1 September 15, 2011 Mark your calendar for the Faith and Fairness Town Hall God, Gays and Government on September 15 th, 6pm at Bulpitt Auditorium, Phoenix College. This important, multicultural conversation will focus on diverse community dialogue with interfaith groups, public policy experts, the LGBT and Phoenix communities. A highly diverse group of community partners are collaborating to provide people of all faiths the opportunity to join the conversation at the Faith and Fairness Town Hall God, Gays and Government. This moderated event will include a panel of speakers, both clergy and lay, from Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian traditions, discussing the role of religion in determining the direction of government policy on social issues. The event s format will begin with introductory statements from each panelist followed by submitted questions from the audience. Community members may submit their questions for the panel prior to the event by visiting Questions will also be taken on the day of the event. The Faith and Fairness Town Hall God, Gays and Government is presented by HRC Arizona, No Longer Silent Clergy for Justice (NLS CFJ) and ONE Community. Community partners include: Echo Magazine, Aunt Rita s Foundation, Phoenix College (and hopefully a whole bunch more!) Registration is required for this free event. To register visit: The Faith and Fairness Town Hall God, Gays and Government will be followed by workshops and worship on Friday evening and Saturday, September 16 & 17, at a conference hosted by NLS CFJ. We'll take the conversation that happened and begin to explore how to move along on advocacy within your specific tradition and congregation. The Conference will provide scriptural tools to help you answer questions and offer compassionate responses. And, you'll connect with people within your tradition and from all traditions of peace and justice.
2 Faith and Fairness Town Hall Panel Bios Dr. Albert Celoza (moderator) Phoenix College, Chair of the Phoenix College Liberal Arts Department Dr. Celoza is Professor of Social Studies and Religious Ethics and in 2001 was named the Arizona Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Celoza was awarded the prestigious honor from among nine nominees from Arizona colleges and universities. A distinguished professor of political science and advisor of the Phoenix College Model United Nations which has received national acclaim, Celoza encourages his students to take an active interest in politics. Celoza is respected and admired by his colleagues and students. He is described as having an enthusiasm for education that is infectious. "Dr. Celoza emphasizes writing, critical thinking and research in the classroom," said Dean of Instruction/Chief Academic Officer, Marian Tadano. "Promoting academic excellence, he encourages the students in dialogues and uses a variety of teaching methodologies that makes learning enjoyable and effective. Dr. Celoza's role as an outstanding teacher has had a great impact in our community." Celoza has served as a faculty member at Phoenix College since Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre Religion Professor Author Scholar Activist Born in Cuba months before the Castro Revolution, Miguel A. De La Torre and his family came to the United States as refugees when he was six months old. For a while the U.S. government considered him an illegal immigrant. He attended Blessed Sacrament School in Queens, New York and was baptized and confirmed by the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, his parents were devotees and priest/priestess of the religion Santería. De La Torre's early childhood was marked by a spiritual hybridity based on his Catholic and Santería faiths and up bringing. He left Queens, moving to Miami, Florida in his teens. At the age of nineteen, he began a real estate company in Miami called Championship Realty, Century 21. The office grew to over 100 sales agents. During this time he also obtained a Masters in Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC. Eventually he was elected president of the Miami Board of Realtors. He was also active in local politics, becoming the founding president of the West Dade Young Republicans. In 1988 he was a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, District 115, but lost to Mario Diaz Balart. In his early twenties he became a born again Christian and joined University Baptist Church in Coral Gables, Florida. His real estate firm was a financial success; however, De La Torre dissolved the thirteen year old company and attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in order to obtain a Masters in Divinity. During his seminary training he served as pastor to a rural congregation, Goshen Baptist Church in Glen Dean, Kentucky. De La Torre continued his theological training and obtained a doctorate from Temple University in social ethics. The focus of his academic pursuit has been ethics within contemporary U.S. thought, specifically how religion affects race,
3 class, and gender oppression. He specializes in applying a social scientific approach to Latino/a religiosity within this country, Liberation theologies in the Caribbean and Latin America, and postmodern/postcolonial social theory. De La Torre taught Christian Ethics at Hope College in Holland, MI from 1999 to In 2005 he wrote a column for the local newspaper, The Holland Sentinel, titled When the Bible is Used for Hatred. The article was a satirical piece commenting on Focus on the Family's James Dobson outing of SpongeBob Square Pants. A few days later, Mr. Dobson responded to the article. Due to various circumstances arising from the encounter, Dr. De La Torre resigned his tenure. Since then, he has been serving as the associate professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. In 2010 he was promoted to full professor. Since obtaining his doctorate in 1999, Dr. De La Torre has authored numerous articles and books, including the awardwinning Reading the Bible from the Margins, (Orbis, 2002); Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004); and Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins, (Orbis, 2004). Within the academy he has served as a director to the Society of Christian Ethics and the American Academy of Religion. Additionally, he has been co chair of the Ethics Section at the American Academy of Religion. In 2011, he was elected Vice President of the Society of Christian Ethics, placing him in line to serve as the 2012 President of the Society. Dr. De La Torre has been an expert commentator concerning ethical issues (mainly Hispanic religiosity, LGBT civil rights, and immigration rights) on several local, national, and international media outlets. A scholar activist, Dr. De La Torre has written numerous articles in popular media. He writes monthly columns for Ethics Daily that continuously creates controversies for his unique approach of religiously analyzing social issues from the perspective of the dispossessed and disenfranchised. Michael Wright Attorney and former Mormon Bishop H. Micheal Wright is a trial lawyer practicing in Mesa, Arizona. As an active member of the L.D.S. Church, and former Bishop, he brings a perspective concerning LGBT issues that draws upon his heritage and knowledge of the history and doctrines of his religion, combined with his experience in civil rights law. H. Micheal Wright, was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona and attended Arizona State University where he received a degree in business administration. He then attended the University of Arizona, College of Law and received his Juris Doctorate in He began practicing in Mesa with a local law firm specializing in Personal Injury Litigation and tried his first jury trial one week after admission to the Arizona Bar in In 1977 he moved back to Tucson and worked for a prominent trial lawyer, Paul G. Rees, Jr., until 1981, also specializing in Personal Injury Litigation. In 1985 he formed a partnership with J. Robert Tolman and continued practicing in Personal Injury Litigation. In 1991 he was hired to serve as lead trial counsel for the firm of Solomon, Relihan & Blake in Phoenix where he practiced until May, 2000 when he returned to private practice in Mesa. Mr. Wright became a shareholder with the firm of Udall, Shumway & Lyons in May of In 2003 he was appointed a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mr. Wright has handled over 100 trials in personal injury cases, as well as many arbitrations and hearings. Over the past several years, he has focused his expertise on nursing home abuse and neglect cases and speaks regularly about such claims.
4 Ann Gray Former Roman Catholic, Ann has served in many church capacities. She is educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Jesuits. Ann earned an undergraduate degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio and a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Ann is an active volunteer in the Scottsdale Unified School District and Justa Center, a non profit organization that serves Senior Citizens who are homeless. She is currently employed by the Scottsdale Unified School District working with emotionally disabled children. Victoria Washington A defense attorney who practices and works solely on death penalty cases. Along with her partner Babe, Victoria is raising 3 girls; a 6 year old and 4 year old twins. We are an interfaith family, I and the girls are Jewish, and Babe is spiritual with a little bit of Baptist in the mix. Victoria believes in the concept of tikkun olam, and hopes that her life and work reflects her core values and belief in G d, Torah, Family, and Israel.
5 16 17 SEPTEMBER 2011 Featured Guest: Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Colorado Author of: "A La Familia: A Conversation About our Families, the Bible, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" (2011) "Out of the Shadows and Into the Light: Christianity and Homosexuality" (2009) NOTE: This conference will follow the Faith & Fairness Town Hall co sponsored by NLS:CFJ and HRC where Dr. De La Torre will be a panelist; Thursday, 15 September 2011, Phoenix College Friday, September 16, 2011 A Conversation among Clergy A time for Clergy to speak with Dr. De La Torre about the issues facing society and how we as Christian Clergy can make our voices heard effectively to advocate for those "on the margins." These include our mission scope of the LGBT Community while asking us to consider issues facing our society. These include the Latino/a community, Immigration, HIV and AIDS. Saturday, September 17, 2011 A Conference to Equip People and Communities of Faith to Advocate for LGBT People and Families Morning Prayer Plenary Dr. De La Torre. Engaging the Conversation and Moving the Church along on issues facing the LGBT communities, as well as other minority communities. Then we'll break out for a series of four sections of workshops. These will repeat so that you can get all of the information you need. THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUALITY ADVOCACY FOR THOSE ON THE MARGINS HEALTH AND WELL BEING: HIV AND AIDS IN THE CHURCH AND SOCIETY GENDER IDENTITY: WHAT EVERY PERSON SHOULD KNOW The afternoon will have sessions for people of each Christian Tradition to dialogue on ways to advocate in their specific churches. Lunch is included in the $15.00 cost for the conference. The day will end with a worship service featuring Dr. De La Torre as our guest preacher. Please reply to Scholarships are available.
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