Kansas Interfaith Action is a statewide, multi-faith issue-advocacy organization that “puts faith into action” by educating, engaging and advocating on behalf of people of faith and the public regarding critical social, economic, and climate justice issues.
KIFA (pronounced "KEE-fa") members are shaped by the values of our diverse faiths, which connect us to an age-old concern for justice, peace, and human dignity. Rooted in faith, we join hands across difference to work for moral public policy in Kansas.
We take as our starting point what Dr. King described as the “triple threat” or the “three evils”: racism, violence, and poverty. We include in these categories related issues, and also add a fourth threat that we believe fits well into the framework: climate disruption.
Racism / Discrimination: Racism is America's “original sin” and we must oppose it root and branch. Everyone deserves equal opportunity and equal protection, and the right to live in peace according to their principles. In this category we include discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
Violence: We decry the resort to violence to solve society's problems, whether it be militarized police forces domestically or endless warfare abroad. We believe that society is not made safer – in fact, the opposite – by the endless expansion of private gun ownership, and we will work not only to protect the few gun-free spaces that are left, but to begin to heal the divisions that make citizens believe they need to take up arms against each other. We hold that money spent on weaponry, at home or abroad, is money taken from where it could be put to better use, such as on education, infrastructure, the alleviation of poverty, etc.
Economic Justice: Mahatma Gandhi said that poverty “is the worst form of violence.” We take seriously our religions' directives to care for “the least of these,” and advocate using society's resources to alleviate poverty, including homelessness, hunger, illiteracy, infant mortality, substandard housing, and the lack of affordable health care for a significant sector of our population.
Climate Disruption: We are called to be stewards of creation, and are doing a poor job of it. The destruction of God's creation, particularly by global climate change, is an emergency that requires the efforts of all of us to address. The consequences of climate chaos will impact poorer communities and communities of color most of all, so we recognize that by addressing environmental issues we will also be addressing poverty and racism.
The way we address these issues is by coming together in what Dr. King called “the beloved community” - a multifaith, multi-issue coalition from all over the state. We recognize that each of us as individuals, and our faith traditions by themselves, cannot answer all of our questions, or address all of our needs. It is by coming together in mutual respect, cooperation and love that we model the kind of peaceful, compassionate, cooperative world we want to build -- and begin to effect meaningful change.
Kansas Interfaith Action is the successor organization to Kansas Interfaith Power & Light, which from 2008-2015 served as "the religious response to climate change" in Kansas.
KIFA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered with the IRS and the State of Kansas.
Kansas Interfaith Action is governed by a board of directors of at least seven members, representing as much as possible the diversity of our state's population, based on age, gender, race, lay and ordained, faith tradition, and the geographical regions of Kansas.
Our Board of Directors (as of Feb. 1, 2018; organizational affiliations are for identification purposes only):
Moussa Elbayoumy - Council on American-Islamic Relations-Kansas, Lawrence
Cindy Kelly - Wichita
Les Lampe - St. Paul's UMC, Lenexa
Mike Munz - First Congregational Church, Great Bend
Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan (chair) - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka
Rev. Jeff Prothro - DeSoto UMC
Rev. Rich Shockey - Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, KS
Linda Thurston - First Congregational Church, Manhattan
We also have a “clergy advisory council” which helps to discern the issues the organization will work on at any specific time, and which helps to publicize and address these issues in the pulpit, in their communities, and in the public square.
Rabbi Moti Rieber, Executive Director
Rabbi Moti Rieber has served as Executive Director of Kansas Interfaith Action and its predecessor organization, Kansas Interfaith Power & Light, since March of 2011. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. A life-long activist on peace, social justice, and environmental issues, Reb Moti brings a variety of pulpit, interfaith, and organizational experience to the work of Kansas Interfaith Action. Reb Moti and his wife, Suzy, live with their three children in Overland Park.