Denominations choosing different strategies in Arizona

Every major Christian denomination in the State of Arizona has expressed deep concern regarding the new law enacted which makes it a state crime to be in the state without proper documentation. But while everyone agrees that the law is troubling because of fears of how it will be enforced, there are significant differences between denominations about how to proceed next.

The United Church of Christ (UCC) denomination has called for a full boycott of Arizona business, even inviting visiting UCC members to stay in private homes rather than support the Arizona hotel industry. They’ve also decided to move their annual conference out of Arizona and into New Mexico.

The United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church have not called for a boycott per se:

“‘The boycott will only extend our recession by three to five years and hit those who are poorest among us,’ said United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcano of Phoenix, the first Hispanic woman to be elected bishop in her denomination. ‘People have to follow their conscience. For some, the only place they can stand is a place of boycott and we respect that.’

Others say they will continue with planned meetings, including a September gathering of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops. Some bishops expressed support of the boycott, but the church ultimately decided to use the opportunity to stand in solidarity with immigrants and keep the meeting in Phoenix.

[…]Conference planners have added two extra days onto the schedule so that bishops and their spouses will have time to personally inspect conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Though the Interfaith Immigration Coalition hasn’t signed on to a boycott, Bill Mefford, director of civil and human rights for the United Methodists’ Washington office, said, ‘I won’t entirely rule it out.'”

From “Churches Tread Carefully on Arizona Boycott” – RNS.

The Roman Catholic dioceses in Arizona have yet to issue any directions for their members, other than to strongly protest the law when it was passed. (It has not yet been enacted.) Lutheran and Presbyterian churches are in about the same place as the Roman Catholics are at the moment.

PBS has coverage here with footage of Bishop Smith discussing the situation directly.

There is news late this evening that the President has approved the sending of 1,200 additional National Guard troops to the border.

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