Tag Archives: Faith in Public Life

DEATH PENALTY: Nearly 400 faith leaders call for the end of the death penalty

from Faith in Public Life

No death penaltyAs Christians begin a week commemorating the torture, suffering and execution of Jesus, prominent Catholic and evangelical leaders are urging public officials to end the use of capital punishment.

“All who reverence the sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, must never remain silent when firing squads, lethal injections, electric chairs and other instruments of death are viewed as morally acceptable,” nearly 400 Catholic theologians, women religious, Christian evangelical leaders and faith-based social justice advocates write in a statement released today. “We urge governors, prosecutors, judges and anyone entrusted with power to do all that they can to end a practice that diminishes our humanity and contributes to a culture of violence and retribution without restoration.”

Signatories on the statement include two former presidents of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; several presidents of Catholic universities; Miguel Diaz, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; Sister Helen Prejean, a prominent anti-death penalty activist; Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby; Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners; Shane Claiborne, Red Letter Christians/The Simple Way; David Gushee, a leading evangelical ethicist at Mercer University; Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Lynne Hybels, evangelical author and activist; Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA; and Dr. Bill Coates, senior pastor of First Baptist Gainesville, the church attended by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

The Holy Week push comes at a time when a diverse set of religious leaders are speaking out against the death penalty and several high-profile cases have drawn national attention. Pope Francis has raised the issue of capital punishment several times in recent days, calling the practice “cruel, inhumane and degrading.” In liturgical reflections to be used by the pope during this week’s Good Friday meditations at the Colosseum in Rome – an annual Way of the Cross service that focuses on Christ’s torture and crucifixion – the Pope will read: “When will the death penalty, still practiced in many states, be abolished?”…

Click here to read the entire letter and release.

IMMIGRATION: Pax Christi USA signs onto statement that immigration reform is a “pro-life” issue

Last week, Pax Christi USA signed onto a statement with 100 other Catholic leaders challenging “pro-life” Catholics in Congress to make immigration reform a “pro-life” issue.

Immigration rally“As the national Catholic peace with justice movement we urge our elected officials to defend the sanctity of human lives at all stages. We too recognize the image of God in the migrant at the border, in the prisoner on death row, in the pregnant woman and in the hungry child,” stated Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN. “It is time for all Congressional representatives to come together and vote for a comprehensive immigration reform bill.”

Read press release accompanying the statement by clicking here.

IMMIGRATION REFORM: PCUSA signs onto letter to Speaker Boehner

Justice and dignity for all immigrants

The following letter was circulated by Faith in Public Life and published last week in Politico. Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, is a signatory.

Dear Speaker Boehner,

We write to you as fellow Catholics with heavy hearts and a profound sense of urgency. As the House of Representatives still delays passing comprehensive immigration reform, mothers are torn apart from children, migrants are dying in the desert and our nation is weakened.

Mr. Speaker, how can we fail to act?

Legislative obstruction in the face of preventable suffering and death is not only a failure of leadership. It is immoral and shameful. The eyes of our God — who hungers for justice and commands us to welcome the stranger and bind the wounds of those left by the side of the road — are on us.

Are we deaf to the cries of families and aspiring Americans separated by a broken system?

We stand with U.S. Catholic bishops who will celebrate Mass on Capitol Hill this week, and who come once again to advocate for humane and practical immigration reform.

Will you pray with us that the House of Representatives puts aside partisanship and passes comprehensive reform?

Pope Francis reminds us that a “globalization of indifference” prevents us from seeing that every migrant, regardless of status, has inherent human dignity. As Catholics who share your commitment to the sanctity of life in the womb, we must not be complicit in the suffering of migrants dying in the shadows. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who has called justice for immigrants a “pro-life” issue, spoke during a Mass on the U.S.-Mexico border last month of the “unmarked graves of thousands who die alone and nameless.”

Is our nation so callous that we fail to weep for those nameless lost? We pray that you and your colleagues in the House have the moral courage to show real leadership and act.

Click here to see a complete list of signatories.

CIVIL RIGHTS: PCUSA endorses sign-on letter opposing Mississippi discrimination

Earlier this week, Pax Christi USA endorsed and signed onto the following letter, circulated by Faith in Public Life.

As evangelicals, mainline Protestants and Catholics we are alarmed by the pending Mississippi bill that would allow virtually anyone, including businesses, to discriminate against customers in the name of religious liberty. We call on Mississippi and all states to abandon legislation that threatens democracy, civil rights and religious freedom itself.

These misguided efforts eerily echo Jim Crow laws that robbed African Americans of their basic human dignity.  Businesses once barred not only blacks, but Jews and Asians from buying homes in certain neighborhoods or eating in restaurants even after Supreme Court rulings overturned segregation laws.

We must not allow faith to be used in the service of discrimination.

When we seek to codify legislation that discriminates against any class of people—no matter our diverse theological beliefs about marriage—we tarnish the treasure of religious freedom and the highest ideals of our democracy. Most of all, we are complicit in violating the Golden Rule that unites us as Christians—to love God and our neighbor as we love ourselves.

LABOR JUSTICE: Ask Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour

From Interfaith Worker Justice and Faith in Public Life

Pax Christi USA has signed onto this letter asking Congress to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. In addition, PCUSA supports raising the tipped wage to at least 70% of the minimum wage.

Click here to read the letter and sign on today.