Media

Pence should drop immigration lawsuit

February 22, 2015 | IndyStar | link to article

As religious leaders from denominations and communities across Indiana, we ask Gov. Mike Pence to withdraw from the lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's executive order protecting millions of immigrants. Like Pence, we share a common belief that the nation is in dire need of immigration reform. We also believe all people are God's children, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, religion or national origin and should be treated with dignity. This lawsuit to stop the president's executive order is not in the best interest of the community and contradicts the tenets of our faiths.

Under the executive order, those Indiana residents without documentation will temporarily be protected from deportation, will be able to work with authorization, have a Social Security number, apply for a driver license and pay taxes. This lawsuit, if ultimately successful, will force immigrants back into the shadows and expose them to deportation — which will lead to separating families, depriving children of their parents' love, removing young men and women from the only country they have known, and tearing the fabric of whole communities.

As religious leaders, we believe that this lawsuit is not only contrary to the best interests of the community, but it also contradicts the essential teachings of our faiths. We are guided by two fundamental values upheld by our faith traditions: the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and the opportunity of each person to participate fully and equally in the communities of which they are a member.

We urge the governor to withdraw from the lawsuit. We also request a meeting with the governor to share our concerns and discuss what's best for Indiana.

This letter represents hundreds of thousands of people of faith who share our values from over 130 denominational leaders and diverse clergy representing a diverse Hoosier faith community including Lutheran, Methodist, Disciples, Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Catholic, Jewish and Islamic clergy.

Rev. Joseph W Tobin

Archbishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Rev. William O. Gafkjen

Bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA

Rev. Catherine Maples Waynick

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

Rev. Sharon Watkins

General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Rick Spleth

Regional Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana

Rev. Clarence Moore & Rev. Keith Kreisel

Co-Chairs of the Indianapolis Congregration Action Network