There is nothing Christian about a ban on Muslims or Refugees.

Statement to CAIR Boston Rally against Muslim Ban Sunday Jan 29, 2017 Copley Plaza, Boston by Rev. Laura Everett- Massachusetts Council of Churches

Strikethrough text got cut to stay on time. Some of our political leaders would like to be preachers (I’m looking at you, Senator Markey…). We also needed to keep sentences short and get loud and use the “people’s mic” because the audio wasn’t strong enough for the size of the crowd. 

I greet you in peace. My name is Rev. Laura Everett, and I serve as the executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, a statewide network of thousands of Christian individuals, congregations and denominations convinced that what binds us together in Christ is stronger than anything that divides us.

If you are a Muslim here because you are concerned about your rights, and the rights of others, raise your hand.

If you are a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Sikh, a Mormon, a Baha’i, a humanist, a person whose deep values compel you to stand with our Muslims neighbors, please raise your hand. Keep your hands up.

My Muslim Neighbors, look around. You are not alone. You are surrounded by people of many faiths and shared values who stand with you this day, and in the days to come.

I come to you today with the prayers, well-wishes, and solidarity of so many who grieve this executive order and the violence it compounds. For every person here, there are many more across this state who share our commitments.

16387167_1339224179432313_7998272374270581254_nI come to you today not in spite of my faith, but because of my faith. I believe, and strive to live by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In my heart and in my bones, I am a Christian.

Hear me say this: There is nothing Christian about a ban on Muslims.

There is nothing Christian about refusing refugees.

There is nothing Christian about denying safe harbor to those fleeing violence. Nothing.

You’ve heard it, the efforts to wrap this Executive Order in the guise of Christianity. Resist it. Disprove it. Unmask it.

There is nothing Christian about refusing refugees.

Pope Francis said yesterday, “It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help,”

Because Our tradition is clear. Deuteronomy 10:19 commands, “You shall also love the foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” God’s people have always been refugees.

The story of Jesus’s birth is the story of refugees. Refugees invite our increased compassion, not our hardened hearts.

Jesus was born, not in a time of peace, but in 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. The Holy Family was forced to flee the violence of their homeland (Matthew 2).

So for Christians, Our Savior was a migrant. Jesus Christ was a refugee.

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 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.

Please accept our sorrow in your suffering, our solidarity in your struggle, and our friendship in faith.

I’d like to bless us:

Holy One, we know you by many names,

Bless us. Make us faithful, and make us brave. Amen.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s