Saturday, May 27, 2017


Dozens of local churches signed on to this declaration in the last couple of months:

As members of faith communities and immigrant communities in Western North Carolina, we find ourselves in turbulent times. New policies on immigration enforcement threaten to round up immigrants, split apart families, and deport our neighbors, who have lived and worked as contributing members of our communities for decades. 

Recent executive orders on immigration and the Department of Homeland Security memos that implement tham dangerously escalate existing anti-immigrant policies. They target all undocumented community members by terminating prosecutorial discretion. They penalize asylum seekers and family members who help children seek safety.  They force local police to serve as immigration agents.

By executive order, detainees and deportees now include parents of young children, long-time, well-established residents who hold jobs and pay taxes, devoted moms and dads, and even patients seeking treatment for serious illnesses.  

These extraordinary actions divide children from their parents, and siblings and spouses from one another.  Aggressive raids by ICE agents (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) are instilling acute fear and anxiety throughout the immigrant community.   They threaten to impede not only the American spirit of neighborliness and good will but also the industry and commerce of our nation.  

As Americans, we are dismayed.  As people of faith we are also committed to taking action. As Protestants and Catholics, Buddhists and Jews, Unitarian Universalists and Muslims, Bahá’í and Pagans, Quakers and others, we share at least two spiritual imperatives:  to love our neighbors, and to welcome those who come from far off lands seeking shelter.

In the Hebrew Scriptures it is written “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) Jesus cites this text and proclaims love of neighbor as one the two greatest commandments. (Mark 12:31) The Prophet Muhammad cautioned, “None of you will believe until you love for all others what you love for yourself.” (Hadith) In the same vein, Buddha taught “As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cherish all with a boundless heart.” (Khuddaka Nikaya)

As people of faith, we must therefore stand in solidarity with the approximately eleven million people who are living in this country peaceably and productively and whose status is now threatened by these unprecedented actions.

We pledge to do everything in our power, as individuals and as faith communities, to protect the immigrants among us from hostile action by our government.  Working alongside our immigrant neighbors, we will create sanctuary spaces and raise money for legal assistance.  We will urge and pursue federal, state and local actions (see addendum) that will open the way for immigrants to achieve their full potentials as sojourners in this land.

God protect our neighbors, and God grant us one and all the courage to stand with them. 

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