An inclusive interfaith coalition of New Jersey's religious leaders had an opportunity to meet with Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. ABCNJ's Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, participated in the discussion. A number of very important issues were addressed by Governor Christie: gun control, education, health care, and the challenges surrounding hosting the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl? Yes, because it will be held on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium. The interfaith coalition is concerned that major sporting events such as the Super Bowl attract large numbers of sex workers, many of whom are victims of the scandalous international sex slave trade.
The Governor recounted his experiences in prosecuting sex slave ring leaders when he served as United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, before becoming Governor (2002-2008). He noted that when trafficked women are rescued by law authorities, they manifest many symptoms of severe psychological abuse that makes it difficult for them to trust even their rescuers. Governor Christie called upon the religious community to minister to these victims, because the love and care we show comes without any demands upon them.
I would like to remind all of our churches that our ABCNJ Council approved a resolution in January 2013 calling for our churches to join the global anti-trafficking movement.
We also launched the "Sacred Safe Spaces" covenant movement so that each of our churches could commit themselves to providing a safe spiritual environment for people who have suffered abuse. About 25 churches have already signed the Covenant.
If you would like copies of the Anti-Trafficking Resolution or Sacred Safe Spaces Covenant, contact the region office. Rev. Tamara Davis serves as the region's Sacred Safe Spaces Consultant, and she would be happy to visit your church and share. Her dramatic presentation at the 2013 Annual Session was one of the most moving parts of our gathering.