Greetings from New York City! This comes to you from a break during the Poverty Scholars meeting at Union Theological Seminary.
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.
Single Payer Health Care for All-Pittsburgh, March 28
Mobilization to End Poverty-Washington, DC, April 26-29
Commonwealth Interfaith Service of Prayer for Peace-Harrisburg, May 4
Bread for the World’s Gathering 2009: Rejoice. Hope. Act.-Washington, DC, June 14-16
No new posts (other than events and actions)
Connect Vulnerable Persons with Services in Tough Economic Times
Check out other actions you can take at http://www.pachurchesadvocacy.org/(Council sponsored or supported actions) or at http://pachurchesadvocacy/weblog/ (opportunities for action through other organizations).
Sign On in Support of a Faith Inspired Vision of Health Care
The Council is joining with people of faith around the country to support a new, Faith Inspired Vision of Health Care. Directions for signing on in support of this statement are included below.
In June of 2008 the Interfaith Health Care Reform Meeting, convened by Faithful Reform in Health Care, met in Cleveland, OH, to define the religious community’s distinct vision for and role in our national and state conversations about health care reform. The group identified values shared by most religious traditions, including the sacredness of life, compassion, human dignity, community, concern for those who are vulnerable, stewardship and the equitable sharing of resources.
One major accomplishment was the development of a vision statement, A Sacred Commitment to “A Faith-Inspired Vision of Health Care” (this is a printer friendly version). Briefly stated, it says that as people of faith, we envision a society where each person is afforded health, wholeness, and human dignity-a vision that embraces a system of health care that is inclusive… accessible… affordable… and accountable. The Council joins with Faithful Reform in Health Care and faith partners everywhere in calling for congregations, church bodies, organizations and individuals to sign on in support of this vision.
Printer friendly version of sign-on statement (NOTE: If used, please fax to (717) 545-4761, send to Pennsylvania Council of Churches, 900 S. Arlington Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17109, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Urge Senator Specter to Support the Employee Free Choice Act
On March 24, 2009, Senator Arlen Specter announced that he will not support the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) at this time. While acknowledging many of the issues around employees’ right to organize, he expressed the following:
The problems of the recession make this a particularly bad time to enact Employees Free Choice legislation. Employers understandably complain that adding a burden would result in further job losses. If efforts are unsuccessful to give Labor sufficient bargaining power through amendments to the NLRA (National Labor Relations Act), then I would be willing to reconsider Employees’ Free Choice legislation when the economy returns to normalcy.
Some labor advocates have suggested that this view may be backwards-that in fact, the need for secure jobs with good wages is more important now than ever. If more Pennsylvanians are working and earning a decent wage, they will provide a much needed boost to the economy.
Need to learn more? Find more information about worker rights and the Employee Free Choice Act at the Interfaith Worker Justice website at http://www.iwj.org/template/page.cfm?id=23.
Support Funding for Vulnerable Persons in Federal Budget
Faith in Public Life is asking for your support by signing on to a petition asking Congress to ensure that sufficient funds remain in the federal budget to support organizations that provide services to vulnerable persons at a time when these services are needed most. To learn more before signing on, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=476. To sign on directly, go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2518/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=698.
Support Principles for Child Nutrition Reauthorization
In preparation for the reauthorization of the child nutrition and WIC programs in 2009, thousands of national, state and local organizations representing anti-hunger, religious, education, medical, nutrition, direct service, school food, pre-school and child care, unions, children, after school, industry, agriculture and a host of others will join in support of a “Statement of Principles” to guide our reauthorization efforts.
As a person of faith who is dedicated to helping the most vulnerable in our society, we understand that you may wish to express your support as well. Here is your opportunity to do so.
Please circulate the principles you will find at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5415/t/5044/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=267 among your friends, families, neighbors, colleagues and grassroots networks so that we may garner the broadest support possible to call on Congress to expand, strengthen and provide much-needed investments in these critical programs.
If you represent and are able to sign on behalf of an organization, you should click here to sign on (http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5118/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=184) to the Statement of Principles. Otherwise, please join your fellow Pennsylvanians to sign on in support of these principles by completing the form at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5415/t/5044/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=267.
For a printer friendly version of the Principles, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=372 and click on the link at the end of the post.
Urge Governor Rendell to Call for a Moratorium and Study on the Death Penalty
New Mexico recently became the second state to legislatively repeal the death penalty since 1965 and is now the 15th state in the U.S. that does not have capital punishment on the books. To hear Governor Bill Richardson’s statement concerning the appeal, go to http://www.koat.com/video/18963868/index.html.
Thirty five states still retain the death penalty-Pennsylvania is one of them, with the fourth largest death row in the country.
Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (the Council partners with PADP) is calling on advocates to contact Governor Rendell, letting him know that you agree with Governor Richardson’s action to repeal the death penalty in New Mexico.
The American Bar Association’s study of Pennsylvania’s death penalty reveals to us overwhelming evidence that the system is flawed, and that we are at risk of executing an innocent person.
Message: Governor Rendell ~ Please commission a moratorium and a thorough study of the death penalty in Pennsylvania. (Faith message from the Council’s Principles for Public Advocacy:We believe there is no room for vengeance and retribution in the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system. Because we believe every soul is redeemable, we oppose capital punishment in any form because it denies opportunity for rehabilitation and restoration and is often racist and classist in its application.)
Call (717) 787-2500 or e-mail by going to http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/Governor/govmail.html.
For more information, go to http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=447.
Sign On to Urge the President to Support Global Development and Foreign Assistance Reform
The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network is calling for signers to an open letter to President Obama on global development and foreign assistance reform. The letter speaks to the importance of strengthening U.S. efforts to alleviate poverty, fight disease, create opportunity, and foster sustainable security in the developing world.
The open letter, published as an advertisement in the Politico newspaper, was endorsed by nearly 150 influential individuals and organizations, among them prominent business leaders, former government officials and uniformed military officers, academics, and non-profit leaders.
In a statement prepared for the letter’s release, MFAN Co-Chairs David Beckmann (Bread for the World) and Steve Radelet (Center for Global Development) said: “President Obama, his foreign policy advisors, and Congressional leaders deserve recognition for their unprecedented commitments to elevating global development as a tool of U.S. foreign policy, and the signatories of this letter pledge support for that effort. The Obama Administration and key supporters in Congress clearly recognize that to address the urgent challenges we face abroad and restore America’s global reputation as a leader, we must strengthen U.S. efforts to alleviate poverty, fight disease, create opportunity, and foster sustainable security in the developing world. To do this as strategically and effectively as we must at this time of economic crisis, it is critical that we modernize our outdated foreign assistance system. Today, that system is not as coordinated and efficient as it could be because too many agencies oversee too many programs, and we lack both an overall global development strategy and up-to-date legislation to organize our efforts and maximize their impact.”
To sign on to this letter, go to http://modernizingforeignassistance.net/network/open_letter_to_obama.php.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Mobilization to End Poverty-Washington, DC, April 26-29: Sponsored by Sojourners with many partners, the Mobilization to End Poverty will bring together Christians from across the country in a powerful movement committed to the biblical imperative of reducing domestic and global poverty. For more information or to register, go to http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=events.m2ep&item=m2ep-home.
Commonwealth Interfaith Service of Prayer for Peace-Harrisburg, May 4: The community is invited to join gathering of representatives from many faith traditions in central Pennsylvania in an interfaith service of prayer for peace on Monday, May 4, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. at Pine Street Presbyterian Church, 310 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA (across the street from the Capital-directions at http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Harrisburg&state=PA&address=310+N.+3rd+Street&zipcode=17101&cat=Pine+Street+Presbyterian+Church; click on “directions to” under the address).
Plans are evolving for this service, which will involve members from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Bahá’í, Sikh, Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist, and other communities. We come together in the belief that we share a common desire for a more peaceful and just world, and that we can be a powerful voice and presence for peace in our community, throughout the country, and in the world.
Newly Posted Events
Bread for the World’s Gathering 2009: Rejoice. Hope. Act.-Washington, DC, June 14-16: For more information, go to http://ga4.org/Bread/events/gathering/details.tcl.
Please visit our weblog (http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?page_id=24) for the latest news and information. For previous News Summaries, click on the “News Summaries” link on the right side of the page.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect Vulnerable Persons with Services in Tough Economic Times
See March 13 posts at http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=426 for this information.
Mindful Living Guides from NCC Eco-Justice Program
The National Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Programs have released the Mindful Living Gathering Guide (http://nccecojustice.org/resources.html#environmentalhealthresources), a step-by-step process for facilitating adult Christian education on the issues of health, pollution and toxic substances. The guide has been paired with the programs’ flagship environmental resource, Mindful Living: Human Health, Pollution, and Toxics (http://www.nccecojustice.org/mindfullivingbounce.html). For more information, visit the Council’s weblog at http://pachurchesadvocacy.org/weblog/?p=480.