As faith leaders, we stand for honoring the voices of each person created in God’s image and for protecting the integrity of those voices in our democratic process. Together, we sound the alarm over a flood of special interest money into our political system from a privileged few and call upon our leaders to pursue bold solutions to this crisis of democracy.
Candidates are spending so much time courting donors that they have less and less time to speak with voters or craft solutions to our biggest problems. Voters, especially younger Americans, tune out because they view our elections as un-democratic and potentially corrupt. The rich and the poor grow further and further apart, a trend reinforced by a path to electoral victory studded with high-dollar fundraisers and special interest backroom deals. Attack ads blanket the airwaves, dividing us when we need to come together to solve our country’s enormous challenges.
Most recently, the watershed “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision that awarded corporations the same legal rights as people has had the practical result of granting special interests and individuals almost unlimited power to influence elections through massive spending. We are also disturbed by a decision that gives the unique status accorded to human beings, made in God’s image, to corporations. People, not corporations, were made in the image of God.
“We the People,” who ordained and established the U.S. Constitution in order to form a more perfect union, who together as a people are responsible and accountable for wisely stewarding God’s creation, who are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are called to bear God's image faithfully and to reject that which challenges these basic principles.
Just as the prophets and saints from our faith traditions railed against economic wealth and power that resulted in injustice for the people, we follow in their footsteps and cry out against a system that tears at the fabric of our democracy.
We call upon our elected leaders, citizens around the country, and all people of faith and moral commitment to join us in supporting measures to safeguard our democratic principles and the promise of government for, of, and by the people.
This morning, President Obama issued a long-awaited executive order ending discrimination against LGBT people in hiring by federal contractors — without the so-called religious exemption loophole that some conservative religious leaders had called for.
Right now, our response as people of faith to the humanitarian crisis of migrant children at our border will not only decide what policies our leaders pursue, but also what values the soul of our country will reflect.
Lucky for all of us, Auburn Seminary and the Center for Progressive Renewal will be in the same place at the same time this summer – the National Church Leadership Institute, August 7th-10th in Atlanta.
News broke yesterday that a small Portland, OR based workers’ rights organization called VOZ is standing up to intolerant elements in the Church after they were told to cut ties with an LGBT friendly ally group, or lose a critical $75,000 grant.
Yesterday afternoon, I hand-delivered our petition on migrant children directly to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson!
Religion is complicated on a good day. With Hobby Lobby and fighting in the Middle East, things are even more complicated. To help recharge your faith, we’ve plated a four-course meal of spiritual nutrition. Enjoy!