U.S. Senator Ron Wyden Emphasizes Religious Freedom During Forum In Eugene

Jul 5, 2018

Community members each took turns speaking on how they would like Senator Wyden to address concerns over religion, immigration and safety.
Credit (Alec Cowan/KLCC)

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden defended Oregon’s interreligious community during a forum with Eugene religious leaders Thursday morning. 

In the vintage living room at the Wayne Morse farm in Eugene, Senator Ron Wyden welcomed views on the freedom of religion. The forum was part of Wyden’s First Amendment Fourth tour throughout Oregon.

The room featured a diverse range of people: representatives from the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Baha'i and Native American communities were present. All raised concerns with growing insecurity both nationally and locally after the 2016 general election.

"People knew that they could make it if they worked hard," says Bill Harris, who represents the Eugene and Roseburg Baha’i communities. He says they feel one dominant feeling in response to changes in the country’s identity, and that’s fear.

"I’m not hearing that from the people that I talk to. I’m not seeing that they feel that their children have a future that is going to be as well as theirs."

Harris says that meeting with Wyden is an opportunity to voice issues through all layers of government.

"Those of us who want to bring us together, to reclaim that bully pulpit, or at least to have another pulpit where the truth is being put out, not innuendos, not things that divide us but things that bring us together."

Wyden visited Portland, Astoria, and Ashland, with Eugene being his last stop of the tour.