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Rev. Chuck Currie
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The Rev. Chuck Currie, a United Church of Christ minister, is the Director of the Center for Peace and Spirituality and University Chaplain at Pacific University.  He lives in Portland, Oregon. 

Entries by Rev. Chuck Currie

#VaccinesWork: Open Letter to Parents & Families From Faith Leaders

(2) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 12:44 PM

Dear Parents and Families,

As faith leaders, we have watched with growing concern the debate over vaccinations.

The common good of our nation relies on all of us looking out for one another. We have to remember how our choices impact those around us. Diverse faith traditions, including Christianity,...

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People of Faith Have Reason to Support President's State of the Union Proposals

(16) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 11:11 PM

Tonight after watching President Obama's State of the Union Address and speaking today with White House officials about the proposals the president is making, I can report without hesitation that the president has put forward a domestic agenda people of faith concerned about families, poverty and education can...

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I Apologize for Christian Hate

(47) Comments | Posted January 11, 2015 | 3:05 PM

It is frustrating to many, regardless of faith tradition, that Muslims across the world are required to condemn acts of terrorism committed by extremists in the name of Islam each time such an act occurs. By now it should be clear to anyone paying attention (and we can be sure...

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Will Police Unions Battle Houses of Worship or Seek Reconciliation?

(50) Comments | Posted January 4, 2015 | 4:52 PM

We face a critical breach in our nation between law enforcement and the public. This is illustrated today most deeply in New York City but travels the nation all the way to Portland, Oregon - and from north to south - and many of the same issues exist....

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Welcoming the Stranger With Executive Action

(3) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 8:54 AM

Faith leaders across the United States were eager to hear President Obama outline a series of executive actions that he is taking to address America's immigration crisis. Conservative evangelical Christians, progressive mainline Christians and Roman Catholics (ranging the wide spectrum of Roman Catholics in...

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Brittany Maynard Made A Moral Choice

(55) Comments | Posted November 2, 2014 | 10:41 PM

Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill woman who moved from California to Oregon to avail herself of Oregon's Death With Dignity law, has died, according to social media and news accounts.

How we die has been a difficult issue for people of faith. The Roman Catholic Church has long...

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Stumbling Toward a Just Peace

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 6:09 PM

In the mid-1980s, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ voted for our denomination to become a "Just Peace" church. This was seen as an alternative to the Christian model of "Just War" which sanctioned war under some conditions. Just Peace, on the other hand, tried...

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From Ferguson to Forest Grove: Keeping Hope Alive for Racial Progress

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 1:04 PM

The Pacific University Center for Peace and Spirituality recently hosted "From Ferguson To Forest Grove: A Forum Exploring The Intersection of Racism and Law Enforcement." We were honored by the participation and attendance of students, faculty, staff, community members, law enforcement, and a panel of leaders...

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Robin Williams... and My Dad

(6) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 9:16 AM

The shocking news about Robin Williams' apparent suicide isn't really shocking so much as it is commonplace. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control reported 39,518 suicides, which makes suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans.

In 1998, Steve Currie, an award-winning television producer and my...

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An Absurd Peace Plan That Might Work

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 11:32 AM

As a progressive Christian minister in the United Church of Christ, and one committed to interfaith cooperation and peace, I know it is with great pain that people across the globe watch the difficult events in Israel-Palestine continue to unfold day after day. A sense of hopelessness pervades...

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Religious Freedom Is Under Attack -- But Not How You Think

(45) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 3:33 PM

As a minister in the United Church of Christ, I have committed myself to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus. For me, following Jesus begins with the Greatest Commandment: to love God and love neighbor. Too often our Holy Scriptures have been wielded as a tool for...

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Oregon School Shooting Calls For Faithful Outrage

(27) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 6:55 PM

2014-06-10-10405852_10152550405928783_70282343_n.jpgThere was another school shooting in Oregon today. This time at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Ore., just outside of Portland. A mass shooting took place here at Oregon Thurston High School in 1998. Few will ever forget it. Between those we've...

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Marriage Equality Comes To Oregon; Be Joyful

(4) Comments | Posted May 19, 2014 | 4:09 PM

Today marriage equality has finally come to Oregon.

As a minister in the United Church of Christ, which first endorsed marriage equality in 2005, I see this as a victory for religious freedom and a decision entirely consistent with Christian ethics. For too long, people have...

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Creation In Peril: 'For Everything Created by God Is Good'

(2) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 5:48 PM

A visit to Washington, D.C. last week, Holy Week and Easter, and a cold have put me behind in nearly every area of my life -- professional and personal. Still, I feel called to take time I don't have to speak out as a person of faith on the recently...

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#GetCovered: The Story of Erica Martinez

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 3:18 PM

Erica Martinez, 27, has played by the rules. A graduate of Southern Oregon University, she has been an active member of University Park United Methodist Church since she was a teenager. She volunteers with the congregation's Community Outreach Committee, is a regular member of the choir and works -- often...

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Where Are the Better Angels of Our Nature?

(0) Comments | Posted January 31, 2014 | 12:50 PM

President Obama made a compelling case in his State of the Union Address about the nation we should be and not just the nation we are.

In telling the story of Cory Remsburg, a wounded Army Ranger, who made great sacrifices for our country, President Obama called on...

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GOP Dishonors Lincoln And King With Gun Raffle

(112) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 11:44 AM

In an obscene gesture, the Multnomah County GOP in Oregon is raffling off an AR-15 assault rifle "in honor" of the memories of Abraham Lincoln and The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two great Americans cut down by bullets from the guns of assassins. In committing this act, the...

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A Prayer Of Thanksgiving For Nelson Mandela

(8) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 5:23 PM

This day we give thanks for the life of Nelson Mandela.
He led a nation on a long walk to freedom.
He fought for reconciliation and not retribution.
He argued for peace in place of war.

Lord, we give you thanks for Madiba.

When other surrendered...

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From Dallas to Sandy Hook: Lord Have Mercy

(19) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 8:57 PM

This week we mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as we prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the massacre of school children in Sandy Hook.

Do Americans put more faith in guns than in God? It is idolatry to worship false idols but...

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Time to Come Out as People of Faith for Marriage Equality

(178) Comments | Posted October 17, 2013 | 6:33 PM

Most Christians once opposed the fight for equality for gays and lesbians. Today many Christians and other people of faith are at the forefront of the fight to end discrimination against the gay and lesbian community -- even working to support marriage equality.

In 1988, a group of conservative Christians in Oregon collected enough signatures to force a vote on whether or not the state's governor had made the correct decision when he signed an executive order banning discrimination against gays and lesbians in the executive branch of Oregon's government. Voters passed that initiative and it once again became permissible to fire people based on their sexual orientation. Most religious leaders either cheered the decision or remained silent.

Then, in 1992, the Oregon Citizens Alliance came forward with another initiative called Ballot Measure 9. This initiative would have amended the state constitution to declare 'homosexuals" "abnormal" and "perverse." It would have been the first time a class of people had their rights taken away in a state constitution since African-Africans where declared less than a full person. Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland joined a broad coalition that ultimately defeated the measure. Many considered the proposed language akin to language used against the Jews in the early 1930s in Germany. But a similar measure passed in Colorado.

Year after year, the religious right used Oregon as a battle ground in their campaign to deny gays and lesbians basic civil rights. In 2000, for example, they put forward a measure that would have required school counselors to tell gay and lesbian students that they were ill and in need of treatment. Progressive religious leaders waged a hard fought campaign against that ballot measure that was defeated in a close election. The proponents of the initiative lamented after their failure at the battle box in 2000 that the churches had out organized them.

2004 was the banner year for the religious right in Oregon and across the nation. That year Oregonians passed a state constitutional amendment banning marriage between same sex couples. Many churches took no stand on the issue. Roman Catholics and Mormons helped fund the campaign.

The following year, in 2005, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ became the first national mainline Christian denomination to endorse marriage equality. At the time, the UCC's General Synod said:

The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted. Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion. The biblical story recounts the ways in which inclusion and welcome to God's community is ever expanding -- from the story of Abraham and Sarah, to the inclusive ministry of Jesus, to the baptism of Cornelius, to the missionary journeys of Paul throughout the Greco- Roman world. The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus' ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God's people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.

Others have now followed. The tide is turning. Just as many houses of worship at one point opposed interracial marriages but later changed their positions as they were moved by the Holy Spirit all across the nation people of faith are re-thinking marriage equality and coming out on the side of God's justice.

In 2014, Oregonians will consider another ballot measure. This measure would overturn 2004's constitutional amendment and make marriage equality the law of the land. The first 100 people to sign the initiative were clergy from diverse traditions. Communities of faith steeped deep in faith are now organizing events and petition drives in support of marriage equality.

Clearly, some people of faith will oppose marriage equality in this election. The truth is that good people of faith can come to different conclusions on difficult issues. Still, it is important to note that the Oregon Family Council, the main body opposing marriage equality in Oregon, which bills itself as a church-based, pastor-led organization is actually a 501 ( c ) 4 organization that comes complete with a political action committee. They give all their money to GOP candidates. The Oregon Family Council is a political organization not a faith body. National anti-gay organizations, like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, are also not church bodies.

To discriminate is sin. The Greatest Commandment is to love. Love absent justice is meaningless. It is time for people of faith to come out in support of marriage equality and put God's love into action so that all are...

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