VIEWPOINT | Compassion, justice are core values of faith and central to immigration, refugee issues

  • Monday, April 3, 2017 5:26pm
  • Opinion

By SOUTH WHIDBEY ISLAND FAITH LEADERS

Our nation is currently in the midst of an immigration debate, in part fueled by a major international refugee crisis. The tone and content of this debate compels us to speak out from a faith perspective.

We believe that because all people are created by God, we must respect their dignity as children of God. Our faith traditions call for generous welcome and compassionate care for the most vulnerable among us, including and especially those not like us.

A commitment to religious freedom is a foundational pillar of American values, yet our current national immigration and deportation practices — proposed and implemented — stand in stark opposition to the core values of our faiths and our nation; these policies do not respect religious freedom, do not make us safer, and do not contribute to our nation’s common good.

Therefore we call on our federal government to recognize and acknowledge:

  • That immigrants among us, including those without documentation, contribute in positive and significant ways to our health as a nation.
  • That refugees are already the most thoroughly vetted immigrants to this country, regardless of religion, national origin, or geographic setting.
  • That stable policies support families, contribute to our common safety and security, and encourage the well-being of all in the community.

And we call on our federal government to act by:

  • Ceasing to use faith as a factor in immigration status.
  • Providing ongoing support for refugee resettlement plans which offer shelter to those who have been displaced by violence and conflict.
  • Ending the criminalization of individuals based on their immigration status alone.
  • Honoring programs for immigrants enacted by previous administrations, including Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals.
  • Ending deportation practices that cause family separation

We commit ourselves to continued actions of compassion and justice regarding immigrants and refugees. We further commit ourselves to oppose and speak out against all policies that do not reflect our core values of compassion and justice.

Reverend Roger W. Barr, D.Min., The United Methodist Church, retired, Langley; Reverend Wayne E. Bacus, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, retired, Clinton; Reverend Dr. Mary Boyd, pastor, Langley United Methodist Church, Langley; Reverend Dr. Faulder Colby, M.Div., PhD, retired, Langley; Thomas Ewell, Religious Society of Friends (Quaker), Clinton; Rabbi Ted Falcon, PhD, Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue, retired, Freeland; Reverend Dr. Duncan Ferguson, Presbyterian Church USA, retired, Langley; Reverend Dr. Catherine Foote, Clinton, minister, University Congregational Church, UCC, Seattle; Revered Susan Gaumer, associate priest, St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods Episcopal Church, Freeland; Reverend Kurt Hoelting, Cascadia Mindfulness Institute, Langley; Pastor Meg Lumsdaine, Mennonite Church, Langley; Pastor Paul Morris, The United Methodist Church, retired, Langley; Lenore Norrgard, pastoral leader, Circle of the Living Earth-AIWP, Freeland; Reverend Dennis Reynolds, minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island, Freeland; Reverend David Schoen, United Church of Christ, Retired. Freeland; Fr. Richard Spicer, pastor, St. Hubert Roman Catholic Church, Langley; and Reverend Nigel J. Taber-Hamilton, rector, St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods Episcopal Church, Freeland.

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