This Saturday, people of faith and activists all over the world are stepping up the pressure on the world’s leaders to come away from the Copenhagen climate talks with a real deal: one that is fair, ambitious and binding.
In Washington DC, Faithful America is teaming up with Avaaz.org’s Action Factory DC to show our leaders what “Plan B” looks like, in case Copenhagen fails: an ark. Yep, like Noah’s Ark. The ark is in the construction phase right now (if you’re in DC, you can stop by and see it — it’s on the National Mall around 13th St. NW). On Saturday, hundreds will gather for a vigil in front of the ark, joining their voices with tens of thousands all over the world to urge the world’s leaders to ensure a “real deal” on climate.
While of course we won’t be able to save the earth by marching two-by-two into a giant boat, the ark is a great symbol of the extent of the destruction we can expect if we don’t do anything to stop climate change.
Aside from the obvious religious significance of the ark, faith communities will be well-represented at Saturday’s candelight vigil. Rev. Derrick Harkins and Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light Director Joelle Novey are scheduled to speak alongside other activists and leaders.
Combined with the faith delegation in Copenhagen itself, and the world-wide coordinated churchbell ringing this Sunday, Saturday’s vigil is a real testimate to the leadership many people of faith have shown on this issue.
And with a problem as big as climate change, we’re going to need all the leadership we can get!
In the DC area and want to check out the Ark or maybe even help with construction? Check out more details here.
(image courtesy of Action Factory DC)
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Sign the Petition!
Update number two: Stephen Schneck has some interesting thoughts on what’s sparking these harsh new political tactics.
Update on yesterday’s post: To support the efforts of Faithful America and Catholics United, Faith in Public Life issued this press release:
Over 3,500 Americans of faith are calling on Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) to set the record straight about his position on a recent fundraising letter sent under his name, which called into question the sincerity of the faith of seven Catholic members of Congress. The group also insists that funds raised from this misuse of religion are returned or donated to charity.
The letter claimed to be a voice for “real Catholics” and questioned whether six Democratic Catholic senators and the Speaker of the House are genuine in their faith, calling several senators’ faith a “smokescreen.” The letter was a fundraising appeal for Catholic Advocate, an organization run by former Bush advisor Deal Hudson.
Sen. Brownback’s office has said they are not pleased with the letter and do not want his name used in future appeals, but they acknowledge that permission was granted by a former staffer to send it under Sen. Brownback’s name. This has resulted in conflicting news reports about Sen. Brownback’s position on the letter. Meanwhile, Catholics across America have already received the fundraising appeal under Sen. Brownback’s name, and Catholic Advocate is continuing to raise money off of it.
Signatories of the petition– members of Faithful America and Catholics United– are asking Sen. Brownback to set the record straight and ensure that Hudson’s Catholic Advocate won’t profit from this misuse of faith, by asking for the funds raised by the letter to be returned or donated to Catholic Charities. Faithful America also contacted Sen. Brownback’s office directly to explain the petition and offer assistance in distributing a clarifying statement.
Faithful America is an online community of thousands of people of faith upholding the common good. Faithful America is hosted by Faith in Public Life. Catholics United is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Teaching.
And the story is picking up some steam!
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Since yesterday, the blogosphere has been abuzz with the story (originally broken by the National Catholic Reporter) of a fundraising letter, on official-looking letterhead, purportedly from Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) questioning the sincerity of some prominent Congressional Catholics’ faith:
It is so important that we ask our “Catholic” politicians to vote in accord with our traditional moral values. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that Catholic Advocate has by back in this fight. Real Catholics need a new voice–not the likes of Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi who have campaigned as Catholics while voting to undermine the values we hold most dear.
Sen. Brownback’s office has since put some distance between the senator and the letter, stating that neither the Senator nor his chief of staff approved the letter, but Deal Hudson (whose organization, the Catholic Advocate, was the beneficiary of the appeal) is maintaining his actions were authorized.
Given the shocking nature of the letter (one elected official allegedly calling into question others’ religious faith) Faithful America and Catholics United teamed up to get some more clarity.
The organizations are currently petitioning Sen. Brownback to help undo the damage done by this letter by clarifying his position on the letter’s content to all those who received it and encouraging Deal Hudson to return or donate any funds raised by the offending campaign.
If you’d like to join this stand for a more civil discussion on faith and politics, you can add your name here.
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Cross-posted at Raising Kaine.
Faithful America, an online community of more than 80,000 people of faith administered by Faith In Public Life, yesterday became the subject of a political attack ad for speaking out against the abuses committed Abu Ghraib in 2004.
The misleading ad, which is running on southern Virginia television stations, refers to Faithful America as a “liberal group that ran ads on Arab TV apologizing for the actions of U.S. troops.â€ The attack does not mention that the Faithful America ads were a specific response to the abuses committed at Abu Ghraib, or that America’s political and military leaders similarly deplored and condemned the abuses of detainees at the Iraqi prison.
Faithful America mobilized around the tragic brutality at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 by raising money from its grassroots network to place an advertisement on Arabic-language satellite television expressing sorrow for the abuse. The ad said:
As Americans of faith, we express our deep sorrow at abuses committed in Iraqi prisons,â€ the ad stated. “We stand in solidarity with all those in Iraq and everywhere who demand justice and human dignity. We condemn the sinful and systemic abuses committed in our name, and pledge to work to right these wrongs.
We stand by Faithful America’s response to Abu Ghraib, and we’re circulating a petition calling for this distortive and offensive ad to be taken down. It doesn’t belong on the airwaves in the 5th District or anywhere else.
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Today FaithfulAmerica.org began flooding the Mississippi airwaves with radio ads demanding accountability and honesty from the candidates at Friday’s presidential debate because, as the ad states, “the Ninth Commandment wasn’t just a suggestion.â€
“In Mississippi, we teach our kids to let their ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and their ‘No’ be ‘No,’â€ it begins, echoing the Sermon on the Mount. “Unfortunately, politicians are often more interested in scoring political points and attacking each other than in telling us the whole truth about how they’re going to lead our nation.â€
Listen to the ad here.
It encourage voters to contact debate moderator Jim Lehrer to request that he “hold both candidates accountable when they bear false witness about themselves or their opponent.â€ Faithful America members nationwide are joining in this call to action as well. You can join the effort too at faithfulamerica.org.
The ads are running on Christian and Country radio stations throughout Northern Mississippi and Western Tennessee. Click here to give it a listen.
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