KIFA's 2018 Legislative Priorities

Kansas Interfaith Action has published its legislative priorities for the 2018 Kansas legislative session. For a PDF version of the document click here.

KIFA 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 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 the “four evils” of racism / discrimination, economic injustice, violence, and climate disruption. All the items on our legislative agenda is in one of these four categories. For more detail please visit kansasinterfaithaction.org/about.

Click through to see the full list.

 

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MLK Commemoration in Topeka

Rabbi Moti Rieber, Director of Kansas Interfaith Action, was the featured speaker at the 25th annual “Whose Dream Is It?” Community Celebration of the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday evening, January 15, at First Christian Church in Topeka. The event, sponsored by the Topeka Center for Peace and Justice, is part of Topeka's week-long Living the Dream program to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of Dr. King. 

"It's important to remember what Dr. King stood for," said Rabbi Rieber, "but even more, to take inspiration from him to stand up to the challenges that we face now, when racism, poverty, violence and climate disruption are greater problems than ever."

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Interfaith Invocation at the State Capitol

Kansas Interfaith Action held its second annual Interfaith Invocation for the Legislative Session on Wednesday morning, January 10, 2018 in the State Capitol. This event sets an intention for the session that just began, reminding our legislators of that holding their office is a sacred trust, and that in their deliberations they should remember the teachings of our various faith traditions, particularly to care for those less fortunate. 

We were pleased and honored to have the following clergy participate in the event:

Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka 
Imam Omar Hazim, Islamic Center of Topeka 
Rev. Jeff Prothro, DeSoto United Methodist Church 
Rev. Rich Shockey, Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City 
Rabbi Moti Rieber, Kansas Interfaith Action 

About 20 legislators, representing both parties, attended the event. 

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Your Support Makes Our Work Possible

A couple of weeks ago when I wrote our yearly appeal letter I said, “About the best that can be said about our federal government is that it's non-functional.” Unfortunately it's become less so since then. The passage of the reverse-Robin-Hood “tax reform” bill, coupled with yesterday's Supreme Court decision allowing the “Muslim ban” to stay in effect while going through the courts, and the Administration's decision to significantly roll back preserved status for two national parks in Utah, show that however dysfunctional or threatened the federal government is, it can still do significant damage – and it will.

Every one of the actions of this government (not just the president, but Congress as well) has been immoral and contrary to the teachings of our faith traditions, which instruct us to care for the poor and disregarded, to love and protect the stranger, and to care for God's creation.  

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KIFA Condemns Pres. Trump's Anti-Muslim Tweets

Kansas Interfaith Action condemns in the strongest possible terms the anti-Muslim hate tweets sent out by President Trump yesterday.

It appears that the videos retweeted by the president were either falsified or were cherry-picked from multiple years and multiple countries. But that shouldn't even matter. Sending out such images is a vile act, not worthy of the office of president. We can well imagine an autocratic leader of another country tweeting the worse possible images of Jews or Christians, and we would condemn them. What we could never imagine, before this year, is the president of the United States doing such a thing.  

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Expand AND FIX KanCare

Kansas is one of the only states in the nation that has completely privatized Medicaid services, and like all of Gov. Brownback's policies, it's been a disaster. In January 2017 the federal government refused to certify renewal of the program, calling it “substantively out of compliance with Federal statutes and regulations." Complaints included "a lack of engagement and adversarial communication from the State." This key quote from the article says it all: “We had a system that worked, and we wrecked it.”  

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Another Day, Another Mass Shooting

Another day, another mass shooting.

It's hard to know what to say about this that hasn't been said a hundred times already. Rev. Daniel N DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said it best:

This incomprehensibly tragic event joins an ever-growing list of mass shootings, some of which were also at Churches while people were worshipping and at prayer.  We must come to the firm determination that there is a fundamental problem in our society. A Culture of Life cannot tolerate, and must prevent, senseless gun violence in all its forms. May the Lord, who Himself is Peace, send us His Spirit of charity and nonviolence to nurture His peace among us all.

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#TakeAKneeforNique

This is a longer version of a letter to the editor, written by our Board Chair, Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, that was submitted to the Topeka Capital-Journal. 

This weekend my family visited a local area farm to enjoy their many fall activities. While the activities were fun, we noted a moment that disturbed and underscored the challenges we have in addressing systemic racism and its consequences for people of color in our state. Most of the families that day were white, and we noticed that when volunteer kids were asked for to help with the pig races, a black family in front of us was initially overlooked and then the young man leading this activity chose to not even acknowledge the area that family was in -- he actually had to intentionally choose not to look our way so as to not “notice” the children in this family who wanted to be picked. 

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Reb Moti Honored by Crescent Peace Society

Rabbi Moti Rieber, accepted the 2017 Community Outreach award recognizing him for his work as Executive Director of Kansas Interfaith Action. This past year Reb Moti helped to organize "Stand With Your Muslim Neighbor's Day" in Topeka where Muslims and non-Muslims held a rally and met with legislators. Kansas Interfaith Action does incredible work advocating for social, economic and climate justice.

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The event took place on August 21, 2017 in Overland Park. 

 


KIFA Condemns Decision to Dismantle DACA; Urges Congress: Restore the Dream!

Lawrence, KS (September 5) — Kansas Interfaith Action, a statewide, faith-based advocacy organization, condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of President Trump to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“The decision to dismantle the DACA program is an affront to basic human decency,” said Rabbi Moti Rieber, executive director of KIFA. “The major religious traditions teach us to welcome the stranger and to treat people fairly. This decision runs directly counter to those teachings. It harms not only the people directly involved, but frankly, the very soul of our nation.”

 

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