Monday, June 25, 2007

"Drive Out the Money Changes" Bill Moyers Speech to UCC

Click here to listen to Bill Moyers' terrific speech to UCC

Here's a summary by W. Evan Golder

June 23, 2007

In a speech inflamed with passion, anger and an altar call's possibility of hope, Bill Moyers spoke to General Synod on Saturday morning about poverty and justice. His 57-minute keynote address – interrupted by applause more than three dozen times and followed by a two-minute standing ovation –lamented the growing gap between the rich and poor in America and called the UCC to act in the name of the Jesus who was a disturber of the peace and threw the rascals out.

"I have come to say that America's revolutionary heritage – and America's revolutionary spirit – "life, liberty and the pursuit of justice, through government of, by, and for the people" – is under siege," he said. "And if churches of conscience don't take the lead in their rescue and revival, we can lose our democracy!"

Although an ordained Baptist minister, Moyers and his family have been members of the Garden City (N.Y.) Community UCC for 40 years, and now worship at The Riverside Church (UCC/American Baptist) in Manhattan.

"I am at home in the UCC," he said. "I thank God for your witness, and for the storied heritage of the UCC. This United Church has a lineage that has influenced the American experiment far beyond its numbers and treasures.

"You have raised a prophetic voice against the militarism, materialism and racism that chokes America's arteries. You have placed yourselves in the thick of the fight for social justice. You have aligned yourself on the side of liberty, equality and compassion.

"And you have been a church of prominent firsts: first to ordain an African American, first to ordain a woman, and first to ordain an openly gay person.

"Moyers pointed out that 11 signers of the Declaration of Independence were members of UCC predecessor churches. Speaking of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he said that once those words were abroad, every human being who heard them could imagine another world possibility.

"They could think differently about the value that had been arbitrarily assigned to their lives by others," he said. However, he said, "The man who wrote those words knew it couldn't last. (Jefferson) "knew from his own experience the perversity of owning another person as chattel. For the hands that wrote those words – 'all men are created equal' – also stroked the breasts and caressed the thighs of a slave woman named Sally Hennings. It is no secret.

"Thomas Jefferson got it right, you see," Moyers continued, "but he lived it wrong. He was imbedded in the human condition. "Addicted to his own place and privilege, he could send the noblest sentiments winging around the world, but refuse to let them lodge in his own home."

Moyers pointed out that this conflict between power and justice has come down through the ages. He gave as an example Job's protests against a world where the wicked prosper and the innocent suffer."

Job saw that poverty and injustice were proscribed by the powers-that-be who arranged the social order to serve their own self-interest and called upon obliging priests to bless it as God's will," he said. He cited the spectacular rise in the number of gated communities, both in Southern California and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as an example of today's powers-that-be to keep the poor and the lonely invisible.

"But," he said, "the realities on the ground don't go away," and told stories from contemporary life: woefully inadequate public education in New York City, deaths from Chicago's record heat wave in 1995, the plight of a homeless person in Los Angeles, and a UNICEF report card that ranks the United States near the bottom in child well-being in the developed world.

"I have to confess," he said, "it's a mystery to me. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me.'... You have to wonder how this so-called Christian nation leaves so many children to suffer."

"For 30 years," Moyers said, "we have witnessed a class war fought from the top down against the idea and ideal of equality. It has been a drive by a radical elite to gain ascendancy over politics and to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that checked the excesses of private power."

It's as if you invited 100 persons to a party, divided a pie into five pieces and gave four pieces all to one person, leaving one piece for the remaining 99, he said. "Don't be surprised if they fight over it," he said, "which is exactly what's happening when people look at their wages and then their taxes and end up hating the government and anything it does. The strain on working people and on family life has become intense," he said. "Television sets and cell phones and iPods are cheap, but higher education, health care, public transportation, drugs, housing and cars have risen in price faster than typical family incomes."

What's been happening to working people is "the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a political religion of fundamentalism deeply opposed to any civil and human right that threatens its paternalism, and a series of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us," he said.

Moyers concluded with an "altar call."

"Poverty and justice are religious issues," he said, "and Jesus moves among the disinherited." He imagined Jesus "striding through the holy precincts that had been transformed into a market place, a stock exchange, upsetting the dealers, scattering their money across the floor, even bouncing them forcefully from the temple.

"Indignant at a profane violation of the sacred, Jesus threw the rascals out," he said. Challenging the audience, Moyers reminded them of that Jesus. "Let's call that Jesus back to duty, and drive the money changers from the temple of democracy," he said. "If you don't, who will?"

Saturday, June 23, 2007

United Church of Christ Calls for End to the War in Iraq

The Collegium of Officers (the five elected officers) of the United Church of Christ took action today to call for an end to the Iraq war.

Just as they were beginning to celebrate the UCC's diamond jubilee, delegates and visitors to the 26th General Synod heard a the pastoral letter calling the war in Iraq "the arrogant unilateralism of preemptive war." The letter included a confession that "too often the church has been little more than a silent witness" to the deaths of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

The letter was endorsed by UCC's Conference Ministers (the leaders of our geographic jurisdictions) and by its Seminary Presidents. It was endorsed also by the full body of the General Synod Friday afternoon

The delegates and visitors interrupted the reading of the letter with a standing ovation and afterwards voted to add the name of the General Synod. Delegates were invited to add their names as individuals. And as the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, told a packed news conference, all across the nation members of the UCC who were watching the Synod on live streaming video would have a chance to sign the letter as well.

The Pastoral Letter follows:

A Pastoral Letter on the Iraq War
From the Collegium of Officers
United Church of Christ

June 22, 2007

“God expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry"
(Isaiah 5.7)

The war in Iraq is now in its fifth year. Justified as a means to end oppression, this war has imposed the new oppression of terror on the people of Iraq. Justified as the only way to protect the world from weapons of mass destruction, this war has led to the massive destruction of communal life in Iraq. Justified as a means to end the rule of terror, this war has bred more terror. Every day we look for justice, but all we see is bloodshed. Every day we yearn for righteousness, but all we hear is a cry.

Thousands of precious American lives have been lost; thousands more have been altered forever by profound injuries. We grieve each loss and embrace bereaved families with our prayers and compassion. Tens of thousands more innocent Iraqi lives are daily being offered on the altar of preemptive war and sectarian violence. They, too, are precious, and we weep for them. In our name human rights have been violated, abuse and torture sanctioned, civil liberties dismantled, Iraqi infrastructure and lives destroyed.. Billions of dollars have been diverted from education, health care, and the needs of the poor in this land and around the world. Efforts to restrain the real sources of global terrorism have been ignored or subverted. Trust and respect for the United States throughout the world has been traded for self-serving political gain. Every day we look for justice, but all we see is bloodshed. Every day we yearn for righteousness, but all we hear is a cry.

We confess that too often the church has been little more than a silent witness to evil deeds. We have prayed without protest. We have recoiled from the horror this war has unleashed without resisting the arrogance and folly at its heart. We have been more afraid of conflict in our churches than outraged over the deceptions that have killed thousands. We have confused patriotism with self-interest. As citizens of this land we have been made complicit in the bloodshed and the cries. Lord, have mercy upon us.

In the midst of our lament we give thanks – for pastors and laity who have raised courageous voices against the violence and the deceit, for military personnel who have served with honor and integrity, for chaplains who have cared for soldiers and their families with compassion and courage, for veterans whose experience has led them to say, “no more,” for humanitarian groups, including the Middle East Council of Churches, who have cared for the victims of violence and the growing tide of refugees, for the fragile Christian community in Iraq that continues to bear witness to the Gospel under intense pressure and fear, for public officials who have challenged this war risking reputation and career. The Gospel witness has not been completely silenced, and for this we are grateful.

Today we call for an end to this war, an end to our reliance on violence as the first, rather than the last resort, an end to the arrogant unilateralism of preemptive war. Today we call for the humility and courage to acknowledge failure and error, to accept the futility of our current path, and we cry out for the creativity to seek new paths of peacemaking in the Middle East, through regional engagement and true multinational policing. Today we call for acknowledgement of our responsibility for the destruction caused by sanctions and war, thereby, we pray, beginning to rebuild trust in the Middle East and around the world. Today we call for repentance in our nation and for the recognition in our churches that security is found in submitting to Christ, not by dominating others.

To this end may we join protest to prayer, support ministries of compassion for victims here and in the Middle East, cast off the fear that has made us accept the way of violence and return again to the way of Jesus. Thus may bloodshed end and cries be transformed to the harmonies of justice and the melodies of peace. For this we yearn, for this we pray, and toward this end we rededicate ourselves as children of a loving God who gives “light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

John H. Thomas
Linda Jaramillo
Edith A. Guffey
José A. Malayang
Cally Rogers-Witte

You too can add your name to the list of endorsers by following this link:

Friday, June 22, 2007

Faith in Public Life Releases Map of Progressive Religious Leadership

Congratulations to Jennifer Butler and our friends at Faith in Public Life for what appears to be a fascinating and comprehensive database of progressive religious leaders and organizations across the US.

"Mapping Faith: The Strength, Diversity and Growth of Faith Groups Seeking Justice and the Common Good" enables activists and reporters to search for progressive faith leaders by issue and by state.

Click here to download the complete report.

The map lauched yesterday is reportedly creating a buzz in the media and blog world and is likely to draw more attention to progressive faith activism.

For more information including a link to the press conference of the launch click here

Monday, June 18, 2007

Alliance of Baptists Leaders Conclude Trip to Sri Lanka

Stan Hastey, Jim Hopkins and Joann Davis in front of Beligodapitiya Baptist Church, a rural church located amidst paddy fields

A delegation of Alliance of Baptists leaders, Stan Hastey (Minister for Ecumenical and Missional Partnerships), Jim Hopkins (President), Joann Davis (Chair, Missions Committee) spent a week in Sri Lanka with the hope of cementing the partnership begun with Sri Lankan Baptists about 5 years ago. I accompanied them on the trip.

The delegation hoping to listen to and learn from Sri Lanka, met with Baptist pastors, travelled to churches in the village of Beligodapitiya and Kandy, met with the faculty at the Theological College at Pilimatalawa, several religious leaders, public officials from both the Sinhala and Tamil communities, and preached in churches. Among their more interesting meetings were with Rev. Ranjini Liyanaarchchi (the only ordained woman among Sri Lankan Baptists).

The visit was not without tensions. A resolution passed by the Alliance Convocation in 2004, opposing a US constitutional amendment then before congress on defining marriage, was interpreted by some Sri Lankan Baptists as an Alliance position supporting same sex marriage. The Alliance has a policy of non-discrimination towards persons with a homosexual orientation in its hiring practices and in its recruitment of board members. While churches in Alliances' membership may have policies affirming same-sex marriage, the Alliance as an organization has no policy on same-sex marriage.

Yet, the controversy created a new opportunity. I had several conversations with Sri Lankan Baptist leaders about the Christian response to persons with a homosexual orientation, something they would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise. In my next trip I am invited to work with Baptist pastors to get a handle on this issue.
The Alliance of Baptists leaders will consider how best to deepen the partnership based on what they heard from Sri Lankan leaders.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sri Lanka's Collective Suicide

Dr. Vinoth Ramachandra, a Sri Lankan Evangelical scholar and theologian published a must read article in the "The Nation" newspaper of June 8, 2007. It provides a sharp analysis that is important for all of us concerned with peace in Sri Lanka to consider.

Collective Suicide

The recent eviction of Tamil youth from lodgings in Colombo and their forced ‘repatriation’ to the north and east must have left the LTTE rubbing their hands with glee. Not only does this make for excellent propaganda against Sinhala racism but it gives back to the LTTE the very people who were escaping their clutches by fleeing south. Ever since the massacres of July 1983, the Sri Lankan army and police have been regularly recruiting Tamils for the separatist cause. Instead of winning “the hearts and minds” of the Tamils in the north and east, and so isolating the LTTE, the government’s endless acts of violence against its own citizens plays right into the hands of the LTTE.

Sri Lanka has long fallen into the category of a “failed state”. It is ruled by a non-elected “inner circle” comprising the President, his brothers and his friends. There is a total breakdown of the rule of law. Criminal gangs and death squads roam unhampered. Corruption is rampant, and the Defence Ministry is the biggest defaulter on debts to public sector utilities. The CID is employed to intimidate all critics, and the judiciary has lost its final shreds of independence. The civil service has been so politicised that is has become incompetent. The government has absolutely no interest in the protection and welfare of its non-Sinhalese citizens.

We have almost half a million internally displaced persons, the vast majority of them Tamils. If Sinhalese villagers are butchered by the LTTE, the President immediately offers their families financial compensation. Young men in the village are given machine guns, a modicum of “training”, and appointed as Home Guards. But when Tamils in the north and east lose their lives or homes, it is left to local NGOs, churches and international NGOs to come to their aid. The present regime is clearly a Sinhala regime that does not regard these Tamil refugees as equal citizens of Sri Lanka, despite all the rhetoric about a “unitary Sri Lanka”. If you keep treating people like foreigners or second-class citizens, don’t be surprised that they demand a state of their own.

Why has this senseless war dragged on for so long, with no sign of ending? I suggest the following reasons, among others:

(1) Neither the Sinhala political leadership nor those promoting and funding the LTTE have any stake in the future of this country. All their children are safely settled in the West, and their fortunes in offshore banks. They don’t have to suffer the consequences of their respective nationalisms. The brunt of the war is borne by poor Sinhalese and Tamils who have nowhere else to live. Those who still talk of a “military victory” do so from inside their bullet-proof cars and behind their fortified mansions (all paid for by local taxpayers).

(2) The LTTE have provided the Sinhala political leaders with a convenient scapegoat for all their failures and crimes over the years. The war can also be blamed for the economic backwardness due to mismanagement, corruption and sheer incompetence on the part of politicians and government bureaucrats.

(3) Neither side has leaders with the courage to speak the truth. There can only be healing if we admit that we are wounded and need to be healed. Telling the truth, which begins with public confession of the wrongs we have done to others, is painful and humbling, but it is an indication of human maturity. When any confession of wrongdoing is seen as “losing face”, then there is no hope for peace.

Each day that this war drags on is a day that makes eventual healing and restoration more difficult. We already suffer a massive “brain drain”, many of those who emigrate being Sinhalese. Replacing this loss of experienced and skilled professionals will take many generations. And even if the LTTE leadership were to be killed in a “military victory”, who will guarantee that there will be no remnants who continue to seek bloody revenge in the future? It is our children and their children who will reap the folly of the present regime’s policies. It is a source of wonder to many foreigners that a country with such rich resources in natural beauty, free education and health services, and human manpower, should be committing collective suicide on the scale that we now witness in Sri Lanka.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ecumenical Study Seminar at Islamic Society of North America Convention

For the second time Islamic Society of North America has invited the Christian ecumenical community to conduct a study seminar at the ISNA convention this labor day weekend August 31 - September 3 in Chicago. 35 - 40,000 Muslims are expected to attend this massive convention.

The study group will conduct seminars on interesting themes such as Christian theologies of building relationships with Muslims, and explore Muslim perspectives on Christian issues with some of the leading Islamic scholars.

One on day we will take a trip to the African American Islamic Convention of "Mosque Cares" the organization of Imam W.D. Mohammad which is also held in Chicago during the same weekend.

Please click here for brochure with more information. Registration closes on July 31st.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Churches Protest Forced Evictions of Over 300 Tamils from Colombo

Church leaders were among those who protested at Colombo's Lipton Circus this afternoon against the forced eviction of over 300 Tamil persons from "lodges" in Colombo. They gathered at the Cinnamon Gardens Baptist Church premises to organize themselves from which point they joined many other groups.

More than 300 Tamils who live in lodges in Colombo suburbs have been forcibly evacuated by the Sri Lankan Police, after a massive search operation in the Wellawatte, Kotahena, Pettah and Wattala areas in the morning of 7th June. According to news reports, 47 Tamils were forcefully taken from a single lodge located in Station Road in Wellawatte. Another lodge in the area reported 35 arrests by the Police.

Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo issued the following statement

I refer to the disturbing news that Tamil civilians in and around Wellawatte and Pettah are being indiscriminately rounded up and deported to the Tamil areas in the North and East without adequate investigation or explanation.

This is a serious violation of the dignity and civic rights of these citizens of Sri Lanka and if these reports are true, this must be stopped and alternate security measures that safeguard the civic rights of all communities enforced.

The plight of those who have already been deported must be gone into immediately and appropriate remedial steps taken to enable them to once again pursue their legitimate business and interests. Where there has been reasonable suspicion for arrest and investigation, appropriate security procedures must be followed. In all this, the right of all communities in our country to be free to travel for personal and official business must be ensured by the State.

It is within this framework of equal civic rights and the freedom of travel and residence that all necessary security measures and contingency plans must be executed. I appeal to the President of the country to address these concerns speedily and with understanding.


Today, the Supreme Court ordered an immediate halt to the eviction. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court issued the order following a petition filed by a political activist group "Centre for Policy Alternatives", which argued that yesterday's action was a violation of basic human rights.

"The court will hear the case on June 22," an official said, adding that police Inspector General Victor Perera and four officers in charge of police stations here were restrained from carrying out any eviction pending the court hearing.

A CPA spokeswoman said they will go before the apex court seeking redress for those already evicted. The government said yesterday 376 people were evicted in seven buses and would be taken to Jaffna, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa


The Sri Lankan Blogosphere is reacting strongly to the recent move by the authorities to evacuate some Tamil people in Colombo. A lot of blogs have expressed anger and rage at the government’s actions, while others have attempted to understand the reasons for this move. Another debate appears to if this is a form of ethnic cleansing or sheer ineptness on part of the government.

1967-2007: The “Seventh” Day Has Meant No Respite

Our colleagues of the United Church of Christ/ Disciples of Christ issued the following message A message on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the 1967 War

June 5, 2007

For the last 40 years, the Palestinian people have lived under occupation. For the past 40 years, the Israeli people have lived with an ongoing debate about what to do with the occupied territories. Generations of Palestinians in the occupied territories have experienced checkpoints with soldiers, curfews, and restricted access; home demolitions for the sake of settlement and barrier construction; and a lack of legal status as citizens of any state, forced to obtain permits to visit family, to seek medical care, freely worship in particular churches or mosques, or tend their agricultural fields. Generations of Israelis have experienced mandatory military service in the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai, and the Golan Heights; insecurity resulting from unresolved conflict over the land; and unheeded local and international calls to end the fact and practices of occupation. As the occupation enters its fifth decade, settlements continue to be expanded, the separation barrier continues to be built, and Israeli forces continue to exert control over the Palestinian people within the occupied territories.

June, 1967 represents a watershed moment in the history of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Forty years ago this week, following provocative actions by Arab states (particularly Egypt’s closing of the Strait of Tiran) and increasing calls within Israel for preemptive military strikes against its neighbors, the Six-Day War or al-Naksa [the “setback” in Arabic] resulted in Israeli forces occupying Arab East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula, including Gaza. Since then, the Sinai has been returned to Egypt as a part of the Camp David Agreements and Peace Accords of 1978-1979 between Israel and Egypt, and Israel withdrew settlements and forces from Gaza in autumn, 2005 (yet continues to control access to Gaza).

The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have consistently called for an end to Israeli occupation of Arab lands, consistent with UN resolutions and international law. We continue to advocate, with increasing urgency, for an end to all violence. Israel must enjoy its full security and sovereignty, next to a viable Palestinian state—also fully secure and sovereign—with borders demarcated by the Green Line (the 1948 armistice line recognized internationally). Jerusalem, a city of deep spiritual importance to all three Abrahamic faiths, must be shared—the capital for both states. The US government should be more deeply engaged as an even-handed influence, as resolution to this conflict is in the interest of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans.

Beyond the necessary political resolution of conflict, an end to the occupation, and indeed a comprehensive resolution to the broader Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we seek a peace that upholds the dignity and value of every person—Palestinian and Israeli, Jew, Christian, and Muslim. The people of the entire Middle East have suffered far too long, and far too much, as a result of this conflict, at the center of which is the occupation. From the gross militarization of the region to the pregnant mother who is denied access to medical facilities and gives birth at a checkpoint, all levels of society have been impacted in inhumane ways. The occupation has created victims and hostages to a conflict that has become institutionalized, patterns that have become routine in their inadmissibility, and practices that are wholly unacceptable in human terms.

Yet hope lies in daily acts of non-violent resistance: Palestinian schoolchildren passing through barriers and checkpoints to seek their education and Israeli activists proclaiming “Stop the Occupation” from the streets of Jerusalem; Palestinians rebuilding their homes multiple times on their own land after watching them be demolished and not receiving permits to build, and Israelis protesting home demolitions; Palestinians and Israelis seeking to go about their daily lives, even in the midst of fear; churches the world over offering prayers for peace with justice in many languages, and offering a witness of solidarity and witness with all those who yearn for liberation.

But over the course of four decades, the situation has become exceedingly volatile, and positions have become deeply entrenched. As difficult as it might seem to resolve the outstanding issues (Jerusalem, borders, settlements, refugees, and security), prolonging the political status quo only has resulted in new facts on the occupied ground, including settlements, the separation barrier, and exclusive access roads—all of which have shifted the negotiating parameters and led to increased violence, which we have strongly opposed.

This week, we join with those who call attention to the devastating and unending “seventh” day of the Six-Day War—the results of the 1967 War. The last forty years have not been a “Sabbath” for anyone. We reiterate our commitment to a resolution to this enduring conflict, and to an end to the occupation. Our occupation should be the pursuit of peace with justice for all of God’s people. This week, we join the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem in a prayer they share with all of us:

O loving God,
We remember those who struggle for freedom,
We remember the disabled who cling on to hope,
We remember the injured who fight for their life,
We remember the captives who yearn for freedom,
We remember the deportees who long for the homeland.
We remember our towns, villages and camps that are often under siege.
We remember the children whose eyes reflect the light of the future,
We remember the brave who say “no” to injustice,
We lift the olive branch which says “yes’ to a just peace
O God, we call upon you to grant us your patience, determination and power so that we may say:
No to hate and yes to love,
No to death and yes to life,
No to falsehood and yes to truth
No to oppression and yes to justice,
No to cruelty and yes to mercy,
No to violence and yes to the path of peace,
No, no matter what it may cost, and yes, no matter what it may cost.
For you are the source of love leading to reconciliation and forgiveness. Amen.

Rev. John H. Thomas Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins
General Minister and President General Minister and President
United Church of Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte Rev. Dr. David Vargas
Executive Minister President
Wider Church Ministries Division of Overseas Ministries
Co-Executive Co-Executive
Common Global Ministries Board Common Global Ministries Board

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Left Behind -- Media Matters Report

Travels, including my present trip to Sri Lanka prevented me from writing timely blog posts. In the next few days I will write several important items including plans for an interfaith fast to bring an end to the war in Iraq.

For now -- here's info on an important report that was issued last week by Media Matters on the lack of balanced representation of religion in the media.

Progressive Religious Leaders Call for a
Balanced Representation of Religion in the Media

The report is available online at:
Watch the video of press conference:

Washington, D.C. – Media Matters for America, along with Faith in Public Life and progressive religious leaders from throughout the country, held a press conference today to discuss “Left Behind: The Skewed Representation of Religion in the Major News Media,” a new report documenting the overrepresentation of conservative religious figures in the major news media. Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog organization; Faith in Public Life, an organization dedicated to increasing the strength and visibility of faith leaders working for justice and the common good; and the diverse group of progressive religious leaders called on major media outlets to provide a more balanced expression of religious values and views.

“The overwhelming presence in the news media of conservative religious voices leads to the false implication that to be religious is to be conservative, and worse, that to be progressive is to lack faith or even to be against faith. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “People of faith have long been, and will continue to be, active leaders on progressive causes for justice. Our faith compels it.”

“I have long felt the media have given Americans a distorted view of what people of faith believe. This research from Media Matters proves that. I hope both the print and electronic media in this country will now seek the balance so many of them profess to have as they continue to report issues of religion and its impact on our society, government, and the American culture,” said Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA.