Monday, March 6, 2017


The current mood in our country, as typified by our President Trump, is in direct opposition to the spirit of President Reagan’s, “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall.”  Instead we have a rabble rousing, “Citizens, let’s build up these walls—and tear down the Statue of Liberty while we’re at it?”  We are a nation of immigrants, all of us, except the remnant of indigenous still surviving our European conquest.  Many of us immigrants were fleeing wars, famines, religious persecutions.  And this continues to the present day, much of it now caused in great part by our own exercise of global power and military might.

Aren’t these newcomers dangerous, in this world of War on Terror?  The Cato Institute is a very conservative Libertarian think tank.  The 2-11-17 Port Huron Times Herald cited a recent report by them: "… out of more than 3 million refugees admitted to the U.S. from 1975 to 2015, three committed terrorist acts that killed Americans. They were [anti-Castro] Cuban refugees in the 1970's."

What should be the response of Christians who strive to follow the Gospel?  Today’s New York Times hints at a resurrection of the 1980’s civilly disobedient Sanctuary movement, which welcomed the refugees of our Central American wars of the time.   Some of our immigrants no longer want to stay here, no longer feel safe, and are leaving north to more stable Canada.   The U.S. administration is threatening the five or so major cities that have stated they would be sanctuaries for refugees, with cut-off of federal funds.
At the same time detention of immigrants is becoming a for-profit industry--over 60% are being held in private facilities.

The reaction of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the Jan. 27, 2017 executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations to the U.S. was this:  “It is our conviction as followers of the Lord Jesus that welcoming the stranger and protecting the vulnerable lie at the core of the Christian life. And so, to our Muslim brothers and sisters and all people of faith, we stand with you and welcome you.”

Archbishop Garcia-Siller of San Antonio added this in his formal statement “While being promoted as a response to safety concerns in this country, these are unprecedented announcements that will punish the majority of immigrants who want to come to America -- the land of the free -- for a better future.
In a letter sent to President Trump prior to his inauguration, Pope Francis wrote, “Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.”

In this moment of our political history we should read again Luke’s account of the rich man , and Lazarus who lived at his gate.  The gate and wall in this world, become the chasm between heaven and hell in the next.

The Gospel reading from today's mass was from Matt 25, the Last Judgment scene, “Whatsoever you did for the least of these…”  This is the criteria for our collective and individual salvation.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney


Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, a Democrat, pledged cooperation if public safety was threatened, but “what we will not do,” he said, “is turn our N.Y.P.D. officers into immigration agents.” ...
Studies show that crime rates among unauthorized immigrants are lower than those among native-born Americans.
A sign of what could happen nationally emerged last month in Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott canceled $1.5 million in criminal justice grants to Travis County, whose seat is Austin, the state capital. This was after the county sheriff renounced cooperation with immigration officials seeking deportations.

On Wednesday, the immigration and refugee clinical program at Harvard Law School issued a report stating that Mr. Trump’s executive orders on immigration made the United States “not a safe country of asylum” for people fleeing persecution and violence.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike,

    Glad to see you are writing again and I hope all is well. I do want to point out a couple of flaws in your logic in your article.

    First, in case you don't remember, the Berlin wall was constructed to keep people in. The border security barrier (because it will be more than just a wall) proposed for our southern border is designed to keep people, and drugs that are killing our people, from entering our country illegally out. Big, big, difference.

    You are correct about how our country was founded. We are a nation of immigrants in the broad sense of the word (you and I were born here so technically we are not immigrants). But again, you miss the big point. Our ancestors that arrived on our shores were LEGAL immigrants. People that came from other lands early in the history of the USA came before laws were present that restricted who could come and the guidelines needed to regulate who is allowed in. So everyone and his brother arrived on our shores and were welcomed. These LEGAL immigrants flourished, many became US citizens, and then built this great country to what it is we have today.

    Since that time laws were established that spelled out who and when people could immigrate into our country. Our country is a nation of laws. Laws that were established, by the citizens of our country, through our elected officials. To ignore these laws, through sanctuary cities and other entities (churches and schools for example), means we ignore the laws passed by the people. We would no longer have a country if we pick and choose what laws to enforce and what laws to ignore.

    What if everyone decided to only abide by the laws they agree with? Would pedophiles be OK to assault children because they do not agree with the laws banning such horrible practices?

    Let me ask you this question. If someone enters your house through a locked door or window at anytime of the day or night without asking your permission and begins to live in your house without ever explaining to you who they are and why they want to live there, would you let them?

    The answer is..... maybe (did this surprise you?). I suppose you might want to ask them who they are and why they are there? If their answers satisfy you, in accordance with whatever criteria you and your family deem is acceptable to allow this to happen, then OK. Why not? It's your house to do how you please. Welcome them with open arms and have them join the family. Good for everyone involved.

    But so they didn't knock on the door and ask if they can come in. What if they don't answer your questions or tell you who they are and why they are there, and you and the family have no clue as to who they are and why they are in your house, and they have no intention on leaving? What if their intentions and actions are hurting you and your family in any way?

    Or maybe they are great people and you would be very happy to have them live with you but you have no clue at all to any of this. Would you at least ask them some questions and have a conversation to see if they meet your families criteria for allowing this to happen?

    It's the same with our country. Our citizens have the door to our house shut and locked but it is opened freely every day to visitors and legal immigrants alike. If someone wants to come in they knock on our door and ask permission to enter. The family of this home (the USA and its citizens) have already had the discussion and established the criteria for people to enter and live in our house. We will welcome many people in to our house. We are not saying that no one can come in and live with us. So we ask the person knocking on the door who they are and why they want to enter. If their answers meet that criteria, then the welcome mat is extended, and they can live in our house.

    How simple is that?

    To open our borders to everyone that now wants to come is very easy.

    Change the law. That's all that needs to be done. If the family (citizens) agree with those changes, then unlock the door and let everyone in without asking.

    Simple, right?