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February 11, 2009
Five faith leaders, including Unitarian Universalist (UU) minister Rev. John Crestwell, joined with members of Congress at a press conference on February 11, 2009, to announce the Interfaith Immigration Coalition's campaign, "Prayer, Renewal, and Action on Immigration."
The campaign is designed to engage and educate congregations and people of faith on the immigration reform debate. Its kick-off event will be a national week of grassroots action during the first congressional break, when members of Congress return to their home districts from February 13th to February 22nd.
Joining Rev. Crestwell at the press conference were Rev. Jim Wallis, Rabbi David Saperstein, Bishop Minerva Carcaño, and Sister Eilieen Campbell. Representatives Gutierrez and Honda also spoke.
Rev. John T Crestwell,
here because I believe in the worth and dignity of all human beings.
I am here because we are at a unique time in our history, at a precipice,
and our destiny is in our hands. I know many faces around the
world are watching us. How will we model democracy for the
world? That is the question. Will we begin
to choose policies that embrace instead of erase? Will we put
into law ideas that create the "we are together reality" or "us against them
mentality? Will we move toward a people oriented society
instead of a thing oriented society.
decisions made around immigration impacts our American legacy,
greatly. But more than that, it impacts the lives of so, so
Englishman William Blake wrote in the 19th Century: "Can I see
another's woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another's
grief and not seek for kind relief? Can I see a falling tear,
and not feel my sorrow's share? No, no never can it be!
Never, never can it be!"
current immigration system undercuts the values of equality and compassion that
are shared among many religious traditions and which form the heart of the
American Dream. Right now, we have in this country an underclass of people
denied basic human rights. Living in daily fear of separation from their
families here in the U.S., undocumented immigrants have few of the freedoms that
we consider fundamental to American democracy.
as undocumented people are marginalized and exploited, people of faith will
continue to advocate for immigrant rights. We will do this not only by serving
as individual witnesses, but also by working together in the thousands of
congregations represented here today to urge passage of comprehensive
hope for a new day for immigrant families. President Barack Obama has made
immigration reform one of his top priorities. But there will be many competing
visions of how America should move forward, especially in this time of economic
hardship. As people of faith, we affirm once again that prosperity and freedom
go hand-in-hand. In this new era of possibility and of challenge, we must
advance the timeless vision of a society based on equality and compassion for
all people. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper said so well, and
may we not forget, "We are all tied in a single bundle of humanity."
Let it be so.
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Last updated on Thursday, June 3, 2010.
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Rev. John Crestwell speaks at the Interfaith Immigration press conference.
U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), delivers his statement at the Interfaith Immigration press conference.
UUA Resources on Immigration
Welcoming Our Neighbors: An Immigration Resource for UUs (PDF, 27 pages)
(The Christian Post) Faith Leaders Re-Ignite Immigration Debate
(Jewish Telegraphic Association) Interfaith Coalition Launches to Help Immigrants
(Latin American Herald Tribune) U.S. Religious Leaders Demand "Humane" Immigration Reform
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