Fair Wisconsin's New Faith Outreach Director

Greetings! I’m Eric Peterson, the new Faith Outreach Director for Fair Wisconsin. This is my first entry on the No On The Amendment Blog. Since today is the National Day of Prayer, it’s a fitting day for me to introduce myself and talk about the faith outreach efforts here at Fair Wisconsin.

I grew up in the northwoods of Wisconsin among the great fishing lakes, the beautiful woods, green fields, and so many Lutheran churches you could walk across the county on the rooftops. At my church, I attended Sunday School where my teachers and pastors, all of whom are family friends, taught me about a wonderful word – love.

This idea of love has pushed me to be an active advocate for the rights all people in my church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Last fall I attended the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Orlando and helped move the church towards the full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the body of Christ. Moreover, this love that I was taught also pushed me into the world of politics. I believe our government is called, just like our churches, to show love and concern for all the people in our land. I recently finished my term as legislative assistant in the Wisconsin State Assembly trying to enact that idea into Wisconsin’s public policy.

This kind of love, the love that Christ showed the world, is the basis for our faith outreach efforts. The gospel and theology of agape love transcends the different denominations, theologies, and church traditions. It’s the new commandment that Christ gave the Christian church (John 13:34-35), and pretty much sums up the “golden rule” (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) that can be found in the teachings of almost every religion on Earth.

Throughout this coming summer and fall, you will hear me talk about love a lot. That’s because the love that people of faith know is not what the ban says to Wisconsin. The love of God knows no differences between people. It loves us all, straight or gay, and that’s why I am working on this campaign and voting NO!

As I said, today is the National Day of Prayer. This event is a predominately conservative event headlined this year by Shirley Dobson, wife of Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family. In Wisconsin a small group of conservative Christians gathered for prayer at the State Capitol. This group obviously supports the ban from the prayers they offered. As fellow members of the universal church, I respect their beliefs, but strongly disagree with them. If you are reading this, you probably do too. But instead of writing a theological paper here, I thought it would be best to offer a prayer that each of us can use in our own way. I invite you to pray with me in your own tradition:
“Holy one, your witness to the Word writes, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” As your people calling for equality and love in our state, we live in faith you will provide what we need for this calling, we live in hope of your revival and power in this test, and we live in love knowing that even those we disagree with deserve the same love you have shown us. Give us an unconditional love to live in harmony with all people, straight and gay, friend or foe. Amen.”
Let’s go forward to November 7th in love. Check out the faith outreach website for more information on our faith organizing outreach.

Peace, Eric

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At 4:46 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Eric, it is good to know you are out there doing what you do. I realize you might not hear this enough for everything you do so I'll say it now: THANKS! - Adam

At 6:23 PM, Blogger demdiva said...

Preach on, Brother Eric. We need all kinds of voices speaking out about loving ourselves, our neighbors, and our world. With our positive message of love and hope, together we will WIN!

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Lisaben said...

I think bringing a faith outreach person on board is a great move. When we look at state and national struggles against discrimination of all kinds, it has been people of faith who have been among the leaders of those battles. The Christian Taliban shouldn't be the only religious or spriritual voice that voters hear. I think this is very encouraging and I look forward to working with Eric.

Kay Springstroh

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

Thank you, Eric, in advance for the good work you will be doing! I am often frustrated by the inability of either side in this debate in Wisconsin to articulate a proper statement of how faith informs their politics.

From the "right" we often hear nothing but disconnected bigotry. From the "left" we hear tired arguments about tolerance.

Your language of love hits both sides square in the eyes!

To the "right" it is a reminder that there is great moral energy in building up families rather than tearing them down. This is why I believe strongly that the Wisconsin Catholic Conference will come out on our side. (Good luck with that, and let me know if you need help navigating the language of the Vatican documents that will support it.)

To the "left" your language is a call to move in the direction of evangelization. Sure, we should vote NO because it's the nice thing to do. But we should also vote NO because the Gospel of Love DEMANDS IT!

Welcome aboard!


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