Fundies say that atheists never point to the good things that churches do. In the interest

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Fundies say that atheists never point to the good things that churches do. In the interest of fairness, I offer the following, forwarded from ANEWS: CHURCHES FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE (CMEP) LETTER TO LEE HAMILTON: April 2, 1993 The Honorable Lee Hamilton U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear Representative Hamilton: Churches for Middle East Peace, a working coalition of the Washington offices of Roman Catholic and Protestant groups, writes to you in your capacity as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee with our concerns about Congressional responses to terrorist acts. The bombing of the World Trade Center has brought the fear of such attacks to the people of the United States. We are concerned that members of Congress, in seeking to address this matter of public safety, may inadvertently foster measures that erode civil liberties and cast suspicion on Muslims and Arabs generally. We are alarmed by the ease with which religion, specifically Islam, is cited as the factor that distinguishes, motivates and funds the men accused of the World Trade Center bombing as well as many of the perpetrators of violence in Middle Eastern countries. Some might argue that constitutional guarantees regarding the freedom of citizens, aliens and even visitors to speak, assemble and worship should be restricted in order to protect against acts of terrorists. We hold the view that these rights, which insure alternatives to violence as a means of political expression, have been a major reason for the relatively few terrorist incidents in the United States. To weaken basic liberties in response to the Trade Center bombing would be misguided. We urge your thoughtful consideration and rejection of resolutions and letters to the administration that stereotype Islam or Arabs. There is no need to designate specific Arab Muslim groups for exclusion from the United States. Criminal and immigration laws already provide the measures necessary to exclude and prosecute terrorists. The amendment to Sec. 212 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act offered by Sen. D'Amato and Rep. Deutsch abets religious and ethnic stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs. Such proposals, even if never enacted or intended to become law, are widely discussed in the Middle East, the Muslim world and among Arab-Americans. The fact that such measures are even considered by Congress has an effect different than supporters perhaps intend. The proposal to categorize and exclude from the United States yet another segment of Palestinians makes the task of the Palestinian delegation to the peace talks with Israel even more difficult. Further, we urge you at every opportunity to challenge religious stereotyping, prejudice and bigotry in the debates and actions of Congress and in public events back home. We hope you will join us and others in enthusiastic support of this country's pluralism and diversity. Sincerely, Robert W. Tiller Director, Office of Governmental Relations American Baptist Churches, USA James Matlack Director, Washington Office American Friends Service Committee Timothy A. McElwee Director, Washington Office Church of the Brethren Ted Keating, S.M. Director of Justice and Peace Office Roman Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men Patricia J. Rumer General Director Church Women United Betty A. Coats Presiding Bishop's Staff Officer Episcopal Church, Washington Office Mark B. Brown Assistant Director for Advocacy Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Nancy Nye Legislative Secretary Friends Committee on National Legislation Terence Miller Justice and Peace Office Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Delton Franz Director, Washington Office Mennonite Central Committee Dale Bishop Middle East Director National Council of Churches Eleanora Giddings Ivory Director, Washington Office Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Robert Z. Alpern Director, Washington Office Unitarian Universalist Association Jay Lintner Director, Washington Office Office for Church and Society United Church of Christ Anna Rhee Executive Secretary for Public Policy Womens' Division General Board of Global Ministries The United Methodist Church Robin Ringler Peace with Justice Program Director United Methodist Board of Church and Society MARK BROWN Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs

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