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Participating Congregations and Organizations
  • American Muslim Voice
  • Beyt Tikkun Synagogue
  • First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) Palo Alto
  • First Evangelical Lutheran Church Palo Alto
  • First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto
  • First United Methodist Church Palo Alto
  • Network of Spiritual Progressives
  • Palo Alto Friends Meeting
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Palo Alto (Catholic)
  • Trinity Church in Menlo Park (Episcopal)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
  • West Bay Chapter, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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Update on Haspel hearing: She is unable to say that torture is immoral!

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Please read this important report on Haspel's hearing Wednesday, May 9, from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT).

"Refusing to say that torture is immoral, after being asked repeatedly in her Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, is all you need to know to conclude that Gina Haspel is uniquely disqualified to serve as our next CIA Director." ~ Rev. Ron Stief, NRCAT

Haspel: A Moral Compass that Spins in Circles Around Torture

WASHINGTON, DC – During her hearing on Wednesday, May 9, CIA Director nominee, Gina Haspel, claimed to have a "strong moral compass" yet, when asked repeatedly by Senators Warner, Heinrich, Harris, and Reed, not once was she able to say that the CIA's torture program was immoral.

Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, responded to Ms. Haspel's moral confusion by saying:

"Ms. Haspel argued that the program was legal, she suggested that Congress had adopted the Army Field Manual as a 'stricter' moral standard, and she even suggested that waterboarding was inhumane if done by a terrorist but not if done by the CIA. She was never, though, able to say that waterboarding or any other act of torture was immoral. Ms. Haspel has conflated law with morality and seems to have a moral compass that is spinning in circles. Being unable to say that torture is immoral shows that she lacks the character necessary to stand up to the President and be an independent, moral CIA Director."

 
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Bystander Intervention Training

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What do you do if you are in a public place and witness hateful harassment?
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A BYSTANDER!

Wednesday, May 2, 7-9pm
St. Albert the Great Church
1095 Channing Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Click here for directions.

Gain tools and practice to be able to respond to hate incidents due to religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender or any other factors.
Learn how to overcome the bystander effect and de-escalate the situation in a non-confrontational way.

Led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and sponsored by Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, this is the first time this training will be presented in Palo Alto.

The workshop is free. Donations will be accepted at the event. 

Help us spread the word by sharing our Facebook page.

Click here to download a PDF flyer.  Click here to download a jpg flyer. 

Click here to read a San Jose Mercury News article about the workshop.

Everyone is welcome.
To register, complete the form below (click "Read more" if you don't see the form) and hit "Submit."
Registration is very helpful, but not required.

 
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UPDATED: Faith Coalition Condemns Nomination of Haspel for CIA due to Past Record on Torture

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: Haspel's hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee is schedule for Wed., May 9.
Please call your Senators every single day until the vote is taken.
One of California's own Senators, Diane Feinstein, is a particularly important contact - she has not said yet how she will vote!
CALL SENATOR FEINSTEIN every day and URGE HER TO VOTE AGAINST GINA HASPEL on deep moral grounds. 
Call Feinstein's office at 202-224-3841 or 415-393-0707 to say NO to Haspel!

March 13, 2018 NRCAT Press Release:
"With news that President Trump plans to nominate CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to replace Mike Pompeo as CIA Director, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) reiterates its call for no new government jobs for torturers. Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director, said, 'It is morally repugnant that a former head of a CIA torture site who helped destroy videotaped evidence of torture would be elevated to the role of CIA Director. Haspel cannot be trusted to follow the law nor represent our country's fundamental values of ethical government and transparency.'"

As a long-time member of NRCAT, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice asks you to:
1) contact your Senators and urge them to VOTE NO on Haspel nomination. (See below for contact information for Senators Feinstein and Harris.)
2) sign NRCAT's petition to the U.S. Senate stating, "It is a moral outrage for someone who headed a CIA torture site and destroyed videotaped evidence of torture to become CIA Director. Stand up for our democracy and the rule of law by blocking President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director." Click here to sign.

Read the April 27 ACLU article for more information about Haspel's involvement in the CIA "black site" in Thailand, the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and her involvement in ordering the destruction of CIA videotapes.  ACLU also joins several senators in questioning the CIA's unprecedented activities promoting Haspel's nomination. Read the May 4th article here.

More background material from the ACLU and a link to a letter signing page to U.S. Senators (where you can sign the letter as is or add your own comments) is provided by this Peninsula Peace & Justice Center action page. Or you may use the information below to contact California Senators directly. 


 
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March for Our Lives -- Local Events

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Saturday, March 24 - Across the Country

March with kids and their families to demand that their lives and safety be a priority, and we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools.  

Join one of 819 marches!

Local marches currently planned in Redwood City, San Mateo, San Jose, San Franisco, Oakland and Santa Cruz. Click "Read More" below for details. Visit the national March for Our Lives website to sign the petition, learn more, and donate.


 
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Thoughts & Prayers - or Isaiah? A Response to the High School Shooting in Florida

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In response to the horrific shooting at a high school in Floriday, MVPJ member Craig Wiesner wrote an article for Tikkun Daily Blog. Start it here then go to the Tikkun website to read the whole piece.

"Thoughts and Prayers? What the Prophet Isaiah Said"
by Craig Wiesner

17 more dead. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Sackcloth, ashes, bowing your head… Actually, on the night 17 people were killed in Florida, I thought to myself that maybe my husband and I should fast. We didn’t. We did sit and watch the news as details of the mass shooting at a high school in Florida were slowly revealed. We closed our eyes in prayer, feeling helpless, angry, sad.

17 dead, the shooter in custody, parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, neighbors, grieving. A chorus rings out “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Two words come to mind when I hear or read that phrase coming from people in power who could do so much more than think and pray. Then, yesterday, the pastor of our church asked me if I would lead the Time for the Child in us all at church this Sunday. “What’s the scripture?” I asked. Curious? Read on!


Isaiah 58:1-5 English Standard Version (ESV)

True and False Fasting

“Cry aloud; do not hold back;

lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression,

to the house of Jacob their sins.

 
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"Let My People Stay!" 86 Jewish Leaders Arrested on Capitol Hill

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On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 86 rabbis and Jewish leaders were arrested in the Capitol during a solidarity vigil for Dreamers. Among them was Rabbi Sheldon Lewis, a local faith leader and cofounder of Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice.

Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice was one of the organizers of the event. Click here to visit their Facebook report and watch the video. If you look carefully about 45 seconds in you will see Rabbi Lewis!

 
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State Assembly Members Berman & Low on Sensible Firearm Safety Legislation

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Join this roundtable discussion hosted by faith leaders with State Assembly Members Mark Berman and Evan Low. They will present options for action that are currently underway for sensible firearm legislation, as well as future legislation that we can support.

Saturday, January 20, 3-4:30pm
Westhope Presbyterian Church

12850 Saratoga Ave.
Saratoga 95070 

If possible, please RSVP to esfishrev@gmail.com. RSVP helpful but not required.

 
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No "war on Christmas" but Opportunities to Learn, Respect and Love

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Fr. Kevin O'Brien, a Jesuit priest and Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley (part of Santa Clara University) is featured in this video, inviting us all to a culture of encounter, not confrontation.

"Jesus was concerned about promoting what he called the 'reign of God.' This reign, this community of justice, peace and love -- that to him was more important than any title for himself."

In a pluralistic society, we need to listen, respect and learn from people who are different than us. Quoting Pope Francis, O'Brien claims, "Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something about God."

 
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Watch "The Sultan and the Saint" on PBS on Dec. 26, 8pm

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PBS will broadcast "The Sultan and the Saint" nationwide on Tuesday, December 16. The film is a powerful depiction of Muslim-Christian peace, telling the story of St. Francis of Assisi’s trip to Egypt during the wars of the Fifth Crusade (1217-1221).  Francis enters Sultan al-Kamil’s military camp, and through dialogue and prayer, the two lay the groundwork for an end to the bloodshed. Narrated by Jeremy Irons, the film also includes interviews by scholars, historians and religious leaders.

"The Sultan and the Saint" will show on the local PBS station KQED from 8pm-9pm, Tuesday, Dec. 26. Check local listing for other times.

Islamic Scholar Homayra Ziad observes, "These two were indeed seeking peace in the midst of war, so they were open to being transformed by the person who was alledgedly their enemy." Set in the past, the film speaks with urgency to our present world.

You are also encouraged to host a broadcast viewing party in your home, congregation or community. Sign-up by clicking here and a discussion guide will be provided.

 
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Statement of Solidarity and Protest

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As persons of faith representing diverse religious traditions and commitments, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice stands in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters and decries any effort to divide communities, intimidate adherents of Islam, and propagate hatred, racism, and disunity. Together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other religious leaders throughout the world, we believe God calls on us to love one another and to support the flourishing of all peoples and nations on earth. 

We therefore call on the government of the United States and the President in particular to disavow the extremist propaganda of Britain First and other hate-mongering organizations. We urge Mr. Trump to remove his recent retweets of this group and make clear his opposition to all acts of bigotry and attempts to intimidate and increase divisions. We appeal to our government, faith communities, and all people to work ardently for healing, respect and unity.

 
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