Subject: NCC Weekly News: Quotes, Called to Resist Bigotry

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 From Jim: Some Favorite Quotes

For many years, I have maintained a file of quotes. Here are some of my favorites:

"My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me:  a little heart, a little brotherhood.  The '80s were about acquiring--acquiring wealth, power, prestige.  I know.  I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most.  But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty.  It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime.  I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul."

     -Lee Atwater, Life magazine, Feb. 1991.

"You basically have two choices.  One choice is to assume the worst, and then you can be guaranteed that it will happen.  The other is to assume that there is hope for change, and then it's possible that by acting you will help effect change.  So you've got two choices.  One guarantees that the worst will happen.  The other leaves open the possibility that things might be better.  Given those two choices, a rational person doesn't hesitate."

     -Noam Chomsky

"The problem with the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat."

     -William Sloane Coffin

"I have to be conservative because I want to conserve my neighborhood, liberal to keep my mind open, and radical to carry a picket sign."

     -Anne Devenney, an elderly woman leader of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, quoted in the New York Times, 7/17/94

"My way of putting it is that Christians are called to live nonviolently not because we believe nonviolence is a strategy to rid the world of war, but in a world of war as faithful followers of Christ we cannot imagine being anything other than nonviolent.

That doesn't mean in any way that we withdraw from the world, but rather we want to serve our Christian and non-Christian brothers and sisters as much as possible by trying to find ways to live cooperatively in a manner that does not need to resort to violence."

     -Stanley Hauerwas

Three principles derived from Catholic social teachings and articulated by David Hollenbach, SJ, in his book entitled “Claims in Conflict”:
  1. The needs of the poor take priority over the wants of the rich.
  2. The freedom of the dominated takes priority over the liberty of the powerful.
  3. The participation of marginalized groups takes priority over the preservation of an order that excludes them.
"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world.  In fact, that is all that ever has."

     -Margaret Mead

Unity of spirit is usually the biggest human challenge.  We want to see ourselves, or our kind or clan or tribe or nation – or color, gender, or particular way of understanding – as the best or most “right” in the world.  We forget that each of us is part of the whole, and that it’s only when we’re connected that we become a living and functional part of the whole.  Sacrifice and offering take us toward that wholeness, and the most central part of offering a sacrifice is realizing that something besides your own self is also holy and worthy of honor.

     -Katharine Jefferts Schori

“I am against privilege, but I love it.”

     -Viscount Tonypandy

Yours in Christ,

Jim Winkler
President and General Secretary

Called to Resist Bigotry — A Statement of Faithful Obedience

During elections, religious leaders have an obligation to lift up the moral values of their faith traditions that offer instruction and guidance on issues of public consequence. When entering into the public sphere, faith leaders must take care to avoid being used by politics or politicians, or to allow their faith to be exploited for partisan causes or their faith communities turned into mere political constituencies.

As Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.”

The right questions, for Christians, include: What does the Bible say? What does Jesus teach? How can those convictions best be applied to the complex and imperfect choices of political elections? Various Christians will reach different conclusions on these questions – and vote differently – and those differences must be respected in a democratic and civil society.

At significant times in history, however, Christians from across the political spectrum come together around political realities that threaten the fundamental integrity of Christian faith and the well-being of society itself. Sometimes what is called politics raises moral crises, in which our faith is literally at stake in the way we respond.

UCC takes aim at gun violence in May

The United Church of Christ has long advocated for sensible, responsible policies to end gun violence. More than 20 years ago, in July of 1995, the General Synod passed three resolutions dealing with guns and violence in our society. This May, the church is amplifying the call for change, encouraging advocacy around stricter gun laws with a sharable video message from one of our congregations forever changed by a shooter with a gun. A new 5-part Bible study will also be introduced.

The Rev. Matthew Crebbin, senior minister of Newtown (Conn.) Congregational UCC, and his community experienced heartbreak and grief after 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School were lost to "a horrific event of gun violence" in one of the worst mass shootings in our nation’s history.

"For people of faith, this is not a Second Amendment issue; it is a Second Commandment crisis," said Crebbin. "The near infatuation with the gun is moving dangerously close to becoming a full-blown worship of a false idol. We live in a time when common sense gun safety legislation –– like the strengthening of our national background check system –– cannot pass Congress, even though nearly 90 percent of our citizens support such a law.

UMC Boards challenge others to remove LGBTQ bar

Two boards of ordained ministry have challenged others to remove a hurdle that has stopped many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people from answering their call into ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church.

In an open letter released May 3, the chairs of the Baltimore-Washington Conference and New York Conference boards of ordained ministry called on other United Methodist conferences to join them in their decision to no longer inquire about the sexual orientation of their ministry candidates. The joint letter was signed by the Rev. Charles A. Parker for Baltimore-Washington and the Rev. William B. Pfohl for the New York Conference.

The two boards made those decisions earlier this year in different circumstances. But the two chairs wrote “it feels as though we have come to a similar time in The United Methodist Church regarding the equality of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers.”

This Week's Podcast: Subscribe TODAY!

The NCC is bringing the best, most interesting and relevant voices from the faith community to your mobile device. Every week NCC communications director Rev. Steven D. Martin interviews faith leaders, activists, and people from across the NCC's 38 member communions and affiliated organizations.

This week's guest is Dr. David Gushee, one of the drafters of "Called to Resist Bigotry," the statement highlighted above.  Dr. Gushee is a weekly columnist for Religion News Service, an author of 21 books, and a leader in the world of Christian ethics.  Each new episode goes online Friday afternoon.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in the iTunes Store and Stitcher Radio. If you like what you're hearing, please write a review. By doing this you will help us reach the widest possible audience!

Banners to Oppose Anti-Muslim Bigotry

To counter anti-Muslim bigotry, Interfaith Action for Human Rights joins with Shoulder to Shoulder and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Justice to call on U.S. religious communities to display banners signaling their support for the Muslim American community. 

The campaign follows in the tradition of similar banner campaigns, such as Save Darfur, Stand with Israel and Black Lives Matter. It aims to demonstrate that faith communities stand together with the Muslim American community.

There are three banner options:
  • Honor God: Say No to anti-Muslim Bigotry
  • We Stand with our Muslim neighbors
  • [Organization Name] stands with Muslim Americans
Banners come in two sizes: 2’ x 6’ - $140 or 3’ x 9’ - $200. 

Banners are weatherproof vinyl and have mounting grommets for easy hanging or posting. Price includes UPS Ground shipping and handling. Allow 14 days for delivery. Sorry, No PO Boxes Allowed.

Job Opportunities:

Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) seeks an Executive Director to lead the organization. IWJ has been a leader in the fight for economic and worker justice in the United States since 1996. IWJ educates, organizes and mobilizes people of faith, workers and advocates in support of economic justice and worker rights at the local, state and national levels.

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