Tennessee Faith Leaders Join Together to Discuss Immigration Issues

NASHVILLE – Nearly 300 faith leaders from across the state gathered together today in Nashville to consider the ethical and moral impact of pending legislation that would affect immigrant communities statewide.

Clergy ranging from priests, pastors, imams, rabbis and monks attended a Clergy for Tolerance breakfast at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel to hear keynote speaker, William H. Willimon, Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church. Willimon is one of four Christian leaders who joined a federal lawsuit to try and stop Alabama’s recent immigration legislation, which is considered to be the most egregious in the nation.

“Please don’t leave these moral and ethical matters to your politicians,” Willimon urged, “Speak up as people of faith from your faith perspective and show the world that you have something to say on this issue.”

Dr. Robert Parham, Executive Director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, also encouraged his peers to act. “Now is the time for us to build the moral capital in houses of faith for the coming tsunami of anti-immigration rhetoric and anti-immigration laws. Now is the time for pro-active collaboration among good willed people of faith so that we can advance the common good in the state of Tennessee.”

Both faith leaders urged their colleagues to call upon their faith traditions to respond to legislation that separates families, creates a culture of fear, and hurts the local economy.

Clergy for Tolerance is an inter-faith coalition that seeks to encourage dialogue on federal and state immigration policy from a faith perspective. By utilizing state and national facts, examining faith traditions, and providing opportunities to express compassion for immigrants and refugees the coalition strives to mobilize and educate people of faith to support comprehensive immigration reform on a federal level.

To hear Dr. Robert Parham’s remarks, click here.
To hear Bishop Willimon’s keynote address, click here.

Sponsored By:
Baptist Center for Ethics
Belmont University Office of Spiritual Development
Catholic Charities
Coalition for Education about Immigration (CEI)
Conexión Américas
Hispanic Nashville
Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN)
Islamic Center of Tennessee
Loews Vanderbilt Hotel
The Nashville Board of Rabbis
Nashville for All of Us
Tennessee for All of Us
Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC)
Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors (TNJFON)
Trevecca Nazarene University
Wat Lao Buddharam (Lao Buddhist Temple)

Kasar Abdulla, TIRRC
Rev. April Baker, Pastor, Glendale Baptist Church
Father Joseph Breen, St. Edward Catholic Church
Rev. Kristina Brown, Community Ministries and Communications, First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro
Dr. Lee C. Camp, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Lipscomb University
Bishop Ben Chamness, Interim Bishop, Tennessee Conference, United Methodist Church
A.R. Chao, Director of Education, Islamic Center of Tennessee
Patrick Chappell, Young Adults Minister, Otter Creek Church of Christ, Brentwood
Rev. James Cole, Pastor, Hillcrest United Methodist Church
Rev. John Collett, Nashville District Superintendent, United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, Senior Pastor, New Covenant Christian Church
Rev. Sonnye Dixon, Pastor, Hobson United Methodist Church
Dr. Donovan Drake, Senior Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Rev. Ken Edwards, Senior Pastor, Belmont United Methodist Church
Rev. Brian Fesler, Church of Scientology
Stephen Fotopulos, TIRRC
Rev. Kaki Friskics-Warren, TNJFON
Rev. Kaye Harvey, Pastor of Congregational Care, Brentwood United Methodist Church
Rev. Heidi Hudnut-Beumler, Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church
Nathan Kinser, Youth Director, Stones River Baptist Church and Director of World Relief Nashville
Rev Thomas Kleinert, Senior Pastor, Vine Street Christian Church
Dr. Todd Lake, VP for Spiritual Development, Belmont University and Interim Pastor at First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro
Dr. Frank Lewis, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Nashville
Rev. Ken Locke, Pastor, Downtown Presbyterian Church
Rev. James Milton McCarroll, Jr., First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro
Rev. Viki Matson, Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor of the Practice of Ministry, Vanderbilt Divinity School
Amelia Post, TIRRC
Avi Poster, CEI
Rev. Gail S. Seavey, Pastor, First Unitarian Universalist
Bill Sinclair, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee
Renata Soto, Conexión Américas
Chantho Sourinho, Wat Lao Buddharam (Lao Buddhist Temple)
Lisa Steele, Outreach and Hispanic Minister, Antioch Church of Christ
Rev. Jay Vorhees, Pastor, Old Hickory United Methodist Church
Hedy Weinberg, ACLU



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