February 1, 2017 under Faith Based Work
This past week all of us have been witness to a most frightening time in our nation’s current history. FPWA along with faith leaders across New York City are speaking out, with a nonpartisan voice, against the most recent actions taken by President Donald J. Trump and the executive order banning entrance into the United States by persons traveling from seven Muslim-majority countries. It is clear that the target of this ban are our Muslim brothers and sisters and we cannot sit idly by as the basic principles under which our nation was founded are eroded.
The religious communities of New York City are joined together by the twin principles of faith and justice. This executive order is not in line with those principles as it provides a religious test for entry into the United States. Our standard must be righteous acts of compassion to those in need and not filters based on religion or ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This appears to be an action based more on phobia and fear and less on facts. We must stand up and declare that these and all refugees are an asset to this nation and not discriminate against a whole group based on the actions of a few.
In the face of the undeniable scope of human suffering, violence and persecution that is taking place in many parts of the globe, and with the number of human casualties surpassing any level of possible acceptance, it is totally reprehensible that our nation should be so void of moral leadership at the highest level. As persons of faith we are called to bring a prophetic witness to issues of justice, mercy and the wellbeing of all humanity. So as the President signed this order, interfaith leaders set forth to represent unity with the Muslim community at New York City’s Foley Square circling the group gathered in prayer both as a sign of support and protection and closing the event through linking arms.
In the Faith community we do not turn a blind eye to those in need, we create a space for the persecuted, marginalized and vulnerable; for when one of us is harmed, we are all harmed. We are called by all our sacred text and faith traditions to love our neighbors, care for the most vulnerable and welcome the sojourners. And we call on not only other persons of faith but all Americans to ask our leadership to provide it.
Rev. Joel A. Gibson