NEW YORK — In light of the election and the SCOTUS decision today to take up the border wall and “remain in Mexico” cases, religious leaders from the US and other parts of the world will gather today and throughout this week to call all Americans toward intentional, respectful, and faithful conversations on immigration. The week-long virtual conference entitled the National Gathering of Religious Leaders 2020 is organized by Religions for Peace USA (RFPUSA), a national interreligious council and affiliate of Religions for Peace that inspires and advances common actions for peace through multi-religious cooperation among our nation’s religious communities.
Alongside dozens of US religious communities, RFPUSA is co-signing and releasing “A Joint Statement from U.S. Religious Leaders and Communities Regarding U.S. Immigration and Refugee Policies and Practices.” In addition, a study guide for congregations and people of faith titled, “Offering Refuge: A Discussion Guide for Faithful Americans on Immigration Policies and Practices” will be released to the public.
In anticipation of this week’s activities, RFPUSA’s Executive Director, Tarunjit Singh Butalia, shares, “Our moral responsibility is clear. The global need to aid displaced persons is at its highest point while at the same time the United States has retreated to its lowest level of commitment. We cannot afford to be misled by fear. We pledge a priority to this work, to remain vigilant, engaging our faith communities in advocacy for vulnerable displaced persons.”
The statement and study guide are designed to be engaged in small study groups within US communities of faith. It provides participants with: 1) suggested ground rules; 2) introductions to key issues on immigration; 3) thought-provoking questions and stories for discussions; 4) immigration educational resources to dig deeper; and 5) compelling stories that provide windows into faith actors working on immigration.
Religions for Peace USA serves its more than 50 national member organizations by jointly acting on their behalf through convenings, education processes, public programming, shared advocacy efforts, and interfaith leadership.
Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Executive Director of Religions for Peace USA