Thirty-five years after the launch of the Culture Wars and on the brink of its possible win, I represent 35 national Evangelical clergy and top faith-leaders who have issued a #CalltoPause the Culture Wars. Here’s why:
- The strategy of The Culture War, to shift the balance of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, won’t actually accomplish its stated goal—to end abortion in the U.S. Rather, that strategy would send the decision back to the states. But, states with the highest abortion rates are unlikely to outlaw abortion. As a result, the majority of abortions in the U.S. will continue. We need a strategy that works. We know what works: Decrease poverty and you will decrease abortion. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops 2014 report on Abortion and Poverty found that abortion rates are falling nationally but going up drastically among poor women, because poverty is the key driver of abortion.
- Past is prologue. Majority conservative rulings have consistently hurt people of color. A majority Conservative Supreme Court, with life-time appointments, would have two to three generations to dismantle civil rights and protections by chipping away at Brown v. the Board of Education and weakening every legislative act that rests on that ruling. Restricted rights lead to increased poverty. Increased poverty leads to more abortions.
The Culture War’s 35-year-old, ideologically driven strategy will not end abortion, but will put the lives of our brothers and sisters in the pews right next to us at peril. Thank you for Pledging to Pause the Culture War by fasting for discernment, listening to the pleas of people of color, and acting by demanding the Senate only confirm a truly moderate, independent justice who will protect Brown v. Board of Education and all Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation that rests on that ruling.
Step One: Fast
Fasting cleanses our hearts and minds and makes us sensitive to the sin in our hearts and world. There are a number of examples in scripture of fasting prompted by concern for public justice. We have chosen Nehemiah 1:1-8 as our reference for this fast.
Upon hearing that the walls of Jerusalem had fallen and the city was burning, Nehemiah sat down and wept, then he mourned, fasted and prayed. The current Supreme Court nominee under consideration was vetted by two far right organizations. We believe the protections, the walls of safety, secured by the Civil Rights movement for people of color and other minorities are at risk of falling down.
Our nation’s current reality feels similar to what Nehemiah must have faced. Our current situation is indeed worthy of mourning, fasting and prayer. Honoring the critical importance of the Supreme Court’s 1956 Brown vs. The Board of Education ruling, we have chosen for the lunchtime hour to mark our time of corporate fasting. During the lunch hour as you fast please pray for children of all ethnicities, whose civil rights will be impacted by the next Justice appointment to the Supreme Court.
Our fast is simple:
- Fasting Time: Each day at 12 noon in every timezone.
- If you are unable to fast from food, then please join us by fasting from social media during your lunch hour.
- Invite others to join you and engage in conversations for the sake of educating those in your circles of influence. Actively listen to stories of those affected by the current dismantling of their civil rights.
- Our fast will continue until a new Supreme Court Justice is confirmed.
Step Two: Listen
- Use your lunch hour to listen to the stories and concerns of people of color regarding the Supreme Court decision. We will send articles for your to read and scripture to meditate on during your lunchtime fast.
- Form your own local Talking Circle in your church or organization! Talking Circles are a powerful way for communities to process tough issues together. They are story-based and offer protected space for sharing and listening. Check out these Guidelines on How to Facilitate a Talking Circle in your community!
- Together, may we hear from God, and use our power and influence to call our Senators to confirm a candidate who will protect the lives of both the born and the unborn.
Step Three: Act (Call Your Senator)
In her #CalltoPause statement, Dr. Mary Nelson (President Emeritus, Bethel New Life, Inc.) reminded us: “Mordecai urged Queen Esther to risk going before the King, ‘For such a time as this,’ to plead for the threatened Jewish community.” Likewise, Nehemiah’s fasting and prayer led him to go before King Artaxerxes to ask for changes in the law and supplies to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. The Bible teaches us it is not enough to fast and listen. Our discernment and listening must move us to action.
In the U.S. our democratic republic is governed by three branches of federal government: Congress (the legislative branch), the U.S. Supreme Court (the judicial branch), and the President and his administration (the Executive branch). Supreme Court justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In this case, our “Artaxerxes” are our U.S. Senators. They are the ones who hold the power to confirm, obstruct or deny confirmation of the President’s Supreme Court nominees. In other words, they have the power to decide the course of our nation’s future.
U.S. Supreme Court nominees only need 51 votes to be confirmed. In other words, every single Senate vote counts. Every constituent call to a Senator matters. It is critical, that they hear from us regarding the next Supreme Court appointment.
Please CALL your Senators TODAY. Here’s how to call your Senators to demand they replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy with a moderate independent Justice.
Senate Call Number
- CALL: Senate switchboard: 1-(202) -224-3121.
- If you know your Senator’s name, give the name of the Senator’s office you’d like to be connected to. The operator will connect you.
- If you do not know your Senator’s name, tell the operator: “I’d like to be connected to the Senate office for [INSERT YOUR STATE].
Please call both of your Senators.
Senate Office Operator: Hello. May I help you?
Caller: Hello, I am a constituent of [INSERT YOUR SENATOR’S NAME]. I live in [INSERT YOUR TOWN/CITY]. May I please speak to the Senator’s Legislative Aid on the Judiciary?
Legislative Aid: Hello. How can I help you?
Caller: I am calling as a part of the Evangelical Pledge to Pause the Culture War. Because of my Evangelical faith, I am calling to urge the Senator to confirm only a truly moderate independent Supreme Court nominee.
- Shifting the balance of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, won’t actually end abortion in the U.S.
- We know how to decrease abortion. Decrease poverty.
- What’s more, we understand that a majority conservative Supreme Court, with life-time appointments, would have two to three generations to dismantle Civil Rights protections by chipping away at Brown v. the Board of Education and weakening every legislative act that rests on that ruling. Restricted rights lead to increased poverty. Increased poverty leads to more abortions.
Is the Senator willing to commit to confirming only a truly moderate, independent Supreme Court Justice and to work toward decreasing abortion by decreasing poverty in the U.S.?
Staffer: I will certainly pass on your concerns to the Senator.
Caller: Please do. This is extremely important to me. I, and the members of our Evangelical #PledgetoPause network, will be watching and following the Senator’s actions. Know that we are praying for the Senator.
[If No, Senator WILL NOT COMMIT or UNDECIDED] Caller: Please take down my contact information to let me know when [INSERT YOUR SENTATOR’S NAME] has made up his/her mind. I’m eager to hear what he/she decides.
Please take a moment after your call to write to us and let us know how it went! Email us at email@example.com. Please write #PledgetoPause in the Subject Line! We might share your story on our blog or social media!
Memes to Share on Social Media