The N.C. Religious Coalition for Justice for Immigrants was formed in response to rising anti-immigrant rhetoric and sentiment here in North Carolina.
This coalition has one purpose: to remind people of faith that all people are created in the image of God. In our various faith traditions, it is unacceptable to use -- or let others use -- dehumanizing language in describing fellow human beings.
Our religious calling is to love our neighbors and to treat others the way that we ourselves would like to be treated -- whoever they may be, whatever their status. We are called, in other words, to offer hospitality, not hostility.
This coalition acknowledges that finding a solution to immigration policy is a complex matter and that people can and do disagree about policy specifics.
But our longstanding faith traditions compel us to recognize the full dignity and humanity in all people. The farmworker who provides our daily bread, the construction worker who puts a roof over our head, the library worker who greets us with a smile -- each is a child of God.
We know that some people will oppose this view. Some will see "just another illegal" where we see people whose stories are valuable in the eyes of God, brothers and sisters trying to provide for their families.
The darkest chapters in our past are ones where we have obscured the humanity of others. As people of faith, we will not be silent when it happens again.
This article was published in the Raleigh News & Observer.