The American Ethical Union is dedicated to the worth and dignity of all human beings, and to supporting a democratic society free from discrimination on the basis of religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, or national origin. Therefore, we stand strongly against a registry of Muslims, or any other group, and condemn the attempts of the new Presidential administration to effectively ban people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
These actions echo shameful periods in America’s history of banning immigrants on the basis of national origin (Chinese Exclusion Act 1882, Immigration Act 1917), the Executive Order authorizing Japanese internment, and turning away Jewish refugees during World War II. In addition, they are direct threats to a core value in the Constitution – freedom of religion – that affects the civil liberties of all Americans. We encourage our members to take immediate and sustained action, and offer the following suggestions:
1. Financially support groups that fight religious persecution, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Amnesty International, and groups in your area that resettle refugees.
2. Take part in local efforts to promote safe, inclusive communities, such as Not in Our Towns, and PICO sanctuary networks. Communicate what you are doing with the AEU (firstname.lastname@example.org) and other Ethical Societies so that our impact can be stronger.
3. Support the efforts of our representatives in Congress who are working to combat discrimination, xenophobia and racism.
In the Senate, The Protect American Families Act would “prohibit the creation of an immigration-related registry program that classifies people on the basis of religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, nationality, or citizenship.”
In the House, the No Religious Registry Act of 2017 would “prohibit the collection of information and the establishment or utilization of a registry for the purposes of classifying or surveilling certain United States persons and other individuals on the basis of religious affiliation.”
A second House Bill, H.R.852, would “amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide that an alien may not be denied admission or entry to the United States, or other immigration benefits, because of the alien’s religion, and for other purposes.”
These Bills are now before the Judiciary Committees in the Senate and House. While they both have strong Democratic support, no Republican representatives have become cosponsors. Hatred, bigotry, and xenophobia have no place in a democratic and free society, and combating them is not the sole business of any one political party. We must all stand up for the American ideals of “liberty and justice for all,” and encourage our representatives to do the same.
Click here to see the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Click here to see the members of the House Judiciary Committee.