- Faithful Voices in the Public Square
- Light in the Darkness
- Statement from ICM Leader on San Bernardino Shootings
- Governing JRLC for the Future
- Rusche Leaving JRLC
- Over 100 Clergy Sign MFIP Letter
- Justice for Mother's Day
- Tax Day April 15th
- A Seat With A View: Why Advocacy?
- Exodus Lending is Open For Business!!
- Autopsies and Religious Freedom
- Minnesota Lottery Gone Wild?
- Greetings from Nicole Guthrie, JRLC Intern
- Payday Lending Reform Bill: Floor Votes
- The problem with short-term relief
- Tikkun Olam: First-time Reflections on JRLC's Day on the Hill
- Theatrical Advocacy: iCAN and blank slate theatre's BOTTOM
- Practically Payday Lending
- Greetings from the New JRLC Intern: Breanne Royer!
- Hard Work Just Isn't Enough: Raise the Wage!
- Mythbusters: Payday Lending!
- Of Harvest and SNAP
- Interfaith Inquiry in India
- A Nomadic Exploration
- Eleanor's Farewell
- iCAN Seeking Performance Venues - FAQs
- Day on the Grill!
- Loan Sharks and Jesus Fish
- iCAN Enters the Theater World
- Youth Advocacy Workshop at Camp Chi Rho
- Creative Advocacy from Theological Roots
- Session 2013: We Still Have Work To Do
- Hey, Legislature: Raise My Taxes!
- Loaves and Fishes and Collective Responsibility
- Introduction to Community Organizing: Social Media and Online Tools
- Taxes as a Spiritual Practice
- Gun Safety and Jesus's Nonviolence
- Top 10 Reasons to Call Your Legislators
- Introduction to Community Organizing: Using the Media
- Taxes for the Common Good
- Day on the Hill From the Other Side
- Introduction to Community Organizing: Strategies and Tactics
- Introduction to Community Organizing: Choosing an Issue
- Introduction to Community Organizing: One-to-One 101
- Top five reasons why I'm supporting the Family Economic Security Act
- Interfaith + Interaction
- Early Intervention Prevents Human Trafficking
- A New Legislature
- Stillwater Candidate Forum
- Faribault Candidate Forum
"Justice We Pursue" Blog
Faithful Voices in the Public Square
Faithful Voices in the Public Square
January 28, 2016
6:30pm - 8:30pm
St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral
519 Oak Grove St.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Sponsored by JRLC and the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet.
Light in the Darkness
Whether it is the lights twinkling on Christmas trees, the small flames of the Menorah candles, or the stars that emerge as the night descends upon us in the early evening, this is the season of light emerging in the darkness. That commemoration of light that pierces the darkness can also be seen in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic commemorations occurring this time of year.
Jewish communities recently observed Hanukkah, during which they celebrate a time when a small group of Jews drove out a mighty army to reclaim the Temple then experienced the miracle of Temple menorah (candelabra) continuing to burn for 8 nights when it only had enough oil for one night.
This year, Mawlid an-Nabi, the Islamic commemoration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad also falls during this time of year. Muslims revere the Prophet Muhammad as the final messenger and greatest prophet of God who brought them the light of revelation in their holy text, the Qu’ran.
Christians are soon to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who is sometimes referred to as “the Light of the World.” They believe him to be the Son of God who is one with God, being both fully human and fully divine. He is viewed as the greatest expression of God’s love to humanity.
While we commemorate these spiritual expressions of light, we can’t ignore that our world often seems full of darkness. We read of war, murder, injustice, division, and discrimination. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So we look to these points of light to maintain hope.
Here at JRLC we are in the business of seeking legislative justice. We strive to join together for the common good in spite of our differences in order to build a stronger Minnesota. In essence this is also an act of bringing light into places of darkness – working to eliminate the darkness of inequity and injustice in our state policies.
As a new year is nearly upon us, we hope that whatever your tradition is, you take the time to pause from the chaos of the world and busyness of daily life to reflect on the hope that occurs when a point of light disrupts the darkness. Look for ways to be a bearer of that light. Carry it to the places of darkness within our communities. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi…
“All the darkness in the world, cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”
Statement from ICM Leader on San Bernardino Shootings
In order to foster interfaith understanding and continued common work for justice, we are publishing this statement written by JRLC Board Member Owais Bayunus.
To all my friends and friends of Muslims,
The incident that has happened in [San Bernardino] California must be a devastating thing that has happened to all Americans in general, and, specifically, to over 99.99% Muslims living in the USA. No words can sufficiently denounce the inhuman killing of innocent people as has happened.
The worst nightmare for American Muslims has come true at the worst time; it's the perfect storm. In this election year, when anti-Muslim rhetoric is already at an all-time high, when some people talk of putting a Muslim symbol on every Muslim so that they may be recognized (like in WWII), and some compare some Muslims as mad dogs. A disgusting inhuman attack has taken place on American soil and the suspects are so-called Muslims. So now we, 7-8 million American Muslims, will all be viewed with suspicion in this country that we love and that we call home and will be the home our children and grand children. We Muslims cannot simply grieve for the victims, like everyone else, but must now live in fear of an Islamaphobic backlash; we fear for our safety and lives.
To my Muslim friends, especially those who dress visibly as Muslims, please be extra safe as you go about your day-to-day lives and try not to walk alone. To my friends of other faiths, please we need your help in informing the public that 99.99% of America's Muslims are not extremists.
Such violent incidence coming from a very very small minority undermines the message of peace given by the very large majority of Muslims and Islam. I can only quote and believe what Qur'an says,' If you kill a single person for no mischief it is as if you have killed all humanity. If you have saved the life of an innocent person you have saved all mankind" (Qur'an 5-83).
We join with our American brothers and sisters, whatever religion and ethnicity they belong to, to condemn such acts and would very strongly request our agencies to probe and find the real reason behind their act and their motivations.
Owais Bayunus, Past President & Director of Interfaith
Islamic Center of Minnesota
Governing JRLC for the Future
“Governing for the common good” is a phrase we toss around a lot at JRLC. It is often used as a standard that we use to measure our elected officials. But we also use the term as a standard for active citizens – members of the public who step up to govern in many places, both formal and informal.
We govern for the common good when we serve on neighborhood or congregation committees. We govern inside our families, workplaces, associations, and governments. We govern anywhere we make decisions on “How are we to live together?”
A wonderful group of eight people have stepped forward to lead the transition process at JRLC and guide us into a new era of powerful social justice work. This is the work of governing and it will sometimes be lofty, sometimes mundane, sometimes frustrating, sometimes joyous. Isn’t that the way with active citizenship and public life? JRLC’s Transition Team is just another example of justice-minded Minnesota folks giving of their time, energy, and expertise in order to govern for the common good.
Please hold this Team in your prayers as they work hard for the next several months! They are:
Patrice Critchley-Menor, Chair, Minnesota Catholic Conference
Owais Bayunus, Islamic Center of Minnesota
George Burbie, Minnesota Council of Churches
Sally Lorberbaum, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas
Doug Mitchell, Minnesota Council of Churches
Bob Rubinyi, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas
Ashraf Siddiqui, Islamic Center of Minnesota
Jessica Zittlow, Minnesota Catholic Conference
The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition has been an effective interfaith public policy organization for 43 years. This Transition Team now takes up the task of insuring that, for many years to come, JRLC speaks to essential public questions: What is a good society? What makes for a healthy community? What is my obligation to my neighbors? How do we govern ourselves for the common good?
Brian Rusche, executive director
Over 100 Clergy Sign MFIP Letter
This letter, signed by 127 religious leaders, was delivered to Governor Dayton and all Minnesota Legislators on May 12th in the midst of budget and conference committee negotiations. The letter was drafted in cooperation with Catholic Charities, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, and the Prosperity for All Campaign. Over 100 signatories were obtained in 3 days.
May 12, 2015
Dear Governor Dayton, Speaker Daudt, Leader Bakk and all Minnesota Lawmakers,
First, thank you for your efforts to protect the dignity of all Minnesotans. This principle is central to our public life and in the work of Minnesota’s faith communities. We stand with you to accomplish even more, so that every Minnesotan feels the effect of justice-inspired public policies and a true prosperity for all.
With some urgency, we are writing because we sense there may be a “parting of the Red Sea” with respect to raising the basic cash assistance level for poor families participating in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). As you know, and as anti-poverty advocates and those experiencing poverty are acutely aware, the basic MFIP cash assistance has not been raised since 1986, and has been stuck at $532 for a family of three despite nearly thirty years of rising costs for housing, food, transportation, and other basic needs.
We are encouraged that both the Governor’s Supplemental Budget and the Senate’s Omnibus Health and Human Services Finance Bill include a $100 per month increase in the basic MFIP cash assistance.
As leaders in the faith community, we work every day with our congregations responding to Minnesotans in need who are looking for pathways out of poverty. We see heroic efforts on the part of families to secure work and to provide for their children. To maximize all of our efforts, we strongly urge you to act this year and pass a $100 per month increase in the MFIP basic cash assistance. Please remember, about 70 percent of MFIP recipients are children.
Our support for a cash assistance increase recalls the early creation of MFIP and the social contract that we Minnesotans laid forth: expect work, support work, and reward work. It simply is no longer possible to support or reward work with an ever-shrinking 30 year-old cash assistance amount that serves to trap families in deep poverty.
Please seize this historic opportunity to raise the MFIP cash assistance level by $100 per month this year. Together, let us protect human dignity, fight poverty, reward work, and build prosperity for all.
Judicatory, Statewide, and Regional Leadership
Mr. Jason Adkins, Minnesota Catholic Conference
Bishop Jon Anderson, Southwestern Minnesota Synod - ELCA
Mr. Owais Bayunus, Islamic Center of Minnesota
Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, Minnesota Council of Churches
Ms. Patrice Critchley-Menor Diocese of Duluth, Duluth
Rev. Robert T Cuthill, Presbytery of Twin Cities Area
Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner, Diocese of Crookston
Mr. Steve Hunegs, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas
Bishop John M. LeVoir, Diocese of New Ulm
Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Minnesota Conference - United Methodist Church
Rev. Sharon Prestemon, Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ
Bishop John M. Quinn, Diocese of Winona
Mr. Brian Rusche, Joint Religious Legislative Coalition
Ms. Lee Stuart, CHUM, Duluth
President Noya Woodrich, Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches
Congregation and Faith Community Leadership
Dr. Larry J Alderink, St Luke Presbyterian Church, Wayzata
Rabbi Morris J. Allen, Beth Jacob Congregation, Mendota Heights
Rev. Laurie Boche, Hope United Methodist Church, Duluth
Ms. Nancy Bratrud, Minnesota Friends, Preston
Rev. Richard Buller, Valley Community Presbyterian Church, Golden Valley
Rev. Sarah Campbell, Mayflower United Church of Christ, Minneapolis
Rev. David Carlson, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Duluth
Rev. David E. Cobb, Spirit of Joy Christian Church, Lakeville
Ms. Courtney Mae Cochran,Duluth-Superior Friends Meeting, Duluth
Rev. Dr. James E. Cook, Valley Community Presbyterian Church, Golden Valley
Rev. Anita Cummings Presbyterian Church of the Way, Shoreview
Rabbi Alexander Davis, Beth El Synagogue, St. Louis Park
Rev. Michael A DeKraai, Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church, Duluth
Pastor Doug Donley, University Baptist Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Dave Donnay, OSC, Crosier Community, Onamia
Pastor Laurie Eaton, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Pastor Jerome Evavold, Trinity Lutheran Church, Duluth
Rabbi Jeremy Fine, Temple of Aaron, St. Paul
Rev. Meghan K. Gage-Finn, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis
Pastor Mark Fugere, Salem Evangelical Free Church, Moorhead
Rev. Buff Grace, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Stillwater
Rev. William C. Graham, St Michael Parish, Duluth
Pastor Josias Hansen Third Way Church, St. Paul
Rev. Cheryl Harder, Trinity Episcopal, Hermantown
Rev. Dr. Timothy Hart-Andersen, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis
Rabbi Hayim Herring, Herring Consulting Network, Minneapolis
Mr. Noah Hobbs, Our Savior's Lutheran, Duluth
Rev. T. Ewen Holmes, Plymouth Presbyterian Church, Plymouth
Rev. Alfred Joseph Hopwood, Saints Martha & Mary Episcopal Church, Eagan
Rev. Eliot N Howard, Linden Hills United Church of Christ, Minneapolis
Ms. Jane Jarnis, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Duluth
Rev. Dr. Vaughn R. Jefferson, Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, Maplewood
Rev. Timothy M. Johnson, Cherokee Park United Church, Saint Paul
Rev. Bruce Johnson, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Duluth
Rev Deborah Kielsmeier, Christ Presbyterian, Edina
Rev. Judith Allen Kim, Westminster Presbyterian, Excelsior
Rev. Brian Konkol, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter
Ms. Linda Kotschevar, First United Methodist of the St. Cloud Region, Waite Park
Rabbi Harold Kravitz, Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Minnetonka
Rev. Mark Kuether, Congregational United Church of Christ, Detroit Lakes
Rev. Mary Leisman, North Presbyterian Church, Oak Park Heights
Rev. David M Liddle, Westminster Presbyterian, Minneapolis
Rev. Robert Lundberg, Presbyterian Homes & Services, Eden Prairie
Mr. Malcolm Macaulay, St. Michaels Catholic Lakeside, Duluth
Ms. Patti Maguire, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Duluth
Rev. Catherine Malotky, Edina Community Lutheran Church, Edina
Rev. Barbara Martin, Union Congregational UCC, St. Louis Park
Rev. Dr. Edwin Martin, Westminster Presbyterian, Burnsville
Rev. Dr. Margaret McCray, Westminster Counseling Center, Minneapolis
Ms. Lisa McDonald, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Moorhead
Ms. Shivon Miller, Trinity Lutheran, Duluth
Rev. Doug Mitchell, Westminster Presbyterian, Minneapolis
Ms. Lucy Mungai, Messiah Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Jen Nagel, Salem English Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Ms. Vivian Jenkins Nelsen, Westminster Presbyterian, Minneapolis
Rev. Kathryn Nelson, Peace United Church of Christ, Duluth
Mr. Jake Nelson, St Michael's Catholic Church, Duluth
Rev. Dr. Paula Nordhem, Spirit of Joy Disciples of Christ, Burnsville
Rev. Helen O'Brien, St. Paul Mennonite Fellowship, St. Paul
Rev. Ellen O'Neill, Peace United Church of Christ, Duluth
Rev. Clay Oglesbee, United Methodist District Superintendent, Northfield
Pastor Craig Pederson, Grace Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Pastor Melissa Pohlman, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Riz Prakasim, New Life Presbyterian Church, Roseville
Pastor Gwin Pratt, St. Luke Presbyterian Church, Wayzata
Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis, Salem Evangelical Lutheran, Minneapolis
Rev. Ingrid Rasmussen, Holy Trinity Lutheran, Minneapolis
Ms. Linda Riddle, St. Mark AME, Duluth
Rev. Paul G. Rider, St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Mankato
Rev. Don Rudrud, Calvary Lutheran, Minneapolis
Pastor Joetta Schlabach, Faith Mennonite Church, Minneapolis
Rev. Dean Seal, Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church, Chaska
Pastor Joy Smith, Presbyterian Church of the Apostles, Burnsville
Rev. Robert Smith, Spirit of Life Presbyterian, Apple Valley
Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker, Mount Zion Temple, St. Paul
Rev. Gordon C. Stewart, Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian, Chaska
Dr. Don Streufert, First Lutheran, Duluth
Pastor Jeff Teeples, Hawley Lutheran Church, Hawley
Rabbi Adam Titcher, Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Minnetonka
Mr. Matt Traynor, Peace Church, Duluth
Ms. Shannon Wagner, CHUM, Duluth
Rev. Jason Wahlstrom, Holy Nativity Lutheran Church, New Hope
Rev. Deborah Walkes, Vineyard United Methodist Church, Hutchinson
Pastor Gary Walpole, Peace United Methodist Church, Shoreview
Rev. Wayne Walther, Woodbury-Peaceful Grove United Methodist, Red Wing
Rev. H G Wardlaw Jr, House of Hope Presbyterian, St. Paul
Rev. Suzanne Wasilczuk, Mesabi Unitarian Universalist Church, Virginia
Rev. Marilyn (Casey) Wells, Central Presbyterian, Saint Paul
Rabbi David Wirtschafter, Temple Israel, Minneapolis
Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, Temple Israel, Minneapolis
President Renee Zurn, Holy Rosary Society St. Mary Star of the Sea, Duluth
Retired and Independent Clergy, and Lay Leaders
Rev. Lindsay Biddle, Saint Louis Park
Ms. Sharon Binger, Stillwater
Rev. Dr. John R. Buzza, Saint Paul
Ms. Joann Chesser, Duluth
Ms. Alice Delawyer, Our Saviors Lutheran, Duluth
Ms. Jean Esler, Holy Family Catholic, Duluth
Mrs. Sharon Grugel, St. Joseph’s Parish, Moorhead
Rev. Dr. Sheila Gustafson, Oak Park Heights
Rev. Robert Hamilton, Northfield
Rev. Keith Homstad, Northfield
Rev. Robert Hudnut, Cottage Grove
Ms. Charlotte Juntunen, First Lutheran, Duluth
Mr. Charles Keller, St. Joseph’s Parish, Moorhead
Ms. Lorene Liddle, Westminster Presbyterian, Minneapolis
Rev. Robert E. Lucas, Edina
Rev. Richard Lundy, Excelsior
Ms. Kim Randolph, McGregor
Rev. Dr. Mary Bigelow McMillan, Roseville
Rev. Elizabeth Raitt, Woodbury
Rev. Gale Robb, St. Paul