WASHINGTON, D.C. – From immigration, stem cells, and corruption to paychecks and war, the issues voters cared about in the midterm election reflect deeply held values far beyond those promoted by right-wing conservatives. On November 7, voters sent a strong message for change in domestic and international policies and for government that is ethical and accountable.
What do the midterm elections tell us about the concerns and hopes of the country? Do we remain a deeply divided, polarized nation? What role did faith communities play? Please join our distinguished panel of experts on Monday, November 20th at 12:30 pm for a provocative, enlightening conversation on 2006 and beyond.
Reverend Timothy C. Ahrens, Senior Minister, First Congregational Church, Columbus, Ohio, and a founding member of We Believe, Ohio
Anna Greenberg, Vice President, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner
David Kuo, former Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and author of Tempting Faith: A Inside Story of Political Seduction
Jonathan Miller, Treasurer of the State of Kentucky and author of The Compassionate Community: Ten Values to Unite America Reverend
Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Melody Barnes, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress
Monday, November 20, 2006
Program: 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Lunch will be served at noon.
Admission is free.
Center for American Progress
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Reverend Timothy C. Ahrens was called to First Congregational Church in January 2000. He is the fifth consecutive senior minister from Yale Divinity School and a lifelong member of the United Church of Christ. Under his leadership, First Church has added over 447 adults and children to the membership rolls, improved stewardship giving by 60 percent, increased worship attendance by 80 percent, and adopted a new “Open and Affirming Statement,” extending their welcome to all persons.
In addition, Reverend Ahrens has become a strong and respected voice in the community, building relationships with other city leaders to work for improved education, fair housing, healthcare reform, equal rights, and abolition of the death penalty. He currently serves as co-president of B.R.E.A.D. (Building Responsibility Equality And Dignity), an interfaith organization working for economic justice and social change. He has served the United Church of Christ at the association, conference, and national level and is a member of the Visiting Committee of Chicago Theological Seminary.
Reverend Ahrens has also offered testimony on state and local legislation. Reverend Ahrens was ordained into ministry in his home congregation, St. John’s United Church of Christ in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Before coming to First Church, he served as Senior Pastor of North Congregational United Church of Christ in NW Columbus for over 10 years. Prior to that, he served in four urban settings of ministry, St. Louis, New Haven, Philadelphia, and Cleveland, stimulating growth and revitalization by helping congregations to become more multi-racial, multi-cultural, and accepting and tolerant of all believers in Christ.
Pastor Ahrens writes for The Columbus Dispatch’s “Faith and Values” section and is the author of Acts Comes Alive, 12 Keys for Reviving the Church. A devoted husband and father, he and his wife Susan have been married since 1985 and are the parents of three children.
Anna Greenberg has been called “one of the smartest of the younger Democratic consultants” and is a leading polling expert. She advises campaigns, advocacy organizations, and foundations in the United States. In the 2004 election cycle, she worked closely with organizations involved in the presidential campaign, helping them develop their message, advertising, and targeting strategies. This year, she advised two successful campaigns: Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar in her Senate race in Minnesota and former State Senator Gabrielle Giffords in her bid for a Congressional seat (AZ-8).
Greenberg has extensive experience polling for non-profits and charitable foundations focusing on religion, women’s health, rural issues, and education. She conducted ground-breaking research on religion and values in public life and in-depth research on women’s health for the National Women’s Health Resource Center and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. She directs the firm’s work with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Center for Rural Strategies and has helped shape and advance their research program on perceptions of rural America.
Prior to joining Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, Greenberg taught at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In the spring of 2000, Greenberg received an invitation from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press where she worked as a visiting scholar. She serves on the advisory board of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and is a research fellow at American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. A frequently quoted source on the topic of American politics, Greenberg has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, NBC, CNBC, NPR, and the BBC. Her work has been published in a variety of publications, including Political Science Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Women and Politics, The American Prospect, The Nation, Blueprint, The Public Perspective, and The Responsive Community. Greenberg earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago.
David Kuo is the author of Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction. He served as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo is Washington Editor for Beliefnet.com and writes a blog called J-Walking. Since coming to Washington in 1990, he has worked for leading conservative leaders, including Jack Kemp, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Bill Bennett, and John Ashcroft and has written speeches for numerous conservatives including Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, Sen. Bob Dole, Congressman J.C. Watts, and then Gov. George W. Bush. Kuo founded and failed in an attempt to create a charity to fund faith-based non-profits and has pursued various other endeavors, including a stint in the dot-com world and on the professional bass fishing circuit.
Jonathan Miller is the state treasurer of Kentucky and the author of The Compassionate Community: Ten Values to Unite America. As a popular Democratic elected official and Jewish native of Kentucky, a “red” state in the heart of the Bible belt, Miller brings a unique perspective to today’s intense and polarizing debate concerning the proper role of religion and “moral values” in the political arena. Miller has been named an emerging national leader by groups as diverse as the Democratic Leadership Council, the United Jewish Communities, and the Aspen Institute. A graduate of Harvard College and Law School, Miller lives in his hometown of Lexington with his wife and their two daughters.
Reverend Samuel Rodriguez is the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), an organization regarded as the leader of the Hispanic/Latino Church in America. The NHCLC serves 15 million Hispanic Christians while serving as an advocate for 40 million Hispanics regarding family, political, and economic empowerment issues. As one of the most prominent religious voices today, Reverend Rodriguez’s ministerial experience includes serving as a prominent youth leader, a worldwide evangelist, founding Pastor of Third Day Worship Centers, an author, and leader of one of America’s Leading Organizations. He is regarded by The Washington Post, Christianity Today, The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Atlanta Constitution, Ministries Today, and others as the preeminent leading voice of Hispanic Born Again Believers in America.
Reverend Rodriguez earned his master’s degree in educational leadership in Agile Organizations from Lehigh University and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Organizational Management and Behavior. He serves on the Board of Directors of some of America’s leading Evangelical organizations, including the National Association of Evangelicals. An accomplished writer, Rodriguez writes and contributes to world recognized publications such as Ministries Today, Enrichment Journal, and others. He resides in California with his wife of 17 years, Eva, who is Senior Pastor of an Assemblies of God congregation.
Melody Barnes is the Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress where she coordinates and helps to integrate all of the Center’s policy work, from the policy departments, fellows, and the Center’s network of outside policy experts.
From December 1995 until March 2003, Ms. Barnes served as chief counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Sen. Kennedy’s chief counsel, she shaped civil rights, women’s health and reproductive rights, commercial law, and religious liberties laws, as well as executive branch and judicial appointments. Ms. Barnes’ experience also includes an appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and serving as assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. During her tenure with the Subcommittee, she worked closely with Members of Congress and their staffs to pass the Voting Rights Improvement Act of 1992, which was signed into law. Ms. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City and is a member of both the New York State Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Constitution Project, EMILY’s List, The Maya Angelou Public Charter School, and The Moriah Fund. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with honors in history.