Regarding our Solidarity with Immigrants

This statement, based on materials written by our neighbors at the Nu’uanu Congregational Church UCC in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and the Japanese American Citizens League, is offered to members and friends of Church of the Holy Cross UCC to sign their names. There will be tables, copies of the document, and sign-on forms (similar to that of a petition) at the back of the church beginning Sunday, March 26.

The document and signature forms will be sent to the President of the United States, to our Hawai’i Island Congressional delegation, and to the Governor and Attorney General of Hawai’i who have led the legal fight against the recent Executive Orders issued by the White House.

Regarding Our Solidarity with Immigrants

March 19, 2017

On the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, and in light of the recent executive orders issued by President Donald Trump authorizing a ban on travel from six Muslim countries, we, members and friends of Church of the Holy Cross, United Church of Christ, in Hilo, Hawai‘i, follow the lead of the Nu’uanu Congregational Church UCC of Honolulu, Hawai’i, and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) regarding immigration restrictions and declare our opposition to discrimination against people based on race, creed, or national origin. We are deeply concerned that President Trump’s executive orders might well affect the way that the citizens of our nation will view Muslims and the way in which Muslim nations view the United States.

We thank the United States Court for the District of Hawai’i for issuing an order forbidding implementation of the executive action, and repeat our opposition to the travel ban itself.

Church of the Holy Cross was founded by Japanese immigrants in 1893. Many of our past and present member families were adversely affected by the implementation of Executive Order 9066, which incarcerated members of our families in concentration camps. We cannot help but recall how Executive Order 9066 and the interment dramatically affected every part of our families’ lives. We are deeply concerned that our government might use Executive Order 9066 as a precedent in order to incarcerate members of the Muslim, Hispanic, and other vulnerable communities.

In a 2014 talk at the University of Hawai‘i, the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia warned, “you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again.” The very notion that our government could consider repeating this travesty is horrifying. We must learn from past injustices.

As members of an historically Japanese-American church, we stand in solidarity with the Muslim, Hispanic, and other vulnerable communities because we know what it’s like to be discriminated against based on race, hatred, fear mongering, and misinformation. The hysteria right now is troubling. It sounds much like the anti-Japanese rhetoric after Pearl Harbor.

As the JACL has said:

“The United States has always served as a sanctuary for those fleeing oppression and provided opportunities to anyone seeking a better life. JACL continues to support the resettlement of refugees and the rights of immigrants. We are deeply troubled by policies born out of race-based slogans; policies that are mean-spirited and excessive in the treatment of immigrant families; policies that fail to honor the values of our diverse nation. As with Executive Order 9066, these recent measures do nothing to enhance America’s standing as an enduring symbol of democracy.”

We are a Christian Church. We are inspired to act in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible. In these troubling days, we not only focus on the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:17/Mark 12:31), but even more on the 36 verses that command us to “love the stranger.” In the New Testament, we recall the parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) in which the King declares, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

This document relies heavily on earlier statements written by the Nu’uanu Congregational Church UCC and the Japanese American Citizens League, and we are grateful for their aid in helping us find the words to declare our position.

Categories Community, Service | Tags: | Posted on March 19, 2017

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