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- School Work. Seminarians teamed up with security guards in five U.S. cities over the summer to work on issues of low wages and lack of benefits in security work. The 10-week program was sponsored by Interfaith Worker Justice and the AFL-CIO.
- Seeing Black. In May, a broad coalition of African-American leaders launched the Millions More Movement and announced a three-day mobilization to be held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 14 to 16. The event will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Million Man March.
- 70 x 7.
In May, residents of Adele, Somalia, received fishing boats with the help of SAACID, the first Somali womens NGO, in response to the December 2004 tsunami. The project, which provided boats and fishing supplies to 46 households and a months supply of food to 100 households, was sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee in the United States.
Sundays for Darfur
Hundreds gathered at sites around Washington, D.C., in June and July to pray for and demand justice in Darfur, Sudan. The series of public worship services on five consecutive Sundays was organized by Brian McLaren of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Maryland, in conjunction with Sojourners, Africa Action, the Genocide Intervention Fund, and the Religious Action Center of
In June, six Iraqi labor union leader - representatives of three major Iraqi labor organizations - visited the United States to discuss their struggle for equitable labor practices under U.S. occupation. Saddam Hussein issued Law 150 in 1987 to prohibit workers in state-owned enterprises from joining unions. Under Iraqs newly elected government and the U.S. ruling authority, those laws still exist - and are defended as a symbol
The Gregg Gift Company started selling Bible covers in 1971 out of a garage in Southern California. While most of the companys stock tends toward inspirational products, with designs from artists such as Thomas Kinkade and Mary Engelbreit, they also have a hard-core Christian product line aimed at teens.
A Classified View
In May, the Pentagon accidentally released classified sections of a U.S. report on the killing of Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari by U.S. forces at a checkpoint along "Route Irish," the highway between the Baghdad airport and the Green Zone. The report, which revealed information about daily life on the front lines, also noted that "the U.S. considers all of Iraq a combat zone." Below are more stats from the report.
Hope in Fallujah
An Iraqi boy helps with a cleanup project organized in Fallujah, Iraq, by the Muslim Peacemaker Teams. Street cleaning and praying with Sunni Muslims were the teams first public actions. The Muslim Peacemaker Teams, founded in February, grew out of Iraqi Human Rights Watch and works closely with members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who have been in Iraq since 2002.
Hot! Hot! Hot!
Imagine the scene. The Sunday school class crowds around in a circle, waiting for the morning Bible story. The teacher sits down, opens the Holy Book, and with a whoosh the word of God ignites before the astonished faces of impressionable youth.
On Capitol Hill in May, faith-based organizations announced the "I Will Not Kill" campaign to educate youth targeted by military recruiters. The campaigns goal is to make youth more aware of their rights regarding military service, educate them about the impact of war, promote a culture of life in targeted communities, and promote conscientious objection to military service as a positive alternative to violence.
In May, Taiwans legislative branch was pressured to revise its Genetic Health Law to require a six-day waiting period, rather than three days, before an abortion. A bipartisan group of women legislators, church groups, and civil society organizations launched the Grand Alliance for Respect of Life and All People at a press conference after addressing the legislature. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Tai-hua
- Music Man. Elmer Maas, 69, a musician, philosopher, civil rights worker, and one of the founders of the Plowshares anti-nuclear movement, died May 7 in Connecticut.
Fair Trade Towns
Manchester and Salford, England, jointly became the 100th Fairtrade Towns in March, ushering fairly traded coffees, teas, and chocolates into local cafés and achieving a landmark victory for the growing trade justice movement in Great Britain. "The towns raise awareness and sales of fair trade, which both contribute to tackling poverty and improving the lot of marginalized and disadvantaged farmers," said Bruce
Check Your Gun at the (Church) Door
Brazilian churches have taken on that countrys handgun epidemic by organizing their parishes and community centers to host drop-off sites for weapons - no questions asked. "Christian churches have adopted an active and committed position with civil society in the struggle against the weapons industry," says Adriel de Souza Maia, president of Brazils National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC) -
- Always Low. The Wal-Mart clan-America's wealthiest family with $84 billion-joined forces with 65 other "high-wealth families" organized by the Policy and Taxation Group in Santa Ana, California, to seek a permanent repeal of the estate tax.
- Abolish Me. The New York State Assembly's Codes Committee defeated a bill to reinstate New York's death penalty. Out of 170 witnesses who testified at five public hearings, 148 opposed the death penalty, nine argued for it, and five supported it with changes.
- About Time.
Armed with Pens
War veterans, families with relatives in the military, peace activists, and others met in Washington, D.C., in March to publicly sign a statement of support for U.S. soldiers in Iraq who are refusing orders to fight for reasons of conscience. Signers could be charged with violating U.S. Code 18-2387, which prohibits anyone from encouraging "refusal of duty by any member of the military."
What Would Jesus Say
Talking Bible Dolls has released its newest product - a huggable, washable, and talking Jesus plush doll. With his fuzzy dreadlocks and satiny beard, Talking Jesus recites seven "actual scripture verses to introduce children of all ages to the wisdom of the Bible." When you squeeze his red heart, his sayings include, "I love you, and I have an exciting plan for your life" and "Your life
Three hundred Israeli high-school students signed a letter refusing to participate in the occupation of the Palestinian territories, according to a letter they sent to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in March. The students believe that the occupation leads to inhumanity, infringes on the right to life, and contributes nothing to the security of the Israeli state and its citizens.
Binding the Strong Man
All Lawyered Up
More than 70 Christian bankruptcy attorneys issued an open letter to religious leaders, urging them to take action against Senate Bill 256. The bill would overhaul U.S. bankruptcy law - ostensibly to address fraud and corruption but in reality making it difficult for poor and middle-class people to get out of debt.
Painting the Kingdom Green
The Church of England is painting the kingdom green. The general synod, the largest gathering of the church in the U.K., met in Februaryone day after the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change went into force - to unveil a new report on ecological justice titled "Sharing Gods Planet: A Christian Vision for a Sustainable Future."