Atlanta Interfaith Manifesto: Community leaders take a stand to affirm religious freedom, diversity, interfaith cooperation

September 27, 2016 (Atlanta) — Inspired by the same spirit that has made Atlanta a leading city for civil and human rights over the past 60 years, 75 leaders from Atlanta’s religious, business and academic communities have issued what they are calling the Atlanta Interfaith Manifesto, setting forth principles upon which they are taking a stand to affirm interfaith cooperation.

The endorsers include former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, Center for Civil and Human Rights CEO Derreck Kayongo, Emory University’s Candler School of Theology Dean Dr. Jan Love and businessmen Arthur Blank, Tom Cousins, and Larry Gellerstedt, III.

The principles are:

·       Advance Interfaith Cooperation: This includes respect and accommodation for diverse religious and secular identities and a commitment to working across lines of difference.

·       Marshal Religious Diversity: The idea that Atlanta’s religious diversity continues to represent an asset that can enhance the Southeast’s ability to respond to human rights challenges with innovative solutions.

·       Celebrate Atlanta’s Broader Significance: The group is issuing a call on Atlanta, home of Civil Rights icons, including Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., to serve as a beacon to the country and the world.

·       Take a Stand: The group pledges its willingness to speak out and stand against acts of hate and intolerance.

The Initiative comes at a time of increased xenophobia and religious intolerance. The endorsers seek to affirm the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and freedom of religion as a basic human right.

“We are re-affirming the importance of religious cooperation in which we, as Americans, respect each other’s right to worship as we please,” said Tom Glenn, chair of the trustees of the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation who helped to organize the effort. “We are inspired by Atlanta’s moral leaders of the past who took courageous stands at critical moments in history. Standing on the shoulders of those giants, it now seems appropriate to try, as best we can, to continue their legacy by speaking to yet another important human rights issue.”

The Initiative draws inspiration from the 1957 Ministers’ Manifesto, when white ministers denounced segregation, and from Civil Rights icons like Rev. King, Andrew Young, John Lewis, Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., Atlanta Constitution editor and publisher Ralph McGill, Judge Elbert Tuttle and attorney John Sibley.

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Contact: John Manasso | Lenz, Inc.