At their Tuesday, December 8, 2015, monthly meeting, the Interfaith Ministerial Alliance of Key West and the Lower Keys adopted the following resolution:
Because religious freedom of all is a cornerstone of the great American experiment, enshrined in our Constitution and embodied in the diverse religious and spiritual communities of our citizens,
We, the members of the Interfaith Ministerial Alliance of Key West and the Lower Keys renounce any and all rhetoric of exclusion and limitation based on religious beliefs and especially denounce any remarks proposing that all Muslims be excluded from entry into our nation.
Ours is a nation richer for the deep and abiding respect for persons of all religions and no religion as equal citizens. We remind our community, our state, our nation, and the world, of these words of the Rev. Martin Niemöller:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
It is a time to speak out for all and decry the political use of division among us to even suggest a religious test for who may and who may not be present in America.
Resolved by vote of the Interfaith Ministerial Alliance, December 8, 2015.
The Rev. Dr. Randolph W.B. Becker, President of the Interfaith Ministerial Alliance, said “The topic was already on the table as we went around and checked in before the formal part of the meeting. The Resolution arose naturally from our concern about recent statements which would divide our nation along religious lines. Those in attendance were unanimous that we needed speak immediately and strongly in support of religious inclusion as a foundation of our nation.”
The Interfaith Ministerial Alliance includes representatives of Catholicism, Christian Protestantism, Judaism, Unitarian Universalism, and Bahá’í.
Becker continued, “This resolution is a direct result of the Purpose, Vision, and Mission of the Interfaith Alliance.”
The elements he referenced are found in the organization’s bylaws:
Purpose —The IMA is organized to minister to the Lower Keys community, fellow clergy, and faith communities by strengthening the bonds of dignity, unity, solidarity, and oneness with God and with one another.
Vision — The IMA will be a group of interfaith clergy who embrace and affirm the diversity and uniqueness of its members while seeking to address the holistic needs of our the Lower Keys community through the power of God and the witness of our faith.
Mission —To make real the presence of God in our community by advocating for justice, equality, and inclusiveness in all of the Lower Keys of Florida.
“When anyone speaks about separating us, one from another, on the basis of religion, on the basis of beliefs, on the basis of faith, we find that repugnant to our individual and collective faiths. It is our belief that we can all make it if we focus on connections, not difference,” Becker concluded.