated Families Supper Table,” event, Rev. Richard Smith of San Francisco hosted a symbolic supper for families that have been torn apart by America’s broken immigration system, and prayed for passage of a common-sense immigration process that would reunite families:
“As people of faith the only solution to our harmful immigration policy that recognizes the inherent dignity and rights of all human persons is full citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans who work in our communities, raise their children alongside ours and worship with us,” he noted.
The “Separated Families Supper Table” event, which lifted up the stories of families torn apart by our immigration system, launched the PICO National Network’s Campaign for Citizenship, which “represents Americans of faith who believe that full citizenship rights for 11 million aspiring Americans is the only moral response to our broken patchwork of immigration laws that is consistent with the American values of freedom, fairness and family.”
And just this week, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition sponsored a National Faith Call-In Day with over 1,000 faith leaders from diverse backgrounds calling on their Senators “…to pass immigration reform in 2013 that prioritizes family unity and provides a pathway to full citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.”
In the wake of a national tragedy, religious leaders want for more gun regulation.
As the Obama administration prepares for a showdown with the NRA and the gun lobby, a broad range of faith leaders are voicing their support for stricter gun control laws. A recent survey published by the National Association of Evangelicals showed that 73 percent of evangelical leaders support an increase in gun regulation.
Core teachings in Scripture as well as the recent tragedies in Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT, have united Christian leaders like never before in supporting common-sense gun control laws.
Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals, the organization that conducted the survey said in a statement:
“Evangelicals are pro-life and deeply grieve when any weapons are used to take innocent lives… [We] want our laws to prevent the slaughter of children.”
The results of the survey come right after the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement calling for action in response to Sandy Hook tragedy. Several Bishops along with President of the USCCB, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, have expressed their solidarity in calling on lawmakers to adequately address gun regulations.
A brief excerpt from their official statement is as follows:
“We offer particular words regarding the issue of the regulation of fire arms, the standards for the entertainment industry, and our service to those with mental health needs. As religious leaders, we are compelled to call on all Americans, especially elected leaders, to address these issues.
With regard to the regulation of fire arms, first, the intent to protect one’s loved ones is an honorable one, but simply put, guns are too easily accessible. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in their document, ‘The International Arms Trade (2006),’ emphasized the importance of enacting concrete controls on handguns, for example, noting that “limiting the purchase of such arms would certainly not infringe on the rights of anyone.”
Bill Lenz, Senior Pastor of Christ the Rock Community Church, a participant in the NAE survey states:
“Most of my experience with guns has been as a hunter in the great Wisconsin outdoors. I do not believe that guns are the heart of the problem, but there should be strong regulations on who can bear arms,” he said. “The easy access to guns has undoubtedly contributed to horrible tragedies. There are multiple ways to address our current problem, and greater gun regulations are one of them.”
The growing consensus among Christians that stricter gun laws are needed to make our communities safer indicates a shift in the way that they view the issue of gun control. In fact, according to a recent USA Today/Gallup Poll, general support for gun control has increased from 43% in October 2011 to 58% in December 2012.
In an amazingly honest op-ed last week, evangelical WORLD Magazine editor Marvin Olasky addressed the publication’s handling of the controversy surrounding David Barton’s discredited writings. Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies was recently pulled from the shelves by publisher Thomas Nelson after its rampant historical inaccuracies received widespread attention.
Historians have been calling attention to Barton’s shoddy, misleading work for years but have largely been ignored or dismissed as biased by conservative media. Outlets such as WORLD have only acknowledged these critiques because conservative Christian scholars have finally started echoing Barton’s longtime critics in the scholarly community.
Olasky’s op-ed addresses this inconsistency but does not apologize for it!
Left-wing historians for years have criticized Barton. We haven’t spotlighted those criticisms because we know the biases behind them. It’s different when Christian conservatives point out inaccuracies. The Bible tells us that “iron sharpens iron,” and that’s our goal in reporting this controversy.
To be clear, Olasky is admitting that he summarily dismissed legitimate criticisms of Barton’s work for ideological reasons, yet he defends that decision by maintaining the attack on these scholars as the “biased” ones.
Olasky’s preference for judging scholarly qualifications by ideology instead of accuracy is also evident in his continuing faith in Barton’s credibility.
David Barton should not be, nor does he want to be, defended as if he were inerrant: If his history writing does include some inaccuracies, I trust he’ll make corrections.
What Olasky fails to acknowledge here is that we’re not just dealing with minor blemishes; almost the entirety of Barton’s body of work is based on a sloppy, willfull distortion of history to suit his partisan political ends.
It’s certainly possible for a religious magazine with an ideological point of view to meet standards of journalistic integrity. But Olasky’s oblivious editorial misses the mark.
Last week, faith leaders delivered petitions signed by 114,000 people to Alabama Pubic Television headquarters in Birmingham objecting to the station’s plan to air right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton’s propagandic documentary series about America’s founding.
The petitions were coordinated by Faithful America and Credo Action and delivered by local pastors Revs. Darryl Kiehl and Shannon Webster as well as Southern Poverty Law Center Senior Fellow Mark Potok.
Watch the delivery:
Barton is founder and president of WallBuilders, which describes itself as “an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes.” But, as Potok described, Barton is not a historian; he’s “an extremist of the radical right,” who “says that gay people should be sent to prison [and] claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated American government at all levels.”
The Alabama Educational Television Commission’s campaign to get Barton’s highly inaccurate documentary on the air has begun to resemble an ideological purge — APT fired two executives after they refused to broadcast the series. The majority of the APT’s private-sector funding board resigned in protest.
“As a Christian and a pastor,” Rev. Kiehl said at delivery, “I have always trusted public television as a source of reliable information about history and culture. I’m disappointed that APT is even considering broadcasting David Barton’s slanted, misinformed history of America. Since our nation’s founding, Christians have fought for justice, equality and the common good, and Barton’s work appears to ignore that. His revisionist history is unworthy of public television.”
A group of 46 American Christian leaders have released an open letter expressing their opposition to “increased bigotry and hatred” against LGBT Ugandans under their country’s harsh anti-gay laws. “Such treatment,” the letter reads, “degrades the human family, threatens the common good, and defies the teachings of our Lord – wherever it occurs.”
The open letter comes on the heels of a newPolitical Research Associates report that some American Christians, including evangelical leader Pat Robertson, have propped up Ugandan campaigns that push for more restrictive anti-gay laws.
It is signed by influential religious leaders such as former U.S. Ambassador to Uganda and the Vatican Thomas P. Melady, President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good Rich Cizik, and Soujourners President Jim Wallis.
Consensual same-sex sexual activity is criminalized in 76 countries. In Uganda, a proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill threatens transgressors with the death penalty and criminalizes speech or actions the government considers too LGBT-friendly. After previously being tabled due to international pressure, the legislation was re-introducedearlier this year.