Division Joins Campaign for Non-racist Immigration Debate
by YVETTE MOORE*
Oct. 25, 2007 – The Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries endorsed a new faith-based campaign promoting non-racist dialogs on immigration in a press conference Oct. 17 on Capitol Hill. Division directors voted to join the Campaign for a United America during their meeting Oct. 4-8 in Stamford, Conn.
The campaign initiated by the Chicago-based Center for New Community will promote national dialog on immigration, civil rights and citizenship that’s free of the intolerance and xenophobia that dominate current debates.
“As a part of the campaign, the Women’s Division will work to uncover the racist underpinnings of many anti-immigrant organizations that help to shape media messages and current debates,” said Carol Barton, division executive. “We will partner with the campaign to engage United Methodist Women members in local efforts to understand and challenge these hate groups.”
Ms. Barton said extreme anti-immigrant organizations with roots in white supremacist hate groups have infiltrated the mainstream and helped shape the national debate on immigration. She cited the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as an extremist group afforded mainstream status and respect whose rhetoric goes unchallenged.
“The campaign will focus on reaffirming our national values of opportunity, hospitality and equality,” Ms. Barton said. “This will involve helping the public to understand who FAIR and other groups are and the nature of their anti-immigrant agenda.”
Endorsing the campaign is another step in United Methodist Women’s ongoing advocacy for immigrants and just immigration policy in response to the biblical mandate to love neighbors and to welcome the sojourner. Women’s Division actions on immigration cite Leviticus 19:33-34: “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
The Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries is the national administrative body of United Methodist Women, an organization of approximately 800,000 members within the United Methodist Church in the United States. Its purpose is to foster spiritual growth, develop leaders and advocate for justice. United Methodist Women members give more than $16 million a year for program and projects related women, children and youth in the United States and around the world.