During a time when our immigrant neighbors are rightfully afraid to leave their homes, take their children to school, seek shelter from the cold, register for college, or seek medical attention, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray. During a time when Jews and Muslims nationally and locally are targets of bomb threats, hate crimes, and desecration of sacred spaces, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray. During a time when tens of millions of Americans rightfully live in fear that they will lose their access to health coverage, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray. During a time when millions of people have fled their homes due to horrendous violence in places like Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Libya, and thousands of people drown trying to find refuge, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray. During a time when these and many other forms of hate, violence, and injustice fill our inboxes, newspapers, social media feeds, and dinner table conversations, as people of faith we cannot sit by and simply pray.
As people of faith we are called to:
And very importantly, as people of faith, we must do all of this and more in the name of our faiths, shining a bright light of hope that together, people of all faiths and no particular faith at all, can and will stand up for peace and social justice, and as we unite in that cause, we will grow stronger in love, a love that will be victorious.
All faith traditions teach about welcoming the stranger, supporting the vulnerable, and helping those in need. In response to the cruelty of the recent presidential executive orders, as people from diverse spiritual communities, we lift up our hearts in prayer and join our minds and lives in solidarity.
MVPJ has just begun collecting prayers, statements and other faith-based readings from diverse traditions for refugees, immigrants, Muslim-Americans, and others who are hurt by these orders. If you have resources you would like to share, please let us know.
We encourage congregational leaders to speak out for friendship and peace with our Muslim sisters and brothers and against Islamophia and hate of any sort. Find ways to educate your congregation about Islam and build relationships and understanding across religious differences. Invite a speaker from American Muslim Voice, CAIR or ING. Organize a time of fellowship and community building between communities. Consider using your church sign as a way to make a public statement of solidarity and friendship with the Muslim community.
Call your Senators and Congressperson in Washington to make your voice heard! This does make a difference! Consider spending 3-5 minutes each day making these brief calls. While emails and letters are good, phone calls have the most impact! Identify yourself as a person of faith, and briefly explain how your faith leads you to your stand.
See below for contact information for Senators and Representatives.
Organizations and Efforts to Oppose Destructive EO's and Stand for Inclusion, Justice and Compassion
This is a time to work together! So much of what we hold dear - human rights, compassion for victims of war, nuclear disarmament, protection of the earth, welcoming of immigrants and refugees, health care for all, peace and diplomacy with other countries - is under attack. Let's support one another and build networks that are strong in diversity and united in compassion.
Here is a broad list of organizations that we consider worthy of consideration in these times. We know that not all communities endorse all the groups on this list, nor does this list represent official endorsement of MVPJ or any of our participating communities. There are surely many other wonderful and worthy organizations that do not yet appear! Most of these are either local, faith-based, and/or partners of MVPJ in various endeavors.
Standing in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice encourages efforts to become Sanctuary churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and campuses.
Offering sanctuary - a safe place that honors dignity and worth - is a tradition drawn from many of our faiths.
Local communities of all faiths can be sanctuary congregations. If you are interested in learning what it means to become a sanctuary congregation for your own place of worship, visit the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity website, or contact us by emailing email@example.com
Imam Faheem Shauibe, Rev. Danielle Parish (Spark Church) and Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky (Congregation Etz Chayim) led the beginning of the Multifaith Peace Walk on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. The event opened with more than 750 participants singing songs of peace in Arabic, Hebrew and English with drums and guitars, readings from Jewish, Muslim and Christian scriptures, face painting for children, youth making signs saying "Peace" - "Salaam" - "Shalom," and a ritual of friendship that included Palo Alto Police Department Chief Dennis Burns with local and national faith leaders.
After a 2.5 mile walk and other brief programs on peace, the community gathered for a picnic that began with the release of peace doves in Mitchell park. The picnic, hosted by American Muslim Voice, allowed time for creating new friendship, more singing and dancing, and stories of peace making internationally as well as at home.
Not Terrorists; Not Tourists: Refugees are Human Beings
I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”—Matthew 25:36-40
In the past few days, we have shared in the public and global outpouring of sympathy and support for the victims, their families, and the people of France, Lebanon, and Russia. We reiterate that expression of solidarity, and our condemnation of these acts of violence, all of which have been claimed by the “Islamic State.”
The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), shares this pastoral message:
The horrific terrorist attacks in France fill all good people with the deepest sadness. May we all rededicate ourselves to waging peace based on compassion and respect. Hatred must not triumph.
I share the following prayer written by the Rev. Eric Cherry, director of the UUA’s International Office:
Holy One, our hearts are torn, broken, and battered.
I solemnly swear to take a stand against violence and
Click here to sign the Campaign Nonviolence pledge, and join the movement to build a peaceful world for all!
On December 8, at a conference in Vienna, Pope Francis issued a new statement on nuclear weapons titled "Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition" that indicates a major change in Roman Catholic policy. "Nuclear deterrence and the threat of nuclear assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states," the Pope said. While the Roman Catholic Church has long declared the use of nuclear weapons to be immoral, it has, up until now, articulated a "conditional acceptance" of nuclear deterrence as a necessary evil. This changes with the Pope's message, which was read on the first day of the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons conference in Austria.
The Vatican's statement declares, "The youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more.... Peace must be built on justice, socio-economic development, freedom, respect for fundamental human rights, ... and the building of trust between people."