June 2021 Newsletter
Issue #52
Confronting Our Fears
Fear influences our thinking on many issues such as religious intolerance, immigration and refugee policies, the criminal justice system, access to affordable housing, voting rights and many others.
Fear can lead to being less tolerant, less trusting, and hyper concerned with "security." Being afraid can cause us to be more suspicious of those who are different and to oppose policies that offer assistance to those on the margins. It can prevent us from speaking truth to power. At the same time, fear makes us vulnerable to individuals and organizations that take advantage of people who are afraid.

  • Some of the top issues Americans worry about are:
Not having enough money for the future 55%
Global warming and climate change 57%
Extinction of plant and animal species 59%
Air pollution 59%
Pollution of drinking water 64%
Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes 68%
  • 75% of Americans are concerned that they, or someone close to them, could lose their housing.

  • 64% of Americans believe that there is more crime in the U.S. -- despite the fact that violent crimes dropped from 80 per 1,000 Americans in 1993 to just 23 in 2018.
  • Americans estimate their chances of being robbed in the coming year at 15%, even though the actual rate is closer to 1%.
  • Demand for firearms has spiked after elections and mass shootings such as the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. 2020 saw a jump to nearly 40 million background checks from the previous record around 28 million in 2019 amid the pandemic, racial unrest, election-related violence and the fear of stricter gun regulation.

  • A  common reason for neighborhood opposition to affordable housing development is the fear of crime and that property values will be negatively impacted. 

  • 21% of Americans report being afraid or very afraid of immigrants.

In addition, Americans say they "frequently worry" about:
  • Being the victim of a hate crime 15%
  • Having their child physically harmed at school 13%
  • Having their home burglarized 13%
  • Having their car broken into or stolen 10%
  • Being sexually assaulted 8%
  • Getting mugged 8%
  • Being a victim of a terrorist attack 7%
  • Getting murdered 6%
  • Being assaulted or killed by a co-worker 2%

  • Yet, the phrase “Fear not” or “Be not afraid,” appears more than 300 times in Scripture.

For more Peace resources, click here.
Sacred Land: Food and Farming
(Eco-Justice Series Program One)
A program from JustFaith Ministries in which small groups learn how food and farming practices affect the climate crisis, marginalized communities, and their own health and spiritual wellbeing. Participants explore practical ways to implement sustainable food and farming practices in the communities and the institutions of which they’re a part. Uses 3 books: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Earth Prayers by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon and Laudato Si by Pope Francis and consists of eight 2½-hour sessions and an immersion experience.
For more on the Environment, click here.
Sacred Air: Climate and Energy
(Eco-Justice Series Program Two)
A program from JustFaith Ministries, consisting of eight 2½-hour sessions and an immersion experience. Small groups learn about causes and effects of the climate crisis in order to discern ways to restore the health of our planet and those who live on it. Topics include greenhouse gases, air pollution, fossil fuels, renewable energy, the Paris Agreement, and environmental racism. Through prayer and spiritual practices, participants notice the breath of God that flows through them, granting them the life and energy to address this difficult topic with passion and resilience. Three books are used in the program: The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go From Here by Hope Jahren, Earth Prayers by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon and Laudato Si by Pope Francis. Learn more.
For more on the Environment, click here.
Us Kids
Sparked by the plague of gun violence ravaging their schools, this documentary chronicles the March For Our Lives movement over the course of several years, following X Gonzalez, its co-founders, survivors and a group of teenage activists as they organize the largest youth protest in American history and set out to build an inclusive and unprecedented youth movement that addresses racial justice, a growing public health crisis and shocking a political system into change. Watch the trailer.
Click on these links for more on Gun Violence and Public Witness.
The Lord Sort Them:
The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty
By Maurice Chammah. Charts the rise and fall of capital punishment through the eyes of those it touched: prosecutors, judges, lawyers, executioners and death row prisoners themselves along with their families and the families of their victims. In tracing these interconnected lives against the rise of mass incarceration in Texas and the country as a whole, explores what the persistence of the death penalty says about forgiveness and retribution, fairness and justice, history and myth. Read more.
For more on Capital Punishment, click here.
Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration
By Reuben Miller. Informed by the author's experience as the son and brother of incarcerated men, captures the stories of the men, women, and communities fighting against a system that is designed for them to fail. Exposes how laws, rules, and regulations extract a tangible cost not only from those working to rebuild their lives, but also on American democracy itself. Reveals a simple, if overlooked truth: life after incarceration is its own form of prison -- debunking the myth that one can serve their debt and return to life as a full-fledged member of society. Highlights how recently released individuals are faced with jobs that are off-limits, apartments that cannot be occupied and votes that cannot be cast. Shows that the American justice system was not created to rehabilitate and parole is structured to keep some classes of Americans impoverished, unstable, and disenfranchised long after they’ve paid their debt to society. Read more.

For more on the Criminal Justice System,
Oh Mercy:
Searching for Hope in the Promised Land
The first of three films in Running To Stand Still, a series of documentaries about the global refugee crisis, and its inextricable link to the multi- billion dollar human exploitation industry. Oh Mercy focuses on the thousands of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers from Central America awaiting court dates and immigration hearings in the US—many for well over a year. Increasingly desperate and discouraged, they are huddled in squalid camps and detention centers on both sides of the Rio Grande, which for several hundred miles serves as a natural border between Mexico and the United States.
Click on these links for more on Immigration and Refugees.
When We Stand:
The Power of Seeking Justice Together
By Terence Lester. Looks at the obstacles that prevent us from getting involved, and offers practical ways that we can accomplish things together as groups, families, churches, and communities. Helps readers find their place in the larger picture, discerning the unique ways they can contribute and make a difference. Read more.
Click on these links for more on Justice and
Children Under Fire: An American Crisis
By John Woodrow Cox. Investigates the effectiveness of gun safety reforms as well as efforts to manage children’s trauma in the wake of neighborhood shootings and campus massacres, from Columbine to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Through deep reporting, addresses how readers can effect change now, and help young victims. Explores their stories including a couple in South Carolina whose eleven-year-old son shot himself, a Republican politician fighting for gun safety laws, and the charlatans infiltrating the school safety business. Read more. 
For more on Gun Violence, click here.
Women Rising:
Learning to Listen, Reclaiming Our Voice
By Meghan Tschanz. A personal journey of transformation as well as a Christian blueprint for anyone wanting to confront injustice against women while pointing to a biblical standard for gender equality. With humility and grit, calls Christian women to amplify their voices for righteousness―and calls the church to listen.
For more on Gender Inequality, click here.
National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO)
For more than 85 years, NAHRO has represented the needs and interests of individuals and organizations working in the housing and community development field. NAHRO fights to secure needed housing and community development resources, represents its members at HUD and on the Hill, and provides its members with the information, analysis and training they need to provide affordable housing in sustainable communities. With more than 20,000 members—NAHRO is the largest and most effective network of housing and community development professionals in the country. Learn more.
For more on Housing, click here.
Islamophobia: What Christians Should Know (and Do) about Anti-Muslim Discrimination
By Jordan Denari Duffner. Argues that Christians, not Muslims, should be at the forefront of efforts to end Islamophobia. While focusing largely on American Islamophobia, the author also discusses the issue's international and historical roots and its connection to Christianity, before laying out a proposed Christian response to this insidious problem. Case studies and interviews are interwoven with multidisciplinary research. Read more.
For more on Religious Intolerance, click here.
Debunking the Myth of the Lost Cause:
A Lie Embedded in American History
A TED-Ed resource featuring Karen L. Cox, who talks about the how this revisionist history began shortly after the Civil War ended, when southern sources claimed the conflict was about "state's rights" and not slavery. She looks at how this revisionism came about and examines the cultural myth of the "Lost Cause." Watch now.
For more on Racism, click here.
Dignity and the Death Penalty:
Evolution of Catholic Teaching
By Alice Hugh Brown. This small group resource from Renew International in partnership with the Catholic Mobilizing Network, examines Catholic teaching on the death penalty, based on the insights of Sr. Helen Prejean. Sr. Prejean is a leading advocate for abolition of the death penalty and for elimination of social and economic unfairness in the criminal-justice system and the author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. This program helps participants reflect on the fairness of the criminal justice system, arguments for and against capital punishment, and alternatives to the death sentence. This title is also available as an e-book. Learn more.
For more on Capital Punishment, click here.
The Way of Peace:
Readings for a Harmonious Life
An anthology of stories, essays, prayers and poems designed to inspire, encourage and motivate readers to cultivate peace. Divided into three parts: Peace of Heart, Peace on Earth, and Prayers for Peace. Contributors include: Michelle Obama, Maria Shriver, Martin Sheen, John Dear, Thomas Merton, Wendell Berry, John Lewis, Pope Francis, Maya Angelou, Pema Chodron, Mary Oliver, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dorothee Soelle, Eckhart Tolle, Joseph Girzone, Henry Nouwen, David Steindl-Rast, and Jim Martin. Read more.
For more Peace resources, click here.
Catholic Social Teaching: A User’s Guide
By William O'Neill SJ. A guide to understanding what Catholic Social Teaching (CST) says and how it relates to global issues. Discusses sources, history, and key themes of the CST tradition, as well as implications of CST for the ethics of war and peace, forced migration, and social reconciliation. Each chapter concludes with reflection questions.
For more Catholic Social Teaching resources,
For Courage to Do Justice
Loving God, open our eyes that we may see the needs of others
Open our ears that we may hear their cries;
Open our hearts so that they may be comforted;
Let us not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
Nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show us where love and hope and faith are needed,
And use us to bring them to those places.
And open our eyes and our ears
That we may do some of the work of peace for you.

Alan Paton
Important Dates This Month
Individuals Honored This Month
June 1st
In my empty cell, I experience a growing awareness of the communion of saints -- and of the possibility of a world where the vast chasm of violence and injustice enforced by torture and war is bridged and transformed.
June 4th
The media seems to think only abortion and gay marriage are religious issues. Poverty is a moral issue, it's a faith issue, it's a religious issue.
June 8th
If there is no friendship with the poor and no sharing of the life of the poor, then there is no authentic commitment to liberation, because love exists only among equals.
June 12th
Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness.
June 28th
Even today we don't pay serious attention to the issue of poverty, because the powerful remain relatively untouched by it. Most people distance themselves from the issue by saying that if the poor worked harder, they wouldn't be poor.
June 30th

Dorothy was killed in El Salvador in 1980 with 3 companions by members of the military for her work with the poor.
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