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Torture: Fact Not Fiction
Update on Climate Change Rally
Justice Event
Progressive Ponderings:News and Job Openings
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Volume VIII Issue 3                       

13 February 2013




Last night, I sat with friends watching the State of the Union address. The President of the United States spoke of his vision for the nation with impressive policy directives, challenges to legislators, and words of comfort to many who support progressive policies. As I sat there, however, I kept thinking, "This is not enough!"  


It's not enough that we speak about policies to curb climate change if we aren't curbing our own carbon consumption on individual and corporate levels.


It's not enough to talk about lifting people from poverty if we aren't engaging those in poverty (or on the brink of poverty) each and every day.


It's not enough to talk about withdrawing troops from Afghanistan if we aren't actively working to make for a peaceful society. I think it would be a bigger celebration if we didn't have to send civilians and military personnel (or the drones which seem to be replacing them) into war zones.


This is the predicament of being progressive Christians. Oftentimes we want to effect transformation through policy changes and we forget the need to transform our hearts. Thankfully the Church calendar gives us an opportunity to remember that changing our hearts and clearing our minds can lead to lasting change - change that is beyond any public policy or State of the Union address.  


May these 40 days guide us to "be the change we wish to see in the world," draw us nearer to God and neighbor, and transform us to be agents of change and liberation.


Grace and peace,     

Interim Executive Director,
Methodist Federation for Social Action
ATorture: Fact not Fiction 
Hollywood loves torture.  Horror movies are filled with it of course, but it's also a popular trope these days to show a good guy beating information out of a bad guy.  The movie "Zero Dark Thirty" follows this pattern in its fictional account of how we found and killed Osama bin Laden. The Senate Intelligence Committee recently finished an investigation into CIA torture.  Members of the Committee claim that the report on their investigation shows that torture harmed our national security and that it did not lead us to Osama bin Laden.

But the fact is this: torture is immoral.  It is also ineffective, a fact that the public has the right to know.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is an interfaith campaign dedicated to providing people of faith with ways to uphold their values by ending torture.

The "Fact Not Fiction" campaign encourages congregations, campus ministries, and individuals to watch NRCAT's 20-minute film, "Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever" ( watch online or order $5 DVD) and learn the facts about torture. The campaign also provides tools to help advocate for the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's use of torture. The Senate Intelligence Committee adopted on December 13, 2012, with a bipartisan vote, a more than 6,000 page report on the CIA's use of torture. It contains the facts about torture and should be made public. The Senate Intelligence Committee is considering whether or not to release its report. People of faith are urged to advocate by contacting their Senators or the President, writing letters to the editor, and endorsing a  sign-on statement that the Senate Intelligence Committee report should be made public.

Update on Climate Change Rally
During his State of the Union address, President Obama clearly stated his executive vision to reduce climate changing carbon emissions. As people of faith who believe deeply in the care of God's creation, we must continue to push for a reduction of all forms of carbon emissions. Not only are these emissions harmful, the methods of extracting them (mining, fracking) and transmitting them (pipelines) are outdated and dangerous. Children, minority communities, and those in poverty are often them most affected by the destruction of creation.

At 12 Noon on Sunday, February 17, thousands of Americans will head to Washington, D.C. to make Forward on Climate the largest climate rally in history. Join this historic event to make your voice heard and help President Obama start his second term with strong climate action.   


MFSA will be participating and we hope you'll join us. Please email if you'll be attending and want to march with other people of faith! Please arrive by 11:30 a.m. and look for our banner among the multifaith contingent will gather outside the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden on the National Mall (between 7th and 9th Streets SW). After the march to the White House, we will return to the MFSA office for coffee, water, and restrooms.  

Justice Event: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
Justice-minded people are gathering Friday, March 8, 2013, 9:00am to 5:00pm, in Palm Springs to examine the intersections of oppressions commonly applied to race, sexual orientation and gender expression for a workshop entitled, "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?"at the LGBT Community Center, 611 South Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 201.

Michigan-based consultants Melanie Morrison and Dionardo Pizaņa of
Allies for Change will teach participants how to build bridges between people by understanding the "isms" that divide them. Melanie Morrison is an anti-oppression educator, activist, author, and spiritual director with 22 years' experience designing and facilitating transformational group process. Dionardo Pizaņa is the diversity and personnel specialist for Michigan State University Extension with 19 years of experience developing, teaching, and facilitating diversity education programs through Michigan State University Extension, Adrian College, and Siena Heights University. Allies for Change provides anti-oppression education, training, and resources for individuals and organizations committed to social change.

The day-long interactive workshop is sponsored by the Chicago-based Church Within A Church Movement. The Movement's organizational mission is to be "
a progressive Methodist-related movement BEing the fully inclusive and just church." Registration for the day is $60. Students $50. Registration does not include lunch. Bring your lunch or enjoy nearby restaurants. Participants should register by March 1, 2013 by emailing or calling 773-248-3225.
ProgressivePonderingsProgressive Ponderings
FacebookSocial Media Corner
Our friends at Rethink Church have come up with a cool idea to help us journey through Lent: a Photo-a-Day Challenge.

Take your photo - and tweet it to @umrethinkchurch with the hashtag #40days. And if it has to do with justice-seeking, tweet it to @MFSAVoices, too!
Methodist Federation for Social Action
212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003