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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
A former member of MVPJ's steering committee came across this article by Jim Rigby, a Presbyterian Minister in Austin, Texas. It spoke to many of us, no matter our faith tradition, so we are sharing excerpts on our website. To read the full article, click here to go to Rigby's blog.
"Learning about Christianity through a world of religion" by Jim Rigby, January 3, 2015
I was born into a pretty typical version of Christianity. My mom always said, however, that every religion has something to teach us. Mom said we should respect everyone's religion as much as possible.
Until I arrived at college, I had never actually opened the scriptures of any other faith. Once I arrived here in Austin, I started a lifelong practice of respectfully reading the scriptures of other world faiths. ...
... As I read the words of Krishna, it felt like I was hearing a missing track from a familiar song. I could hear for the first time that Jesus, like Krishna, was calling us to something much deeper than traditional religion. ... What had been the comfortable wading pool of sectarian religion was suddenly beginning to feel like the vast open waters of life.
... I began to understand that Jesus wasn't calling us to dogma. Like Buddha, he was calling us to a deeper and wider wakefulness. ... If love is our aim, then awareness, not belief, is our true path.
From Taoism I learned that heaven could be found in the ordinary gifts of nature. ...
From Islam I learned to give myself fully to life, holding back nothing. From Sufi Islam I learned that humor can be a great guide to the sacred. ...
From Judaism I learned that love is inseparable from justice. From the Jewish prophets I learned that I needed to love the people in my religion and nation enough to tell them when I thought they were being unjust. ...
Finally, from atheism I learned the importance of radical honesty. ...
I am still a Christian after all these years, but I have left the little version of my upbringing and have come to understand my own faith as one voice in a larger choir. Most of all I have come to understand what Christian scripture means when it says, "whoever has love, has God."
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!
From September 20-28, several peninsula congregations displayed a Campaign Nonviolence banner, to build a growing awareness that we can create a world of peace, justice and environmental healing!
The photo at the left shows the Campaign Nonviolence banner that was also hung on the overpass on Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto.
Peace Potluck Picnic
~share what we have learned
Cosponsored by Peninsula Peace & Justice Center, Pacific Life Community, American Muslim Voice, and the Network for Spiritual Progressives
Peace activist Kathy Kelly has just returned from the summer in Afghanistan as a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Grounded in her Catholic upbringing, her courageous actions have long demonstrated a deep passion for peace, justice and human kindness.
Kelly and others lived in Baghdad during the 2003 "Shock and Awe" attack. In 2009 she lived in Gaza during the final days of the Operation Cast Lead bombing. Later that year she was part of a small delegation that went to Pakistan to learn more about the effects of U.S. drone warfare on the civilian population. She continues to join activists in various regions of our country to protest drone warfare.
Kelly is co-founder and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV). She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Perkins Prison (2005). She and VCNV believe that nonviolence necessarily involves simplicity, service, sharing of resources and non-violent direct action in resistance to war and oppression.