News Summary for Friday, March 20, 2009

Check out the Actions, Events, New Posts, and Resources below. There is a lot of information here—please know that you aren’t expected to act on everything! Choose the issues that are most important to you and take action! Also—please support this ministry; learn how by clicking here.

 

Actions in this summary:

Organizations—Sign on in Support of Criminal Justice Reform

ACLU Asks for Support to End “Ideological Exclusion”

Pre-K Now Calling for Balance on Pre-K Education Reporting

PPC Seeking Support for a Budget Resolution that Makes Key Investments in Children

Call on the Governor to Support Home Health Care

Help Defeat New Proposed “Photo ID” Bill

Take Action to Make Sure That the United States Strengthen its Rules Against Torture

Thank Congress for Passing the Stimulus Bill

 

Events in this summary:

Bring the Troops Home Now-March on the Pentagon-Washington, DC, March 21

Peace for a Change; Rally for Peace to Mark 6th Anniversary of the War in Iraq—Lancaster, March 21

Greet the Interfaith Walk for a New Spring Peace Walkers–Lancaster, March 24

Code Pink Mother’s Day Vigil—Washington, DC, May 9-10

Single Payer Health Care for All—Pittsburgh, March 28

2009 Proctor Institute: Charting a Course for the Next Generation

 

News Posts:

In American Crisis, Anger and Guns

Governor Rendell Sees SNAP Food Stamps as Economic Stimulus

 

Resources:

Connect Vulnerable Persons with Services in Tough Economic Times

Helping Hungry People: A Sunday School Curriculum

Bread for the Preacher—A Free Service for Busy Pastors

Introducing 2009 Multi-Faith National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Manual Resources Concerning Investments in Children and Youth

Sierra Club Green Tips Library

 

ACTIONS

 

Organizations—Sign on in Support of Criminal Justice Reform

 

The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church is looking for organizational (church, criminal or restorative justice ministry, annual conference (or other judicatory body), or other faith-based organization) sign-ons to a letter concerning criminal justice reform. A paragraph from the letter concerning its purpose:

 

Our purpose is to work with Congress to pass criminal justice reforms that refocus our energy and efforts on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs, increase public safety, strengthen families, and reduce the enormous social and economic costs of maintaining such a large prison population.

 

To learn more, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=409. To go directly to the sign-on page, go to the organizational sign-on letter (http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/c.frLJK2PKLqF/b.4923263/k.3BE5/Criminal_Justice_Reform_Letter/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp?c=frLJK2PKLqF&b=4923263&en=kkIPI1PLKgLQI0OPLnJSJ8P1LnLQK4MMIhKVJdO2KyE&tr=y&auid=4630867).

 

Other Opportunities for Action

 

ACLU Asks for Support to End “Ideological Exclusion”:  The American Civil Liberties Union has reported that over the last eight years, the Departments of State and Homeland Security revived the practice of “ideological exclusion (http://www.aclu.org/safefree/exclusion/index.html), refusing visas to foreign scholars, writers, and activists not on the basis of their actions but on the basis of their ideas, political views, and associations. According to the ACLU, ideological exclusion violates Americans’ First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech.

 

The ACLU has prepared a sign-on petition for individuals to call for an end to this practice. The letter explains why ideological exclusion is a problem, spells out the reasons why the Obama administration should end the practice, and requests that the government reconsider a number of problematic exclusions. You can find that petition here: https://secure.aclu.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=Nat_Petition_Ideological_Exclusion.

 

Pre-K Now Calling for Balance on Pre-K Education Reporting: Concerns about unbalanced reporting in a recent 20/20 segment have spurred Pre-K Now to post an online petition calling for fair and balanced reporting on the issue, as well as a fact sheet on pre-kindergarten education. Find more information on how to sign the petition or download the fact sheet at http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=415.

 

PPC Seeking Support for a Budget Resolution that Makes Key Investments in Children: To learn more and to sign on to this action from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, go to http://ga3.org/campaign/031909_budget_res/8d7eeu844jbn5bd6?.

 

Related to this, Every Child Matters is calling on advocates to Help Kids: Petition Congress! ECM is calling for more signatures to help urge Congress to support the child-friendly principles in President Obama’s budget. They ask that you sign the petition calling upon Congress to follow and build upon the President’s lead in crafting its forthcoming Budget Resolution, recognizing that there is no time to waste in meeting the long-deferred health, education and social needs of the nation’s children. To learn more or sign the petition, go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/956/t/667/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=657.

 

Call on the Governor to Support Home Health Care: A call to action from the Consumer Workforce Council asks for messages to Governor Rendell seeking his support for home health care and for living wages and benefits for home health care workers. To learn more, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=434. To take action, go to http://www.facts-online.org/campaign/tell_rendell_CWC.

 

Help Defeat New Proposed “Photo ID” Bill: On March 2, Sen. Orie (R- Allegheny, Butler) and 12 co-sponsors introduced Senate Bill 514 (SB 514), which would require all voters, at every election, to produce a government-issued photo ID, or two forms of other approved ID, one of which must be a photo ID.  If passed, SB 514 would infringe the voting rights of Pennsylvanians, particularly those among historically disenfranchised communities, including elderly, low-income, disabled, and minority citizens, who often do not possess these types of identification.

 

This bill has now been listed on NEXT TUESDAY, March 24’s agenda of the PA Senate State Government Committee.  The Chair of this Committee is Senator Chuck McIlhenny (R-Bucks and Montgomery), who is also a co-sponsor of this bill.  Rumor has it that the Committee may try to push this bill through quickly, without holding a hearing or listening to voters’ concerns.

 

Voting rights advocates and others are calling on Pennsylvanians to call, e-mail, or write their state senators to tell them to oppose SB 514. For messaging and contact information, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p-442.

 

Ongoing Actions

 

Take Action to Make Sure That the United States Strengthen its Rules Against Torture:  The National Religious Campaign Against Torture has created a form email that you can use to contact Members of the Special Task Force working on this. Please go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2162/t/3961/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=26669 to access it.

 

Thank Congress for Passing the Stimulus Bill: We, as persons of faith, must thank our Representatives and Senators who voted for the bill—and express your disappointment to those who opposed it. To take action, go to http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5415/t/5044/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=1157.

 

EVENTS

 

For a full listing of events, go to the Events Calendar at http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?page_id=92.

 

Don’t Forget the Following Important Events!

 

Single Payer Health Care for All—Pittsburgh, March 28: Single Payer Health Care for All-Citizen Call to Action! will be held on March 28, 2009, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. in 2210 Doherty Hall at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The keynote speaker is Donna Smith of the Progressive Democrats of America and the California Nurses Association (also featured in SiCKO). The aim of the event is to make the case for passage of publicly funded, privately delivered health care (via HR 676 and Pennsylvania bills SB 300 and HB 1660), including fair and comprehensive benefits for all, and savings of billions of dollars through economies of scale and streamlined administration. Sponsors of the program are PA United for Single Payer Health Care, Health Care for All PA (www.healthcare4AllPA.org) and Western PA Coalition for Single Payer Health Care (www.WPASinglePayer.org). RSVP to Mary Pat Donegan at drdoneagain@yahoo.com.

 

Bring the Troops Home Now-March on the Pentagon-Washington, DC, March 21: For more information go to http://declarationofpeace.org/events/bring-the-troops-home-now-march-on-the-pentagon.

 

Newly Posted Events

 

Peace for a Change; Rally for Peace to Mark 6th Anniversary of the War in Iraq—Lancaster, March 21:  Begins at noon. For more information, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=406.

 

Greet the Interfaith “Walk for a New Spring” Peace Walkers—Lancaster, March 24:  Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness (LIPW) and East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church are hosting Japanese Buddhist and interfaith Peace Walkers making a fifty-five day walk from Massachusetts to Washington, DC promoting nuclear disarmament and a peacetime economy. Come greet the monks clad in saffron robes and beating prayer drums in Musser Park at 4:00 p.m. In the evening at 7:00 p.m., come hear their testimony and converse with these friendly, dedicated peace walkers at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church (434 E. Chestnut Street; plenty of off-street parking). For more information, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=417.

 

Code Pink Mother’s Day Vigil—Washington, DC, May 9-10: 24 hour vigil at the White House; for more information go to http://www.codepink4peace.org/form.php?modin=108.

 

2009 Proctor Institute: Charting a Course for the Next Generation: The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry (http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-advocacy-resources-center/faith-based-programs/samuel-dewitt-proctor-institute-for-child-advocacy-ministry/) provides five days of spiritual renewal, continuing education, movement-building workshops and networking, as Christians from across the denominational spectrum explore how their faith calls them into ministries of child advocacy and sustains them in their work with and for children. This year’s event will be held July 20-24, 2009, at CDF’s Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee.

 

Learn more about CDF’s Haley Farm, featured guests and speakers for the Proctor Institute, and watch video of speakers from previous years at our website at http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-advocacy-resources-center/faith-based-programs/samuel-dewitt-proctor-institute-for-child-advocacy-ministry/.

 

NEWS POSTS

 

In American Crisis, Anger and Guns: http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=423 (posted 3/20)

 

Governor Rendell Sees SNAP Food Stamps as Economic Stimulus: http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=445 (posted 3/20)

 

RESOURCES

 

For recently posted resources via these news summaries, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?cat=24. For a more complete listing of resources and links, visit www.pachurchesadvocacy.org and click on the “Resources” link or “Related Links” (left side of page). This list is updated continually. Please report broken links to s.strauss@pachurches.org.

 

Connect Vulnerable Persons with Services in Tough Economic Times

 

See March 13 posts at http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=426 for this information.

 

Helping Hungry People: A Sunday School Curriculum

 

Bread for the World has just released Helping Hungry People, a five-week curriculum that helps elementary-age students learn about the Christian call to help people in need. This curriculum, designed to help the students prepare for the church’s Offering of Letters, takes students on “trips” to a local soup kitchen, Haiti, Zambia, and India. They will learn about people living in poverty. The students will also study the teachings of Jesus. They will engage in a variety of ways to help people who are hungry, through prayer, providing food for a food pantry, collecting money to give to an organization fighting poverty, and writing letters to their members of Congress.

 

Helping Hungry People is a curriculum that allows teachers to not just teach Scripture, but to do Scripture. It can be used throughout the year, but is designed to complement the 2009 Offering of Letters. The curriculum is available at http://www.offeringofletters.org/component/content/article/79.html.

 

Bread for the Preacher—A Free Service for Busy Pastors

 

Bread for the Preacher is a monthly newsletter for pastors from Bread for the World that includes: lectionary-based sermon resources with a focus on hunger, poverty and justice; special prayers and other worship resources; brief bulletin announcements offering updates and actions; and new opportunities or resources for pastors and church members. To learn more about this resource, go to http://www.bread.org/get-involved/at-church/bread-for-the-preacher/.

 

If you’d like to receive issues of this resource directly, sign up on the Bread website at http://ga4.org/Bread/join.tcl and check the “Bread for the Preacher” box under “Online Newsletters.” To forward this information to other pastors, go to http://ga4.org/campaign/bread_for_the_preacher/forward.

 

Bread for the World seeks to be a partner with pastors in ministry, supporting the church as it raises a collective voice calling our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Bread asks that you let them know what you think of Bread for the Preacher and of others ways they can support your ministry.

 

Introducing 2009 Multi-Faith National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Manual

 

The theme of the 2009 Children’s Sabbaths weekend (http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-advocacy-resources-center/faith-based-programs/national-observance-of-childrens-sabbaths-celebration/) is “Create Change for Children Today: Bring Hope and a Better Tomorrow.” With millions of children living in poverty, lacking basic health coverage and being funneled into a pipeline to prison, we know that children in our nation desperately need change, and they need us to create change today. With the guidance from the worship, educational and action resources in the Children’s Sabbaths manual, we can and must step forward now to strengthen families, call for health coverage for all children, and create paths of promise for every young person. Creating change for children today brings hope and a better tomorrow for all of us.

 

Resources Concerning Investments in Children and Youth

 

Every Child Matters has announced the release of its second free video in as many weeks, “Homeland Insecurity: Why New Investments in Children and Youth Must Be a Priority for the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress.” In this 11 minute video, ECM president Michael Petit presents the latest data on child well-being in the U.S. It contains state data on child well-being, as well how the U.S. compares against other countries. It makes a succinct case for shifting federal budget priorities more towards children and families. To watch the video and learn about related resources, go to http://www.everychildmatters.org/National/Resources/Homeland-Insecurity-Report.html.

 

Last week ECM released the seven minute ‘Presidents Helping Children’ video (http://www.everychildmatters.org/National/Resources/Presidents-Helping-Children.html), which shows the role of the White House in lifting the status of the nation’s children. ECM hopes you will find both videos helpful in your own staff and public education efforts, that you will forward them to your friends and colleagues, and that you will post them on your organization’s website if appropriate.

 

Sierra Club Green Tips Library

 

Did you know that turning your thermostat down just five degrees can cut energy bills by up to 10 percent? Or that every 100 pounds you carry in your car lowers its fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent? So turn down the temperature and clean out that clutter!

 

 

 

These are just a few of the easy, innovative and wallet-friendly tips featured in the new Sierra Club Green Tips Library. Want more tips? Visit our new Green Tips Library (http://www.sierraclub.org/tips/) or sign up for the Sierra Club Green Life at (https://secure2.convio.net/sierra/site/SPageServer?pagename=Signup_GreenTIPS_Weekly&autologin=true&JServSessionIdr008=u39w7vo5d5.app23a), and get a great green tip delivered right to your inbox every week.

 

With Earth Day around the corner, what better way to keep your pact with mother earth than to adopt a cleaner, greener lifestyle? So check out the Green Tips Library, your one-stop-shop for easy green lifestyle tips.

 

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