Two hundred religious leaders in Texas have condemned SB4, a new immigration-enforcement law which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. “The anti-immigrant agenda is born out of fear and promoted out of a sense of privilege, jeopardizing justice for everyone,” said Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, head of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Texas. “We have seen the damage caused by discriminatory, unconstitutional ‘show me your papers’ laws to our economy and our communities.” Among the other signatories of the letter were representatives of the Methodist church and United Church of Christ. Others included representatives of Jewish, Wiccan, and Native American Church congregations.
Several Catholic priests and female religious signed the joint letter
. Missing among the signatories were the Roman Catholic bishops of the state. Even so, the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, devoted four paragraphs to the letter.
The letter read:
“As faith leaders from many different traditions, we write to condemn the anti-immigrant legislation you signed into law that will target and discriminate against our immigrant neighbors. As people of faith, we look first to our common values rooted in our sacred texts that remind us to love our neighbor and welcome the sojourner among us. As Leviticus 19:34 (CE) reminds us: ‘Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’
“We must recall that we are a state with a proud legacy of immigrants, and we recognize the valuable contributions immigrants and refugees bring to our communities and economy.”
Bishop Doyle of the Episcopal Church went on to say, according to a release, “We will continue to build welcoming communities across Texas. Texans are a hospitable, kind, and welcoming people and we lament this law’s attempt to spread fear among us.” After citing holy scripture, Doyle went on to say, “We are praying that you may find compassion in your discernment process and stop any legislation that hurts immigrants and reduce community safety,” reads the letter. “We urge you to think about the moral imperative to love our neighbor, welcome the immigrant, and care for the most vulnerable among us.”
Signatories included: Minister Cemelli de Aztlan of the Native American Church/First Ministries Church, Rev. Christopher Dunn of the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Edward Carpenter of Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Mandeep Chadha Singh Sabha Gurdwara of Austin, Pastor Dan Darby of Coldspring United Methodist Church, Rabbi Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe of Congregation Beth El, Rev. Arturo Banuelas of St. Mark Catholic Church, Sister Sharon Altendorf, Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the BVM, Rev. Amelia Fulbright of Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry, and Imam Omar Suleiman of Faith Forward Dallas.