Justice & The UCC

UCC leadership sickened, angered by Supreme Court ruling upholding Muslim travel ban – June 26, 2018  Written by Connie Larkman

The national leadership of the United Church of Christ is condemning the U.S. Supreme Court decision that upholds President Trump’s September travel ban, which restricts citizens from predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to this country.

The deeply divided court, ruling 5-4 on Trump v Hawai’i, reversed a series of lower court decisions which struck down the ban as illegal or unconstitutional. The Court Justices decided that the travel ban is a legitimate exercise of the authority of the executive branch of U.S. government. UCC leadership continues to denounce the restrictions as evil.

“Let it be known that people of faith did not join the crowd, wave their flags, and acquiesce to a government bent on re-establishing white power and white supremacy and white privilege as the law of the land,” said the Rev. John Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ. “The United Church of Christ will not stop fighting this. It is wrong and it is evil and it must be resisted.”

“A little over 50 years ago, while caged in a Birmingham jail, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King penned these words to White Southern Pastors who were uncomfortable with Dr. King’s presence and public outcry for justice: ‘One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws,'” said the Rev. Traci Blackmon, executive minister, UCC Justice & Local Church Ministries. “The evils of racism and Islamophobia have been given fertile breeding ground by an administration that seeks the solidification of power with the targeted separation of the ‘other.'”  Chief Justice John Roberts issued the opinion, supported by the court’s other four conservatives, writing that entry restrictions were limited to countries that had been designated by Congress or prior administrations as national security risks. He rejected claims that the ban was religiously biased.

“The [order] is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” Roberts wrote. “The text says nothing about religion.” “The proclamation is squarely within the scope of presidential authority,” the chief justice wrote. He added that claims of religious bias against Muslims did not hold up against “a sufficient national security justification.” However, he said, “We express no view on the soundness of the policy.”

“Along with the Dred Scott decision which perpetuated slavery and the Korematsu case which sanctioned the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Supreme Court’s ruling which upholds the administration’s Muslim ban is an offense to our inclusive faith and will go down in history as a violation of the highest ideals of our nation,” said the Rev. Jim Moos, executive minister, UCC Global Engagement & Operations. “Bigotry in the name of national security will not make us more secure, but less so.”

“I am sick,” Dorhauer continued. “Every day, the work so many have committed to over decades – to build deeper understandings of how love works, to build deeper acceptance of our differences, to embrace our diversity, and to create commitments to build a just world for all – is eroded by white men who feel like their power and privilege is being taken away.”

Church leaders say the travel ban is a signal that we are closing the door to our neighbors who are fleeing violence and persecution, and that our faith calls us to do otherwise. As people of faith, we understand that God has no “other” and the immorality of such acts are not made righteous by the legalization of them,” Blackmon said.

UCC Leaders: Keep Families Together

Condemning the unconscionable assertion that migrant children should be separated from their parents because of ‘orderly and lawful processes that protect the weak and lawful,’ — a Biblical statement used to justify U.S. immigration policies — United Church of Christ National Leadership has issued this pastoral letter, urging the people of the denomination’s almost 5,000 congregations to take action now! First, by contacting their Congressional representatives, and then by providing funds to keep families together. Money to be used to support the people sleeping in the streets at the borders of this country, or those parents and children separated upon entry!

“Still, when God saw the trouble they were in and heard their cries for help,
God remembered God’s Covenant with them, and, immense with love, took them by the hand.
God poured out God’s mercy on them while their captors looked on, amazed.”
Psalm 106:44-47 (MSG)

Friends, once again we stand at the brink of a moral precipice in our society and the question before us is will we choose to act in covenant with God on behalf of God’s people or will we sacrifice our soul. The United Church of Christ has long been a supporter of migrant families seeking refuge within our borders from intolerable and unsafe living conditions in their homelands. As people of God committed to the sacredness of all creation and the sanctity of every life, we are compelled to heed the cries of families now being violently torn apart at our borders for political expediency and profitability. Such violent acts are unnecessarily punitive and place at risk the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and developmental stability of hundreds of families who now find themselves separated, caged, and commodified in a strange land.  All of our sacred texts, no matter the faith, identify the disregard of the humanity of the vulnerable as sin.

And God hears the cries of God’s people. The plight of black and brown migrant families whose children are ripped from their care cannot be the policy of a civilized land. We’ve been here before. Our nation’s history bears witness to a legacy of lost love. We separated the children of Native people from their families. We separated the children of enslaved people from their families. We separated the children of Japanese people from their families. Many of these families were never made whole again. This legacy of white supremacist ideology is idolatrous and leaves an indelible mark of evil that can only be redeemed by a conscious act of spiritual repentance and repair.

We must resist the evil of dehumanization enacted upon the vulnerable among us. The United Church of Christ strongly condemns the dismantling of families, the criminalization of the quest for freedom, and the caging of those whose only crime is to seek shelter from harm. How we treat those who seek shelter in our midst is a direct reflection of how we treat God. We call upon our 5,000 member churches to write letters to your representatives in Congress as an act of worship this month. Refugee Justice Sunday is June 17, World Refugee Day is June 20. Remind Congress there is a law that supersedes partisanship and political bantering, and that is the sanctity of all people of God.

Faithfully yours,
The National Officers of the United Church of Christ

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries
The Rev. James Moos, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries

The Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ

Call on Congress to Keep Families Together! Use this link.

Donate, designating your gift to Keep Families Together here.

Learn more about UCC work at the border here.

UCC “3 Great Loves” Initiative

The United Church of Christ has a vision of a just world for all. In this world all are welcomed, everyone is loved and justice is inherent. The 3 Great Loves is the denomination’s opportunity to express how our Love of Neighbor, Love of Children, and Love of Creation work together to address the inequities in our current world.  

Over the course of the next two years, through the lens of the 3 Great Loves, the United Church of Christ tells the story of how we are impacting and transforming the world, united in common purpose and mission.

During these upcoming two years, there will be moments of special invitation to participate in this denomination-wide undertaking. One by one we will focus on each of the 3 Great Loves in service to our communities.

Our expression of love, is and will be our living testimony.

What would it look like for an entire denomination to commit to a shared mission? How much impact could an entire denomination have if it worked as one on a mission that mattered?

We’re about to find out. We have done this before, and not that long ago. Five years ago, the United Church of Christ launched Mission One – an initiative to help alleviate hunger. Four years ago, we launched Mission 4/1 Earth – a concentrated effort toward restoring health to the planet.

This year, and for the next two years until General Synod 2019, we call the faith communities of the United Church of Christ to engage in the Three Great Loves mission campaign.

In response to our Purpose statement – a call to love our neighbor as ourselves; and to our Vision statement – to build a just world for all: we are asking our congregations to seek ways to live out a commitment in mission to the love of children, the love of neighbor, and the love of creation.

How does your church embody its love for children?

How does your church incarnate the love of Jesus in seeking to love your neighbor?

How does your church uphold the mandate to steward the Earth by demonstrating a love for creation?

Together, we can change the world.

United in God’s spirit and inspired by God’s grace, we can love all, welcome all, and seek justice for all: for the children, for our neighbors, and for creation.

We can, we will, we must make a difference.

Let our love light the way to a better world, a more just world – for the children, for our neighbor, for creation.

John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President

           Special St. John’s UCC Event: “Dialoguing with our Muslim Neighbors”


Following the 10:15 worship service on March 26, 2017, we had an opportunity to learn from and dialogue with Muhammad Fazili, Mohammad Aziz and other members from the Islamic Society of Greater Valley Forge.  St. John’s members shared a lunch & discussion with them at their mosque on October 22, 2017.

 pastoralletter_FB.jpg“United in Spirit, and inspired by God’s grace, we love all, welcome all, and seek justice for all.”

St. John’s is a member of the United Church of Christ denomination, which has over 1.1 million members.  Within the individual churches, and with individual members, there are differences of opinion on issues that affect us socially and politically, but the UCC and its predecessors have always stood up for Justice in the name of Jesus Christ.

On this website page we will link recent articles from the UCC website which discuss the UCC news and opinions on topical issues.  Not all of our members agree with the UCC opinions, but please respect that these are the views of the denomination and of many in our congregation.

“What does God require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”  Micah 6:8

For the latest articlesClick here to go to the UCC Justice webpage

13603564_10153696188701787_8070227696252274086_oLinks to recent UCC articles & commentaries from the UCC website or UCC Facebook page:

http://www.ucc.org/news_southwest_conference_calling_all_ucc_congregations_to_critical_ministry_for_and_at_the_border_07122018?utm_campaign=kyp_july17_18&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_dismayed_with_supreme_court_decision_in_colorado_cakeshop_case

http://www.ucc.org/news_texas_chaplain_offers_support_love_following_deadly_high_school_shooting_05242018?utm_campaign=kyp_may29_18&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

http://http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_minister_arrested_as_minnesota_poor_people_s_campaign_takes_on_ice_05232018?utm_campaign=kyp_may29_18&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

http://www.ucc.org/commentary_where_are_the_refugees_moving_from_service_provision_to_community_organizing_03292018

http://www.ucc.org/news_california_congregation_committing_to_community_safety_for_all_on_good_friday_03262018

http://www.ucc.org/massachusetts_church_offers_sanctuary_to_peruvian_mother_mayor_objects_04022018

http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_plans_visible_presence_at_act_now_to_end_racism_rally_april_4_02012018?utm_campaign=kyp_apr3_18&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

Click for an article about our neighbors at Love In Action UCC in Hatboro with Rev. Josh Blakesley: http://www.ucc.org/news_trans_woman_pennsylvania_church_share_story_of_love_acceptance_with_national_audience_03102018?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UnitedChurchOfChrist+%28United+Church+of+Christ+News%29&utm_content=FeedBurnerhttp://

http://www.ucc.org/commentary_celebrating_and_empowering_women_03082018?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UnitedChurchOfChrist+%28United+Church+of+Christ+News%29&utm_content=FeedBurner

http://http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_youth_planning_to_join_march_for_our_lives_03022018?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UnitedChurchOfChrist+%28United+Church+of+Christ+News%29&utm_content=FeedBurner

http://http://www.ucc.org/commentary_the_power_of_never_again_03012018?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UnitedChurchOfChrist+%28United+Church+of+Christ+News%29&utm_content=FeedBurner

http://www.ucc.org/news_traci_blackmon_how_are_the_children

http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_leaders_grieve_urge_activism_after_another_deadly_school_shooting_in_south_florida

http://www.ucc.org/news_kansas_pastor_community_fights_for_return_of_neighbor_spirited_out_of_the_country_by_ice

http://www.ucc.org/news_rethinking_veterans_day_a_way_better_to_articulate_love_of_neighbors_with_military_service_10302017?

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/11/globally-girls-struggle-rights

utm_campaign=kyp_nov7_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_opposes_religious_exemptions_in_supreme_court_case_10312017

http://http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_board_talks_transformation_innovation_and_privilege_10232017?utm_campaign=kyp_oct24_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

http://http://www.ucc.org/volunteer_ministries_is_saddened_by_the_death_of_carl_bade?utm_campaign=kyp_oct24_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_newspaper_ad_condemns_racist_posters_rising_acceptance_of_intolerance_10232017?utm_campaign=kyp_oct24_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_clergy_part_of_interfaith_prayer_vigil_in_las_vegas_mourn_59_lives_lost_to_gun_violence_10032017

http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_general_minister_president_responds_to_grief_of_community_nation_after_las_vegas_shooting_10022017?utm_campaign=kyp_oct3_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

http://www.ucc.org/commentary_it_is_up_to_us_to_stop_gun_violence_10022017

http://www.ucc.org/news_ucc_clergy_part_of_interfaith_prayer_vigil_in_las_vegas_mourn_59_lives_lost_to_gun_violence_10032017?utm_campaign=kyp_oct3_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=unitedchurchofchrist

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