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Participating Congregations and Organizations
  • American Muslim Voice
  • Bahá'í Community of Palo Alto
  • Beyt Tikkun Synagogue
  • First Baptist Church Palo Alto
  • First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) Palo Alto
  • First Evangelical Lutheran Church Palo Alto
  • First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto
  • First United Methodist Church Palo Alto
  • Network of Spiritual Progressives
  • Palo Alto Friends Meeting
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Palo Alto (Catholic)
  • Trinity Church in Menlo Park (Episcopal)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
  • West Bay Chapter, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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NEXT STEPS re: Stand with Muslims in Response to Supreme Court Decision

More than 100 people gathered on June 26 at 5pm at the corner of Winchester and Stevens Creek in San Jose to protest the Supreme Court decision upholding the Muslim ban. The event was hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and co-hosted by MVPJ along with a multitude of other faith and civic organizations. Other rallies were held across the nation.

Click here for video analysis of the SCOTUS decision from CAIR.

WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

1) If you are not a Muslim, contact every Muslim you know to tell them that you care, that you stand in solidarity with them, and that we will fight this together.  Many Muslims now face not being able to have family members be with them for weddings, birthdays, at times of sickness or death and much more. It can be an excrutiatingly painful time. The Supreme Court decision also opens the door for more acts of discrimination and hate.  It can be a scary time, too.  We must remember that we belong together as one human family. Show your commitment today. Don't underestimate how important personal relationships are at this time!

2) If you are Muslim, reach out to those you trust for care and comfort and courage. Remember that you are not alone. We are in this together and for the long haul. Click here to read CAIR's "Know Your Rights" statement for important and updated information. The Family and Youth Institute has very helpful information about processing your own feelings and talking with your children, "Being a Muslim Family in the Time of the Muslim Ban."

3) Contact your members of Congress to tell them to stand up against the Muslim Ban and this decision. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers, FCNL) reminds us, "This ruling does not change the basic truth: the president's executive order immorally and intentionally targets Muslim citizens, immigrants, and visitors. The Supreme Court has said that the policy is permissible. But that doesn't make it right." Even if you think your Congressmembers agree with you, a call or email urges them to take leadership in the effort to rescind the ban. Click here to use the FCNL website to send a a letter -- or better yet, call directly!

4) If you use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, click here for these easy tools provided by CAIR to amplify the message via social media.

RELIGIOUS RESPONSES TO THE SCOTUS DECISION

United Church of Christ: "UCC Leaders Sickened, Angered by Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Muslim Travel Ban"

Roman Catholic: "Chairman of U.S. Bishops' Migration Committee and Religious Liberty Committee Express Disappointment with Supreme Court Ruling in Travel Ban Case"


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Faith Voices Speak Out on Border Policies AND Action Opportunities

Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice (MVPJ) stands in solidarity with immigrants and refugees fleeing violence and injustice in their own countries and strongly condemns our government’s current policy of detaining indefinitely all immigrants crossing our southern border. Fleeing violence and injustice is not a crime, and people seeking asylum should not be treated as criminals before their cases are heard and evaluated. They should instead be able to seek safe refuge in this country. Keeping children in prison-like conditions, even if with their parents, is inhumane and will cause long-term damage to innocent children. Every faith represented in the MVPJ family abhors such practices and teaches its members to love their neighbors, to help those in need, to be kind and compassionate to all.

While the Presidential Executive Order issued June 20, 2018 demonstrates that widespread, sustained religious, political and civic protest can have an impact, it does not solve the problem. It does not include any plan to reunite more than 2000 children who have already been forcibly separated from their parents, but leaves those children lost in a massive human rights nightmare.  And it leaves in place the “zero-tolerance policy,” allowing children with their parents to be held in family prisons, perhaps indefinitely.

We hereby insist that our government immediately reunite those children and parents who have been separated from each other and establish a humane and expeditious process for immigrants crossing the border to apply for asylum. We call on government officials to listen deeply to the stories of these immigrants, to open their hearts to our common humanity, and to find a more compassionate and comprehensive approach to reforming our immigration system.  We speak out in the name of all our Steering Committee members and their congregations of many faiths.

Many religious leaders and communities have decried the policy of separating parents and children, and now imprisoning both. Read below for a list of statements, and possibilities for action. Click here for a careful explanation of the June 20, 2018 Executive Order by the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quaker).


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Prayers for the Suffering of Rohingya People

Please join in the prayers and pleas for compassion as shared by the Elijah Interfaith Institute:

"Saddened by the suffering of Rohingiya people, which has been added to the suffering of so many other human being during the last few weeks,  we, Buddhist and Muslim Leaders, associated with the Elijah Interfaith Institute, as well as leaders of other faith traditions, invoke the timeless aspiration of humankind for compassion and love, and yearning for guidance, succor, and help from supra-human realms so powerfully captured in the two prayers below—one from Buddhist sources and the second from the opening chapter of the Quran. We wish to recall this common teaching and high moral and spiritual yearning of the human soul at this point in time, especially in view of the suffering of the Rohingiya Muslims who are being persecuted and are suffering due to policies of a Buddhist majority state."


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Sept. 11 Multifaith Prayer of Lament

O God of Many Names,

Mystery of all Creation,

Source of Life and Love,

You who teach our spirits to sing,

And our hearts to weep:

We gather to celebrate our oneness, to pray for peace, to stand for love, to light a candle -- in a nation and a world that seem filled with division, violence, hatred and darkness.
     RESPONSE: O God, hear our cry.

Give us courage to name and face the gaping wounds and evils around us:

The hatred that led to the attacks of September 11, 2001; the devastation and death of many innocent lives that day; the ensuing spiral of war, revenge and human rights violations, shattering lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and beyond, as well as lives of U.S. women and men in uniform, their families, communities, and friends.
     RESPONSE: O God, hear our cry.

Hatred and white supremacy – from Charlottesville to Palo Alto; xenophobia and bigotry that treat some people as disposable;

Nationalism that justifies war and torture, the build up of weapons of mass destruction, bans on Muslims and refugees, cruel immigration policies and the destruction of dreams;
     RESPONSE: O God, hear our cry.

Religious hypocrisy that denies the sacred image of God in each and every human being;

Ignorance that denies the real crisis of our planet, that offers weak platitudes rather than wise policies in the face of ecological catastrophe;
    
RESPONSE: O God, hear our cry.

For all we do, and all we tolerate, that destroys the dreams of our children, of any child, for a chance to live in a just and peaceful world.
     RESPONSE: O God, hear our cry.


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"WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER" - Poetry from Multifaith Peace Picnic

Many people asked about the wonderful poem written and read by Naiel Ahmed Chaudry (pictured left reading it at the picnic) during the Peace Picnic program.
 
"WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER" 
  ... by Naiel Ahmed Chaudry 
  
We can be boys and we can be girls
But altogether we'll shine like pearls 
 
We can be black and we can be white 
But altogether we'll have the might 

We can be short and we can be tall
But altogether we'll never fall 
 
We can be strong and we can be weak
But altogether we'll be unique 
 
We can be poor and we can be rich 
But altogether we'll make the switch 
 
We can be fast and we can be slow 
But altogether we'll make it flow 
 
We can be right and we can be wrong 
But altogether we will be strong!

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Know Your Rights

Everyone here has constitutional rights, and that includes Muslims, immigrants and refugeees.  The ACLU has Know Your Rights posters translated into 14 languages, and provides videos in Spanish, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi on what to do if stopped by immigrant agents or the police.  Click here to access these important resources from the ACLU website, and share widely!

Knowing your rights is crucial, now more than ever.  


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What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?

This is a gift to you for today: WATCH THIS VIDEO AND BE TRULY INSPIRED. 

In face of the darkness, Valerie Kaur shares the deep hope of her Sikh tradition as she speaks on December 31, 2016 at the National Moral Revival Campaign. 

What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? 
What if our America is a country that is waiting to be born?

 

 

Valerie Kaur is filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, Sikh activist and interfaith leader.  She is founder of the Groundswell Movement.


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MVPJ Statement of Solidarity

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:
Speak Out
Act Up

Console
Defend

Accompany
Vote

Organize
and yes... pray -- both silently and loudly, in the privacy of our homes, in our houses of worship, and out in the streets. 

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.


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Prayers and Readings for Refugees, Immigrants and American Muslims

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.


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Make your voice heard!

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.


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