• Dear Candidates for President, Senate, and Governors: Will You Advance a Moral Agenda?
    Our moral traditions have a firm foundation upon which to stand against the divide-and-conquer strategies of extremists. We believe in a moral agenda that stands against systemic racism, classism, poverty, xenophobia, and any attempt to promote hate towards any members of the human family. We claim a higher ground in partisan debate by returning public discourse to our deepest moral and constitutional values. Please add your name to call on our 2016 presidential candidates, senate candidates, and governors to advance a moral agenda.
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    Created by Repairers of the Breach PPC: NCMR
  • Declare Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.
    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955), priest, geologist, paleontologist, philosopher, theologian, and mystic, was both a distinguished scientist and one of the most influential and visionary thinkers that the Catholic Church produced in the twentieth century. Grounded in the theology of St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Ignatius Loyola and informed by the modern scientific discovery of cosmic and organic evolution, Teilhard created a pioneering synthesis of religious and scientific thought that many have found to be profoundly fruitful. His concept of the “noosphere” was startlingly prescient in its anticipation of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and other forms of electronic communication that have truly unified humanity as a single community of thought. He is recognized by many scientists and theologians as one of those whose ideas paved the way for the work of the Second Vatican Council, whose 50th anniversary has just been celebrated. Teilhard’s synthesis continues to stimulate theological thought, inside the Catholic Church and beyond, including notably the development in recent decades of vigorous scholarly and popular movements of evolutionary theology and creation spirituality. His hopeful eschatological vision continues to inspire people throughout the world. For these reasons, Teilhard is already, in all but name, justly acclaimed as a Teacher par excellence of the universal Christian Church. Doctors of the Church comprise about three dozen ecclesiastical writers, from early Christian to modern times, who have been honored posthumously by popes or general councils with that title due to the integrity of their faith, eminent learning, and personal holiness. Although those formally designated in the past as Doctors of the Church had previously been canonized, there is no requirement for this in Canon Law. Therefore, we respectfully and earnestly petition His Holiness Pope Francis to declare Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.
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    Created by Daryl Domning
  • Petition Against Legislation Preventing Straight Party Ticket Voting in Michigan
    If straight party ticket voting is prevented, it would seriously disenfranchise senior citizens, the physically disabled, and the poor by creating unnecessary obstacles to their participation in the electoral process. Michigan citizens should have the right to vote as they please and not have restrictions placed on them, to do so is a violation of their constitutional rights and a violation of their civil liberties.
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    Created by Jeffery Robinson
  • Walmart wages violate our core moral values
    As people of faith, we urge Alice Walton to heed the call of the prophet Isaiah, “Maintain justice and do what is right.” (Isaiah 56:1) We stand with workers like Jasmine Dixon from store number 3533 in Denver. Jasmine has two young sons, but struggles to feed them because she is only paid $11.95 per hour. Jasmine has to skip meals and relies on food stamps and food banks to feed her kids because she works at Walmart. We stand with workers like Mary Watkines, who organize because "It is hard for me to understand how a company can do this to people: my coworkers work hungry while stocking food all day. I have coworkers who have to sleep in their car in the parking lot because they can't afford an apartment. Others are parents who work all day only to go home to children who are hungry.” It is immoral that Walmart workers and their families go hungry every day. Alice Walton, we call on you to recognize your moral obligation to end the pain of hunger by ensuring that your workers can feed themselves and their children. We stand with Walmart workers launching a 15-day Fast for $15. Together with allies, workers are lifting up the call for $15 an hour and access to full time work at Walmart-- conditions that would allow workers to feed themselves and their family. It is a brave effort to turn what has often been a source of private shame for workers into a demonstration of public outrage. Will you stand with Walmart fasters by signing on to this letter to Walmart board member Alice Walton calling on Walmart to meet its moral obligation to our communities?
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    Created by Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis Picture
  • Pope Francis, urge the world's bishops to keep our parishes open
    Around the world, our bishops have increasingly responded to the priest shortage by closing, merging or clustering parishes. According to canon lawyer, Kate Kuenstler, PHJC, JCD, "The parish reconfiguration process used by dioceses . . . can also lead to a business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God's people but the church as an institution." In the United States • Parishes have been merged or closed in Philadelphia, PIttsburgh, Boston, Cleveland and many other urban and rural places. In New York City, the Archdiocese recently merged or closed more than 70 parishes, often in the face of staunch opposition by committed parishioners. When the Pope visits Our Lady Queen of Angels School, he will learn that the parish was tragically closed in 2007 amid protest. In the following years, two funerals, one for Carmen Gonzalez and the other for Carmen Villegas were held on the sidewalk when the bishop refused to open the doors of the parish. Today loyal parishioners still gather and hold prayer services trying to keep their faith community alive. All of these mergings and closings are a source of tremendous pain and suffering for those who have shared a common Eucharistic life for generations with significant numbers walking away from the Church and never returning. Further, services to the poor offered by these parishes have been, too often, interrupted or extinguished. The Leadership Team of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) is calling for a reset of the pastoral strategy that relies on parish closings and mergings. It sees the closing of any parish not requested by the members themselves as invariably wounding the Body of Christ. It leaves casualties among the people of God rather than healing. It withdraws the church from various ‘peripheries.’ Such steps betray Pope Francis’ call for the church to function as a field hospital for the marginalized. Other options must be identified and implemented, including the ordination of married viri probati. In Australia • Father Ian McGinnity, Chairman of the National Council of Priests points out, “In Australia, which is a vast land with the tyranny of distance, many rural communities do not have resident priests and only have access to the Eucharist on a monthly basis. In our populous urban areas, parishes have had to be amalgamated due to the shortage of priests, which has not only placed additional burdens on an already overworked pastor, but also has subsumed some churches' unique identity and community.” In Austria • Father Helmut Schüller, spokesman for the Pfarrer-Initiative Österreich, points out that the Catholic Church is at a crossroads and that those in leadership must provide the necessary priests or develop new forms of community leadership. He notes how Bishops' conferences are keeping to their defensive administrative strategy of merging independent parishes into vast, impersonal parish associations stating, "That is pretty much the most unimaginative thing one can do." In Germany • Father Wolfgang Gramer Rottenburg-Stuttgart representing the Deutsche Pfarrer-Initiative remarks, “In Germany I can see clearly that our priest numbers are declining every day. But I also recognise that there is a real chance that a Christian parish will discover the way of the Holy Spirit and see new forms of living the gospel – either with or without a priest. We still possess many members with special gifts, and we must find ways of allowing these gifts to flourish in the service of the community." In Ireland • Father Tony Flannery, founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, states that “the problem we have in Ireland is clustering of parishes, leading to added pressure on aging priests, and inevitable amalgamation, and formation of bigger, more impersonal, units" In Switzerland • Dr. Markus Heil, Deacon and Chairman of Pfarrei-Initiative Schweiz notes, “We have different models of clustering parishes. In the beginning these clusters looked reasonable, but the longer the process went on, the smaller parishes in the cluster felt increasingly neglected. At the same time they began to wonder if they were really part of a future strategy, or whether the real plan was to allow them to starve, merge and disappear. As they are not aware of any clear future plan it is difficult to organise and mobilise. In the end, they just disappear."
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  • Tell ICE: Stop Deportation of Jewish Homeschooling Family
    No mother should be forced to flee her homeland in order to homeschool her children because of anti-semitic bullying. Yet, Petra Albrecht was not free in Germany to homeschool her children because Germany’s outdated laws have banned homeschooling since World War I. German families who choose to homeschool their children face legal action, including prison, the loss of custody of their children and fines. Petra had chosen to homeschool her youngest child Jayson because he was experiencing anti-Semitic bullying in school, in a country where a least one-fourth of the population remains openly anti-Semitic even post World War II. She lost her parental rights and was forced to flee to the U.S. But here the family has come across more hardship. Petra and Nicole were picked up by Immigration Enforcement and have been in U.S. immigration detention for 11 months, in separate facilities. Jayson was sent back to Germany alone, and is being held in an orphanage in or near Berlin, though he had an open asylum case. The German government refuses to tell the family his exact whereabouts, and the U.S. government refuses to release Petra and Nicole. OUR VALUES To be Jewish is to be an immigrant. The Albrecht family continues a history of Jewish migration that reaches back to the Old Testament and our exodus from Egypt – stories we retell on holy days. That’s why one of Judaism’s central teachings is to “welcome the stranger” as you would a friend. We’re calling on all people of faith and moral courage to stand with Petra, a mother separated from her children, and demand immigration enforcement officials release and reunite her with Jayson and Nicole. In his last letter to his family before being extradited to Germany, Jayson wrote, "I promise you that we will be together again soon..."
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    Created by Christina Fialho of CIVIC Picture
  • Tell Pennsylvania's State Legislature: Our Kids Deserve Full, Fair Funding for Schools
    In the biblical story of Exodus, Pharaoh tells his field hands to stop giving straw to the enslaved Hebrews as they make the bricks to build his pyramids. “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks,” Pharaoh says. “Let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before.” (Exodus 5:7-8) The same thing is happening in Pennsylvania today – more and more is being demanded of our children across the state, but there are fewer and fewer resources to educate them. Our schools are underfunded and Pennsylvania has the largest funding gap between rich and poor districts in the whole nation. Meanwhile, families are asked to shoulder more and more of the burden for school funding. To get the to promise land of fairness and justice, we call on the PA State Legislature to pass a new funding formula this year (we’re the only state in the whole country without a fair and consistent way to decide how much funding our schools get!). We also call on them to have the moral courage to transform our tax system so we will have enough revenue to provide a 21st century education for all of our kids. As people of faith in Pennsylvania, we believe every child is made in the divine image and deserves our full investment. As people of faith in Pennsylvania, we say Never Again to our children dying during the school day without full-time nurses present. As people of faith in Pennsylvania, we demand arts, music, small class sizes, and all the resources that will allow our children to thrive, not just survive. We have enough resources to educate every child, so why are our public schools so underfunded? The answer is a deep moral crisis. Governor Wolf has proposed an increase in state education spending for next year… but it’s only 15% of what is needed to fully fund schools and it doesn’t undo shameful racial bias in how funds are distributed. And, at the same time that we are being told there’s only enough to fund a fraction of our children’s education, the Governor’s plan also proposes a decrease in taxes to corporations. That’s like telling the enslaved Hebrews there isn’t enough straw, while letting wealthy supporters hoard it. We need the Legislature to take the lead on full, fair funding that doesn't come disproportionately on the backs of our families. Since March 23rd, clergy, parents, and whole faith communities across the state have been fasting for a day or more to call attention to the urgent need for corporations to pay their fair share so we’ll have full and fair school funding. We’ll keep fasting until June 30th, the deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget. Show your solidarity with our fast by signing this petition and tell the Legislature to pass a moral budget. Our children deserve the resources to thrive – not to do more with less.
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    Created by Sheila Armstrong
  • Brooklyn College: Stop Defamation of Religion
    Pamela Geller is an infamous anti-Muslim zealot who instead of targeting extremists has made a career harassing mainstream Muslim Americans. Hatred against minority groups (Blacks, Gays, Jews and others) is increasingly unwelcome on campuses around the country. Unfortunately, Geller's organization, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), was designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) but that does not stop New York's MTA and other mass transit systems from accepting her defamatory ads on trains and buses and platforms. Despite mass transit's reluctance to post all the ads because of the trouble they could incite or provoke, courts have forced MTA and SEPTA (in Philadelphia) to post Geller's ads because of their readings of 1st Amendment protections. Sad to say, Geller and her lawyers have distorted the principles of free speech by ranging far beyond political critique to outright lies designed to equate Islam (a religion of 1.2 billion people) with Nazism and with Savagery. This campaign has a harshly negative effect on Muslims living in New York and in other locations featuring her messaging. nor is it conducive to encouraging Muslims to work in partnership to confront the challenge we all face. Such anti-Muslim prejudice is often cited as a reason for the worsening cycle of violence abroad, perpetrated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. For example, terrorist Anders Breivik referenced Geller's hate blog a dozen times in his manifesto before he killed more than 70 people in two attacks in Norway, seeking to justify his attacks. A clear link exists between anti-Muslim messaging and harassment. Students of Brooklyn college should be protected during this time and also hear a message of support from the President's Office. As an educational institution, Brooklyn College is a space for free debate but the school (its administration and the student community) should ensure a level of quality as well as accuracy of information. This can be accomplished through organizing debates on the claims and distortions made by Ms Geller and other Islamophobes; disseminating accurate information regarding diverse faith traditions, cultures and ethnic groups; and investigating any financial and social relationship between hate groups and the academic institution.
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  • Cancel Student Debt from Corinthian College Inc. Fraud
    Corinthian Colleges Inc. isn’t a school, it's a fraud factory that buried vulnerable students, low income people of colour, veterans, and single mothers in unbearable debt. So why did the Department of Education bail them out while sinking students? Currently there are 107 (and counting) former Corinthian students demanding a full debt discharge not only for themselves but for the half a million other students Corinthian defrauded. As people of faith, our tradition of jubilee reminds us never to accept an economy that isn’t working for the betterment of everyone within their society. The Biblical call to debt forgiveness is more than just an economic safeguard, it is a sacred teaching - a reminder of how human economies drift toward inequity and injustice, and must be routinely checked in the service of all God's children. The fraud perpetrated by Corinthian Colleges Inc. not only represents clear abuses perpetrated against these particular students (which the Department of Education has the clear authority to relieve), it illustrates a much broader problem facing all student borrowers. An entire generation is sinking under the unreasonable burden of predatory lending practices, and the time has come for a fair debt cancellation process for all students. Inspired by the student debt strikers? Donate to their Strike Fund to support future travel and organizing: https://debtcollective.org/studentstrike#donate
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    Created by Rev. Michael Ellick
  • Gov Cuomo: Fully and fairly fund New York schools
    Decreases in state education aid since the 2008 recession have been devastating for our state's schools, leading to cuts in essential programs and staff in districts all over the state. For poor districts, which were already severely underfunded, the last seven years have been catastrophic. Inequality in our schools is now at an all-time high: our poorest districts get by on $8,733 less per pupil than our wealthiest. This is wrong. At a time when New York State spends $7 billion per year in tax breaks for corporations, we can afford to invest in education. Not only does New York have the resources to adequately fund our schools, it has the constitutional and moral obligation to do so immediately. This money should have no strings attached; it is public money which our schools need and to which they are entitled. To tie needed funding to unproven "reforms" that scapegoat teachers, rather than addressing underlying inequality and poverty, is unconscionable. For the sake of the well-being of our children and our communities, we call on you to prioritize our public schools and give them the additional $2.2 billion they urgently need.
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    Created by Emily McNeill
  • Discrimination and fear don't belong in our schools - Sign Now!
    San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has proposed that teachers and staff at Bay Area high schools within the Archdiocese accept “morality clauses” that condemn homosexuality as contrary to “natural law,” contraception as “intrinsically evil,” ordination of female priests as impossible, and use of assisted reproductive technology as a “grave evil.” Every staff member is expected to “conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths.” The Archbishop is also attempting to reclassify all Catholic school employees, including teachers, administrative staff, custodial and food service staff, as “ministers,” a move that could eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections for those staff members. Students need a safe space free of judgment and fear. Not only is the move completely out of step with modern Catholic teachings and beliefs, but we could lose some of our best teachers and staff.
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    Created by Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action
  • RSVP: VOICE-Buffalo Public Meeting
    As people of faith we believe that we should be an undivided community. On August 28, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial, along with 250,000 religious and labor leaders calling for an end to racism, segregation and poverty, and to call for guaranteed civil and economic liberties for all. On November 6th join us at 7 PM Elim Christian Fellowship (70 Chalmers Ave., Buffalo 14214) as we bring our community together with our public officials for the 2014 VOICE Buffalo Public Meeting! You may have already heard, but if not, we have had some major breakthroughs recently and this year’s public meeting is one you can’t miss! The Sheriff’s office, Erie County Legislature and County Executive have committed to work together with VOICE-Buffalo and the community to reinstate the Local Conditional Release Program in early 2015. The Sheriff’s office, members of the Erie County Legislature and the County Executive will be joining us on November 6th to discuss the benefit of the Local Conditional Release Program and to share their commitment to its reinstatement. We are also in dialogue with the Sheriff’s office about creating a Restorative Justice program at the Alden Correctional Facility to bring trained community leaders to work with youth through restorative conferences and peace circles. We will also highlight the work and commitment of the congregations who are becoming ‘Peace Hubs’ by training facilitators in peace circles, restorative practices and community organizing. Please RSVP to join us on November 6th at 7pm, to build a bridge over the river of injustice.
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    Created by Shaketa Redden