Administrative Assistant, Justice & Witness Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
The week before the celebration of July 4, the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona’s SB 1070 and the Affordable Care Act (Health Care Law), both of which have serious implications for the ideals in the Declaration of Independence - “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
For example, the Supreme Court upheld for SB 1070 the “show me your papers” provision, thus opening the doors wide open to racial profiling. As an online comment says, “[i]f race is not a basis for suspecting somebody is undocumented, then the only way for Arizona to apply this is to ask EVERYBODY for papers.” With the decision on the Health Care Law, the implementation of the new Medicaid provisions is expected to slow down, which means that significantly fewer people than the projected 17 million, of which 75% of those individuals are people of color, would be covered under the Medicaid expansion.
If we aspire to be witnesses for racial justice, there is one more step beyond being “colorblind.” Our eyes need to be wide open to the realities of layers of racial inequity inherent in our social structures and mechanisms. Systemic inequities found in our institutions might even be validated by Christian teachings long forgotten. The Doctrine of Discovery is one such example.
The Doctrine of Discovery (DOD) is a principle of law developed in a series of 15th century Papal documents and 16th century charters by Christian European monarchs that contained a theological justification for the colonization of the rest of the world. For more than 500 years, it is legal and “moral” to seize the lands and resources of originally free and independent people, and to undermine their sovereignty.
After the 1776 Declaration of Independence, the Doctrine of Discovery continued to be expounded by the Supreme Court to support a series of decisions invalidating or ignoring aboriginal possession of land in favor of colonial or post-colonial governments. The DOD still governs United States Indian Law today and has been cited as recently as 2005 in the decision City Of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y.
In February 2012, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee denounced the “Doctrine of Discovery” that which has been used to subjugate and colonize Indigenous Peoples, and issued a statement calling the nature of the doctrine" fundamentally opposed to the gospel of Jesus”. The Unitarian Universalists also voted in their June 2012 General Assembly to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and to demand that the U.S. government fully implement the standards of the 2007 United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The truth that all are created equal would only be self-evident if, our inalienable rights are not built on the backs of those whose ancestors showed hospitality to our founders, and of those who build our nation in generations past and present with their ingenuity, toil and health. Let us be forever working towards the ideal that is GREATER life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL.
The United Church of Christ has 5,194 churches throughout the United States. Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.
President Obama says the U.S. “will do everything we can” to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and consequently would not rule out military action. However he said “[o]ur goal is to resolve this issue diplomatically, that would be preferable.” The President is right to favor the plowshare over the sword, but should be wary of sparks that could lead to the next conflagration in the Middle East.
The U.S. cannot afford another war. The American public is just coming to terms with the devastating cost, in lives and dollars, of two ill-considered wars. We will not casually accept another. There is little international support for a war. Europe is preoccupied with economic crisis, and global heavyweights Russia and China, who so far have agreed to economic sanctions against Iran, just vetoed UN actions against Syria to prevent military intervention there. While Arab states also want to keep Iran from getting the bomb, hearts and minds in the Middle East would not favor another U.S. war in the region, especially with the “Arab Spring” showing that democratic reforms are possible from within.
But even if diplomatic pressure grows, and Iran can “feel the pinch” of economic sanctions, there’s a risk a spark could ignite a war despite Washington’s preference for diplomacy. One spark might be Israel. Israel might act more precipitously than the U.S. to keep Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Israel took unilateral strikes against Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 to knock out their nuclear facilities. Israel may not wait for United Nations’ nuclear inspectors currently on the ground before deciding to handle the matter itself.
But even a limited Israeli airstrike risks enflaming the region. Not only would Iran retaliate, but its ally Hezb’allah could launch an attack from Lebanon. Syria’s regime, currently divided against its people, may regain support if it joins the fight. The U.S. would not stand by if Israel is attacked. Consequently, to avoid being drawn into a much wider conflict, the U.S. should do everything possible to restrain Israel from attacking.
A careless move by Iran could also ignite the region. Though not committed to confrontation itself, Iran has threatened actions that might provoke an armed response. Iran has boasted it might disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. This waterway facilitates up to a quarter of the world’s oil, and a blockade would have a severe global impact. The U.S. and its allies would promptly force open the Strait, but the price of oil could double. A spike in fuel prices would be politically costly in this election year and a big hit on businesses in this fragile economy.
However much Obama wants to avoid war, the situation is highly volatile. Any spark could inadvertently enflame the region and entangle the U.S. in another war that would cost lives, dollars desperately needed at home, and America’s political capital around the world. However, if the U.S. is committed to vigorous and creative diplomacy with Iran, and successfully constrains Tehran’s nuclear ambitions through negotiation, then Washington will gain much-needed support for addressing more urgent situations in the region and around the world. Most importantly, though, President Obama will have avoided the “next” war in the Middle East just as the previous ones draw to an end.
The United Church of Christ has more than 5,277 churches throughout the United States. Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.
If you are looking for a Witness for Justice that was written before June, 2009, you can request them from email@example.com.
Commentary: Similar Stunt, Different Day, Still Barbaric
June 28, 2018
Commentary: Collective Responsibility
June 21, 2018
Commentary: Making a Difference in Small But Significant Ways
June 14, 2018
Commentary: Sounding the Alarm
June 7, 2018
Commentary: Another One Bites the Dust
May 31, 2018
Commentary: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: A Movement of Her Own
May 24, 2018
Commentary: Shining a Light on Abuses Against Immigrants
May 10, 2018
Commentary: Seeking Peace in Korea: Hope or "Hooey"?
May 3, 2018
Commentary: Graceful Engagement
April 26, 2018
Commentary: Theologies of Genocide and Earth Day Ethics
April 19, 2018
Commentary: Anti-Racism Resources for Children and Families
April 12, 2018
Commentary: Alleluia is Our Cry
April 5, 2018
Commentary: Where are the Refugees? Moving from Service Provision to Community Organizing
March 29, 2018
Commentary: HIV Criminalization Is a Barrier to Ending the HIV Epidemic
March 22, 2018
Commentary: The Snake: Anti-Immigrant Propaganda Used to Dehumanize Our Neighbors
March 15, 2018
Commentary: Celebrating and Empowering Women
March 8, 2018
Commentary: The Power of “Never Again”
March 1, 2018
Commentary: Black History Month: Why it still matters.
February 22, 2018
Commentary: Reclaiming God’s Love and Justice through Sacred Conversations to End Racism
February 15, 2018
Commentary: Wise as Serpents, Gentle as Doves
February 8, 2018
Commentary: Shutting Down Did Not Shut Us Up
February 1, 2018
Commentary: Don't Adjust
January 25, 2018
Commentary: Justice work means working with the most vulnerable
January 18, 2018
Commentary: Joyful Resistance
January 11, 2018
Commentary: Uprooting the Sources of Harassment
January 04, 2018
Commentary: Do New Year’s Resolutions Actually Help Anyone?
December 28, 2017
Commentary: "Not in Our Town"
December 21, 2017
Commentary: Working for Justice is Intergenerational
December 14, 2017
Commentary: Toward a Global Compact on Migration for the Well-Being of All
December 07, 2017
Toward a Global Compact on Migration for the Well-Being of All
November 30, 2017
Rewriting the Story of U.S.-Philippines Relations
November 23, 2017
Welcome the Stranger Without Caveats or Conditions
November 16, 2017
Not This Tax Reform
November 9, 2017
Accompanying on the Journey to Justice
November 2, 2017
Your Health Matters: Get Covered
October 31, 2017
Deep into the Eye of the Hurricane in the Caribbean
October 19, 2017
It is up to US to stop gun violence
October 5, 2017
No Ban, No Raids, No Wall: Sanctuary for All
September 28, 2017
Rising Up for Equality
September 21, 2017
Our Displaced Neighbors
September 14, 2017
With Hurricane Harvey, a Compassion Deficit and Trump's Paris Problem
This Little Light
August 24, 2017
The Love of Children: Advocacy and Agency
August 17, 207
A Radical Engagement with Racism in Contested Spaces
August 11, 2017
Commentary: Three Great Loves
July 29, 2017
Commentary: Our State of Mass Incarceration
July 22, 2017
Commentary: The Intersection of HIV Stigma and Hope
July 13, 2017
Commentary: Tuvalu tells us, ignoring climate change won't make the problem go away
July 6, 2017
Commentary: Declaring a State of Moral Emergency: Taking the Pulse
June 29, 2017
Commentary: Let’s Lift Restrictions on the CDC, Allowing Research into Gun Violence Epidemic
June 22, 2017
Commentary: Rectifying injustice as we fight injustice
June 15, 2017
Commentary: 21st Century Race Matters
June 08, 2017
Commentary: The President's Deeply Flawed Budget Request
June 1, 2017
Commentary: Sanctuary Rising: Lifting up hope in times of fear and hate
May 25, 2017
Commentary: The “other” is not actually the problem!
May 18, 2017
Commentary: Moving from Lament to Hope
May 11, 2017
Commentary: A Reluctant Marcher
May 4, 2017
Commentary: Three Great Loves
April 27, 2017
Commentary: Lawmakers, Meet the Bible’s ‘Strangers, Widows and Orphans’
April 20, 2017
Commentary: That All May Be Represented
April 13, 2017
Commentary: Accessible and Affordable Healthcare: It's a Moral Imperative
April 6, 2017
Commentary: Republic of Fear
March 30, 2017
Commentary: Republic of Fear
March 30, 2017
Commentary: That "Adorable" Special Interest
March 23, 2017
Commentary: Glimpsing a Future without Barrierse
March 17, 2017
Commentary: In Search of a Moral Health Care System
March 9, 2017
Commentary: Let No One Pull You So Low
March 3, 2017
Commentary: Dismantle Racism: A Call to Action for Racial Justice
February 23, 2017
Commentary: Living into Our Legacy
February 16, 2017
Commentary: It’s our government. Let’s take it back!
February 9, 2017
Commentary: The Impact of the Obama Presidency
February 3, 2017
Commentary: Faith in the Future
January 26, 2017
Commentary: Keep It Moving
January 19, 2017
Commentary: Following Yonder Star (to DC?)
January 12, 2017
Commentary: The UCC Helping Lead the Sanctuary Movement in the Trump Era
January 5, 2017
Commentary: Was 2016 the Year of Environmental Justice?
December 29, 2016
Commentary: Listening for signs of hope
December 15, 2016
Commentary: Remember Sandy Hook with responsible gun laws
December 13, 2016
Commentary: Giving People Shelter is a Moral Duty
December 8, 2016
Commentary: Standing Rock and the Four Stages of Moral Maturation
December 1, 2016
Commentary: Thanksgiving or Thanks-taking?
November 24, 2016
Commentary: Whose Side is God On?
November 17, 2016
Commentary: A Nation Divided
November 10, 2016
The Long Haul
November 3, 2016
Commentary: Living Wages: Good for Workers, Employers, and Communities
October 27, 2016
Commentary: The End is Nigh! (But it's not November 8th)
October 18, 2016
Commentary: "unWelcome to America"
October 11, 2016
Let's Pray for Peace and People in Korea Peninsula
October 6, 2016
Commentary: Central Americans fleeing Violence need Sanctuary not Deportation
September 29, 2016
Commentary: "What does the Lord require of you?"
September 22, 2016
Commentary: What Do You Want Me To Do For You? (Mark 10:46-52)
September 15, 2016
Commentary: Not For Sale
September 8, 2016
Commentary: A Tale of Two Children
September 1, 2016
Commentary: Awakening the Nation with Action against Pipeline
August 25, 2016
Commentary: An Inconvenient Conclusion
August 18, 2016
Commentary: Pride Prevails
August 11, 2016
Commentary: Checking My Privilege
August 4, 2016
Commentary: Seeking Answers: It’s Time to Allow Federal Government to Research Gun Violence Epidemic
July 28, 2016
Commentary: What A Little Moonlight Can Do
July 21, 2016
CCommentary: Old Stories in Today's Time
July 14, 2016
Commentary: Let Us Not Forget
July 7, 2016
Commentary: A Crack in the Liberty Bell: Why Freedom Cannot Ring
June 30, 2016
Commentary: Guarding Interfaith Initiatives From Superficial Expressions of Inclusion
June 23, 2016
Commentary: Orlando: Anger, Rage and Profound Grief
June 16, 2016
Commentary: Further Into Moral Injury
June 9, 2016
Commentary: Summer Time and the Children Are Hungry
June 2, 2016
Commentary: In memoriam et pro pacem
May 26, 2016
Commentary: Of Blessings and Boycotts
May 19, 2016
Commentary: REPARATIONS for African Descendants… Is the U.S. there yet?
May 12, 2016
Commentary: Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage in the United States
May 5, 2016
April 28, 2016
Commentary: In Praise of House Parties
April 21, 2016
Commentary: My Brother’s Keeper
April 14, 2016
Commentary: Home of the Brave?
April 7, 2016
Commentary: “Never Again On Our Watch”
March 31, 2016
Commentary: Breaking News!
March 24, 2016
Commentary: Can We Heal Our Fractured Nation?
March 17, 2016
Commentary: Foolish, Stubborn, Underfunded Christians
March 10, 2016
Commentary: From Social Justice to Action to Ministry
March 3, 2016
Commentary: Racial Justice
February 25, 2016
Commentary: Silence = Death. Let’s raise our voices!
February 18, 2016
Commentary: Wisdom over power: a political lesson from a Mayan community
February 11, 2016
Commentary: You might say religious liberty is in my blood
February 4, 2016
Commentary: We Have a Heart Condition
January 28, 2016
Commentary: Cobbling Together a Purpose
January 21, 2016
Commentary: Hold Space for Grace
January 15, 2016
Commentary: The HIV Epidemic Isn’t Over, But It Could Be
January 7, 2016
Commentary: Enough is enough
December 31, 2015
Commentary: By Another Road: Averting Environmental Disaster
December 24, 2015
Commentary: The Bells of Bethlehem
December 17, 2015
Commentary: Pursue healing, justice, reconciliation, peace and reunification in Korea
December 10, 2015
Commentary: Let’s Put Our Soup Kitchens Out of Business
December 3, 2015
Commentary: Holiday Spirit
November 25, 2015
Commentary: A New Ball Game: Race, Power & Mizzou
November 19, 2015
Commentary: A Back to the Future Church
November 5, 2015
Commentary: Fair, Transparent, and Good Governance for All Peoples
October 29, 2015
Commentary: Human Problems, Human Solutions
October 22, 2015
Commentary: When you hear the term “Reproductive Justice,” what comes to mind?
October 15, 2015
Commentary: ‘Doctrine of Discovery: Junípero Serra’
October 8, 2015
Commentary: Why I Stand with Planned Parenthood
October 1, 2015
Commentary: Christian Responsibility
September 24, 2015
Commentary: The Kindness of Strangers
September 17, 2015
Commentary: Voting Rights Matter
September 10, 2015
Commentary: SOLAVAYA! The Challenges of U.S. and Cuba Relations
September 03, 2015
Commentary: Bright, Shiny Objects
August 27, 2015
Commentary: Julian Bond: Justice Ally and Icon, Now Justice Saint
August 20, 2015
Commentary: Broken Bootstraps
August 12, 2015
Commentary: Join the Struggle for Good Government
August 5, 2015
Commentary: A Congressional Agenda and Increased Attacks on Immigrants
July 30, 2015
Commentary: A Person of Distinction - Not Extinction
July 23, 2015
Commentary: Changing our Hearts to Change the World
July 16, 2015
Commentary: Reading Changes LIVES!
July 9, 2015
Commentary: The Interdependence of Independence
July 2, 2015
Commentary: Women's Bodies Are Not Battlefields
June 25, 2015
Commentary: The Movement of People: Human and Humane
June 18, 2015
Commentary: It’s Waking Up Time
June 14, 2015
Commentary: These Challenging Times
June 7, 2015
Commentary: The Call That Changed My Life
May 31, 2015
Commentary: Not Patiently Waiting
May 25, 2015
Commentary: Is God’s Justice Biased?
May 18, 2015
Commentary: Syria: Our Response to Crisis
May 11, 2015
Commentary: People of Faith Must Do More Than Pray
April 30, 2015
Commentary: "Like" Marriage Equality
April 23, 2015
Commentary: Breaking The Chains Of Injustice
April 16, 2015
Commentary: A Grave Called Garissa
April 9, 2015
Commentary: Following The Risen Christ In The 21st Century
April 2, 2015
Commentary: Race Chats: Walking Upon Sacred Ground
March 26, 2015
Commentary: Solidarity With Peoples Struggling Against Racism
March 19, 2015
Commentary: The Next Chapter in the Struggle for Racial Justice
March 12, 2015
Commentary: 'We who believe in freedom cannot rest'
March 5, 2015
Commentary: A Heart to Serve
February 26, 2015
Commentary: Greasing the Skids to Deeper Economic Distress via Fast Track
February 19, 2015
Commentary: Every month matters
February 12, 2015
Commentary: Better Together
February 5, 2015
Commentary: Everyone Loves a Domesticated Prophet
January 29, 2015
Commentary: National Freedom Day
January 22, 2015
Commentary: The True Cost of Drone Warfare
January 15, 2015
Commentary: New Understandings
January 8, 2015
Commentary: Entering the New Year with a Hopeful Spirit
December 25, 2014
Commentary: "Do Not Be Afraid"
December 18, 2014
Commentary: The Gift of God
December 11, 2014
Commentary: We Are All Affected
December 4, 2014
Commentary: Light a Candle for Justice
November 26, 2014
Commentary: First Give Thanks, Then Let’s Change The World
November 19, 2014
Commentary: Post-Election Accountability
November 13, 2014
Commentary: A Taste of Justice
November 6, 2014
Commentary: “Human” Rights
October 30, 2014
Commentary: Race Matters: The U.S. Narrative Continues
October 23, 2014
Commentary: Yom Kippur
October 9, 2014
Commentary: Never Give Up
October 2, 2014
Commentary: Holding the U.S. Accountable for Racial Discrimination
September 25, 2014
Commentary: Love Never Fails
September 18, 2014
Commentary: A Heart at Peace
September 11, 2014
Commentary: Hearing the Gentler Voices
September 4, 2014
Commentary: Many Questions, Few Good Answers
August 28, 2014
Commentary: Knowing Medicare Basics
August 21, 2014
Commentary: Antidote for Apathy
August 14, 2014
Commentary: Para La Familia – For the Family
August 7, 2014
Commentary: And How Are The Children?
July 31, 2014
Commentary: It’s MY RIGHT to shoot you!
July 24, 2014
Commentary: Gaza Writes Back
July 17, 2014
Commentary: Transitioning Away From Fossil Fuels
July 10, 2014
Commentary: Women’s Rights Once Again Denied
July 3, 2014
Commentary: In An Uneven World, What does Solidarity Mean?
June 26, 2014
Commentary: Modeling Reconciliation
June 19, 2014
Commentary: Witnessing Faith
June 12, 2014
Commentary: Maya Angelou - A Modern Day Prophet
June 5, 2014
Commentary: Caring for the Good Gift of Sexuality
May 29, 2014
Commentary: Our Warming Earth
May 22, 2014
Commentary: A Woman's Worth
May 15, 2014
Commentary: April Showers
May 8, 2014
Commentary: Taking Freedom of Religion Seriously
April 29, 2014
Commentary: Rising Inequality and Concentrated Wealth Threaten Democracy
April 24, 2014
Commentary: Affirming Life and Justice
April 17, 2014
Commentary: Children of Color in the United States
April 10, 2014
Commentary: Honoring an American Hero
April 3, 2014
Commentary: Upholding the Worth and Dignity of Every Child of God
March 27, 2014
Commentary: Why We Can't Give Up on Preventing Gun Violence
March 20, 2014
Commentary: An 'AH-HA' Moment
March 13, 2014
Commentary: Thank you, Mr. President
March 6, 2014
Commentary: March Forth for Justice
February 27, 2014
Commentary: "Suffer the Little Children"
February 20, 2014
Commentary: We Are North Carolinians
February 13, 2014
Commentary: For Such a Time as This
February 6, 2014
Commentary: Looking Out for Each Other
January 31, 2014
Commentary: Let Children Live Their Best Life
January 23, 2014
Commentary: 'Where Do We Go From Here?'
January 16, 2014
Commentary: A Resolution for the Common Good
January 9, 2014
How to Climb a Mountain
January 6, 2014
An Intercultural Citizenship
December 30, 2013
Living in Balance with Grace
December 23, 2013
December 16, 2013
The Season of Giving and the Gift of Justice
December 9, 2013
Learn Our History
December 2, 2013
"This isn't Racist, but..."
November 25, 2013
Shift from Sympathy to Solidarity
November 18, 2013
A Time of Remembrance
November 11, 2013
"With Consumer Power Comes Great Responsibility"
November 4, 2013
Closing the Gap in Health Care
October 28, 2013
".......and How Are the Children?"
October 21, 2013
The Importance of Partnership
October 14, 2013
October 7, 2013
People Not Politics
September 30, 2013
September 23, 2013
Third Way - Seeking a Just Peace in Syria
September 16, 2013
Earning a Living Without Fear
September 9, 2013
Labor Day: More Than Just a Day Off Work
September 2, 2013
Where Are We Headed?
August 26, 2013
More to the Story
August 19, 2013
Teach the Children Well
August 12, 2013
Heeding our Call for Environmental Responsibility
August 5, 2013
The Silent Epidemic
July 29, 2013
Don't Fence Us In!
July 22, 2013
Democracy Requires Vigilance
July 15, 2013
The State of Racial Justice
July 8, 2013
Notable Signs of Changing Times This June
July 1, 2013
The Importance of Community
June 24, 2013
At the Lakeshore
June 17, 2013
Blessed Are Those Who Hunger
June 10, 2013
Keep Pushing for Planet Earth
June 3, 2013
It does take a village
May 27, 2013
Will We Stand Against the Rationing of Education?
May 20, 2013
We Are All Children of the Holy One
May 13, 2013
No Such Thing as Clean Coal
May 6, 2013
Strangers No More
April 29, 2013
Steps along the Mississippi
April 22, 2013
Guns, Money and the Demise of Democracy
April 15, 2013
April 8, 2013
Dignity! An Invitation from Children who are Haitian Domestic Servants
April 1, 2013
Yes, We Are Responsible
March 25, 2013
March 18, 2013
Is Retirement a Matter of Choice?
March 11, 2013
More Than an Inconvenience
March 4, 2013
Saving the Land Saves Lives
February 25, 2013
They Will Know by Our Love
February 18, 2013
Telling the Truth
February 11, 2013
An American Story
February 4, 2013
A Matter of Character
January 28, 2013
The Service of Justice
January 21, 2013
Pigs Do Fly
January 14, 2013
A System Where Every Poor Child Is a Winner
January 7, 2013
Look Back and Learn
December 31, 2012
"Away in a manger...."
December 24, 2012
Face the Facts or Get Out of the Way
December 17, 2012
December 10, 2012
Money Money Money
December 3, 2012
November 26, 2012
Together we stand, Divided we fall
November 19, 2012
November 12, 2012
Local elections matter - please vote!
November 5, 2012
Because I have Faith, In Cleveland I vote!
October 29, 2012
Our Faith, Our Vote, God's World
October 22, 2012
Because elections have consequences: I vote
October 15, 2012
My Faith My Vote
October 8, 2012
Why I Vote
October 1, 2012
Our Vote? Yes, It Matters
September 24, 2012
Praying for Ceasefire
September 17, 2012
The Key to Winning Marriage Equality
September 13, 2012
Remembering Our Safe Spaces
September 3, 2012
August 27, 2012
Release Oscar Lopez Rivera
August 20, 2012
It's Time for a Change
August 13, 2012
Deadheading and the Stars
August 6, 2012
Lessons in Leading
July 30, 2012
Celebrating I'M Church
July 23, 2012
Restore the Soul of Democracy
July 16, 2012
Doctrine of Discovery
July 9, 2012
Vote Up or Down...We still need high quality, accessible and affordable health care for all!
June 27, 2012
Let Them Eat Tests
June 25, 2012
Women and Development
June 18, 2012
Congress Must Not Cause a Recession but Create Jobs, Cut Military Spending
June 11, 2012
June 4, 2012
Pardon the Wilmington 10
May 28, 2012
Bigger Than Politics
May 21, 2012
Drowning in Debt
May 14, 2012
Mothers Are More Than Commercials
May 7, 2012
Too Much Test-and-Punish
April 30, 2012
A Supreme Case for the Court
April 23, 2012
Children - Come First?
April 16, 2012
Stop and Think
April 9, 2012
When Do We Stop This Madness?
April 2, 2012
Stay Firm, Stay There ("Kembe la")
March 26, 2012
Pieces of Silver
March 19, 2012
Bullying or Shaming Others is never Cool (or Profitable)
March 12, 2012
March 5, 2012
Ignorance is Not Bliss
February 27, 2012
Faith Matters in an Election Year
February 20, 2012
Is Iran the next U.S. war in the Middle East?
February 13, 2012
A Reverence for Life
February 6, 2012
Still Remembering MLK
January 30, 2012
Prayer that Empowers the Work of Justice
January 23, 2012
Educational Opportunity: The Heart of a Good Society
January 16, 2012
January 9, 2012
Courage in the New Year
January 2, 2012
Letters, Prayers and Hope
December 26, 2011
All I want for Christmas is to eat Pizza and French Fries?
December 19, 2011
A Healthy and Happy New Year
December 12, 2011
Nobody Did Anything
December 5, 2011
For the Sake of Our Children
November 28, 2011
The Voice of the People Continues
November 21, 2011
The Face of the 99%
November 14, 2011
The 99 Percent Must Tell Congress What We Want
November 7, 2011
Seven Generations Out
October 31, 2011
Power in Numbers
October 24, 2011
Hello and Goodbye
October 17, 2011
Wonderng About Our Priorities
October 10, 2011
The Madness We Allow
October 3, 2011
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
September 26, 2011
September 19, 2011
Three Day Weekends
September 12, 2011
Feeling God's Big Love for the World's Deep Pain
September 5, 2011
Cloak of Fear, Cloak of Hope
August 29, 2011
This Time, We Can Do More than Pray
August 22, 2011
For the Sake of our Children and the Purity of their Souls
August 15, 2011
Belonging to a Community of Faith
August 8, 2011
Road Kill and the Debt Ceiling
August 1, 2011
Forgive us our debts...
July 25, 2011
With Liberty and Justice for All
July 18, 2011
Happy Birthday America! Imagine What's Possible
July 11, 2011
This War is Not Our Friend
July 4, 2011
Don't Tread on DC
June 27, 2011
A Father's Day Tribute
June 20, 2011
June 13, 2011
Seeking Peace While Facing War
June 6, 2011
The Power of the Human Spirit
May 30, 2011
Off to the RACES...
May 23, 2011
A Call to Prayer for the Pathways to Peace
May 9, 2011
All Children Are Royalty
May 2, 2011
Easter for the Earth
April 25, 2011
Of Sock and Shutdown
April 18, 2011
Rise Like Tsunamis
April 11, 2011
Rise Like Tsunamis
April 11, 2011
Journeys to the Mountaintoop
April 4, 2011
Journeys to the Mountaintop
April 4, 2011
Journeys to the Mountaintop
April 4, 2011
Taking It Personally
March 28, 2011
Taking It Personally
March 28, 2011
March 28, 2011
March 21, 2011
Teach Them about Our "Whole" Lives
March 14, 2011
Teach them about Our 'Whole" LIves
March 14, 2011
First Class Attitudes
March 7, 2011
First Class Attitudes
March 7, 2011
But By Grace
February 28, 2011
Of Cairo, Kairos and Economic Freedom
February 21, 2011
Of Cairo, Kairos and Economic Freedom
February 21, 2011
Job Creation Must Be Our Highest Priority
February 14, 2011
Sad, Sad School Reform
February 7, 2011
January 31, 2011
Debating Gun Control and Mental Health
January 24, 2011
Sticks and Stones
January 16, 2011
Health Care is the Gift that Keeps on Giving
January 10, 2011
Lest We Forget
January 3, 2011
The Cost of Democracy
December 27, 2010
December 20, 2010
Elected to Serve, not hold US Hostage
December 13, 2010
We Need Good News
December 6, 2010
Remembering the Least among US
November 29, 2010
Addressing the Issue of Poverty
November 22, 2010
In Service of Country
November 15, 2010
Congress Must End the Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
November 8, 2010
Motherhood, Apple Pie and Politics
November 1, 2010
Living the Baptismal Promises
October 25, 2010
Celebrate the Adhesives
October 18, 2010
Not Waiting for Superman
October 11, 2010
The Lifting of the Veil
October 4, 2010
Dreams Can Come True
September 27, 2010
The Peace that Transcends...
September 20, 2010
A Course toward Healing
September 13, 2010
A Word of Encouragement to Our Children
September 6, 2010
Our First Amendment Rights and Racism
August 30, 2010
Challenging the Culture of "Us-vs.-Them"
August 23, 2010
Proposition 8 and the Beloved Community
August 16, 2010
Weapons of Mass Destruction
August 9, 2010
The "Sustainability" of Spriitual Renewal
August 2, 2010
July 26, 2010
A Culture of Fear
July 19, 2010
Get Up and Move! Fighting Childhood Obesity in Communities of Color
July 12, 2010
An Inaccurate Reading
July 5, 2010
The Struggle is Not Over
June 28, 2010
Tears Beyond the Cheers: Another Side of the World Cup
June 21, 2010
Violence Fills the Land
June 14, 2010
A Politics of Competition
June 7, 2010
For God So Loved
May 31, 2010
Racism... an Unfortunate River of DENIAL in Arizona
May 24, 2010
Innovations of Conscience
May 17, 2010
When Will We Ever Learn
May 10, 2010
Silence is Not an Option
May 3, 2010
April 26, 2010
"The Earth Is the Lord's and the Fullness Therof"
April 19, 2010
A Nation Fir For All Chiidren
April 12, 2010
Fear, Anger and Denial are Symptons of America's Changing Majority
April 5, 2010
Justice is a Frog in a Pot of Water
March 29, 2010
The Issue at Hand
March 22, 2010
March 15, 2010
Research Rejects School Reforms Being Pushed by Obama Administration
March 8, 2010
I Have Seen Change Come, But I Expect To See More
March 1, 2010
Bound by the Blizzard
February 22, 2010
What part have you played?
February 15, 2010
Obama Gets It, But Needs Our Help
February 1, 2010
In the Midst of Tragedy, Still We Rise
January 25, 2010
Our Common Humanity
January 18, 2010
Medical Negligence - Unspoken Injustice in Health Care
January 11, 2010
Raising Hopes and Expectations
January 4, 2010
Making the Connection
December 28, 2009
An Air of Hostility
September 28, 2009
A Social Creed
June 8, 2009
We Are All Complicit
June 1, 2009
Statistics Don't Lie
August 25, 2008
Calls to Worship
by the Rev. Leslie Penrose
One: At God’s table of justice, everyone has a place and none are turned away.
All: Here strangers are welcomed as friends, the poor sit alongside the rich, and the upside-down kin-dom of God is revealed.
One: At God’s table of abundance, a banquet of righteousness and liberation is set for all.
All: Here the powerless are heard; the outcast are showered with honor, and the inside-out kin-dom of God is revealed.
One: At God’s table of life, all peoples know peace and creation flourishes.
All: Here the hopeless are nourished with possibility, the complacent are transformed into advocates for change. Here in our very midst the kin-dom of God is revealed.
One: We gather to worship together,
All: Different people, different lives, different histories,
One: Yet all children of the same Parent,
All: Created lovingly by the Source of all life!
One: We gather to reconnect with one another,
All: Different people, different lives, different histories,
One: Yet all disciples of one Teacher.
All: Jesus, the Word made flesh, dwelling among us.
One: We gather with different joys and sorrows, different hopes and fears....
All: Different people, different lives, different histories,
One: Yet one people with one God, one faith, one baptism.
All: Let us open ourselves to the presence of God at work in us, among us, and through us.
One: We come, God of the Journey, a people from different places, different histories, different lifestyles.
All: We come hoping to find companionship for the journey, solidarity for the struggle.
One: We gather, God of Hospitality, around your “welcome table,* a table not yet round, but rounding,
All: We gather seeking to become a “‘round-table people, welcoming of all, with no preferred seating, no firsts and no lasts, ....and no corners for ‘the least of these’ “ (Chuck Lathrop)
One: We yearn, God of the Rainbow, for a new way of living and relating... as neighbors not strangers, as brothers and sisters not ‘them and us’.
All: We yearn to live fully celebrating both the diversity of our human family, and the unity of our call to love and justice.
One: We hunger, God of Abundant Life, for lives that have meaning and integrity, and for relationships grounded in mutuality and respect.
All: We thirst for places to bring our doubts, our fears; places to express honestly who we are. We thirst for hope and encouragement as we struggle to follow Jesus in the way of life-risking love.
One: With the gift of your grace we are nourished.
All: With the promise of your presence may we be strengthened to be faithful. Amen.
Interfaith Service of Prayer, Renewal, and Action on Immigration
Lyndale United Church of Christ, Minneapolis, MN
February 22, 2009
The Torah tells us: “The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 19: 33-34).
In the Christian New Testament, Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger for “What you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do unto me” (Mathew 25:40).
The Qur’an tells us that we should “serve God…and do good to…orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer that you meet, and those who have nothing." (4:36)
The Hindu scripture Taitiriya Upanishad tells us: “The guest is a representative of God.”
Piano music, Processional music
Welcome Rev. Don Portwood
Opening Words Rev. Paula Bidle
Opening Prayer Rev. Don Christensen
Source of Life who is known by many names;
Over-turner and illuminator of hearts;
we gather with gratitude for the earth and all who journey in it.
We give thanks for the interconnectedness of all creation.
Source of justice who is known by many names;
let us not swerve from the path of righteousness
that leads to just and equitable relationships.
Open our eyes that we may see the immigrant and undocumented;
whose labor enables and sustains our living;
the farm worker, the hotel worker, the line cook,
the childcare provider, the healthcare worker;
Give us the will to leave behind the safety of our sanctuaries to become your living sanctuary;
and claim our place in the movement to transform creation;
that our voice, our heart, our spirit will
join the voice, hear and spirit of all who
demand to live with respect, justice, and peace.
(Adapted from Jews United for Social Justice by Rev. Loren McGrail, UCC Chaplain, Minneapolis, MN)
Opening Song We Are Not Our Own (stanzas 1,2,4,& 6) #564 New Century Hymnal
Lighting of candles for those who have died on the border or in the detention centers, for all those who have suffered from our broken immigration system.
Native American Wilma Lawrence
Jewish Prayer Rabbi Davis
Post Postville Raid Rev. Matt Perkus
Protestant Prayer Rev. Judith VanOsdol
Song Milagro Choir
Muslim Prayer Abdisalam Adam
Human Rights Michele Garnett McKenzie
Catholic Prayer Sr. Lois Knipp
Song Lead Us From Death to Life #581 New Century Hymnal
Offering Rev. John Gutterman
Song "Cuando El Pobre" El Milagro Choir
Bread for the Journey
(Different kinds of bread are passed around in baskets among the pews with people invited to say “blessing for the journey and work ahead.”)
Prayer of Commitment Written by Rev. Loren McGrail
One: Caring, Just One, you have created us in your likeness. We are all part of your holy family.
Many: We commit ourselves to welcome the stranger in our midst not only because we were once strangers but because we are kin.
One: Caring, Just One, you invite us to offer hospitality because that is where we can find you; where we can find ourselves entertaining angels.
Many: We commit ourselves to opening our hearts to this reality and basing our social justice work on this principle of divine equality.
One: Caring, Just One, you have asked us to read the landscape of our fears, the terrain of other peoples’ sorrow and turn our borders into bridges of compassion.
Many: We commit ourselves to not live in fear and work toward the creation of humane borders that acknowledge that no human being is illegal for seeking the right to work and feed their family.
One: Caring, Just One, you have asked us to stand up to the powers and principalities that destroy human dignity.
Many: We commit ourselves to creating a fair immigration system that recognizes immigrants’ full humanity and eliminates barriers to their full participation in our society.
One: Caring, Just One you have asked us to create just laws for all of your people.
Many: We commit ourselves to voting no to punitive legislation that deprives immigrants of due process or civil rights and yes to laws that protect and ensure these rights.
One: Caring, Just One you created this world and all that is in it and it is good.
Many: We commit ourselves to its preservation through changing our lifestyles based on limitless consumption and thus limitless exploitation of others.
One: The Caring and Just One has prepared us to be living sanctuaries for love and justice. May we cross all the boundaries that separate us from our own true self and from others. May we know the joy and the suffering of interconnectedness. May we have the wisdom and courage to say no to unjust laws that deprive people of their dignity and rights. May our solidarity with immigrants be a transforming power in the world. May we work together to restore and rebuild our beloved communities.
Blessing Rev. Luisa Cabello Hansel
Call to Action Vic Rosenthal
Sending Song We are Marching in the Light of God #526 New Century Hymnal
Music by Mindy Eschedor, Music Director of Lyndale UCC
Prayer leaders and Speakers; Rev. Don Portwood, Pastor of Lyndale UCC; Rev. Paula Bidle, Chaplain and member of the UCC Coordinating Committee for Humane Immigration Reform and member of Lyndale UCC; Rev. Don Christensen, Co-chair of Emmaus Anti-Racism Team of MN Conference UCC, member of Coordinating Committee and member of Macalester Plymouth UCC; Wilma Lawrence, Co-chair of Emmaus Anti-Racism Team of MN Conference UCC and member of Mayflower UCC; Rabbi Davis from Beth El Synagogue; Rev. Matt Perkus, Pastor of Congregational Church UCC of Decorah, Iowa; Rev. Judith VanOsdol, Pastor of El Milagro Lutheran Church; Abdisalam Adam from Dar-Al Hijirah Cultural Center; Michele Garnett-McKenzie from Advocates for Human Rights; Sr. Lois Knipp from Holy Rosary; Rev. John Gutterman, member of MN Conference of Justice and Witness Team, member of UCC Coordinating Committee and member of New Brighton UCC; Rev. Loren McGrail, chaplain, member of UCC Coordinating Committee, Emmaus Anti-Racism team and Lyndale UCC; Rev. Luisa Cabello Hansel from St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church; Vic Rosenthal, Executive Director of Jewish Community Action.
Planning Committee for Prayer: UCC Coordinating Committee for Humane Immigration Reform, Lyndale United Church of Christ, and Jewish Community Action.
Many thanks to many others who have provided food and beverages, time and energy.
Any checks should be made out to St. Bridget’s Church
The following passages from the Bible refer to immigrants and refugees.
All quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
Genesis 3:22-24 – Adam and Eve are forced out of the Garden.
Genesis 7 and 8 – Noah builds an ark and takes refuge from the flood.
Genesis 12:1 – The call of Abram: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
Genesis 12:10 – “Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land.”
Genesis 19 – Lot takes his family and flees Sodom.
Genesis 23 – Abraham is a stranger and an alien in the land of Canaan.
Genesis 46:1-7 – Jacob moves his family to Egypt to escape the famine and reunite with Joseph.
Genesis 47: 1-6 – Joseph brings his brothers to Pharaoh and they are welcomed and given jobs.
Exodus 1:8-14 – Joseph’s generation is gone, and the Egyptians oppress the Israelites. “Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor.”
Exodus 1:15-2:10 – Pharaoh orders all the Hebrew boy babies to be killed, but Moses is hidden and is saved by Pharaoh’s daughter.
Exodus 12:37-39 – The Israelites were driven out of Egypt so fast they had no time to make provisions and had to bake unleavened cakes of bread.
Exodus 12:49 and Leviticus 24:22 – “There shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.”
Exodus 22:21 – Moses gives God’s law: “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”
Leviticus 19:9-10 and 23:22 – Moses gives God’s law: “You shall not strip your vineyards bare…leave them for the poor and the alien.”
Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22 – When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
Leviticus 24:23 – Moses receives God’s law: “With me you are but aliens and tenants.”
Numbers 9:14 and 15:15-16 – “…you shall have one statute for both the resident alien and the native.”
Numbers 35 and Joshua 20 – The Lord instructs Moses to give cities of refuge to the Levites so that when the Israelites must flee into Canaan they may have cities of refuge given to them.
Deuteronomy 1:16 – “Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien.”
Deuteronomy 6:10-13 – The people of Israel are made aware that the land had come to them as a gift from God and they were to remember that they were once aliens.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 – “For the Lord your God...loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and 26:12-13 – Tithing was begun, in part, for resident aliens.
Deuteronomy 24:14 – “You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land...”
Deuteronomy 24:17-18 – “You shall not deprive a resident alien...of justice.”
Deuteronomy 24:19-22 – Leave sheaf, olives, grapes for the alien.
Deuteronomy 26:5 – A wandering Aramean was my ancestor…
Deuteronomy 27:19 – “Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien…of justice.”
I Chronicles 22:1-2 – Aliens were important in building the temple.
I Chronicles 29:14-15 – David praises God: “We are aliens and transients before you…”
II Chronicles 2:17-18 – Solomon took a census of all the aliens and assigned them work.
Psalm 105 – Remembering their sojourn: “When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,...”
Psalm 137:1-6 – “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept…How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?”
Psalm 146:9 – “The Lord watches over the strangers…”
Ecclesiastes 4:1 – “Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them.”
Isaiah 16:4 – Be a refuge to the outcasts of Moab.
Jeremiah 7:5-7 – “If you do not oppress the alien…then I will dwell with you in this place…”
Jeremiah 22:3-5 – Do no wrong or violence to the alien.
Ezekiel 47:21-22 – The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.
Zechariah 7:8-10 – Do no oppress the alien.
Malachi 3:5 – The messenger will bear witness against those who thrust aside the alien.
Matthew 2:13-15 – Jesus and parents flee Herod’s search for the child.
Matthew 5:10-11 –“Blessed are those who are persecuted.”
Matthew 25:31-46 – “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Luke 3:11 – “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none…”
Luke 4:16-21 – “…Bring good news to the poor…release to the captives…sight to the blind...let the oppressed go free.”
Romans 12:13 – “Mark of the true Christian: “…Extend hospitality to strangers…”
II Corinthians 8:13-15 – “It is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need…”
Ephesians 2:11-22 – “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.”
Hebrews 11 – “By faith Abraham…set out for a place…not knowing where he was going.”
Hebrews 13:1-2 – “…show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels…”
James 2:5 – “Has not God chosen the poor in the world…”
James 2:14-17 – “What good is it…if you say you have faith but do not have works?”
I John 3:18 – “…Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
I John 4:7-21 – “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God…” We love because God first loved us.”
Understanding our call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God requires continual work and self-refelction. These Bible Studies, released by Justice and Witness Ministries between 2001-2007, can be untlized as a starting point for personal or small group study. They are in printable PDF format. Simply click on the cover or title of the Bible Study you would like to read or print and your browser should open it and allow you to send it directly to your office printer.
This devotional series is intended to be a compliment for UCC congregations and individuals as they reflect on the seminal book by the Rev. William Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, The Third Reconstruction. May this reflection inspire not only awareness but responsive action to bridge racial divisions and truly live out God’s love by loving our neighbors.
As part of the implementation of the General Synod 29 resolution, the joint working group of Council for American Indian Ministries and Justice and Witness Ministries offer this resource for our churches to take up with prayer.
A must-have justice resource for families with children and faith formation leaders!
Jubilee Bible Study (2007)
Jubilee is rooted in the nature of God the Creator. This profoundly simple affirmation is key to understanding jubilee as more than some imaginative flight of fancy of some religious idealist. Scriptures challenge our thinking about jubilee: if you want to take God seriously, jubilee must be taken seriously. We who would follow God faithfully must observe this radical concept.
There is a saying: WWJD - “What Would Jesus Do?” It grows out of the times in which we live when it is not always easy to discern the best response to difficult situations. Many Christians in today’s world respond readily to the question of personal salvation, accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. But the process of salvation cannot end there. Equally important is the prophetic call of Jesus the Christ to respond to the world’s injustices. WSID (“What Should I Do?”) is a question we ask ourselves and our answer ought to be informed by our first question, “What would Jesus Do?
"In times like these, it is crucial that people of faith understand just why the work of justice and peace is the world of the church. Moreover we have come to believe that this work is at the heart of God's mission. That's why we had produced this study document, so that you might wrestle with these words along with us. Let us Join together to discover what God would have us be and do in the his world." - Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson
Overcoming Violence (2002)
Together with churches around the world, we have been called to witness that the ending of violence is a central part of our mission. We are invited to work to end violence against women in our homes; to end the violence of war; to end the culture of violence found in movies, music, videos and computer games; and to end violence in whatever form it appears in our own communities.
Doing Justice (2001)
“'What does the Lord require of you?' I have asked that question as one who is bold enough to call myself a Christian, a follower of Christ. And I have asked that question as we in Justice and Witness Ministries seek to discern God’s mission for us and for the whole United Church of Christ.
We all know that the answer to that question is to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. It is important to note that answer follows the word “but.” In other words, all that God requires of us is to do justice.
Doing justice sounds easy, but is oh so difficult. We in Justice and Witness Ministries have come to understand that the very first step in doing justice is understanding why we do the work that we are called to do. We are doing it because that is what the Lord requires. It’s not about being politically correct. It’s about being faithfully correct." - Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson