Lutherans Sponsor Conference to Ponder Justice and Faith

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When the line to check in at a church-sponsored conference on a beautiful Saturday morning in April stretches out the door, it’s a sign that the event has generated an impressive level of buzz. For the North Carolina Lutherans, their faith partners and other friends who turned out in strength on April 12, those more predictable Saturday pursuits of grass-mowing, grocery shopping and golf would just have to wait. The event at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Raleigh had an ambitious theme: “Navigating Public Policy Issues Guided by a Moral…

Please Call Senator Burr

A vote is imminent on releasing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on torture, and we need you to contact Sen. Richard Burr and urge him to support the release. North Carolina people of faith signed a letter last summer urging the Senator to do just that. Progress has been slow, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Committee, has announced that she plans to hold a vote this week (March 24-29). And so there is urgency in reaching out to Sen. Burr, who is one of 15…

Faithful Activism — Part 2

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In an earlier blog, I noted a congregation’s questions about becoming a partner with HKonJ. If you haven’t seen that blog, please click here. It contains information that will be relevant to what follows and addresses the question of whether such participation would threaten a non-profit’s tax status. In addition to the question about tax-exempt status raised within the congregation, a second question was about the separation of church and state. This broader church-state question may be harder to explain than the tax-exempt question, but it is equally clear. The…

Disturbing the Peace

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Rev. Cody Sanders, Ph.D. candidate in Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling at Brite Divinity School

There is something in these furious, feverish words that beckons beyond a simple description of what life will be like if you choose to follow a peculiar call from Jesus and your closest friends and family don’t. Beyond description, there is something of a call in this passage trying to work its way inside of us. These words beckon us beyond a recounting of our inevitable losses on the journey, to embrace our sacred calling to disturbers the peace.

Voices of Moral Mondays – Submit Your Story

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Help us reach our goal of 100 stories (25% complete) – Moral Mondays sparked a prophetic fire in North Carolina and served to remind elected officials that social justice and protection for the most vulnerable are indeed moral values. Tens of thousands gathered during 13 rainy, hot weeks from April through July. Nearly a thousand people engaged directly in civil disobedience and were arrested for making their voices heard in the legislative building. The protests, organized by the state NAACP under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. William Barber, sparked interest across the country and made…

Moral Mondays Are Home-Grown

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“Outside agitators.” The very term reminds those of us of a certain age of the Civil Rights Movement, when anybody coming from outside the South to suggest that the South’s segregation and treatment of African-American citizens was somehow un-American, un-constitutional, un-Christian. And they could be dismissed (or worse) because they were an “outsider.” So it is especially disconcerting to hear Gov. Pat McCrory describe those of us coming to Moral Monday rallies as “outsiders.” And then his ignorance is exposed for the untruth that it is when WRAL-TV examines the…

Faith Leaders Voice Support for Moral Mondays

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Faith leaders from across the state and from different traditions continue to speak out in support of Moral Mondays, the weekly NC NAACP-led demonstrations in Raleigh. Within days of each other, the heads of Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Methodist judicatories in North Carolina and seven Jewish leaders in the Triangle issued statements of support based on their religious convictions. The first letter read in part: The Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler of Union Seminary (Charlotte) recently summarized the effect of pending and enacted legislation especially on the poor,…

Through the Eyes of Faith

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Rep. David Price (Binkley Baptist Church, Chapel Hill)

Religious ideas are crucial, both to understanding this history and to dealing with its current manifestations. Realism as to people’s sinfulness and will‐to‐power figured directly in the Constitution’s checking of political power—Madison in The Federalist sounds like a good Calvinist—but taking such beliefs to the extreme can erode all trust and hobble democracy. As for current politics, as Jim Wallis asks in his new book, why should Christians believe in sinless markets any more than they believe in sinless governments?

Were You at the March on Washington?

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On a hot Wednesday afternoon in August 1963, thousands of Americans from all parts of the nation converged on the Washington Mall, determined in mind and spirit, demonstrating collectively for jobs, freedom, and equality. This day would go down in history as the pivotal March on Washington and culminate in the delivery of the now famous “I Have A Dream” by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of that momentous event…were you there? UNC-TV is seeking first-person accounts from North Carolinians who…

Moral Mondays Continue in June

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Moral Mondays continue (though they will take the day off on Memorial Day). This week’s protest had the largest number of participants (around 600) and of people taking part in civil disobedience and being arrested (57). I saw a lot of Council folks there – current and past Board members, pastors of congregations (including Covenant Partner congregations), previous staff members, and the heads of some of our member bodies. I saw Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the NC Conference of the United Methodist Church and Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial…

Energy Policy: Legislative Workshop by Fletcher Harper

Rev. Fletcher Harper on values-based messaging at the Legislative Seminar. Photo by Justin Hubbard.

This workshop on energy policy is also a continuation of Rev. Fletcher Harper’s plenary session (available here) at the 2013 Legislative Seminar. Harper is Executive Director of GreenFaith, a New Jersey-based non-profit committed to building environmental leadership among people of faith. He is also an Episcopal priest.

Moral Mondays – Clergy Issued Special Invitation for May 20

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As many of you already know, Rev. William Barber and the state NAACP are organizing weekly protests at the General Assembly, voicing opposition to the direction our state is being taken during this legislative session (that direction being backwards). These protests include, for those who choose to take part, nonviolent civil disobedience and arrest. In the last three weeks, nearly a hundred people have been arrested. The call has also been for supporters, people who choose not to take part in civil disobedience but who are supportive of those who…

Believing in Goodness and Mercy After a Very Hard Week

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It has been a difficult week for anyone who lives from a place of compassion. For people of faith who believe in a kind and loving God and who may recently have celebrated the resurrection of the Prince of Peace, the tragedies have seemed endless. Horror in Boston, devastation in Texas, decisions around gun violence grounded in elections rather than protection and made blasphemously in the shadow of the sixth anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech, poisoned letters in lieu of civil discourse. While the plant explosion near Waco…

Rev. Fletcher Harper: Communicating the Values We Believe

Rev. Fletcher Harper on values-based messaging at the Legislative Seminar. Photo by Justin Hubbard.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper is Executive Director of GreenFaith, a New Jersey-based non-profit committed to building environmental leadership among people of faith. He is also an Episcopal priest. Download his presentation slides here.

2013 Legislative Seminar

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We are grateful to all who attended the 2013 Legislative Seminar. It was a wonderful day, graciously hosted by St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh. From the powerful and prophetic speakers to the opportunity for 200 faithful advocates for social justice to be together, we appreciate your participation. Over the next several weeks, we will be posting podcasts, videos, pictures and resources from the Legislative Seminar as many of you who took part had requested. May you continue to be reinvigorated by the messages of that day, and may…

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2014 Critical Issues Seminar on Public Education Register Here