A Call for Active Interfaith Engagement in Response to Executive Orders

by Polly Hamlen


By Polly Hamlen, on behalf of the MACUCC Task Force on Ecumenism & Interfaith Relations.

“We honor that the world’s noble faiths share core values of compassion, justice and peacemaking, and we recommit to right relationships among people of all religious traditions, calling each other to the best of our sacred teachings.
"Therefore, we call upon ourselves and Christians everywhere to condemn acts of hate and violence done in the name of any of our sacred religions, and to actively engage with our faith partners:  Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i, Unitarian Universalist and so many others, to stand together against all acts of oppression done to anyone because of their faith.”

These words were affirmed by the delegates to the 216th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference in 2015, in the preamble of a “Resolution of Witness Condemning Violence Committed in the Name of Religion.”  We raise these words up once again as an affirmation of our faith and a call to action, following the recent executive order signed by President Trump, effecting a halt to refugee resettlement and canceling visas for people traveling to the US from seven majority Muslim countries. 
As members of the Task Team for Interfaith and Ecumenical Relations of the MA Conference United Church of Christ, we stand together with national religious leaders in expressing our strong opposition to these actions by President Trump, which penalizes the most vulnerable, and unfairly and immorally targets Muslims because of their religion. 
We encourage congregations, clergy and lay leaders to take concrete action steps in the coming days and weeks to engage in positive ways with communities affected by these actions. Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:  

  1. Read and share the interfaith letter supporting refugee resettlement and opposing a ban on visas, signed by over 2,000 religious leaders including General Minister and President Rev. John Dorhauer. http://www. interfaithimmigration.org/ 2000religiousleaderletter/
  2. Reach out to express support to your local mosque or individual Muslim friends and colleagues. Reaching out to develop personal relationships is one of the strongest acts of solidarity you can make.
  3. Learn more about the Syrian refugee crisis and the people, Muslim and Christian, who are affected by the ban on refugees. Visit the Mercy Corp site for excellent background reading: https://www.mercycorps.org/ articles/iraq-jordan-lebanon- syria-turkey/quick-facts-what- you-need-know-about-syria- crisis.  
  4. Support local ecumenical and interfaith efforts to build bridges and connections between communities of faith. “Like” the Task team Facebook page, to stay abreast of news from the Conference. Visit the MA Council of Churches website (www.masscouncilofchurches.com) for statewide ecumenical events.
  5. Offer support to your local refugee resettlement office, and support Church World Service’s ecumenical work at the national level advocating for refugees. http://cwsglobal.org/our-work/ refugees-and-immigrants/
  6. Host a film screening at your congregation to explore these issues more deeply. For suggested films, see the Task Team’s recommended film list - click here for the list.

Polly Hamlen

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