Frequently Asked Questions Who? Why?
The Coalition is an interfaith effort made up of concerned individuals who want to change the harsh rhetoric of the current immigration debate and remind people of faith that our primary religious calling is to love one another. North Carolinians of all faiths are invited to sign onto the statement. The Coalition is asking people to sign on as an individual act of conscience; the Coalition is not seeking congregational or denominational members at this time. The Coalition had its beginnings in the North Carolina Council of Churches, but it is in no way limited to official Council members. We invite all people of faith, regardless of denominational and political affiliations, to join us as we make our voices heard.
The Coalition is a statewide effort across North Carolina. While there are similar national efforts (see our Links page), we believe that it is important to provide a local voice.
The 500-word statement forms the center of gravity for the Coalition, beginning with the affirmation that as “people of faith and conscience from across North Carolina, we believe that our calling is to welcome immigrants, offering them hospitality and justice. While we recognize that immigration policy is a complex issue that divides people of goodwill, our faiths compel us to stand with immigrants in their struggle for justice.”
The statement goes on to quote representative passages from the Hebrew Bible, the Christian New Testament, and the Qur’an, reflecting the interfaith tenor of the Coalition. Please note that we have limited the number of religious traditions that are represented only because of space considerations; all religious traditions emphasize loving one’s neighbor, and most speak directly about social justice and hospitality. Thus, these passages should not be considered exhaustive.
The second half of the statement offers some specifics, such as calling for “legislative reforms which are fair, humane, and address the root causes of why people migrate.” While the religious calling to hospitality and justice does carry policy implications (some of which are highlighted, broadly, in the statement), the statement itself should not be understood as primarily political in nature. We respect and take seriously disagreements about particular policies. In the end, though, “we agree that all immigrants are made in God’s image and that our religious traditions demand that we care especially for the stranger.” As a result, “we call on all people of faith to stand with immigrants as a matter of religious responsibility, to advocate for their well-being and protection, and to educate our local communities about issues affecting immigrant peoples.”
The Coalition will publish the statement and list of signatories so that elected officials, faith groups and community members will recognize the religious calling to welcome immigrants. In this time when the debate around immigration policy and immigrants themselves is often characterized by heated rhetoric, it is necessary for people of faith to make their voices heard in the public square.