In Ohio some 300 clergy and lay leaders—Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish—work together to bring about political change on behalf the state’s poor, coordinating their efforts in an organization formed last fall called “We Believe Ohio” (www.webelieveohio.org).
Don King, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, said: “We want to reach the electorate on issues like housing and minimum wage. We’re speaking from our faith. If we tallied up the economic proscriptions for the faithful in the Bible, we’d see how we should live—with justice for the poor front-and-center. That’s our agenda.”
Carol Fredrich, executive director of the Cleveland-based Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries (www.lutheranmetro.org), also is active in “We Believe.” Supporting the interreligious effort, she said, fits what LMM has been all about since its founding in the 1960s. “We see social service and advocacy as going hand-in-hand,” Fredrich said. “We’re laying out the biblical basis for social justice before [the voters], like we do at LMM for the people in the pews. We’re saying, ‘no more policies that abandon the poor.’ ”
Other ELCA Cleveland-area clergy active in “We Believe” include Mark Brauer, Robert Hanson, George Hrbek and Richard Israel. Deaconess Deborah Nebel also participates.
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