Interfaith group of religious scholars unite to speak out on US Immigration Policy


A group of religious and theological scholars – including several faculty at Seminary of the Southwest – that represents a wide range of interfaith perspectives have release a statement speaking out against US Immigration Policy. The statement is below:

‘ALL RIGHTS FOR ALL, WITHOUT BORDERS’

Interfaith group of scholars of religion unite to speak out against US Immigration Policy

Austin, TX — June 21, 2018 —

STATEMENT:

As scholars and teachers of religion, we rejoice that public pressure led to initial steps to end family separation. Yet, we remain deeply concerned with the Trump administration’s attempt to substitute mass detention of families as a “solution” for family separation. These practices continue to be rooted in an inhumane policy of “zero tolerance” that is morally, ethically, and spiritually reprehensible, and we exhort all people of faith, and all people of good will, to reject and resist this immoral approach.

Our current immigration policies based on the principles of deterrence violate the basic commitments of our different faith traditions, which 1) emphasize the sacred dignity of all humans; 2) see humanity as belonging to one family, thus no one is a stranger; 3) demand that society and individuals care for the needy and stranger among us; 4) demand truth, instead of the lies used by this current Administration concerning the character and personhood of brown people to justify draconian and cruel policies; and 5) call the faithful to fight for a just society free from the abuse and oppression of others.

Even with President Trump’s partial policy reversal, we are concerned that the underlying dehumanization and criminalization of refugees and asylum seekers at the border remains in place. These policies violate both national and international law. Moreover, such inhumane practices continue this country’s original sin: racism defined by targeting and tormenting people of color in the name of supposed self-defense as rule of law. That many refugee children and families find abuse at the hands of our government instead of favor is merely the latest instance of the racism that infects our country’s soul.

We abhor both the separation of families and the fact that families seeking refugee status are being incarcerated instead of receiving aid. We acknowledge that some of the people employed to carry out unjust orders despise the directives that the Trump administration has given them. So we call on one another to declare, unequivocally, the equal and full humanity of all who find themselves on our borders – regardless of their documentation status – for we are all members of God’s Creation.

We encourage full participation in actions that resist these unjust policies. We remind this administration of the immense network which we represent and that our base is prepared to use its theological, political and legal resources to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these children and their families. Our diverse faith traditions speak with one voice, calling us to embrace refugees and secure their protection. Indeed, we deny our faith, ethics, and humanity when we remain silent or complicit in the death and dehumanization of others. Our convictions demand that all of us stand in solidarity with the oppressed in this struggle for liberation.

 

‘TODOS LOS DERECHOS PARA TODAS Y TODOS, SIN FRONTERAS’

Como estudiosos y maestros de teología y religión, nos alegramos de que la presión pública haya dado los primeros pasos para terminar con la separación familiar. Sin embargo, seguimos profundamente preocupados por el intento de la administración de Trump de imponer la detención masiva de familias como una “solución” para la separación familiar. Estas prácticas tienen sus raíces comunes en una política inhumana subyacente de “tolerancia cero” que rechazamos moral, ética y espiritualmente, y exhortamos a todas las personas de fe, y a todas las personas de buena voluntad, a rechazar y resistir este paradigma excluyente.

Nuestras políticas migratorias actuales basadas en los principios de disuasión violan los compromisos básicos de nuestras diferentes tradiciones de fe, que 1) enfatizan la dignidad inherente y sagrada de todas las personas; 2) comprenden a la humanidad como perteneciente a una sola familia, que implica que por lo tanto, nadie es un extraño o una extraña; 3) demandan que la sociedad y las personas se sientan interpelado/as y comprometido/as con los extraño/as entre nosotros; 4) exigen la verdad y la justicia, en lugar de las mentiras utilizadas por esta Administración actual con respecto al carácter y la dignidad de las personas y comunidades de color para justificar políticas crueles e injustas; y 5) llaman a los fieles y personas de conciencia a luchar por una sociedad justa libre del abuso y la opresión de los demás.

Incluso con el logro parcial de frenar la política de separación de las familias impuesta por el presidente Trump, nos preocupa profundamente que la deshumanización y criminalización subyacente de los refugiados y solicitantes de asilo en la frontera siga vigente. Estas políticas violan el derecho nacional e internacional. Además, tales prácticas inhumanas le dan continuidad a, y profundizan el pecado original de este país: el racismo caracterizado por la explotación y victimización de las personas de color en nombre de una supuesta defensa del estado de derecho. Que muchas niñas y niñas y familias de solicitantes de asilo y refugio sufran por el abuso a las manos de nuestro gobierno en lugar de la protección a la que tienen derecho, es simplemente la última instancia del racismo que infecta el alma de nuestro país.

Aborrecemos tanto la separación de las familias como el hecho de que las familias que buscan el estatuto de refugiado estén siendo encarceladas y penalizadas en lugar de recibir la ayuda que merecen. Reconocemos que algunas de las personas empleadas para ejecutar y cumplir órdenes injustas desprecian las directrices que la administración Trump les ha impuesto. Llamamos a todas y todos a proclamar, proteger y defender, inequívocamente, la humanidad igual y plena de todas las personas que se encuentran en nuestras fronteras, independientemente de su estado migratorio, ya que todas y todos somos miembros de la comunidad mundial de la Creación de Dios.

Alentamos la participación plena en acciones efectivas que resistan estas políticas injustas. Recordamos a esta administración la inmensa red que representamos y que nuestra base está preparada para usar y movilizar sus recursos teológicos, políticos, sociales, culturales y jurídicos para garantizar la seguridad y el bienestar de estas niñas y niños y sus familias. Nuestras diversas tradiciones de fe hablan con una sola voz, llamándonos a abrazar y darle la bienvenida a las personas que solicitan asilo y refugio y migran en búsqueda de una vida mejor, y asegurar su protección. De hecho, negamos nuestra fe, nuestra ética y nuestra humanidad cuando permanecemos en silencio o somos cómplices de la muerte y la deshumanización de los demás. Nuestras convicciones exigen que todas y todos nos solidaricemos con los oprimidos en esta lucha por la liberación.

Signatories (as of June 21st):

  1. Dr. Danielle Tumminio, Seminary of the Southwest
  2. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre, Iliff School of Theology
  3. Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, San Francisco Area of the United Methodist Church
  4. Dr. Peter Heltzel, New York Theological Seminary
  5. Dr. Pamela R. Lightsey, Meadville Lombard School of Theological School
  6. Dr. Shannon Craigo-Snell, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  7. Dr. J. Kameron Carter, Duke Divinity School/Indiana University, Bloomington
  8. Keisha E. McKenzie, Auburn Seminary
  9. Dr. David E. Wilhite, Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary
  10. Traci Blackmon, United Church of Christ
  11. Dr. Gene L. Green, NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community and Wheaton College
  12. Laura Rambikur, Boston University School of Theology
  13. Dr. Tommy Givens, Fuller Seminary
  14. Dr. Amos Yong, Fuller Seminary
  15. Brian Bantum, Seattle Pacific University
  16. Dr. Eric Barreto, Princeton Theological Seminary
  17. Shelly Rambo, Boston University School of Theology
  18. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, Auburn Seminary
  19. Dr. Serene Jones, Union Theological Seminary
  20. Dr. Emilie M. Townes, Vanderbilt Divinity School
  21. Cornel West, Harvard University
  22. Dr. Miroslav Volf, Yale Divinity School
  23. Dr. Stephen G. Ray Jr. Chicago Theological Seminary
  24. Dr. Lee Barker, Meadville Lombard Theological School
  25. Dr. Deanna Thompson, Hamline University
  26. Dr. W. Anne Joh, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary/Northwestern University
  27. Chris Boesel, Drew Theological School
  28. Dr. Randy Woodley, Portland Seminary
  29. Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, University of Miami
  30. Kaji Dousa, Park Avenue Christian Church
  31. Luis-Alfredo Cartegena Zayas, Park Avenue Christian Church
  32. Damarius Whitaker, Fort Washington Collegiate Church
  33. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Chicago Theological Seminary
  34. Mary Fulkerson, Duke Divinity School
  35. Brian D. McLaren, author
  36. Dr. Jennifer M. McBride, McCormick Theological Seminary
  37. Dr. Reggie Williams, McCormick Theological Seminary
  38. Dr. Sharon Welch, Meadville Lombard Theological School
  39. Dr. John R. Franke, Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis
  40. John J. Thatamanil, Union Theological Seminary
  41. Teri Merrick, Azusa Pacific University
  42. Russ Jennings, Host/Producer, Love in a Dangerous Time podcast
  43. Dr. Andrew Sung Park, United Theological Seminary in Ohio
  44. Fred Davie, Union Theological Seminary
  45. Benjamin Perry, Union Theological Seminary
  46. Jonathan Soto, Union Theological Seminary
  47. Dr. Gary Burge, Presbyterian Church USA
  48. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio
  49. Ann Craig, Affirmation LGBTQ United Methodists
  50. Dr. Elizabeth D. Rios, The Passion Center | VP, Plant 4 Harvest
  51. Krista E. Hughes, Newberry College (South Carolina)
  52. Dr. Traci C. West, Drew Theological School
  53. John White, Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University
  54. Gerald Shenk, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  55. Dr. Monica A Coleman, Claremont School of Theology
  56. Dr. Christian T. Collins Winn, Bethel University
  57. David W. Congdon, University Press of Kansas
  58. Keri Day, Princeton Theological Seminary
  59. Dr. Willie James Jennings, Yale Divinity School
  60. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, Claremont School of Theology
  61. Dr. Drew G. I. Hart, Messiah College
  62. The Rev. Dr. James Farwell, Virginia Theological Seminary
  63. Dr. L. Daniel Hawk, Ashland Theological Seminary
  64. Dr. Sathianathan Clarke, Wesley Theological Seminary
  65. Erica M. Ramirez, Auburn Seminary
  66. Stephen Roach Knight, Transform Network
  67. Dr. John Flett, Pilgrim Theological College (Australia)
  68. Debbie Almontaser, Muslim Community Network
  69. Phillis I. Sheppard, Vanderbilt Divinity School
  70. Melinda Weekes-Laidlow. Esq., Founder, Beautiful Ventures
  71. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dietrich Werner, Referat Theologische Grundsatzfragen; Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V.
  72. Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association
  73. Michael-Ray Mathews, The Prophetic Foundry and Faith in Action
  74. Sarah Azaransky, Union Theological Seminary
  75. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Earlham School of Religion
  76. Darby K. Ray, Bates College
  77. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, Yale Divinity School
  78. Dr. Elaine A. Heath, Duke Divinity School
  79. Dr. Patrick T. Smith, Duke Divinity School
  80. Catherine Keller, Drew Theological School
  81. Elias Ortega-Aponte, Drew Theological School
  82. Kate Ott, Drew Theological School
  83. Kyle Roberts, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
  84. Dr. Linda E. Thomas, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  85. Megan K. DeFranza, Boston University School of Theology
  86. José Humphreys, Metro Hope Covenant Church
  87. Laurel C. Schneider, Vanderbilt University
  88. Dr. Emmett G. Price III, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  89. Angel Kyodo williams, new Dharma Community
  90. Jessica Wong, Azusa Pacific University
  91. Stephen Fowl, Loyola University Maryland
  92. Joy Ann McDougall, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  93. Kay Higuera Smith, Azusa Pacific University
  94. Justin Marc Smith, Azusa Pacific University
  95. Robert Mullins, Azusa Pacific University
  96. Dr. Kirsten S. Oh, Azusa Pacific University
  97. Joseph Strife, Fordham University
  98. Dr. Javier A. Viera, Drew University Theological School
  99. Dr. Melanie Johnson-Debaufre, Drew University Theological School
  100. Erik Leafblad, Bethel University
  101. Rob Muthiah, Azusa Pacific University
  102. Andrew C. Wright, Fuller Seminary; Mennonite Central Committee, Central States
  103. Dr. Brian Lugioyo, Azusa Pacific University
  104. Dr. Boyung Lee, Iliff School of Theology
  105. Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez, AETH
  106. Dr. Jared E. Alcántara, Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary
  107. Emily M. D. Scott, Mission Developer, Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA
  108. Dr. Efrain Agosto, New York Theological Seminary
  109. Dr. Humberto Alfaro, New York Theological Seminary
  110. Dr. Eleanor Moody Shepherd, New York Theological Seminary
  111. Dr. Wanda Lundy, New York Theological Seminary
  112. Dr. Nancy Fields, New York Theological Seminary
  113. Dr. C. Vernon Mason, New York Theological Seminary
  114. Dr. Jill Schaeffer, New York Theological Seminary
  115. Dr. Wesley J. WIldman, Boston University School of Theology
  116. Anthony Baker, Seminary of the Southwest
  117. Dr. Doris Gracia Rivera, Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico
  118. Camilo Pérez-Bustillo, J.D, Hope Border Institute/Instituto Fronterizo Esperanza, El Paso TX
  119. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  120. Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, University of Miami
  121. Steven Bishop, Seminary of the Southwest
  122. Dr. Amy Laura Hall, Duke University Divinity School
  123. Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Seminary of the Southwest
  124. Very Rev. Dr. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Seminary of the Southwest
  125. Steven Tomlinson, Seminary of the Southwest
  126. Awa Jangha, Seminary of the Southwest
  127. Thorn Coyle, Solar Cross Temple
  128. Dr. Laurie Pound Feille, First Christian (DOC), Minneapolis, MN
  129. Stephanie Ramirez, Seminary of the Southwest
  130. The Rev. John G. Lewis, D.Phil., Seminary of the Southwest
  131. The Rev. Dave Scheider, D.Min., Seminary of the Southwest

 

An online petition that continues to collect signatures can be found here:

https://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/all-rights-for-all-without-borders