Faith in Progress

Faith in Progress

Al Sharp, Executive Director of PCG, shares his perspective on key issues of the day.

“Please remember that advocacy, and this social justice work, are part of who we are as people of faith, as Christians. Just as worship and prayer, and giving, and volunteering shape our spiritual lives--so must advocacy for the common good.”

Decriminalize marijuana? The fact that over 70 municipalities have already done so may be one of the best-kept secrets in Illinois. Two years ago, PCG staff noticed a one-paragraph story in the Chicago Tribune stating that Chicago Heights had decriminalized low levels of cannabis. We decided to gather data on how many other municipalities had taken the same action.

Our 15th anniversary celebration last Sunday was a resounding success. My thanks to those of you who helped to make it so....for me, it is the words of several of our speakers that in the long run will mean the most.

Even as I ask you to celebrate with us, I also want to call your attention to a series of citywide memorial events, collectively called Urban Dolorosa, that will take place throughout the week of PCG’s 15th anniversary.

In December 1995, I was a Divinity School student lucky enough to be doing my field work under the Rev. Eugene Winkler at the Chicago Temple. I heard somebody mention that a group would be testing whether an alternative voice to the political Christian right could be formed. I was present at this worship service rally of over 700 clergy and lay activists. How could I have known that all these years later I would be inviting you to celebrate with us the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of Protestants for the Common Good? Please join us on Sunday, November 6 at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Sometimes it is important simply to do the right thing. That is why the Board of Protestants for the Common Good called last week for a shift from a flat to a progressive income tax for Illinois.

Most of us encounter minimum wage workers every day. We benefit from their work, and yet, they—and their work—are undervalued. Learn more about Illinois' Minimum Wage Campaign and how you can get involved and make a difference.

Prior to August 19, 2011, if a person’s RAP sheet consisted only of an arrest with no convictions s/he could petition the court to have the arrest[s] expunged, but if s/he had one conviction or more, any subsequent arrest that did not lead to a conviction could not be expunged/sealed from the person's RAP sheet. This scenario has led to barriers in housing, employment, and educational opportunities for thousands of people based on misleading and/or misinterpreted RAP sheets.

It’s not every day that one has the opportunity to celebrate the signing of a bill with the Governor himself; and it’s especially not every day that the bill signing is held at an urban nature center complete with goats, geese, Shetland ponies, and a butterfly sanctuary.

Few topics are as difficult or complex as the relation of faith and politics. When I took the job at Protestants for the Common Good fifteen years ago, I knew that there would be many people who would not easily engage with us in our mission.

What I have been heartened to find is in every congregation, there is a core group who do take on the task...


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