America’s Next Top Faith Voice Nominees: Aaron Krager

June 30, 2011, 12:52 pm | Posted by

Faithful America is holding a competition to find America’s Next Top Faith Voice. We’ll be profiling our six finalists here on the blog. Candidates were asked to submit a video responding to this Karen Tumulty article on Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference last month. You can view all of the candidates and cast your vote here.

Aaron Krager, Chicago, IL

After finding his Christian faith in college, Aaron Krager decided to enroll at Chicago Theological Seminary. Outside the classroom, he writes about faith and politics for his own blog and as a freelancer.

Aaron is particularly concerned about income inequality, a problem he believes underlies other challenges around a broad set of issues like poverty, workers’ rights, corporate responsibility and more.

Vote for Aaron here!

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Faith Leaders Visit Akin’s Office: Not Satisfied with Congressman’s “Apology”

June 29, 2011, 1:54 pm | Posted by

In response to Rep. Todd Akin’s recent, insensitive comment that “at the heart of liberalism is a hatred for God,” a group of clergy from Akin’s district visited his office today. In light of his failed attempts to justify his statement yesterday, the group of faith leaders sought a real apology from their Congressman for the disrespect his remarks showed towards their religious commitments. Instead, the Congressman sent a staff person to meet the group, while refusing to address the substance of his offensive remarks.

Rev. Kevin Cameron, senior pastor of Parkway United Church of Christ in St. Louis, described his disappointment with his own Congressman’s remarks:

“Congressman Akin continues to insist that liberalism is anti-religion. As a pastor and a constituent of his, I find this deeply offensive. I hold my liberal political views because of my faith.”

While Akin’s remarks were in reference to a decision by NBC to remove “under god” from a video of people saying the pledge, Rev. Krista Taves, minister of the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville, noted that the substance of faith is more than just symbolic displays of belief:

“Congressman Akin needs to understand that there’s more to faith in the public square than mentioning ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance. Akin recently voted for a federal budget that would deprive the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable of healthcare while giving tax giveaways to millionaires. Mainstream people of faith reject these immoral priorities.”

Akin’s comments demonstrate a real lack of understanding of liberal people of faith, including many his constituents. Rev. Jeffrey Whitman, Conference Minister for the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ stated:

“Congressman Akin is dealing in political stereotypes that malign his liberal religious constituents. As a liberal and a person of faith, I’m quite certain that the Congressman is mistaken when he says liberalism is anti-religion.”

The delegation of faith leaders delivered the letter from local clergy expressing concerns about his comments, as well as 200 petition signatures from Missouri members of Faithful America, an online community of people of faith standing up for social justice and the common good.

UPDATE: Progress Missouri has video of the delivery and subsequent press conference here:

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Make Your Voice Heard!

June 28, 2011, 5:57 pm | Posted by

America's Next Top Faith Voice.jpgThe response to Faithful America’s Next Top Faith Voice competition has been incredible. We’ve been truly blown away by the bold, talented, inspirational people who’ve thrown their hats in the ring – and now it’s your turn to be heard.

Click here to cast your vote!

Remember, the winner gets a free trip to Washington, DC, and media training. They’ll also become another voice who can speak up for and represent our community in the media — so make sure to vote for your favorite and spread the word!

Now more than ever we need bold, dynamic faith voices to stand up the Tea Party spirit taking over Washington and the ever-stronger waves of prejudice and fear facing immigrants, Muslims and LGBT people … and we know you are up to the challenge to find those voices.

From a former Miss California to young leaders in Georgia we are proud of the diversity of experience and points of view our final pool, and we can’t wait to find out who you choose to be America’s Next Top Faith Voice! So get out there and vote!

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Malaysia’s Got Talent: Preacher Idol

June 21, 2011, 4:03 pm | Posted by

muslim woman.jpgIn the US, hundreds of thousands of people try out for shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, and numerous other talent search programs, hoping for fame and riches.

In Malaysia, a new reality show has taken aim at actually improving society. According to Ynetnews.com, rather than looking for the latest pop sensation, the show “Solehah” (which means “pious female”) hopes to “find the best women preachers and change conservative mindsets on the role of women in Muslim societies.” Contestants will be judged by clerics on religious knowledge and oratory skills:

Although Islam allows both men and women to preach the religion to society, the field remains dominated by males in most Muslim countries, something the show’s producers in this mainly Muslim but multi-religious Southeast Asian country hope to change. “If American Idol can help their contestants develop as singers, our show aims to help Muslim women develop as Islamic preachers.”

In a remarkable stroke of timing, Faithful America announced last week its own contest to find America’s Next Top Faith Voice. Instead of relying on a team of clerics or Simon Cowell as judges, though, we’re counting on you to give us your opinion–stay tuned to this blog to vote on finalists later this week!

(via Business Insider, Photo Credit: Terry Feuerborn / Flickr)

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Media Hit of the Week

June 10, 2011, 1:46 pm | Posted by

Faithful America’s confrontation with Paul Ryan last week at the Faith and Freedom conference attracted a lot of attention. Amy Sullivan’s piece at TIME’s Swampland blog was one of the most prominent:

I am fairly certain that when Paul Ryan first decided to publicly share his admiration of Ayn Rand, he could not have imagined it would lead to him speed-walking to his SUV to avoid a young Catholic trying to give him a Bible and telling him to pay more attention to the Gospel of Luke. But that’s what happened Friday morning in downtown Washington after Ryan spoke to the surprisingly smallish crowd gathered for Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Conference.

These days, when people question a politician’s “morality,” they usually mean his or her personal behavior and choices. But an interesting thing is happening right now around the GOP budget proposal. A broad coalition of religious voices is criticizing the morality of the choices reflected in budget cuts and tax policy. And they’ve specifically targeted Ryan and his praise for Rand, the philosopher who once said she “promote[d] the ethic of selfishness.

Stories like these have helped the YouTube video of the action generate over 47,000 views and thousands of online comments.

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