Faith leaders reflect on teachings and issues related to immigration
The United States is in darkness. Hatred, racism, bigotry, xenophobia and their attendant fear are exploited for political gain.
We have all heard the rhetoric: the denunciation of immigrants as criminals and freeloaders. We have seen government policies that tear families apart and put children in cages. We have seen tens of thousands of asylum seekers forced to await their hearings outside the United States.
We have seen this administration issue orders, and the Supreme Court uphold those orders, banning from the United States citizens of certain, primarily Muslim, countries, and we have seen administrative rule changes designed to penalize noncitizens for using public benefits to which they are entitled.
The innocuous names for certain administrative actions, such as “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” or “Migrant Protection Protocols” belie an official policy of discrimination and mistreatment of immigrants. This policy has seeped into our communities, so much so that it has become socially acceptable to harass and bully immigrants.
This is an outrage, and it is unacceptable. I have cursed the darkness more than once, and I expect you have, too. But gathering Oct. 12 for Prayerful Witness: Walking in Solidarity with Immigrants from Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ to the Intermodal Center where many immigrants are picked up and detained to be deported we are doing something different. We are lighting a candle to displace the darkness—maybe not completely, but at least for a certain time and in a certain place.
What are we illuminating with this candle? It is compassion and solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters. It is resolve, that we will work to displace this darkness. I hope that this one candle lights other candles, and that those, in turn, light others, until this darkness is finally dispersed.
St. Ann’s and St. Aloysius
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, November, 2019