by Bliss Dodd*
The news media is filled with our Islamic neighbors – those already in the U.S. and those wanting/needing to come. As United Methodists, the only question is “How can we best work together to bring love, peace and hope to a fear-filled world. Well the Social Principles found in the United Methodist 2012 Book of Discipline offers the UMC’s official position on the Rights of Religious Minorities.
The most concise statement regarding this hot-button issue is found in Paragraph 162 B: Religious persecution has been common in the history of civilization. We urge policies and practices that ensure the right of every religious group to exercise its faith free from legal, political or economic restrictions. We condemn all overt and covert forms of religious intolerance, being especially sensitive to their expression in media stereotyping. We assert the right of all religions and their adherents to freedom from legal, economic and social discrimination.
The United Methodist Book of Resolutions 2012 Paragraph 3126, titled Prejudice Against Muslims and Arabs in the USA, lists suggested actions for local congregations. A more detailed list of recommended response is found Paragraph 3141 – Called to be Neighbors and Witnesses: Guidelines for Interreligious Relationships.
It is the prayer of the Central Texas Conference Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships team that churches in worship and study read, consider and pray about these official positons of the United Methodist Church as put out by the 2012 General Conference.
*Bliss is the chair of the Central Texas Conference Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships Committee.