2017-02-17 / Letters
Local clergy concerned with executive order
As clergy and lay leaders representing a wide variety of faith traditions in Ventura County, we recognize our shared call to love our neighbor, welcome the stranger and offer all necessary support to those in need. We’re also united in our unequivocal condemnation of all forms of terrorism as well as the scapegoating of Muslims in these times of anxiety and uncertainty.
Since its very founding, America has been a nation that welcomes those fleeing persecution. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Sixty-five million people—the largest number in recorded history— are displaced because of war, conflict and persecution. We agree with our national and international religious leaders that the United States has an urgent moral responsibility to receive refugees and asylum seekers regardless of religion or nation of origin.
We express our deep concern that President Trump’s recent executive order unnecessarily denies refuge to innocent families and individuals and perpetuates a culture of intolerance.
As people of faith and as citizens of the United States, we take seriously our responsibility to work locally to promote safety, compassion and justice in our community. To that end, we pledge to:
1. Collaborate to ensure that Ventura County is friendly and hospitable to refugees and immigrants.
2. Protect and stand up for those who are experiencing disrespect, bullying or violence.
3. Engage in constructive relationships with law enforcement officials, including reporting hate crimes and suspicious activity.
4. Defend the rights of all community members to freedom of religion, speech and assembly.
5. Increase our knowledge of other spiritual traditions through education and conversation.
6. Reach out in friendship to neighbors and co-workers whose backgrounds and life experiences are different from our own.
7. Practice common courtesy and civil discussion with everyone, even those with whom we disagree.
8. Pray for the president and all who hold authority, that they may govern with wisdom and humility, serve justice and uphold the dignity and freedom of every person.
9. Celebrate the acts of compassion and neighborliness that occur frequently in our community.
The Rev. Julie Morris
Morris an Episcopal priest. To see complete list of those who signed this letter, go to www.vcic. info.