"Here in America, we don’t give in to our fears. We don’t build up walls to keep people out because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere."
It’s not the first time I’ve shared about the fear of being separated from my parents. In each of those cases, I have had the opportunity to allow people to look me in the eyes and share with me the burden of being undocumented in this country. “Please look me in the eye and tell me that you don’t feel my brokenness and my powerlessness.” I have a powerful voice, but writing — now that truly shakes me up.
“… We’ve lost two men who had an expansive, almost luxuriant vision of what it meant to be a man and lived out that vision through decades when it was much less safe to do so.”
Should the country do whatever it takes to protect the environment? The number of Republicans who say “yes” has decreased in the past 12 years.
Contact: Michael Mershon, Director of Advocacy and Communications
April 19, 2016
Today, Sojourners sent the following letter to Congress as part of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition's "Letter a Day" campaign:
"Dear Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives,
Listening to faces is hard work and has to be developed slowly over time. We live in a world that teaches us to speak twice as much as we listen, or to speak without listening at all. Yet, over time, listening to faces will grow the most important thing we can have in our hearts — deep empathy for each person we encounter every day.
Three protestors — two white, one Latina — were arrested March 19 for chaining themselves to cars and blocking traffic headed to a Donald Trump rally, reports .Mic.
Of the three, only one was transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate her legal status. And guess which one it was.
When you turn on the faucet in Flint, Mich. you don’t just get water — you also get the potent neurotoxin lead. And without a driver’s license, Flint residents are being refused bottled water from the city, so undocumented people have to search elsewhere for clean water, reports America magazine. Deacon Omar Odette of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Flint says that members of his parish have been arrested by immigration authorities for not having documentation.
How well would you do representing yourself in court? Unless you’re a lawyer, probably not very well, but according to Jack H. Weil, young children can learn enough immigration law so as not to require a lawyer in immigration court.
FOR CHRISTIANS who live near the U.S.-Mexico border, Jesus’ command to “love our neighbors as ourselves” takes on a particular urgency when we see our neighbors fleeing violence from their home countries and then being deported back at an alarming rate.
At Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, where I am pastor, we have a history of loving our neighbors by offering them protective sanctuary to shield them from deportation.
Sanctuary is an ancient biblical tradition. In Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and 1 Kings, scriptures describe the right of asylum in cities of refuge set aside for those accused of manslaughter until the truth of the matter could be resolved. There is also the tradition of those who seek the safety of the temple by clinging to the “horns of the altar” (1 Kings 1:50).
In the U.S., churches involved in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad provided sanctuary to escaping slaves. In the Vietnam War era, churches protected conscientious objectors. During the brutal wars in Central America in the 1980s, hundreds of U.S. churches declared a national sanctuary movement, protecting tens of thousands of refugees from being deported to almost certain death. Southside Presbyterian was one of the founding churches of the 1980s sanctuary movement.
In May 2014, after another wave of deportations, our congregation made a public declaration to once again become a sanctuary church. We welcomed Daniel Ruiz, a local undocumented father, into protection. After 28 days living in the church, he received a stay of deportation.
There’s a name for xenophobic-motivated politics: nativism. Oxford Dictionaries defines nativism as: 1)The policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants, and 2) A return to or emphasis on traditional or local customs, in opposition to outside influences.
You probably saw the media frenzy around Pope Francis’s comments aboard the papal plane on his trip back to Rome from Mexico last week. When asked about presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border, the pope said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
However, I was struck most by the pope’s following remarks, which were omitted from several mainstream media accounts — when he said of Trump’s plans, “This is not in the Gospel.”
Francis is right. The spirit of religion is about healing and nurturing and bringing together. And he puts the question into the politically charged air once again: Walls or bridges? What’s it going to be?
Do we open ourselves to the spirit that wants to give us new hearts? Or do we choose to have hearts as cold as a stone wall?
As "America's foremost Catholic," Stephen Colbert feels uniquely positioned to "broker a peace" between the two. He laid out his rationale on his late show.
“Mr. Trump, Mr. Pope (I believe that’s his formal name) is it possible that you’re fighting because you have so much in common?" said Colbert.
The legislative consequences of Pope Francis’ visit are still to be seen, though Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has vowed to block immigration reform until 2017. Nevertheless, for Andrea Cristina Mercado, who describes her relationship with Catholicism as “fraught,” the Francis Effect is already real.
“He is a really holy, spiritual leader,” she said. “[Pope Francis] drew me back into the church.”
Pope Francis conducted Mass in the Mexican state of Chiapas (home to more than 1 million indigenous people), with Bibles available in different indigenous languages in order to make the ceremony accessible to as many audience members as possible.
Pope Francis minced no words when it came to the environment: “The environmental challenge that we are experiencing and its human causes affects us all and demands our response ... we can no longer remain silent before one of the greatest environmental crises in world history.”
1. In the midst of a historically horrible refugee crisis, why didn’t you actively pursue helping the poor, the destitute, and those in desperate need?
Are followers of Jesus supposed to forsake compassion, sacrifice hospitality, and abandon love in favor of a political policy, national security, financial stability, and personal comfort? God is perfectly clear what the mandate is for helping those in need, and yet Christians continue to remain apathetic, passive, and even aggressively hostile toward the notion of aiding such victims.
Do you remember the video clips of 5-year-old Sophie Cruz dashing across Constitution Avenue to Pope Francis’s popemobile during his visit to Washington, D.C., last September? The story of that encounter went viral: a young child with undocumented parents from Mexico who was granted permission to approach the pope, give him a letter, and receive a hug.
At the time, many seemed surprised by encounters like these during the pope’s U.S. trip — particularly that he would choose to make personal contact with the realities faced by marginalized populations. But this encounter-centered approach has been Francis’ way of operating since the outset of his pontificate.
Evangelical advocates for immigration reform are concerned that proposed South Carolina legislation will make it more difficult for faith groups to help refugees in the Palmetto State. The bill, which passed a state Senate committee in late January, could make organizations that sponsor refugees liable if the new residents should later commit a terroristic act or other crime.