The Common Good

Nothing Happens in Washington — Except For This

Sojomail - May 23, 2013



Nothing Happens in Washington — Except For This




Get a FREE trial issue of Sojourners
 

Donate Today!

 

What I have heard after visiting 18 cities in six weeks is that people around the country believe that nothing can happen in Washington, D.C. They are basically right. So I am very grateful today to report the one exception.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a new comprehensive immigration reform bill with a bipartisan vote. Did you hear that?: “bipartisan.” Amid heartbreaking news of the destruction, grief, and heroism we have seen in Moore, Okla., from one of the worst tornados in American history, millions of Americans found a reason to be hopeful.

This historic immigration bill now goes to the full Senate, where it has a real chance of passing and changing the lives of 11 million aspiring Americans. These are the “strangers” talked about throughout the Bible, and about whom Jesus said, in Matthew 25: How we treat them is how we treat him. That realization has caused a literal biblical conversion in the evangelical Christian community, which with the help of law enforcement officials and business leaders has done the impossible — changed Washington, D.C.

Self-interests, special interests, and even conflicting principles all put this life-changing proposal in grave danger. But in a town defined by gridlock, a group of eight senators crafted a bipartisan proposal that passed with only minor change. The bill reflects agreements reached by the AFL-CIO and Chamber of Commerce; imagine that. It isn’t perfect and no single legislator got everything she or he wanted, but the key elements that many of us have been fighting for are intact. That really is a triumph of the common good.

Now, I am asking you to write your senators and ask them to support this bill on the Senate floor.

Sojourners and many others have been clear that immigration reform must include a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans. This legislation would allow millions of people to become full participants in our nation’s economy and provide them with a real opportunity in an American future.  Congress can both grow our economy AND help our immigrant brothers and sisters by passing this reform legislation.

Now the legislation moves to the Senate floor for consideration by the full body. In another hopeful sign, Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell has promised not to block it, and he even expressed hope about passing comprehensive reform legislation — a very encouraging sign.

Now is the time to build on this momentum and keep up the pressure on our political leaders in Washington.  Evangelicals are doing this via the Pray4 Reform Challenge, which involves events across the country featuring pastors and church members praying and acting to help pass this legislation. See our website for details.

I am asking every member of the Sojourners community and all reading SojoMail, everyone who is part of our network, to take action on behalf of passing this very important bill. Here is what you can do to help in the next few weeks.

  • Dedicate a time of prayer for immigration at your office, school, church, or prayer group.
  • Organize a “See You At the Pole” style event in which three or more people gather at a flagpole, front of church, courthouse, etc., and ask friends, your local church, or colleagues to join you.
  • Arrange a prayer meeting with one of your legislators.

Immigration reform may pass in Washington — despite Washington. If we succeed it will be because of the social movement that has formed about this clear moral and biblical issue and the changing voting demographics that forced Washington to pay attention. These are both very hopeful developments, but the immigration reform bill needs to pass for that hope to be realized.

No matter what other things you care about and other issues you are involved in, I ask you to express your faith convictions and political citizenship on behalf of changing this brutal and broken system and helping to save the lives of 11 million of God’s most vulnerable children. It is true: How we treat the strangers is how we treat Christ. And the time to act is now!

Jim Wallis is CEO of Sojourners. His book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good, is now available. Watch the Story of the Common Good HERE. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.

E-mailE-mail this article to friends
FacebookShare this article on Facebook
CommentComment on this article on the God's Politics Blog

ON THE GODS POLITICS BLOG
View latest articles from the God's Politics blog »

Pope Francis: God Redeemed Everyone, ‘Not Just Catholics’
by David Gibson

Pope Francis is warning Catholics not to demonize those who are not members of the church, and he specifically defended atheists, saying that building walls against non-Catholics leads to "killing in the name of God."

The Megachurch vs. Minichurch: Do Popularity and Growth Really Matter?
by Stephen Mattson

The idea that faithfully following God's will is associated with people attending (or donating to) churches, ministries, and organizations is a fallacy that can be debunked by simply looking around us. Islam is growing, Mormonism is growing, and so is Kim Kardashian's Twitter following. They could all use the exact same logic: that popularity equals success. If we gauge God's favor by the numbers of followers we have then Justin Bieber is probably God's newly anointed prophet. 


The End of Bully Christianity
by Mark Osler

A tipping point has been reached, not only on the issue of marriage equality, but on the broader political force of bully Christianity, a pernicious brand of the faith that tells people who don't have conservative social and political views that they "aren't Christian." That model has now failed where it used to work reliably; Waterloo has been reached.


Majesty and Tragedy in Oklahoma
by Eric Barreto

In churches around the world, Psalm 8's resounding praise of God will be read this Sunday. "O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" Women and men will confess that these are the words of God. But we will do so with grief, with deep questions about God and the world God has crafted and continues to sustain.


The Violence of Peacemaking
by Jon Huckins

Jesus says some stuff in the inaugural speech of his ministry that really upsets the status quo of both the religious and non-religious. In essence, he says, "If you are to follow me as King of this newly inaugurated Kingdom of God, you will need to start loving your enemies as much as yourself. You will need to start getting creative in how you deal with your oppressors in order to choose the way of love and reconciliation rather than the way of revenge and contempt. In fact, when you live as peacemakers, you best reflect what it looks like to be children of God. Those of you that choose this way of life will be blessed."


NEW! In the SojoStore

OGS Bulk Order

Get Jim Wallis' latest book On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good at special bulk pricing for your small group or Bible study. 

2-9 copies ($11.95 each + S&H)
10-24 copies ($10.95 each + S&H)
25-49 copies ($9.95 each + S&H)
50+ copies ($8.95 each + S&H)








Sudan Architect of Genocide and Torture Not Welcome

Please tell the State Department that Nafie Ali Nafie, a senior advisor of Sudan's ICC-indicted president, is not welcome in America.

Earn a Top-Ranked MSW Online

The MSW@USC, from the top-ranked University of Southern California School of Social Work, makes it possible to turn your passion for helping others into a career — without relocating. Learn more now!

Sojourners' Classifieds

Job searching? Our Classifieds page has a listing of current job opportunities from Sojourners’ extensive network of justice-oriented nonprofit organizations, churches, educational institutions, retreat centers and more.

Poverty in America: It’s not what you think.

Check out the new documentary from Sojourners: The Line. Click the link above to watch the trailer!