If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Friday, July 2, 2010

Resolution on Supporting Brothers and Sisters in Christ Most Impacted by the Arizona Immigration Law

*This resolution, which I wrote with some committee revisions, was presented by the Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference Peace and Justice Committee at their conference's annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska this month. Congregations will be studying the resolution and it will be acted upon later.

The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:34)

Whereas, our Biblical ancestors often lived as “undocumented” aliens and strangers in foreign lands (Acts 7:6);
Whereas, God’s law commanded Israel to care for strangers and sojourners in their land, since they were once slaves and foreigners in Egypt (Exodus 22:21);
Whereas, Jesus’ parents fled as immigrants to Egypt without legal documents (Matthew 2:13-15);
Whereas, Jesus taught us that as we do to the “least of these,” we do to the Son of Humanity (Matthew 25:40);
Whereas, Jesus was sent to stand in solidarity with the poor and marginalized (Luke 4:18-19);
Whereas, the church as the body of Christ is not defined by race, national origin, or legal status (Galations 3:27-28);
Whereas, our Anabaptist faith prioritizes church over state, mutual support and accountability to our brothers and sisters in Christ over economics, and issues of faith over issues of law;

And whereas, we are all immigrants and “illegal aliens” in this land of the Native Americans;
Whereas, enforcement of Arizona’s immigration law seems likely to target people for scrutiny based upon appearance (i.e., race) and suspicions, rather than actual knowledge of their legal status;
Whereas, attending an assembly in Arizona could put “undocumented” Hispanic brothers and sisters and their families at risk personally, financially and legally;
Whereas, the church---as Christ’s body--- should be in solidarity with those most likely to be impacted negatively by Arizona’s immigration law;
Whereas, MCUSA has committed “to act with and on behalf of our immigrants brothers and sisters, regardless of their legal status”;
Whereas, none of us are truly welcome where even one of us is unwelcome;

Be it therefore resolved that Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference supports moving Mennonite Church USA’s Convention 2013 to a location that is more welcoming than Phoenix, Arizona.

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