A Statement to the Global Interfaith Community on the Exclusionary Actions of the U.S. Government

January 31, 2017

To our friends in the interfaith movement around the world:
We, who are your colleagues in the interfaith movement living in the United States, pray that you will not forsake us because of what some of our political leaders are doing in our nation’s name.
We need you to understand that these political leaders do not speak for us, that they are not acting on our behalf, that, yes, they represent a part of our nation’s past, but not the best of our past. In fact, they represent the worst part of our national history.
They do not stand in the lineage of one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, who in a time of great national division, asked that we draw on “the better angels of our nature.”
Another of our presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt, told the nation in a time of testing that “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” But even that president created internment camps and imprisoned our sisters and brothers of Japanese descent for many years. That was a blemish on our nation’s reputation.
Now we are being blemished again, this time by our current president. He is using fear to rally our fellow citizens to demonize people from particular countries and a particular religion and to keep them from entering our country – a country, as you no doubt know, is a nation mostly of immigrants.
It is true that all of us across the world are mindful of dangers of terrorism and the need for security. But we together cannot meet that challenge by maligning and excluding one another.
So we want you to know that we oppose this tactic and this policy.
We want you to know that we honor people, like you, who come from other nations and other faith traditions.
We want you to know that we want to be in solidarity with you, when you are here with us in this country or with us, in spirit, when you are not here.
We want you to know that we need you to be patient with us while we fight the evils of fear, of xenophobia, of suspicion, of hate.
Don’t give up on us.
As one of our great leaders assured us: We shall overcome.
In friendship,

Larry Greenfield
Executive Director
Parliament of the World’s Religions

Land Acknowledgment

The Parliament of the World's Religions acknowledges it is situated on the traditional homelands of the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy); Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and Odawak (Odawa).

PoWR recognizes the region we now call Chicago remains home to a diversity of Indigenous peoples today and this land upon which we walk, live, and play continues to be Indigenous land.

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