Ten years ago, Jews and Christians joined together to publicly declare their solidarity with American Muslims by launching the Shoulder to Shoulder campaign, a national interfaith campaign to end anti-Muslim discrimination and violence. A decade later, we are still standing strong together as the rights and dignity of our Muslim brothers and sisters continue to be threatened. In response to the administration’s expanded travel ban — which goes into effect Feb. 21 — the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act was brought to the House floor for a vote last week. We urge all people of faith and conscience to join us in calling for Congress to support the No Ban Act.
For three years we have spoken out against the travel ban. We have joined the protests at airports, held press conferences, written numerous pieces, and consistently advocated for just policies. Last week’s announced expansion of the travel ban from seven to 13 countries would affect more than 1 billion people, and nearly one quarter of the population of Africa. As people of faith and conscience, we are coming together again with a renewed sense of urgency and a call to action. We are denouncing this policy not only as anti-Muslim, but also as racist and xenophobic, and we are calling for policies that better reflect our religious, moral, and ethical convictions.
As a conservative Jewish rabbi and as a leader within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we represent traditions that have long histories of extending hospitality to refugees and immigrants. In fact, many Christian and Jewish denominations in this country share our deep concern for reuniting separated families and providing sanctuary to those who are fleeing from danger and deadly violence. This is not because our traditions are conformed to a certain kind of politics, but because we seek to conform ourselves as people of faith to the sacred scriptures we share in common.
The Hebrew Bible reminds us that “you know how it feels to be an immigrant” (Exodus 23:9). The text also teaches us that “thou shalt not oppress the stranger” 36, and some say, 46 times. Scripture can be difficult to discern, but on the question of immigrants and refugees, there can be no doubt. Our faithful response is clear: We must work together to “loose the bonds of injustice” (Isaiah 58:6). The best way we see to do this now is to garner support for the “No Ban Act.”
For 10 years, Jews and Christians have continued to support the American Muslim community. The “No Ban Act” would effectively terminate the travel ban, but also offer future protections against such discriminatory policies. Join us by contacting your senators requesting that they support S.1123/H.R.2214, the No Ban Act.
For us, and perhaps also for you, this is a matter of faith.