One of the reasons I haven’t been back to church or joined a faith community in the last year or so is because I have personally found the lack of activism in some faith communities to be extremely disappointing. For me, there’s no better call to action, no better reason to be protesting or changing the world than faith and religion. I want to go back to the revolutionary Jesus, the one who would have been on the streets supporting the call that #BlackLivesMatter. I want to see faith communities use their faith and foundations of community to stand with the most marginalized, as God so often calls for us to do.
I do want to preface this and say that I can only come from a mostly Catholic background – my experiences with religion fairly limited to Roman Catholic and an extremely small number of different christian denominations. My own experiences are extremely whitewashed because of my own whiteness and living in two primarily white communities. Amit Singh wrote about the whitewashing of climate change solutions and how Pope Francis’ call for action regarding climate change and other call to actions are not original and often very white.
I think faith and activism can very easily go hand in hand. At the very least, I think working in the streets, walking the talk to say, should be an integral part of faith communities. The seven themes of Catholic Social Teachings highlights the Catholic teachings towards building a just society, many of which call for dignity, solidarity, and care. The Catholic Social Teachings, for me, are an important call for Catholic communities to step out of the church and into the streets.
The AFL-CIO has a section on faith and labor, which has resources about why faith communities should support labor groups. Additionally, there’s the Interfaith Worker Justice, which is an interfaith organizing group rallying around economic justice and also has a resource center for faith support of labor. Some of these resources include:
- Islam and Fairness in the Workplace
- Labor and Jewish Traditions
- What Faith Groups Say about Workers’ Freedom to Choose a Union
- Raising the Minimum Wage
- Worker Justice Matters
Faith groups are also rallying behind immigration reform within the US for various reasons. The Sanctuary Movement was a political and religious campaign that began in the early 1980s as a response to Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict and at its peak, there were over 500 congregation that declared themselves official sanctuaries.
There has also been a rise in a new Sanctuary Movement over the last several years. Places like Portland, OR, Boston, New York City, and many others have formed coalitions to provide sanctuary and support for immigrants, allies, and faith communities. Some resources and faith support for immigration reform and immigrants include:
- Immigrants in Christian Texts
- Immigrants in the Jewish Texts
- Immigrants in the Muslim Texts
- Welcoming the Stranger: Immigration and the Church
- Top 10 Immigration Myths
There are also faith communities and interfaith groups that work towards providing food for those in need and ending hunger. Lift Urban Portland in Portland, OR is one of those interfaith groups, working to help fill in the gaps in the pantries of low income individuals and families in part of Portland. There’s also the Faiths Against Hunger group, which had evolved initially from Muslims Against Hunger Project. And some resources for why faith groups should support ending hunger include:
- The Faith Behind Food Work
- What Does the Bible say about Hunger?