Tonight Rev Emily spoke, with support (thank you team), at the No Ban, No Wall protest in Aotea Square organised by Aotearoa Against Muslim Ban.
Here’s what I planned to say … might not be exactly how it came out on the night … but here is the intention:
Kia Ora Whanau
First, I’d like to acknowledge Tanaga Whenua. I’d also like to acknowledge the First Nations people of the United States. I cannot imagine how they must be feeling right now.
So, I’m Emily and this is my crew from Church in Progress.
I wish I didn’t have to be here tonight. But what choice do I have? What choice do any of us have?
My faith is not just for Sunday. My faith is very clear. Jesus set me an example of a someone who rebelled against the authorities when he saw injustice and spoke truth to the powerful. I am called to take risks to stand with the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoner and the stranger.
However, we all have different motivations to be here today – and that’s okay.
We are not all people with a faith, and that’s okay too, but we are all human – we all have compassion, we can all see the injustice of what is happening. That is why we are here. We don’t need a big voice from the sky to figure that out!
We have heard many speakers tonight. It is so very clear that the executive order that has caused all this pain wasn’t an act of security it was simply an act of exclusion and Islamophobia.
I am here, just like you, to take action, to make noise and to stand in solidarity with those who are being directly affected by the changes that are coming out of the United States. These changes that are feeding on fear and fueled by greed.
Metropolitan Community Church is a place where the GLBTQI community are welcomed and affirmed. We know a little about this climate of fear, fear of the misunderstood and the unknown. Now we have Trump, who is telling the world it’s okay to hate minorities and grab people by the _____.
We know hateful labels shatter public discourse. Name-calling is the infancy of bullying which evolves into action. We know that these policies will breed violence. If we don’t stand up for those being targeted, how can we expect to be defended?
I challenge other churches and faith groups to also make official statement to stand up against this madness.
I challenge you to stay active, stay awake, don’t lose hope. I challenge you to get registered to vote. To get your neighbours to vote. Have conversations. They didn’t believe this was going to happen in the States, it did. They didn’t think it would happen in the UK, but look at Brexit. It could happen here too. Don’t fall asleep.
My faith also calls me to see God in everyone. This is quite tricky at the moment. I have to admit I am struggling to see much good in Trump or in the people that are yelling abuse at us right now. But when I am rational – I know that there is good in everyone. These people are acting out of fear and not out of love.
I do see hope. It’s right in front of me – YOU. Thank you for coming out tonight to stand up. Take a moment right now to say ‘thank you’ to those around you.
I see hope in you. I see God in our Muslim siblings.
I’m going to finish tonight with a prayer. If you are not the praying type, that’s okay. Take a breath and use this time as a moment of reflection. Relax.
God of many names, Atua, Creator, Allah.
We thank you for those in the United States Administration who are not afraid of doing what is right.
We thank you for the synagogue and faith communities that supported the mosque in Texas when it was burnt to the ground.
We give thanks for the speaker of the house in the UK.
We thank you for the Federal Judge in Seattle – James Robart – for blocking the ban as it was causing “immediate and irreparable injury” and may be ruled unconstitutional.
We give thanks for the lawyers that gave their time to help those who were being held in airports.
Thank God for those in the media that are reporting the truth.
We give thanks for those who fact check before putting things on social media.
Thank you for the organisers of this rally and all the incredible groups that are represented here tonight.
We give you thanks for each and every one of us here today. Give us strength for the long road ahead, help us to support one another. Enable us to hold onto hope – always.
And the people say … AMEN.