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Event reflects on 'no room at the inn' for immigrants

Published December 17, 2012 1:46 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A procession commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph, the parents of Christ, wound its way Sunday through Salt Lake City.

The event also became a platform for releasing an interfaith statement on immigration, signed by clergy from nine different Utah faith communities.

The procession ended at First United Methodist Church, where the statement was also read.

The procession honors the Latin American tradition of Las Posadas and invites people to reflect on how immigrants and other people are told there is "no room at the inn" in contemporary Utah. —

Interfaith statement on immigration

As members of different faiths in Utah, we respect each other's differences and embrace our shared values. Our common roots in the teachings of Scripture guide us to certain universal truths. Thus:

We believe that every person has value and must be granted basic human rights. One of our basic rights is to emigrate to escape from poverty, political strife, or any other life or dignity-threatening circumstance.

We believe individuals and families should be treated with dignity, not taken advantage of or called criminals because they seek food, clothing, shelter, and education.

We believe in providing rational, reasonable opportunities for immigrants to become full participants in our nation.

We believe we have a moral obligation to not just greedily accept the contributions of our immigrant neighbors, but to open paths to citizenship for immigrants seeking full legal status, with all of the rights, responsibilities, and protections that entails.

We believe immigration reform must begin at the federal level and must ensure that families are united, rather than separated.

We believe a basic principle of a civilized society must be that we will not tolerate inhumane treatment, exploitation, or the creation of shadow societies where people are used for their labor, then left to live in fear.

We believe in the value immigrant workers, students, and families provide to our country and our moral obligation to work for the common good of our neighbors across the street and around the globe.

In faith,

Jean Hill, government liaison, Catholic Diocese

The Rev. Eun-Sang Lee, First United Methodist Church

The Rev. Steve Klemz, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. David Nichols, Mt. Tabor ELCA

The Rev. Libby Hunter, Deacon, The Cathedral Church of St. Mark

Fr. Ken Vialpando, St. Joseph Catholic Parish

The Rev. Mary S. Janda, All Saints Episcopal

Fr. Elias Kuocos, Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox

The Rev. Jerrod Lowry, Community of Grace Presbyterian

The Rev. Curtis Price, First Baptist Church, SLC

The Rev. Tom Goldsmith, First Unitarian, SLC

The Rev. Yvonne Lee, Centenary UMC

The Rev. Dr. David Henry, Presbyterian, retired