National Catholic Reporter Press Items
Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners' director of mobilizing, underscored how our churches have a "separation problem" both in terms of geographical segregation and from the Gospel. The problem of separation creates "fertile ground for White Citizens' Councils" and movements that deny the rights of new immigrants.
“It is up to all of us -- especially pastors and parents -- to remind our elected leaders that action is urgently needed,” Lisa Sharon Harper, the director of mobilizing for Sojourners, told NCR. “While crafting sound public policy does take time, the process itself should not be used to prevent progress on measures that would literally save lives.”
Sojourners, a national Christian social justice group, described both plans as reflecting the principle that "our immigration system must treat people fairly and provide the opportunity for people to flourish as God intends."
At the Jan. 15 news conference, the Rev. Jim Wallis, a prominent evangelical leader and president and CEO of the national Christian magazine Sojourners, challenged the declaration by National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre, following the Dec. 14 mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
The 14 Catholic signers are among more than 40 leaders of a range of faith groups organized under the aegis "Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence."
This form of the new monasticism is by far the most visible, thanks in part to the support and promotion they receive from rock star progressive evangelicals like Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo. But true to its evangelical roots, this new monasticism is also rigorously Christian, less oriented toward the mystical qualities of traditional monasticism and, it appears, not inclined to engage with the spirituality of non-Christian contemplatives.
Joan Novak and Rosemary W. Simich, members of Holy Infant Catholic Church in Durham, N.C., said they decided "The Spiritual Woodstock" was a good way to describe Wild Goose, adding that the festival was a good complement to their Catholicism. They said they were excited to hear peace and social justice messages from speakers such as Jesuit Fr. John Dear (who writes a weekly column for NCR), Jim Wallis of Sojourners and civil rights leader Vincent Harding.
At one August protest that included a number of religious leaders, Rose Marie Berger, a Catholic organizing for Sojourners, said simply, "Climate change hurts the poor first." She was joined by members of religious orders and clergy of many faiths.
Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners, has led a campaign the past six years or so to call our elected senators and representatives to be mindful of their moral responsibility to the poor.
As congress and the president take talks about the budget and deficit reduction to the final hour, there's one topic that is swept under the rug, religious leaders say: How will cuts in the budget affect the poor and vulnerable in the U.S.?