New Jersey’s clergy say we must help those who didn’t receive federal aid | Opinion –

3September 2020

By Charlene Walker and Rob Gregson

As leaders of faith, we recognize our interdependence on each other, and we celebrate the value of working together, joining with others to address our common problems and needs. We want to show our support for the creation of a vigorous COVID-19 program of economic assistance to fellow New Jerseyans who have so far been left out of federal legislation.

This includes $600 weekly payments for excluded workers who have lost their jobs and stimulus-style payments to undocumented immigrants who pay taxes. A critical immediate first step is to pass S2480/A4171, which has bipartisan support with 17 co-sponsors in the Senate and nearly as many in the Assembly. It would provide one-time payments to some undocumented tax filers to be followed by other support measures. The proposal is important and we are called to express the reasons for our support.

These are times for mutual care. The coronavirus pandemic is far from under control. New Jersey now is doing better than most states but we have learned that infections spread. My health depends on yours, and you are better protected if I stay healthy. All major world religions teach the importance of caring for each other and that the success of one group depends on the success of their neighbors. There are no valid categories of “us” and “them.” There is only one big category and it is us.

The lesson from the pandemic is one of interdependence. Personal behavior matters: wearing masks, social distancing and handwashing. But while those are behaviors we choose individually, we make little progress as a community unless the great majority of us make those individual choices. This behavior choice is a moral choice, a decision that comes from our sense of mutual comfort and care.

Beyond the common problem of protecting each other from the threat of disease is the common problem of maintaining a healthy economy. This was the impetus for the CARES Act. That legislation included a stimulus payment, greater unemployment assistance and other support for most Americans. It was needed to assist thousands and thousands of persons who had lost jobs and it was needed to support economic activity at a time when we were all urged to quarantine.

But the CARES Act failed to help us all. The CARES Act and subsequent federal relief packages have explicitly and cruelly left out undocumented immigrants, who in New Jersey pay $600 million in state and local taxes a year and more than $1 billion in federal taxes, and penalized their U.S. citizen spouses and children from receiving aid.

U.S. citizens who file taxes with an undocumented spouse are ineligible for stimulus payments under the CARES Act, as are the children of undocumented parents. Over the past 10 years, undocumented immigrants have paid $1.2 billion into the unemployment system without receiving a penny in aid. Hundreds of thousands of our neighbors stayed invisible. And even though their spending helps to support our businesses and other economic drivers they were left out, overlooked and ignored.

Because of our mutual interdependence and because of our recognition that we need each other’s economic activity to build a viable economy in our state, faith leaders, congregations and faith-based organizations call on the New Jersey Legislature to enact S2480/A4171 and to follow up with additional support. Thousands of New Jerseyans are being threatened by both disease and economic uncertainty and we depend on each other.

Charlene D. Walker is executive director of Faith in New Jersey and Rev. Rob Gregson is executive director of UU Faith Action New Jersey.

This op-ed was also signed by members of the NJ Coalition of Latino Pastors and Ministers, the NJ Coalition of Religious Leaders and the following individuals:

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark – Newark NJ

Rev. Dr. Derrick Dumas, Moderator Middlesex Central Baptist Association – Linden NJ

Imam Wahy-Ud Deen Shareef, Masjid Waarith ud Deen – Morris Plains NJ

Rabbi Ariann Weitzman, Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Synagogue -Montclair NJ

Venerable Dr. Gideon Uzomechin a, Anglican Church of the Messiah – Plainfield NJ

Bishop Charles Brinson, Brinson Memorial Church- Trenton NJ

Rev. Heyward Wiggins III, Camden Bible Tabernacle – Camden NJ

Imam Saffet A. Catovic, Drew University Chaplaincy – Monmouth Junction NJ

Rev. Dr. Ronald Owens, New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ

Rev. Carmine Pernini, Zion Lutheran Church – Rahway NJ

Rev. Rob Gregson, Unitarian Universalist Faith Action NJ – Summit NJ

Deacon Tom Jennings, Sacred Heart Parish Camden – Pennsauken NJ

Rev. Kathryn King, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church – Oakland NJ

Sister Cecelia Cavanaugh, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia – Philadelphia PA

Rev. Geralda Aldajuste, St. Paul UMC – Willingboro NJ

Sr. Carol Beevers, Sisters of St. Joseph – NJ

Rev. Emilie Boggis, Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation – Summit NJ

Rev. Ben White, Circle of Hope – Pennsauken NJ

Sister Kathleen Boyle, Sisters of St. Joseph – Belmar NJ

Rev. Fred Sharp, Concord Missionary Baptist Church – Hillsborough NJ

Rev. Anthony Puca, Jr, Holy Trinity and Grace – Hillsdale/Westwood NJ

Mn. Lainey Bein, – Piscataway NJ

Rev. Jane Tomaine, Calvary Episcopal Church -Summit – Summit NJ

Rev. Vernon Williams, Fountain Baptist Church – Flemington NJ

Sister Sheila Murphy, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Wildwood NJ

Sister Anne McCoy, Sisters of St. Joseph – Camden NJ

Rev. John Tarantino, Resurrection RC Church – Randolph NJ

Rev. Ellen C Rutherford, Church of the Resurrection – Bridgeton NJ

Pastora Sindy S. Caraballo, Nación de Fe Jersey City – Jersey City NJ

Rev. Kimberly Wildszewski, Unitarian Universalist Washington Crossing – Titusville NJ

Sr. Mary Catherine Manley, Sister of Saint Joseph Philadelphia – Philadelphia PA

Sister Judith Gallen, Sisters of St. Joseph – Cape May NJ

Sister Connie Trainor, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Marmora NJ

Sister Donna Minster, Sisters of St Joseph – Camden NJ

Sister Mary Juliano, Caldwell University – Philadelphia PA

Sister Kathy Claflin, Sisters of St. Joseph – Camden NJ

Rev. Dr. Robin Tanner, Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation – Summit NJ

Rev. Ralph Terrell, St. Matthew’s and Trinity UM Churches – Newark NJ

Dr. Cynthia Brown, DCOKB’s Ministry of Compassion, Inc. – Camden NJ

Rev. Fr. Peter De Franco, The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist – Linden NJ

Rev. Robert Gregorio, Mary Mother of the Church – Glassboro NJ

Rev. Karen G Johnston, The Unitarian Society, a Unitarian Universalist Congregation – East Brunswick NJ

Sister Patricia Kelly, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia – Philadelphia PA

Sister MaryAnn Pfund, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Jeanne Morgan, Sisters of St. Joseph – Pt. Pleasant Beach NJ

Rev. Erik Soldwedel, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Paterson – Paterson NJ

Mrs. Deborah Goodell, Social Justice Team of the Unitarian Society – Ridgewood NJ

Sister Bonnie McMenamin, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Camden NJ

Rev. Valencia Norman, First Presbyterian & Trinity Church – South Orange NJ

Rev. Howard Bryant, UCICC – Hillside NJ

Rev. Pedro Guzman, St. Andrews Church – Camden NJ

Rev. Hogil Hilary Won, All Saints’ Episcopal Korean Church – Bergenfield NJ

Sister Georgette Gavioli, Sisters of St. Joseph – Jersey City NJ

Rev. Beth Sciaino, St. Bernards Episcopal Church – Bernardsville NJ

Sister Jeanette Weychert, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Ocean Grove NJ

Sr. Miriam Bernard Fitzsimmons, Sisters of St Joseph – Flourtown NJ

Rev. Rodney E Williams, Fountain Baptist Church – Hillsborough NJ

Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, The Reformed Church of Highland Park – Highland Park NJ

Rev. Ann Marie Alderman, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills – Somerville NJ

Sr. Peg Boyle, Sisters of St. Joseph – NJ

Ms. Jane Susswein, Bnai Keshet – Verona NJ

Mrs. Christine Betson-Smith, St. Thomas More – Cherry Hill NJ

Rabbi Robert Green, Congregation B’nai Israel – Basking Ridge NJ

Rev. Dr.Sara Lenzi, Unitarian Society of Ridgewood – Ridgewood NJ

Sr. Theresa Valese, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Patricia Loughrey, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Kathleen Rooney, Sisters of St. Joseph – South Plainfield NJ

Rev. Mariano Gargiulo, St. James’ Ridgefield New Jersey – Ridgefield NJ

The Rev. Bowie Snodgrass, Christ Church – Short Hills NJ

Sister Therese Destefano, Sisters of St. Joseph – Flourtown NJ

Sister Clarisa Vazquez, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Camden NJ

Rev. Nathan Addo-Nartey, Ghana Calvary United Methodist Church – Verona NJ

Sister Anna Boyer, Sisters of St. Joseph – Drexel Hill NJ

Rev. Barry Wise, Greater Mount Moriah Baptist Church – Linden NJ

Rev. Dr. Angelita Clifton, Fountain Baptist Church – Summit NJ

Rev. Willie Smith, Trinity Episcopal Church – Cliffside Park NJ

Rev.Dr. Kenneth Hallahan, St. Joachim – Bellmawr NJ

Rev. Diana Wilcox, Christ Episcopal Church in Bloomfield & Glen Ridge – Bloomfield & Glen Ridge NJ

Sister Mary Ann Mulzet, Sisters of St. Joseph – NJ

Rev. Bill Neely, Unitarian Universalist Congregation – Princeton NJ

Sister Cathy Mcgowan, Sisters of St. Joseph – NJ

Sister Kathleen McGonigle, Sisters of St. Joseph – Middlesex NJ

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher, UU Congregation of Princeton – Princeton NJ

Rev. Douglas Moore, Fountain Baptist Church – Linden NJ

Sister Joan Sullivan – Teaneck NJ

Rev. Moacir Weirich, St. Stephen’s Grace Community – Newark NJ

Rev. Debra Brewin-Wilson, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church – Sparta NJ

Minister Archange Antoine, St. Matthew Baptist Church of Roselle – Roselle NJ

Rev. Katrina Forman, Union Congregational Church – Montclair NJ

Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, Unitarian Universalist Congregation – Montclair NJ

Sister Rosanne Orchon, Sisters of Saint Joseph -Philadelphia PA

Rev. Jean Maurice, Temple of Unified Christians Brick Church – East Orange NJ

Ms. Jocelyn Arce, GSECDC – Union City NJ

Sister Jean Faustman, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Imam Mubinul Kathrada, International Muslim Brotherhood Inc. – Trenton NJ

Sister Deb Hughes, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Kathleen McCloskey, Sisters of St Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Judith Oliver, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Lourdes Kennedy, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Pres. Christina Sturgis, Dorothea Dix Unitarian Universalist – Bordentown NJ

Mrs. Phyllis Sanders, Catholic Community of Christ Our Light – Cherry Hill NJ

Sister Rosemary Golden, Sisters of St. Joseph, Chestnut Hill – Philadelphia PA

Rev. Mary Tiebout, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Sussex County – Newton NJ

Rev. Ribbons Harris, Trinity Episcopal – Lambertville NJ

Rev. Craig Rubano, UU Congregation of Monmouth County – Lincroft NJ

Sister Therese Dowd, Sisters of St. Joseph – Belmar NJ

Pastor Amir Khan, New Beginnings – Camden NJ

Rev. Antoinette Gaboton-Moss, Trinity United Methodist Church – Highland Park NJ

Dr. Mary Early-Zald, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital – New Brunswick NJ

Rev. Ojii Baba Madi, Asbury Community Church – Oaklyn NJ

Sister Margaret Conboy, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Camden NJ

Vicar Haydee Colon Hernandez, St John Lutheran Church – Passaic NJ

Sister Eileen McGovern, Most Blessed Sacrament Parish – Franklin Lakes NJ

Rev. Jack Zamboni, St. Francis’ Episcopal Church – Dunellen NJ

Mr. Charlie Wirene, The HUUB, Inc. – Orange NJ

Cantor Risa Wallach, Temple Beth-El – Hillsborough NJ

Sister Betty McVeigh, Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia – Philadelphia PA

Pastor Erich Kussman, Saint Bartholomew Lutheran Church – Princeton Junction NJ

Rev Dr Cynthia L. Black, Church of the Redeemer – Morristown NJ

Pastor Hugo Garcia, Manantial de Vida – Camden NJ

Sister Dolores Clerico, Sisters of St. Joseph – Cherry Hill NJ

Pastor Ramon Collazo, Santa Isabel Lutheran Church – Elizabeth NJ

Cantor Meredith Greenberg, Temple Ner Tamid – Montclair NJ

Prophet Vanessa Jordan, ASEM – Camden NJ

Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael, Unitarian Universalist Congregation – Montclair NJ

Sister Beatrice McElrone, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Claire McNichol, Sisters of St. Joseph – Haddon Township NJ

Sister Dorothy Crowley, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Rev. Alison Miller, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship – Morristown NJ

Rev. Cherrena Dale-Rawls, Community Church of God – Hillside NJ

Rev. Lukata Mjumbe, Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church – Princeton NJ

Sister Marian Behrle, Sisters of Saint Joseph – NJ

Sister Regina Chassaf, Sisters of St. Joseph – Teaneck NJ

Rev. Elizabeth Myers, Episcopal Church – Hackettstown NJ

Rev. Archie Palmer, Retired – NJ

Prof. Mikal Naeem Nash, Essex County College – East Orange NJ

Rev. James Betz, Saint Brendan Avalon Stone Harbor – Avalon NJ

Sister Judith Cianfrogna, St. Mary of the Lakes – Medford NJ

Sister Virginia Jenkins, Sisters of St Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Sharon McCarthy, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Wildwood NJ

Sister Maureen D’Auria, Sisters of St Joseph of Peace – Cranford NJ

Sister Louise Kane, Sisters of Saint Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Rev. John Mennell, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church – Montclair NJ

Sister Sharon Kelly, Sisters of Mercy – Keansburg NJ

Sister Mary Corbett, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst, UU Congregation Monmouth County – Lincroft NJ

Rev. Jane McCready, Faith Lutheran Church – New Providence NJ

Sister Sheila Murray, St. Joseph Convent – Somers Point NJ

Rev. Dr. Sammy Arroyo, First UMC of Hightstown – Hightstown NJ

Elder Phyllis Beals, College Avenue Community Church – New Brunswick NJ

Rev. Jacqueline Burgess, Gilmore House – Asbury Park NJ

Sister Kathleen Letts, Mount St Joseph Convent – NJ

Pastor Mark Bullock, 1st Baptist Church – Clark NJ

Sr. Theresa Hayburn, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Elizabeth Heller, Sister of St Joseph – Flourtown NJ

Rev. Douglas Shepler, College Avenue Community Church – New Brunswick NJ

Rev. Eliza Jaremko, Presbyterian Church (USA) – Haddon Heights NJ

Sister Regina Sandoli, Sisters of St. Joseph – Philadelphia PA

Sister Maureen Walsh, Sisters of St. Joseph – Newark NJ

Rev. Dr. Denison Harrield, Wallace Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church – Summit NJ

Rev. Eugene Squeo, Parish of Saint Patrick & Assumption /All Saints (ret.) – Jersey City NJ

Rabbi David Greenstein, Congregation Shomrei Emunah – Montclair NJ

Rev. Dawn Fortune, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South Jersey Shore – Galloway NJ

Rabbi Hannah Orden, Congregation Beth Hatikvah – Summit NJ

Chaplain, Tedford Taylor, RWJ University Hospital Hamilton – Hamilton NJ

Pres. Jimmy Small, Muslim League of Voters – East Orange NJ

The Venerable Dr. Gideon Uzomechina, Anglican Church of the Messiah, Plainfield, NJ

Sister Cecilia Cyford, Sister of Saint Joseph, MD

Minister Vivian Tavera, Ministerio El Sol Sale Para Todos Int., West New York

Rev. Mark Cavagnaro (retired), Vineland, NJ

Rev. Jose Rodriguez, Iglesia Pentecostal A/D, Trenton, NJ

Sister Dorothy Giloley, Sisters of Saint Joseph, Cherry Hill, NJ

Rabbi Abby Michaleski, Beth Israel Congregation, Sicklerville, N

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