When religious organizations use their texts to help instead of repress and divide, that makes me a happy little secularist. Oregon will be voting this November on Measure 105, a measure to repeal a law that bans state and local money being used to detect and apprehend people only violating federal immigration laws, also known as a sanctuary state law.
The Central Pacific Conference United Church of Christ put out a statement in opposition to the measure. This isn’t the only one, but the one that struck a chord with me.
When the immigrant resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the immigrant. The immigrant who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the immigrant as yourself, for you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
These words from Hebrew scripture tell of a God who is deeply connected and concerned with the wellbeing of the poor, homeless, landless, and marginalized. As people of good faith, these words are both a reminder and an invitation to practice hospitality and justice not only in our churches but in our communities. As Christians, we also follow in the ways of Jesus who healed the sick, welcomed the outcast and embraced those in need. The United Church of Christ has long spoken about the need to grant rights to immigrants and refugees and has called upon local churches to support immigrants within their own communities. Measure 105, which seeks to repeal Oregon’s 30-year old inclusivity law, is not only an
ill conceivedand hateful proposal that will make our state less prosperous and less safe but also goes against our calling as followers of Christ.
This ballot measure is
formof scapegoatism of the ugliest kind, based on fear mongeringand racist assumptions. If passed, Measure 105 will create an atmosphere of suspicion, encourage racial profiling, drain much neededstate and local funds in support of a misguided and inhumane federal program, and distract us from dealing with the real causes of our social and economic problems. In the Gospel of Luke we hear the greatest commandment is to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ And to ‘love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.’ It is for these reasons we stand with our immigrant neighbors, we reject fear and exclusion in all its many forms, and reject the idea that Measure 105 will bring equitable immigration reform.
This information furnished by Amber C Churchill, Central Pacific Conference United Church of Christ.