NEWS: UCC SW Conference Boycotts Arizona

Leaders of the United Church of Christ are boycotting Arizona in response to the state’s stringent new immigration law. Six ministers have joined the Reverend John Dorhauer, head of the UCC’s Phoenix-based Southwest Conference, in imposing economic sanctions on the Grand Canyon State.

According to Religion News Service, Dorhauer emphasized the importance of putting the church’s money where its morals lie during an interview with UCC leaders in Cleveland. “Moral and ethical arguments aren’t enough of an impact,” Dorhauer insisted. “”The only effective impact is economic impact.”

Participants in the UCC boycott have agreed to three main foci. First, the United Church of Christ refuses to schedule meetings or business gatherings in Arizona. Second, Arizona church members should open their homes to visiting UCC members to avoid subsidizing local hotels. Finally, boycott participants are compiling and distributing a list of immigrant-owned restaurants to encourage UCC members to visit the establishments.

Rev. Dorhauer said he intends the boycott to “have a profound impact on [Arizona] business owners.” As a first step, the UCC has moved the 2011 Southwest Conference meeting to New Mexico. Dorhauer estimates that this change will cost Arizona roughly $125,000 in direct spending.

Other Arizona churches share the UCC’s outrage at the recent legislation. Arizona religious leaders recently lobbied against the bill, explaining that the new law has already lead to both racial profiling and a dramatic decrease in church attendance among immigrant congregations. Catholic, evangelical, and United Methodist leaders have worked together to organize protest vigils and marches. However, the historically progressive United Church of Christ is the only Christian organization to demand a boycott in an attempt to have the immigration law overturned.

Read more here.

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