Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What does it mean for Religious Leaders to Coooperate?

Blog Comment: Today an important announcement and press release points to a vital interfaith partnership to address the enormous crisis affecting the states and people of the Gulf Coast following the recent hurricane disasters. I point this out because one of the signatories to this call for a partnership between government and faith groups is Rev. Richard Cizik. Rev. Cizik is Vice President for Government Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. He will be speaking this Thursday, September 18 at Countryside Community Church (UCC) about "Evangelicals and the Interfaith Movement". I'll be attending that lecture and I hope to ask Cizik about this advocacy effort by a broad coalition of religious groups calling for a moral response to the Gulf Coast Crisis. Having traveled to the Gulf Coast three times in the last couple of years on mission trips and to attend a national church mission conference there, I've developed a passion for the suffering of our brothers and sisters in this region of our nation. This is a crisis of government and of the faith communities in our nation. I'll post after Thursday night's lecture.... See the press release below...

Leading religious officials today (September 16) signed an interfaith statement calling for not just a charitable response but for justice through long-term human rights-based recovery policy to help Gulf Coast families.

The statement urges national leaders to make enacting bi-partisan resident-led federal solutions, including the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, helping families return and participate in rebuilding their communities, creating living wage jobs, restoring the coastal wetland and ensuring human rights along the Gulf Coast a national moral priority.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign is a nonpartisan partnership of community, faith, environmental, student, and human rights organizations in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi and their national allies advocating for federal legislation based on HR 4048, the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act and urging national leaders to make creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure and affordable housing, and restoring natural flood protection along the Gulf Coast a national priority.

The 108 signers include Richard Cizik of National Association of Evangelicals; Richard Stearns, president of World Vision; Rabbi Steve Gutow, Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Michael Kinnamon, National Council of Churches; Ingrid Matterson, Islamic Society of North America; Larry Snyder, Catholic Charities USA; David Beckmann, Bread for the World; and Jim Wallis, Sojourners.

Interested persons can support this effort by contacting their member of Congress at:

The text of their statement:

Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign Interfaith Statement

Supporting Human Rights in Gulf Coast Recovery Is a Moral Priority

As Hurricanes Ike and Gustav hit the Gulf Coast, internally displacing over one million people, we as a nation were reawakened to the needs of the Gulf Coast. Three years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck and the levees breached, the slow pace of recovery and the new needs caused by Ike and Gustav's destruction have created a moral crisis along the Gulf Coast that demands a powerful response from people of faith.

While the nation has learned to better prepare for this latest hurricane, whether by inaction or injustice, we have still failed to protect the wellbeing of Gulf Coast survivors, new residents and their families, especially the children, the poor, the sick, and the vulnerable through just long term rebuilding policies which fully support human rights. The collapse of local institutions, homelessness, internal displacement, poverty, abusive labor practices and environmental degradation mean they continue to suffer and struggle unduly. A spiritual wound remains open across the region, one felt in God's creation and every community across this country.

Our God is a God of justice, of humanity and of healing, and this moral injustice calls each of us to bold action in support of the common good. We must act to justly rebuild communities, restore the Gulf Coast, and empower families to overcome the devastation they suffered in our nation's worst natural disasters.


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