Huffington Post Press Items
The debate about immigration reform has been very productive in America over these past several years. And that debate has been won -- by those who favor a common sense agenda for reform.
Last week, a controversy erupted over Twitter when it came to light that a prominent evangelical conference with 110 speakers only had four women on stage.
Journalist Jonathan Merritt did a quick informal study and discovered that out of 34 prominent evangelical conferences, only 19 percent of speakers at plenary sessions were women.
Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing for the Christian social justice group Sojourners, began to cry on the walk to Boehner's office while talking about her hopes for reform.
Business leaders, law enforcement officials, and evangelical Christians -- key constituencies that are typically part of the Republican base -- have been at the forefront of immigration reform. Given the obvious benefits of, and broad public support for, immigration reform, why are many arch-conservatives in the House of Representatives refusing to address the issue in a serious way? The answer may point to an issue that we still hesitate to talk about directly: race.
In the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, there is a Psalm that proclaims: "the earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it" (Psalm 24:1). There is no part of this world that God is not aware of, cannot lay claim to, and does not rule. Christians affirm that as people of faith we're called to be stewards over creation, answering one day for how we've treated the earth.
For many, including myself, the past few weeks have been discouraging, given the state of our politics and culture and what many vulnerable people across the country are experiencing. But despite the frustration and even grief sometimes I have been reminded of the importance of "saving faith."
The most controversial sentence I ever wrote, considering the response to it, was not about abortion, marriage equality, the wars in Vietnam or Iraq, elections, or anything to do with national or church politics. It was a statement about the founding of the United States of America. Here's the sentence:
Watching the dysfunction in Washington over the past two weeks has been painful. Our leaders have grown too comfortable with pushing the limits, and we let a few dozen of our own representatives -- the people elected to promote the common good, or "general welfare," as the Constitution calls for-- hold the nation's economy hostage for the sake of their political self-interest.
During a sunrise vigil at the U.S. Capitol this morning, three senators unexpectedly joined us. They were all women, all Republican and, it turns out, all Catholic. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire are part of a new 14-senator bipartisan, women-led group engaged in their own kind of vigil: trying to end the government shutdown and prevent the nation from going into debt default.
On Wednesday afternoon, a small group of faith leaders stood in a chilly rain, outside the Capitol, and began to read all the 2,000 verses in the Bible about the poor and vulnerable, about suffering and indifference, injustice and oppression -- all with God inviting compassion and calling for justice. And it is the poor and vulnerable, who are the collateral damage of the government shutdown and will suffer most from a default on the nation's credit. Christian leaders from across the political and theological spectrum joined together in a "Faithful Filibuster" across the street from the Capitol. For every day that Congress is in session during the shutdown, we will read those verses to remind our lawmakers that justice for the poor should always be our priority, but now more than ever.