What is an American?

An American is English, French, Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Greek … An American may also be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani, Afghan … An American may also be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, or one of the many other tribes known as Native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to practice no religion.

An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God-given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every nation in the world in their time of need …

Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least. The national symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America. Some of them were working in the Twin Towers in the morning of September 11, 2001, earning a better life for their families. [I’ve been told that the people in the Towers were from at least 30 and maybe many more other countries, cultures and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.]

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo and Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. However in doing so, you would just be killing yourself; because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many lands. Then those lands, too, will join the community of free and prosperous nations — and America will welcome them!

[Written by Peter Ferrara, associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law]


Saints see things in their connected wholeness.
Everything is all interconnected, and yet, like the Holy Trinity, it is also different. What you do to the other, you do to yourself.
How you love yourself is how you love your neighbor
How you love God is how you love yourself.
How you love yourself is how you love God.
How you do any one thing is how you do everything.

A Statement from the Tri-Faith Board of Directors

On June 28, 2018, the following statement was issued by the Tri-Faith Initiative in regards to the SCOTUS Ruling on the Muslim Travel Ban:

The Tri-Faith Initiative stands against all forms of religious discrimination and strives to promote dialogue, transcend differences, foster acceptance, and build bridges of respect and trust between people of different faiths.

We are alarmed at the levels of discrimination, racism and xenophobia being fueled by President Trump and his administration, especially the unmistakable rise in acts of religiously-motivated discrimination and hate crimes that their actions have given license to in our culture.

Today, we express our profound disappointment with the June 26, 2018 decision of the Supreme Court of the United States regarding the State of Hawaii’s challenge to Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

We believe the third iteration of the ban is still designed to discriminate purposely so on the basis of religion. This view is derived from a series of concerning comments and actions taken by first candidate, and then President, Trump, including initially and plainly his saying that he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Additionally, the seven countries excluded in the ban are collectively more than 90 percent Muslim. Moreover, none of them have had their nationals implicated in any terrorist incidents committed in the United States.

We acknowledge with great remorse that our country has more than once failed to live up to its highest ideals in previous Supreme Court decisions that were, in the light of history, later viewed with great regret and shame, such as Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) (legalizing racial discrimination and denying citizenship to persons of African descent) and Korematsu v. United States (1944) (allowing for internment of Japanese in WWII), just to name two.

We concur with the dissenting opinion of Justice Sotomayor in saying: ‘by blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group, all in the name of a superficial claim of national security, the Court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu and merely replaces one ‘gravely wrong’ decision with another’.

People of faith and goodwill in the United States have long upheld principles of religious freedom and, even with extensive vetting measures already in place, generous welcome to visitors, refugees and immigrants. We have upheld an ideal of our free democratic republic that calls us all to strive to form ‘a more perfect union’ wherein the highest standards of human dignity and respect are cherished.

We believe this decision takes us further away from those ideals rather than closer to them. We strongly encourage Americans to contact their public representatives in order to express concern and to provide public witness to challenge the growing acts of religious discrimination and encroachments on religious freedom in our midst.”

(The Tri-Faith Initiative is an independent 501(c)3 organization registered in the State of Nebraska that advances interfaith cooperative work initiated by three congregations of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths, respectively: Temple Israel (URJ), Countryside Community Church (UCC), and American Muslim Institute.)