Muslim Registry: A Christian Response

Saturday December 10, 2016: Islamic Society of Boston, Wayland MA

To the Islamic Council of New England:

I bring you greetings from the Massachusetts Council of Churches, a network of Christian individuals, congregations and denominations convinced that what binds us together in Christ is stronger than anything that divides us.

For many, many years our leadership has gathered. Our relationships are long. For this I give God thanks and praise.

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Fatma Antar, President-Elect of the Islamic Council of New England (left) & me, Rev. Laura (right)

We know these days have been hard for you and so many in your communities, hard in ways beyond what has been reported. We see the vandalism, the hate mail, the profiling. We are trying to see the smaller acts of prejudice, the thousand little ways that each and every day Muslims in America are subject to looks, and comments, and suspicion and stares. I come here tonight to listen to your struggles. Many of my churches are eager to support you. We are learning to listen and follow. And we are willing to use our power and privilege in solidarity.

You know that as Christians, we are preparing for Christmas, the season when we celebrate God’s entry into the world in the person of Jesus Christ. For us Christians, the birth of Jesus was not peaceful, but happened in a time of fear and political instability. Mary and Joseph were migrants, forced to travel because the Emperor Augustus required all people to be registered. The Emperor required the people to be registered.

I want you to hear me promise you this: If God-forbid our newly elected officials decided to force Muslims to register, then I am a Muslim and I will register. My colleague Jeremy Burton at Jewish Community Relations Council has vowed the same. If God-forbid our newly elected officials decided to force a registry of Muslims, as a Jew, Jeremy Burton will register first and I, as a Christian, will register next. Our American tradition of religious liberty is not just for some, but for all. A threat against you is a threat to us all.

I also promise you this: we will do our own work in the Church. We know that there are other Christians who misunderstand or misrepresent Muslims. We will continue to work to educate ourselves.

As Christians, we vow to follow Jesus in standing with the vulnerable. The Christians across Massachusetts want you to know that you are valued, loved and essential members of the community. We are tempted towards despair, but we believe in a life stronger than death and a love stronger than fear.

Dear Muslim kin, on behalf of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, please accept our sorrow in your suffering, our solidarity in your struggle, and our friendship in faith.

In Peace,

Rev. Laura Everett

Executive Director, Massachusetts Council of Churches

 

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