RELIGION

Why 12 Top Religious Leaders Are Proud To Support Net Neutrality

06/12/2015 07:08 am ET | Updated Jun 12, 2015
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The Open Internet Order has gone into effect -- protecting what faith leaders are calling the “fundamental right” of Internet freedom.

Along with demanding more transparency from broadband companies, the Federal Communications Commission’s order prevents providers from blocking, slowing down, or allowing paid prioritization of websites.

As part of a campaign organized by open internet activists at Faithful Internet, 12 American religious leaders -- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Humanist -- spoke up to defend the new rules. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also chimed in on behalf of Pope Francis.

Valarie Kaur, co-founder of Faithful Internet, said that net neutrality is vital for religious leaders who use the Internet to advocate for social justice.

“Today’s moral leaders are using the Internet to meet the needs of new generations, speak truth to power, and minister to the underserved,” Kaur wrote in a statement. “They are using online tools to help us hear the call of wisdom traditions, not to violence and exclusion, but to love and service.”

Here's why these leaders believe an open Internet is essential for religious life and interfaith activism.

  • Dr. Sharon Groves
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Dr. Sharon Groves is a faith organizer and strategist working at the intersection of faith, LGBTQ equality and social justice. She is the former Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program Director.
  • Sister Simone Campbell
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, the Catholic social justice lobby founded by Catholic Sisters, is a religious leader, attorney, and poet. NETWORK organized a national tour, “Nuns on the Bus: Nuns Drive for Faith, Family and Fairness.”
  • Greg Epstein
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Greg Epstein is the Humanist chaplain at Harvard University. As an influential Humanist author, blogger, and spokesperson, he is a national voice building bridges between people of all faiths and beliefs.
  • Linda Sarsour
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Linda Sarsour is a Muslim community activist and executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. She is known for civil rights work in the context of national security, community organizing, civic engagement, and immigrants’ rights advocacy.
  • Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel is associate professor of Systematic Theology at New York Theological Seminary and director of the Micah Institute, a faith-rooted organizing effort of primarily black and brown evangelical communities.
  • Valarie Kaur
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Valarie Kaur is a leading Sikh activist, lawyer, and filmmaker, who founded Groundswell Movement of 200,000+ members, America’s largest multi-faith online organizing community. She champions media justice at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, where she co-founded Faithful Internet.
  • Rev. Jacqueline Lewis
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Rev. Jacqueline Lewis is senior minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City. Lewis speaks throughout the United States on racial reconciliation, LGBTQ equality, and economic justice.
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is the leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina and President of the North Carolina NAACP.
  • Brian McLaren
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and networker among innovative Christian leaders. His dozen-plus books include “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.”
  • Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III is the senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He is a leading Christian activist and cultural critic, part of a new generation of ministers committed to preaching prophetically that the message of love and justice are inseparable companions.
  • Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews has been a PICO National Network clergy leader since 1996, and joined the national staff in 2008. He is the director of clergy organizing and leads the Prophetic Voices Initiative, which is organizing a prophetic faith voice shaping the movement for racial and economic inclusion.
  • Rabbi Eric Solomon
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Rabbi Eric Solomon is the spiritual leader of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, North Carolina. A champion of interfaith engagement, he serves on the Social Justice Commission of the Rabbinical Assembly.
  • Pope Francis
    Courtesy of Faithful Internet
    Pope Francis is celebrated for his commitment to the poor and building bridges between people of all faiths and beliefs. Helen Osman is Secretary of Communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She is currently coordinating all media aspects of the Pope’s upcoming visit to the U.S.

Religious Calendar 2015
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