GRADUATE THEOLOGICAL UNION RELEASES SOLIDARITY STATEMENT

dasdAs a founding member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, San Francisco Theological Seminary stands with the GTU on the following statement, and commit ourselves to work with our surrounding communities to honor and secure the inalienable right of all human beings to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

At the heart of its mission, the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) stands for respectful dialogue and ecumenical and interfaith engagement among Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and other local and global traditions. Studies at the GTU take place in the intercultural context of its many seminaries, centers, and religious communities; this rich diversity is essential to the insights and clarity that are hallmarks of GTU scholarship.

The Graduate Theological Union stands with those who are threatened by the actions of the current U.S. administration, and we commit ourselves to resist and decry the violence being fomented in various sectors of our society. Recent weeks have seen a rise in hate crimes and hate speech directed at Muslims, Jews, and other minorities—often the most vulnerable members of our society—as well as a growth of anti-immigrant sentiment and violation of immigrant rights. This persuades us of the importance of standing together against the increasingly xenophobic language and policies of the current administration. Some of us are Native Americans, some descendants from forced migrations, some descendants of immigrants or immigrants ourselves, but we recognize that the United States is built on continuing waves of immigrants that enrich our culture. We are deeply concerned that this nation is losing contact with the moral principles that have defined this country at its best, particularly as they are enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We feel keenly the anguish of those whose lives have been thrown into chaos by the actions of the current administration.

We therefore commit ourselves to the following:

  1. To use our voices and resources to resist discriminatory rhetoric and practices within our own faith communities and the wider society.
  2. To stand together with those who are being targeted due to their religious, national, ethnic/racial, sexual, or gender identity.
  3. To provide comfort and assistance to those whose residential status in the United States is being threatened.
  4. To remain steadfast in keeping the doors of dialogue and engagement open among local communities, the nation, and the world.
  5. To seek new ways to share our resources for theological learning and scholarship in ever-widening circles and to apply them towards the pursuit of justice and environmental responsibility in an era of increasing poverty and climate change.
  6. To challenge sociopolitical patterns of bigotry and fear-mongering by offering a positive vision of dialogue and learning that cultivates contemplation of, and respect for, our common humanity. To build bridges, not walls.

We invite all people in the academic, religious, civic and government communities to join us in these efforts to honor the Constitution and our nation’s commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to secure the inalienable right of all human beings to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This collaborative statement represents the work and convictions of a significant group of GTU faculty, administration, trustees, and staff.
March 2, 2017
(original post: gtu.edu/news/gtu-solidarity-statement)