December 20, 2014 · 28 Kislev

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Interfaith Issues

Death Penalty

The Consultation on Jewish-Catholic relations has been meeting twice a year since 1987. On March 23, 1999, Catholic and Jewish leaders addressed the issue of capital punishment. Both groups agreed that the death penalty is in direct conflict with both traditions' belief in the sanctity of human life. In this spirit the two communities agreed to work together and within their own communities toward ending the death penalty. On December 6, 1999 the two groups released a press statement, announcing their joint effort to oppose the death penalty.

On March 9, 2000 at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined a group of prominent national religious leaders to announce the release of a letter signed by more than two dozen major religious organizations urging President Clinton to impose a federal death penalty moratorium.

Gun Control

On March 15, 2000, the Honorable Andrew Cuomo, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, joined Rabbi David Saperstein, Rev. Jim Wallis, Rev. Richard Hanifen, Rev. Arthur Tafoya, and the Rev. Elenora Giddings Ivory at a press conference announcing an interfaith sign on letter urging stricter gun control. The letter addressing the national epidemic of gun violence gathered over a hundred signatures, including several major religious denominations as well as individual clergy.

The Religious Action Center worked with other religious and secular groups to coordinate planning for the Million Mom March . Speaking at an interfaith service preceding the march, Rabbi Marc Israel , Director of Congregational Relations called on religious groups to "work together within and across our faiths and together to build a nation in which we do not tolerate violence." Rabbi Eric Yoffie represented the entire religious community as he gave a speech at the event on the mall.

Jubilee 2000/ Debt Relief

Religious groups around the world are working together to address the issue of debt relief for impoverished countries. Citizen action groups, religious organizations, students and others gathered on the Mall in Washington D.C. on April 9, 2000 and made their voices heard. Rabbi David Saperstein addressed the crowd, extending a plea to "come together as a nation, as a people, as the wealthiest most affluent country in the history of the world and forgive this debt in the Jubilee year." The Sunday event was followed by Monday lobby visits to request members of Congress to voice their commitment to debt cancellation.

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