The Huffington Post Press Items
This week, World Relief, as a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table, launched the "I Was A Stranger" Challenge, the largest grassroots effort to mobilize thousands of evangelicals on the issue of immigration. The Challenge encourages individuals, students, pastors and legislators to go back to the root of their faith and have Scripture inform their attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy. A short video with some of the most prominent evangelical leaders in the country reading from Matthew 25 which says "I was a stranger, and you invited me in" was launched this week to help mobilize Challenge participants in churches, campuses and across the country. Armed with a simple bookmark listing 40 verses of Scripture related to immigrants, participants are invited to read one passage a day to inspire discipleship.
The group, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, is holding a press conference Tuesday at the United Methodist Building, which is just around the corner from the White House, and delivering a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress signed by 40 national religious leaders urging action on guns.
A coalition called Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, which came together after the shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) two years ago, has drafted a public letter to President Barack Obama and Congress with the following three legislative demands: require a criminal background check for every gun sold in this country, ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime. Coalition members are holding a press conference on Jan. 15 to release the letter and to urge action.
We must be very careful about bringing theological judgments to political ones. Most policy decisions are prudential judgments -- compromises between two political parties, neither of which represents the kingdom of God. But sometimes, political ideologies come to a place where they so clearly threaten the well-being of so many and the very foundations of the common good that they must be challenged by theology. This is a moment like that.
The discussion we are having about "the fiscal cliff" is really a debate about our fiscal soul. What kind of nation do we want to be? We do need a path to fiscal sustainability, but will it include all of us -- especially the most vulnerable? It's a foundational moral choice for the country, and one with dramatic domestic and deadly global implications. It is the most important principle for the faith community in this debate.
Religion is far too judgmental. Surveys show that many people think that, especially a new generation of young people who -- more than ever before -- are checking the "none of the above" religious affiliation box.
I get it. But religious leaders tend to be judgmental about many of the wrong things; they are not making moral judgments on the important questions. So I am going to be judgmental, as a religious leader, about something I just read.
A lot of ink, pixels, and air have been used on the potential effects of the so-called "fiscal cliff." While many experts say that "cliff" is a misnomer (it's more of long slope in the wrong direction), there is at least broad agreement that it's not the right direction for the country's long-term health.
The day after the election, Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler said, "I think this was an evangelical disaster."
Not really. But it was a disaster for the religious right, which had again tied its faith to the partisan political agenda of the Republican Party -- which did lose the election. But Nov. 6 was an even deeper disaster for the religious right's leaders, because they will no longer be able to control or easily co-opt the meaning of the term "evangelical."
There are good primers here on how we can personally find common ground. One of the president's dearest friends, Jim Wallis of Sojourners gives multiple examples in his recent release. So too, our personal initiative can be inspired by recollection of the work of the late Catholic Monsignor John Sheridan who built his theology not around snap judgment, but an inclusive, "theology of kindness," as he called it, that "loves recklessly" in the sense of always being open to the differing understandings of others. If nothing else, these approaches avoid rushing one moral point of view into law to be used as weapon against another. Majority approval of some uses of marijuana and same sex marriage, for example, illustrate how even the most dogmatic or categorical position can be rethought based upon an empathetic grasp of the needs of others.
The day after the 2012 election brought a great feeling of relief. Most of us, whether our candidates won or lost, were so weary of what elections have become that we were just glad the process was over. Many were disappointed that dysfunctional and bitterly partisan politics in Washington, D.C., had undermined their deep desires for "hope" and "change." Politics has severely constrained those possibilities by focusing on blame instead of solutions, and winning instead of governing. And, as the most expensive election in American history just showed, the checks have replaced all the balances.