News

June 7, 2018

Presiding Bishop, Faith Leaders, Issue Statement on Family Separation

CHICAGO (June 7, 2018) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has convened ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a statement addressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws. The policy will most likely result in an increase in family separations.

The letter follows:

Recently, the Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news.

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.

As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.

His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Diocesan Legate and Director of the Ecumenical Office
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America

Mr. Azhar Azeez President
Islamic Society of North America

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton, PA
Chair, Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.
Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Bishop H. Kenneth Carter, Jr.
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop Episcopal Church (United States)

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister & President
United Church of Christ

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. David Guthrie
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
Moravian Church Southern Province

Mr. Glen Guyton
Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

The Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs 
President
Union for Reform Judaism

Mr. Anwar Khan
President
Islamic Relief USA

The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
Moravian Church Northern Province

The Rev. Dr.  J. Herbert Nelson II
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Director
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

The Rev. Don Poest
Interim General Secretary
The Rev. Eddy Alemán
Candidate for General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick III
Presiding Bishop, The Eighth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. Phil Tom
Executive Director
International Council of Community Churches

Senior Bishop McKinley Young
Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Church

#KeepFamiliesTogether
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,300 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

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