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.
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).
Please read this important report on Haspel's hearing Wednesday, May 9, from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT).
"Refusing to say that torture is immoral, after being asked repeatedly in her Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, is all you need to know to conclude that Gina Haspel is uniquely disqualified to serve as our next CIA Director." ~ Rev. Ron Stief, NRCAT
Haspel: A Moral Compass that Spins in Circles Around Torture
WASHINGTON, DC – During her hearing on Wednesday, May 9, CIA Director nominee, Gina Haspel, claimed to have a "strong moral compass" yet, when asked repeatedly by Senators Warner, Heinrich, Harris, and Reed, not once was she able to say that the CIA's torture program was immoral.
Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, responded to Ms. Haspel's moral confusion by saying:
"Ms. Haspel argued that the program was legal, she suggested that Congress had adopted the Army Field Manual as a 'stricter' moral standard, and she even suggested that waterboarding was inhumane if done by a terrorist but not if done by the CIA. She was never, though, able to say that waterboarding or any other act of torture was immoral. Ms. Haspel has conflated law with morality and seems to have a moral compass that is spinning in circles. Being unable to say that torture is immoral shows that she lacks the character necessary to stand up to the President and be an independent, moral CIA Director."
What do you do if you are in a public place and witness hateful harassment? YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A BYSTANDER!
Wednesday, May 2, 7-9pm St. Albert the Great Church 1095 Channing Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94301 Click here for directions. Gain tools and practice to be able to respond to hate incidents due to religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender or any other factors. Learn how to overcome the bystander effect and de-escalate the situation in a non-confrontational way.
Led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and sponsored by Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, this is the first time this training will be presented in Palo Alto.
The workshop is free. Donations will be accepted at the event.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Haspel's hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee is schedule for Wed., May 9. Please call your Senators every single day until the vote is taken. One of California's own Senators, Diane Feinstein, is a particularly important contact - she has not said yet how she will vote! CALL SENATOR FEINSTEIN every day and URGE HER TO VOTE AGAINST GINA HASPEL on deep moral grounds. Call Feinstein's office at 202-224-3841 or 415-393-0707 to say NO to Haspel!
March 13, 2018 NRCAT Press Release: "With news that President Trump plans to nominate CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to replace Mike Pompeo as CIA Director, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) reiterates its call for no new government jobs for torturers. Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director, said, 'It is morally repugnant that a former head of a CIA torture site who helped destroy videotaped evidence of torture would be elevated to the role of CIA Director. Haspel cannot be trusted to follow the law nor represent our country's fundamental values of ethical government and transparency.'"
As a long-time member of NRCAT, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice asks you to: 1) contact your Senators and urge them to VOTE NO on Haspel nomination. (See below for contact information for Senators Feinstein and Harris.) 2) sign NRCAT's petition to the U.S. Senate stating, "It is a moral outrage for someone who headed a CIA torture site and destroyed videotaped evidence of torture to become CIA Director. Stand up for our democracy and the rule of law by blocking President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director." Click here to sign.
Read the April 27 ACLU article for more information about Haspel's involvement in the CIA "black site" in Thailand, the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and her involvement in ordering the destruction of CIA videotapes. ACLU also joins several senators in questioning the CIA's unprecedented activities promoting Haspel's nomination. Read the May 4th article here.
More background material from the ACLU and a link to a letter signing page to U.S. Senators (where you can sign the letter as is or add your own comments) is provided by this Peninsula Peace & Justice Center action page. Or you may use the information below to contact California Senators directly.
March with kids and their families to demand that their lives and safety be a priority, and we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools.
Join one of 819 marches!
Local marches currently planned in Redwood City, San Mateo, San Jose, San Franisco, Oakland and Santa Cruz. Click "Read More" below for details. Visit the national March for Our Lives website to sign the petition, learn more, and donate.
In response to the horrific shooting at a high school in Floriday, MVPJ member Craig Wiesner wrote an article for Tikkun Daily Blog. Start it here then go to the Tikkun website to read the whole piece.
"Thoughts and Prayers? What the Prophet Isaiah Said" by Craig Wiesner
17 more dead. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Sackcloth, ashes, bowing your head… Actually, on the night 17 people were killed in Florida, I thought to myself that maybe my husband and I should fast. We didn’t. We did sit and watch the news as details of the mass shooting at a high school in Florida were slowly revealed. We closed our eyes in prayer, feeling helpless, angry, sad.
17 dead, the shooter in custody, parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, neighbors, grieving. A chorus rings out “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Two words come to mind when I hear or read that phrase coming from people in power who could do so much more than think and pray. Then, yesterday, the pastor of our church asked me if I would lead the Time for the Child in us all at church this Sunday. “What’s the scripture?” I asked. Curious? Read on!
On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 86 rabbis and Jewish leaders were arrested in the Capitol during a solidarity vigil for Dreamers. Among them was Rabbi Sheldon Lewis, a local faith leader and cofounder of Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice.
Join this roundtable discussion hosted by faith leaders with State Assembly Members Mark Berman and Evan Low. They will present options for action that are currently underway for sensible firearm legislation, as well as future legislation that we can support.
Saturday, January 20, 3-4:30pm Westhope Presbyterian Church 12850 Saratoga Ave. Saratoga 95070
If possible, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVP helpful but not required.
Fr. Kevin O'Brien, a Jesuit priest and Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley (part of Santa Clara University) is featured in this video, inviting us all to a culture of encounter, not confrontation.
"Jesus was concerned about promoting what he called the 'reign of God.' This reign, this community of justice, peace and love -- that to him was more important than any title for himself."
In a pluralistic society, we need to listen, respect and learn from people who are different than us. Quoting Pope Francis, O'Brien claims, "Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something about God."