Atheists and Christians will offer competing agendas about the role of religion in the public square when the Democratic National Convention meets in Charlotte, N.C., in early September.
“Religion is silly and religion has components that are inherently divisive… There is no place for any of that in the political system,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists.

His organization has purchased billboard space attacking Christianity. One billboard has a likeness of Jesus on toast. The message says, in part, “Sadistic God; Useless Savior.”

Those who take religion seriously and seek to follow Jesus’ moral agenda will gather on the afternoon of Sept. 4 at Saint Peter’s Catholic Church for an ecumenical event focused on faith and immigration.

The event is about “a moral witness of faith leaders to political leaders about the urgency of addressing immigration reform. Nothing more. Nothing less,” said Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, in a recent editorial.

The event will include a screening of the 31-minute version of “Gospel Without Borders,” an ecumenical documentary that explores how the Christian community in five states is addressing the immigration issue.

Following the screening, a three-person panel of bishops will speak from a moral perspective about immigration.

The panelists are MinervaCarcaño, bishop of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church (who will become the bishop of the Los Angeles area); JulianGordy, bishop of the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and AnthonyTaylor, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock, Ark.

Taylor is one of the interviewees in the documentary (watch the video teaser below).

Also attending the event will be another interviewee, Hector Villanueva, a bivocational Baptist pastor associated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina.

A number of bishops and denominational leaders will attend the event, including Patrick Anderson, interim executive coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; George E. Battle, bishop, Piedmont Episcopal District for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; William Gregg, assistant bishop, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina; Larry Hovis, coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina; Alfred Marble, assistant bishop, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina; and James Thomas, interim acting general presbyter, Presbytery of Charlotte.

Unlike American Atheists, who say religion lacks substance, a diverse group of religious leaders thinks faith can contribute substantively to the immigration debate.

For more information about the faith event, click here.

Given the limited seating at Saint Peter’s, interested parties must register to obtain a free ticket. Click here to register.

In addition to the event for faith and political leaders in downtown Charlotte, another screening of the documentary will be held on Sept. 4, in the evening, at Park Road Baptist Church.

For information about this event sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, click here.

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