Tag Archives: International Affairs

Our Shared, Sacred Earth: Reflecting on the Papal Encyclical

By Jenn Queen

Combating climate change is a moral imperative. Faith leaders have been calling for better policies and encouraging better personal practices to turn the tide of climate change for years. This week, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ latest encyclical (a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church stating the Vatican’s position on a particular issue), which details a strong connection between faith and environmental stewardship.

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What Is the Pope’s Encyclical and Why Should Jews Care?

Today, the Vatican released Pope Francis’s encyclical titled Laudato Si, which roughly translates to Praised Be. The encyclical details a theology of “integrated ecology” – connecting care for the poor with environmental stewardship – leading many to call this an eco-encyclical, and Pope Francis the Green Pope. The document details specifically the human causes of climate change and our sacred obligation to care for our earth and combat climate disruption.

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Reaffirming the Value of All Lives on World Refugee Day

This Saturday, June 20, is World Refugee Day. According to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country due to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Many refugees are also in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters. Read more…

Important Hurdle for the Green Climate Fund Today

Today the House Appropriations Committee will be voting on state and foreign operations funding allocations for the fiscal year 2016. Currently, House appropriations bills do not include allocations for the Green Climate Fund and may carry rider amendments that would restrict Congress from funding the Green Climate Fund or other climate change-related initiatives at all. The Green Climate Fund is both an important symbol of global unity and a pressing environmental justice matter. We must urge our Representatives to support the Green Climate Fund.

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Why I’m Attending the Earth-Faith-Peace Teach-In

June 1 marked the beginning of the six month countdown towards the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, France. In advance of this convening and in the spirit of international work on climate change, Religions for Peace USA is hosting an interfaith Teach-In on climate justice and coalition building with emerging faith leaders from around the country and the world. I will be attending and helping lead elements of this Teach-In as a representative for the Reform Movement.

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Rohingya muslims CNN

Plight of Rohingya Muslims is Call to Action to End Religious Persecution

Today, a senior U.S. official called for Burma to give citizenship to Rohingya Muslims who are fleeing persecution in their historic homeland. The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority living in northern Rakhine State in western Burma. For decades, they have faced severe persecution and violence at the hands of the government. Burma’s 1982 Citizenship Law denies the roughly 1.33 million Rohingya citizenship, in spite of the fact that Rohingya have lived in Burma for generations. In fact, Burmese President Thein Sein outright denies the existence of the Rohingya as an ethnic group of Burma, calling them “Bengali” instead. Read more…

With Each Story, Recommitting to End Violence Against Women

In late April, Nigerian armed forces rescued 93 women and 200 girls who had been held by the terrorist group Boko Haram. When news broke of the rescue, there was early hope that these girls were the schoolgirls abducted from a Chibok school in April of last year—the subjects of the global campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls.” It turns out this was a different group of girls and women altogether, 300 of nearly 2,000 kidnapped by Boko Haram since the beginning of 2015. It is not clear how long these women were held, but we do know from their testimony that Boko Haram subjected them to extreme violence, including rape, forced marriage and sexual slavery. We sigh with relief that these women are no longer captive, while we offer prayers for those still in captivity, and for mental, physical and emotional healing for those who have been freed as they begin to rebuild their lives. Read more…

Rohingya muslims CNN

Faith Leaders Urge Action on Humanitarian Crisis Facing Rohingya Community

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center, today joined with a diverse group of faith leaders calling on President Obama to take immediate action to address the Rohingan humanitarian crisis in Southeast Asia. The well-documented persecution of the Rohingya minority community in western Burma and the resulting refugee crisis in the region is deeply concerning to us as a people who throughout history have been victims of ethnic and religious persecution and the experience of being forced to flee even as other nations closed their doors. The letter sent today by Rabbi Pesner and others calls for the U.S. government to address the root cause of this crisis and assist with the rescue of refugees. Read more…

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