An Unequivocal Condemnation of Family Separation

An Unequivocal Condemnation of Family Separation
from the Parliament of the World's Religions

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, essential to protecting the integrity of human beings within the family of nations, reminds us that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” History teaches us that this cruelty is at its worst when it is rationalized by leadership, justified by law, and made defensible by appeals to sacred writings. The voices of the many are responsible to speak out against such aberration from our shared humanity, wherever in the world it is found. Silence and inaction equate to complicity.

When a nation claims the mantle of self-evident truths “under God”, it bears a special responsibility to act in accordance with these truths under divine precept. And when a nation is made up of a multitude of families, each with their religious traditions, philosophies, and ethical beliefs, that nation bears a further responsibility to uphold the freedoms that families require to flourish.

As a global organization dedicated to convening and connecting families of faith and conscience around the world, The Parliament of the World’s Religions sees the United States’ recent family separation policy, which has led to the fracture of vulnerable refugee families, as an abject failure of civilized and collective life. This was a failure of leadership, a failure of policy, a failure to understand sacred texts that call for the protection of the neighbor, a failure to regard the physical and mental health of children and parents, and a colossal failure of the heart.

Communities of faith and conscience must nurture families, in the many forms they take, and protect them by first opposing the leaders, policies, and reprehensible distortions of scripture that threaten their future.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions denounces these and likeminded global policies against families, and calls for all religions with which these leaders are affiliated to admonish them for their actions, and to refute any religious or scriptural justification to which they appeal in their effort to rationalize or justify those actions.

The damage already inflicted to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers is extensive. While separation may have ceased, there is no infrastructure currently in place to track, locate, or return the children who have already been separated from their parents. There is still much repair to be done.

But where government fails, passionate communities of faith, conscience, and people everywhere of goodwill, must strive together toward a world of justice and compassion. We ask that you strive with us by doing the following:

For the leaders of countries, politicians, and political parties, to whom we entrust our own freedoms. When they lie in the faces of their people, when they manipulate the truth, or when they are guilty of venality or ruthlessness in domestic or foreign affairs, they forsake their credibility and deserve to lose their offices and their voters. Conversely, public opinion should support those politicians who dare to speak the truth to the people at all times. 

  • Identify those in your community who might be at risk and check in on them. Open your homes to those in need.
  • Encourage your place of worship to become a place of sanctuary.
  • Read and share the statement on family separation from your own community of faith and/or conscience, and take steps to ensure that your own religious, spiritual and ethical leaders and congregations are upholding and enacting its values.
  • Create a rapid response team within your community, and reach out to other communities of faith and conscience in your locale to create a network of assistance to support refugees and separated children.
  • Attend a "Families Belong Together" event in your community. Find a local event at FamiliesBelongTogether.org to find an event near you or create an event in your area!
  • Those in the U.S.: 
    • Pick up the phone and dial (202)-224-3121, give your zip code, and say “I live in (state) and I believe families belong together. The U.S. government should end family separation and the indefinite detention of children. What are you doing about it?"
    • Support candidates who are committed to defeating these attitudes at play in our political arena, and who support immigration reform based in humanitarianism.
    • Donate to organizations providing legal and translation services to children and parents in detention.
    • Volunteer with local organizations working for just immigration reform and supporting refugees & asylum seekers. 
 

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