April 15th is just around the corner, the deadline for paying income taxes. It is a good time to remember that a large part of our federal taxes will be allocated to military expenditures. Of course, this means that programs that promote life and human flourishing - education, health care, economic development and diplomacy - are underfunded.
What to do about this? How about making April 15th a day to call your Senators and tell them that you are concerned about the priorities reflected in our federal budget, and that you are not happy with how your tax dollars will be used. Let's "choose life" and work for a budget that makes life available - and good - for everyone.
The War Resisters League has done extensive research to produce their 2016 federal budget pie chart, pictured with this article. Click here to view the complete flyer and understand better how our taxes are allocated.
On January 22, 2015 The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the hands of its Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight.* It's 3 minutes to midnight!
The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference, with representatives from the 189 member nations, will meet at the United Nations in New York City from April 27-May 22. It is a crucial opportunity to press the nuclear powers to fulfill their commitment to engage in good faith negotiations for a complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
How can you help? First, sign the petition from Peace & Planet calling on the parties to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to immediately, without delay, develop a time table to ban and eliminate all nuclear weapons. Click here to sign! The goal is to have 20,000 signatures by April 17. Get started now by adding your name today.
"Don't Say We Didn't Know"
Speaker Amos Gvirtz is an Israeli peace activist and member of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Help send 500 backpacks with school supplies to children in Gaza.
President Obama has just sent a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress that perpetuates the endless war of the last 13 years. It is imperative that we urge our members of Congress to oppose the president's proposal and repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Click here to read the background from our colleagues at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and click here to go directly to their Action Center and send an email to your Senators and Representatives.
Our friends at Peninsula Peace & Justice Center have an Urgent Action page with a petition you can sign, background information, and websites to access emails and phone numbers for all of our local Congresspeople. A telephone call or a personal email or letter is always worth while and the best way to get your Congressperson's attention. If you are a person of faith, briefly include how your faith informs your understanding of justice, peace and compassion.
Too many lives have been lost. Too many dreams have been destroyed. We need to look to political, economic and diplomatic avenues to end the senseless violence on all sides and begin the long road of restoration, healing and justice.
Held at Princeton Theological Seminary on January 23-25, 2015, the Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare issued a statement calling on the Administration to immediately halt targeted lethal drone strikes. The conference included more than 150 religious leaders representing many of the world religions and the Just War, Pacifist, and Just Peace traditions.
Click here to read the full and comprehensive statement, and for links to many of the speakers' presentations, all made available through the Coalition for Peace Action website.
Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice is excited to be a part of the Raise the Wage Campaign! You can join us by signing the Raise the Wage petition and by asking your congregation or organization to become an endorser of the campaign.
Questions about the impact of raising the minimum? Click here for a handy "Myth vs Fact" sheet.
No matter what town you come from, click here to sign the petition online and it will be delivered to YOUR city council members. Take it a step further and download and print a copy of the petition and circulate it among your friends, congregation, and community. (Be sure to return the petition to the Peninsula Peace & Justice Center at the address on the bottom of the sheet.)
Right now we are looking for folks living in Los Altos to support that campaign. Interested? Contact Paul George at the Peninsula Peace & Justice Center: email@example.com
Watch this page for more information about campaigns in specific cities around the bay area. And be sure to sign the petition today!
Starting as a wish at a TED Conference, spreading across the world, learn about The Charter of Compassion through this video. And, watch this space for news about World Interfaith Harmony Week coming in February 2015.
Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice has long worked for public access to the Senate Intelligence Committee's Report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program. On Tuesday, December 9, the eve of the United Nation's Human Rights Day, a 500 page summary of that six year investigation was released.
Please call or email Senator Dianne Feinstein and thank her for her courageous leadership on the investigation and the release of the report! (Click here for her contact information and an easy email form.)
To read more about the report and further discussion go to the National Religious Campaign Against Torture's page on this issue. NRCAT has been a strong partner with MVPJ in keeping us up to date and educated about this issue.
On December 8, at a conference in Vienna, Pope Francis issued a new statement on nuclear weapons titled "Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition" that indicates a major change in Roman Catholic policy. "Nuclear deterrence and the threat of nuclear assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states," the Pope said. While the Roman Catholic Church has long declared the use of nuclear weapons to be immoral, it has, up until now, articulated a "conditional acceptance" of nuclear deterrence as a necessary evil. This changes with the Pope's message, which was read on the first day of the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons conference in Austria.
The Vatican's statement declares, "The youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more.... Peace must be built on justice, socio-economic development, freedom, respect for fundamental human rights, ... and the building of trust between people."
Two winters ago in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported the deaths of at least 22 children in refugee camps in Kabul: Driven Away by a War, Now Stalked by Winter Cold. After 13 years of U.S./NATO intervention in Afghanistan and US$1.172 trillion dollars spent on the Afghan war between 2001 and 2012, the basic needs of ordinary Afghans constantly caught in the crossfire are still poorly met.
The following winter the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV) organized the making and distributing of duvets (blankets) to poor families in Kabul and in the refugee camps. Thanks to international peacebuilders who raised money from ordinary people around the globe, the APVs were able to distribute more than 2000 duvets, and the Afghan ladies who sewed the blankets were paid a living wage to supplement their families' income. In the winter of 2013/2014, 60 Afghan seamstresses were paid a living wage for sewing a total of 3000 duvets, again delivered free to poor Afghan families, street kids in Kabul, recovering drug addicts, widows, disabled, and to the refugee camps.
This year, you can help them do it again!