09/06/2012 11:40 am ET Updated Nov 06, 2012

Please Write Cardinal Dolan Now

Cardinal Archbishop Timothy Dolan delivered the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention and will do so again for the Democrats.

But even if both parties seek him to invoke God's blessings on them, the Shalom Center is confronting one aspect of his work: the hierarchy's stern criticism of American nuns, and its campaign to deny some women insurance coverage for contraception.

We invite you to sign an "Open Letter" to him on these issues. The letter has been signed by leading members of the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and women's communities. We invite you to sign it as well.

The hierarchy's campaign against women's religious and conscientious freedom took the form of acting with contempt for women's ability to make their own conscientious decisions about contraception and sharply criticizing the nuns who are working with and for the poor, rather than -- as the Vatican wants -- spending their time campaigning to make contraception difficult, abortion illegal and same-sex marriages forbidden.

These actions have major effects beyond the Church. Just as they make clear that "no religion is an island," so should our response.

This is the gist of the Open Letter to Archbishop Dolan:

To Your Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan
We ask you to:

1. Reexamine how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is endangering the religious freedom of women by trying to restrict health insurance that covers contraception.

2. Remind Vatican agencies that have sharply criticized American nuns for focusing on the plight of the poor that their action endangers the Church's commitment to social justice for the poor.

Among the Initiating Signers: Gloria Steinem, founder of MS.; Matthew Fox, author of "The Coming of the Cosmic Christ" and "Original Blessing"; Rev. Bob Edgar, president, Common Cause, former general secretary of National Council of Churches of Christ, USA, former US Congressman; Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland; Rabbi Amy Eilberg, interfaith dialogue activist (first woman ordained as Rabbi by Conservative Judaism); Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, former general secretary of National Council of Churches & now director, department of religion, Chautauqua Institution; Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rector, American Jewish University; Daisy Khan, Cordoba Institute; Rev. Debra W. Haffner, President, Religious Institute. (Institutions noted for ID only)

To read the full text of the Open Letter and to join with these people in signing it, please click here.

With blessings of shalom, salaam, pax - wholeness and healing-