IHM Leadership Council Endorsements and Public Statements 2017

Nov. 29, 2017
Leadership Endorsement

The IHM Leadership Council endorsed the  “Catholics Oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” sign-on letter.

The purpose of this sign-on letter is to show the diversity of Catholics who are unified in opposition to the current tax bill making its way through Congress.  The sign-on letter affirms the USCCB’s six moral principles of a just tax code offered to Congress in late October and unequivocally opposes the tax bill.

This endorsement was  made as an expression of the IHM community’s commitment to “eradicate causes of injustice and oppression and to help create structures that will promote justice and peace and bring unity among all peoples.” (IHM Constitutions, Article 11).

Nov. 28, 2017
Leadership Endorsement

The IHM Leadership Council endorsed a sign-on letter urging Congress to take meaningful action to reduce gun violence in our nation.

Dec. 14, 2017 is the five-year mark of the Sandy Hook School shooting when a gunman suffering from mental illness used an AR-15 with high capacity magazines to brutally murder 20 children and six educators. Since that horrific day, over 500,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns and there have been more than 1,500 mass shooting incidents in America. The number of gun deaths has increased to 38,000 in 2016 and three of the five deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history have occurred within the last year.

The sign-on letter urges Congress to pass a package of comprehensive gun safety measures to reduce gun violence in our nation.  This letter will be hand-delivered to every member of Congress by families and survivors directly impacted by gun violence and advocates on December 6-7 during the 5th Sandy Hook anniversary trip to Washington D.C.

This endorsement was made with the IHM Congregation’s Chapter 2000 Direction on, “Active and Collaborative Response to Escalating Violence,” in mind. This reads, “Recognizing the escalation of violence in our world, and especially its impact on women and children, we choose to act with diligence in the pursuit of peace and non-violence.”

Nov. 22, 2017
Leadership Endorsement

The IHM Leadership Council endorse the “Faith Leader Tax Justice” sign-on letter.

The Senate has turned the devastating tax bill into one that would also begin a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) The Senate’s “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” would:

•           Award the lion’s share of the tax cuts to the richest Americans and corporations—and increase taxes for middle-income families and those living near the poverty line

•           Trigger $25 billion in Medicare cuts

•           Raise individual health insurance premiums

•           Increase the number of Americans without health insurance by 13 million

•           Increase the federal deficit and create future pressure to make even more cuts to health care programs

Last summer, over 7,100 Catholic Sisters signed onto a letter that helped defeat the Senate’s repeal of the ACA. NETWORK  once again invited Catholic Sisters and Associates to join interfaith clergy and lay leaders from around the country in adding their names to this national faith leader letter to oppose the Senate’s tax bill. NETWORK and their interfaith partners will deliver the letter to Senate offices before the vote

This endorsement was made as an expression of the IHM community’s commitment to “eradicate causes of injustice and oppression and to help create structures that will promote justice and peace and bring unity among all peoples.” (IHM Constitutions, Article 11).

Nov. 17, 2017
Leadership endorsement

The IHM Leadership Council has endorsed a letter to the Trump Administration and Congress affirming the Church’s longstanding commitment to care for creation and our poor and vulnerable neighbors. The letter reiterated the U.S. bishops’ call to act upon the widely-accepted understanding of climate change science. The IHM Sisters join the leaders of 161 religious congregations, Catholic colleges and universities, national organizations and health care providers in signing this letter. Read the news release regarding this initiative here.

Oct. 3, 2017
Statement in Response to the Las Vegas Shooting

The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan, a Catholic religious community of 307 vowed members and 121 associates, are committed to working with others to build a culture of peace and right relationship. We, the IHM Leadership Council, are filled with shock and grief in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas – the deadliest shooting in United States history. As we pray for the victims of the attack and their families, we also pray that as a nation, this will be a moment of awakening to the epidemic of gun violence that is gripping our country.

While shootings like this are becoming both deadlier and more frequent, it seems that we are becoming desensitized and resigned to both high-profile mass shootings and the daily murders, suicides, acts of domestic violence and accidental gun deaths. At the same time, our nation’s gun laws continue to become weaker as the influence of the gun industry lobby over our legislators grows stronger.

We need a sustained dialogue about our nation’s gun-violence epidemic. We also need bold action from our elected officials. We urge our members of Congress to oppose bills currently moving through the legislature that would repeal restrictions on gun silencers and would force states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other state, no matter how lax the state’s permitting standards are.

We also join the renewed calls for:

  • universal background checks for all gun purchases;
  • banning civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines;
  • making gun trafficking a federal crime; and
  • improving access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence.

In the words of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in its 2013 resolution on gun violence, let us “work toward a world where reverence for all living beings finds expression in an approach to life free from violence.”

Sept. 7, 2017
Statement in Response to the Rescission of DACA

The Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan is profoundly disappointed in President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through DACA, 800,000 immigrant youth who were brought to this country by their parents as children (commonly referred to as “Dreamers”)  have been able to come out of the shadows and live, study and work in the United States without fear of deportation simply because they are undocumented. Now, as a result of this cruel and unconscionable action, these young people once again face fear and uncertainty about their future here in the United States, the only home that most of them have ever known.

We urge Congress to immediately pass the Dream Act of 2017. This legislation includes a permanent path to citizenship for “Dreamers” and has long enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and by an overwhelming majority of Americans. We also hope that any legislation that uses immigrant youth as a bargaining chip will be rejected. Protecting youth from deportation should not be negotiated in exchange for putting more ICE agents on the streets to round up their family members or in return for funding construction of a border wall.

In his recently released statement for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis wrote,

“Considering the current situation, welcoming means, above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally. This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families.”

We hope that Congress will not only come together to protect Dreamers but will shift its approach to immigration policy from one that is primarily punitive and enforcement-based to one that is compassionate, comprehensive and provides an eventual path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living in, working in and contributing to our communities.

Aug. 16, 2017
Statement regarding Charlottesville, Va., and racism

The Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Monroe, Mich., strongly condemns the violent white supremacist rallies that were held last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, a young woman standing up to racism and hatred.

The wounds of racism are deeply embedded within the history of our nation. However, public discussion of racism in the United States has often been invalidated in recent years by the false perception that the successes of the Civil Rights Movement and the election of the first black president of the United States had largely eradicated racial inequality. The reality is that racism is alive and well. It continues to be manifested both in overt ways –  as we saw in Charlottesville this past weekend – and  in subtle, pervasive ways  including economic inequality,  disparities in health care and education, violence within the criminal justice system and the privilege afforded to white people living in a racist society. The perpetuation of this system harms us as all and deprives us of the richness that our uniqueness and diversity provide.

It’s also important to acknowledge the way in which those who openly espouse racial hatred have been emboldened in recent months by both the rhetoric and policies of our elected officials. We call upon them to explicitly and publicly condemn white supremacy and those organizations that seek to legitimize and advance it. We specifically call upon President Trump to remove supporters of white-supremacist ideology from his cabinet and to stand against the racist policies they propose.

Recently, the IHM community reaffirmed our commitment to healing the wounds of racism within ourselves, our community and systemically. We desire to deepen our understanding of racism as a systemic, structural cause that underlies and contributes to multiple situations of injustice in our world. We will continue to explore the ways that we are complicit in racism, both as individuals and as a congregation, so that we might work toward a more just, inclusive, relational and loving Earth community.

Aug. 2, 2017
IHM Leadership Council endorsed the “We Are With Dreamers” sign-on statement

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides protection from deportation and a roadmap to citizenship for immigrant youth who entered the United States as children, is under attack. Ten attorneys general are threatening to sue President Trump if he doesn’t end DACA by September 5th. There is genuine concern that Trump could end the DACA program in the next few weeks. The good news is that last week, 20 state attorneys general sent a letter calling on President Trump to maintain DACA and touting its successful track record.

The “We Are With Dreamers” statement demonstrates that elected officials, law enforcement, faith, and civic leaders stand with these young people and want to preserve the DACA program. Local and national faith leaders, congregations and faith-based organizations are encouraged to sign on.  The statement will be published on August 15.

The IHM Chapter 2012 Directions state, “Together, with those who share our vision and values, and in solidarity with those who are made poor and marginalized by existing structures, we choose to move forward with profound trust in the power of the Spirit, living the liberating mission of Jesus Christ.” This recommendation for endorsement is made with this commitment in mind.

June 5, 2017
IHM Leadership Council releases statement regarding
the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement

We, the Leadership Council of the IHM Sisters, a Catholic community of 313 vowed sisters and 121 associates, express our deep disappointment and grave concern with President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement and to stop all future payments to the Green Climate Fund (that assists developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change).

Global climate change is already harming the most vulnerable people in the United States and around the world. Some of the poorest U.S. citizens (from Alaska to Louisiana) are being displaced by rising sea levels. The World Health Organization warns that “between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.”

Climate change unjustly and disproportionately harms people who have the most to lose but contribute least to the problem. All nations (but especially those nations that contribute most to the problem) have a responsibility to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. The United States (the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases) is now abdicating that responsibility.

We urge President Trump to reconsider his decision. In the meantime, the IHM Sisters remain committed to collaborating with others in shaping public policies that will foster ecological co-responsibility and eco-justice. We will continue to advocate for strong policies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We also commend civic leaders, mayors, governors and the majority of the business community who continue to support the Paris Climate Agreement and have vowed to continue to move the United States forward in reaching our emissions reductions goals.

We remain hopeful that if our government will not lead in addressing the climate crisis, the people will. As Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si’, “We require a new and universal solidarity. … All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”

April 6, 2017

The IHM Leadership Council recently endorsed the HOW Coalition Sign-On Letter in Support of the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes make up the largest body of fresh water on Earth. More than 35 million people rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water, jobs and their way of life. More than 3,500 species of plants and animals live in the Great Lakes basin. More than 170 species of fish inhabit the Great Lakes, their tributaries and connecting waterways.

In March, the Trump Administration released its 2018 budget proposal that included the complete elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a popular program responsible for cleaning up toxic pollution, restoring wildlife habitat, controlling invasive species and reducing runoff from cities and farms. The cuts are part of the administration’s efforts to gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by $2.6 billion, almost one-third of the budget for the agency responsible for ensuring every American has clean, safe drinking water.

The HOW Coalition prepared a letter in support of funding key Great Lakes programs in Fiscal Year 2018 including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and other priorities, along with general support for funding for core federal agencies that support all Great Lakes work.

This letter is addressed to the Chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee. It will also be sent to the chair and ranking members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, shared with the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture, Energy-Water, and Interior-EPA appropriations subcommittees, and shared with the House and Senate Great Lakes delegation.

This letter was endorsed as an expression of the IHM congregation’s commitment to “collaborating with others in shaping public policies that will foster ecological co-responsibility and eco-justice” (IHM 1994 Enactment on Eco-Justice.)

March 30, 2017

The IHM Leadership Council has issued a public statement on the president’s recent executive order on energy.

“The IHM Sisters recognize and respect the sacredness and interdependence of all creation. We are aware that when we lose reverence for and awe of creation, as well as an understanding of our place as partners within the Earth community, our sense of God and of ourselves is diminished. It is from this awareness that the IHM Leadership Council expresses its  disappointment with  President Trump’s March 28 executive order on energy policy that would attempt to roll back some of the most important climate and energy initiatives developed in recent years, including the Clean Power Plan (CPP) that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.

“In his encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis refers to the Earth’s climate as a ‘common good, belonging to all and meant for all.’ He acknowledges the scientific consensus that Earth’s climate is warming and that greenhouse gases, released as a result of human activity, are the largest contributor. It is the poor and vulnerable around the world who will feel – and are already experiencing – the greatest effects of climate change (flooding, extreme weather, drought, crop loss, etc.) We echo Pope Francis’ call to ‘recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.’

“The ‘Clean Power Plan’ was a strong step in the right direction for the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It was developed through years of careful consultation with the energy industry, states and other stakeholders and was recognized as a reasonable approach to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Dismantling the CPP would not only make it harder to achieve the necessary levels of greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the climate crisis, it would protect a nominal number of jobs in the coal industry relative to the number jobs that could be created from greater investment in renewable energy if the CPP moves forward.

“The IHM Sisters are committed to collaborating with others in shaping public policies that will foster ecological co-responsibility and eco-justice. As potentially harmful as this executive order may be, we hope that the energy industry will move forward with adopting strong policies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost renewable energy – not out of regulatory obligation – but  because it makes long-term economic sense and because the future of Earth, our home, depends upon it.”

Jan. 11, 2017

IHM Leadership Council recently endorsed the ICCR “Affordable Care Act Support Letter.”  The letter will be sent to President-elect Trump and members of the United States Congress, urging them to:

  1. Preserve the Affordable Care Act;
  2. Work collaboratively with all key stakeholders to improve the ACA and better rein in health care costs; and
  3. Make the fiscal and political commitment necessary to expand quality health care coverage to all Americans.

The Trump campaign promised that no one who currently has coverage under the ACA would be without coverage under a new plan. However, congressional Republicans took the first step in their plan to rush through a repeal of the ACA in a budget resolution, which would speed up the process of dismantling the ACA without proposing an alternative. Republicans are using the budget process to dismantle the ACA by eliminating tax breaks, subsidies and more. This is not acceptable for the millions of people who stand to lose coverage. It will jeopardize more than 20 million people who receive healthcare through the ACA and countless others who have benefited from the ACA.

In 2010, the IHM Leadership Council advocated for increasing access to affordable health care and expanding coverage through passage of the Affordable Care Act. While improvements to the ACA are needed, repealing it at this juncture would have detrimental effects on millions of Americans.