Injustice at Home

Your September-October 2001 issue describes the difficulties of finding justice in the Middle East as the power of granting full rights of citizenship is held by Jewish people and denied Palestinians. Of course there are historical, economic, and personal reasons. I agree with the general sentiments, and would not belittle any effort to bring peace to the Middle East. But I live in the United States. We methodically deny rights of citizenship to Mexicans--as well as people from other countries, whose labor we exploit. We enjoy lower food prices because they pick the fruit; they are doing janitorial work in big hotels and washing dishes in restaurants, all to our enjoyment. The INS can be called any day if they complain about conditions--health, late paycheck, harassment, any of the rights we take for granted as citizens. It is sort of like slavery.

Maybe I missed the Sojourners issue that focused on our own immigration policy and how it is so much at odds with the Old Testament commandments to treat the alien in your midst no different from the native born. As long as we allow oppression of undocumented workers in this country, we are liable before God. To hold the border so tightly--it is like the gate that kept out Lazarus from the rich man's table where dogs got table scraps. We take better care of our dogs than the people picking our fruit. You don't have to go to Israel to see injustice causing poverty. There is a speck in our own eyes that prevents us from taking the speck out of our brother's eye. It is good to bring "world opinion to bear" on human rights abuses in South Africa, Israel, China, Colombia, any place you might like to mention. But we are most responsible in the area where we have most power--here.

Mike Carney
Seattle, Washington

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2001
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