Tag Archives: immigration

The first time

59788482_10156994797076063_8186161344953712640_nOn June 29, 1980, the Presbytery of Shenango ordained me. In the approximately 38 years, 10 months, and 10 days since, I have never worn a clerical collar. Until today.

I wore a collar as I participated in the New Sanctuary Coalition‘s Life Bond Fund program. I went to the Department of Homeland Security’s office to post bond for an immigrant in detention. It was an honor.

I also recognize the privilege (white and male) that I carry and that has allowed (and continues to allow) me to appear in hospitals, nursing homes, jails, prisons, halls of power, street demonstrations, church gatherings, and other places, wearing pretty much what I choose, and say that I am a minister and be recognized as such. I am working for a world in which everyone receives the same treatment and welcome I do.

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights

We Meet Again Tour – 4 July 2018

IMG_7677The tour took a short walk, a couple of blocks uptown, and downhill, to West 125th and Broadway. There it joined Mama Ruby Sales and the Rev. Dr.  Jacqui Lewis, the founding directors of the Vincent and Rosemarie Harding Center for Social and Spiritual Restoration,  for a Mourn-in and Day of Fasting to #EndFamilySeparation.

We gathered outside the Cayuga Center where children separated from their parents at the border are reportedly held during the day.

We called for:
an end to this unjust and cruel separation
a renewal of democracy
the strength to stay on the battlefield of justice until we win

We affirmed that:
God is love
And all who abide in love
Abide in God
And God in us

We proclaimed that:
The walls that they build
To tear us apart
Will never be as strong as
The walls of our hearts
The desert is hot
But we are the rain

#FamiliesBelongTogether
#EndFamilySeparation

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, New York

Always broken

The system is broken.

I have heard that often following the decisions of grand juries not to indict in the cases of the killing of Michael Brown and the killing of Eric Garner.

The system is broken.

Unless the speaker means she/he is just realizing that for people of color, women, immigrants, members of the LGBTQIA community, and many others, the system has always been broken, I strongly disagree with that statement.

The system was built on the institution of chattel slavery. And when that institution ended, it was replaced by Jim Crow laws that legalized segregation. And when those laws were overturned, institutionalized racism remained, expressing itself today in the New Jim Crow that results in “millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then denied rights, rights won in the struggle, and relegated to a permanent second-class status.

The system was built on indentured servitude.

The system was built on the genocide of the indigenous peoples and the theft of their resources.

The system was built on the theft of the land of Latinos/Latinas.

The system was built by controlling who could enter the country. And then providing a welcome that grudginly accepted labor but only slowly and incompletely accepted humanity.

The system was built on the view that women and children were property of men to care for, perhaps, but also to dominate and abuse and violate.

The system was built on driving people who did not fit the cisgender, heterosexual norm into closets.

The system was built to privilege a few at the expense of the many.

The system is broken. The system has always been broken.

The vision of a system that provides justice and equality for all has long been with us, perhaps always been with us. It judges and challenges the status quo. Since the beginning, there have been people who have been caught by the vision and have challenged the system, who have worked to remake it. Through their efforts, progress has occurred. I give thanks for them. I give thanks for where we have come. But significant work remains to create a system that provides justice and equality for all.

The system is broken. It has always been broken.

God grant me grace and courage to support and join those who seek to remake it.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

On my heart and mind: children

Child soldiersA while back, I posted a sermon about children. Grieving the many places where children endure unimaginable violation, it affirms our call to care for children:

In this place, I am reminded that God is at work in all places. And that sustains and challenges me to look for how God is at work and, as the Holy Spirit gives me grace, to join in that work.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Faith in God in Christ have put them there.

And in this place, God invites us all to join in caring for the children. The children of this congregation. The children of this community. All the children, all God’s children of the world. May we hear and respond.

Today, my friend Laura Mariko Cheifetz posted a reflection on children “Children Aren’t Disposable“. She reaches a similar conclusion:

I think children matter. I think everyone’s child matters. I do not believe that parents or communities or even children need to be virtuous or free of fault in order to think their children and perhaps even their parents deserve protection and generosity. You can make all the bad decisions you want, but I still believe you and your children deserve life. I extrapolated this from the lesson my parents drummed into me: You do not have to earn grace. It has already been given.

Children matter. Their families matter. Grace has already been given. Let’s act like it.

And she does a better job of lifting up ways to act:

Support the Children’s Defense Fund. They do great work at a policy level.

Read Toxic Charity. Consider changing your mission to be less charity and offers more agency to people. Bulk discounts (for your Sunday school or book group) are available. http://www.thethoughtfulchristian.com/Products/9780062076212/toxic-charity–paperback-edition.aspx

Write letters to migrant children. http://www.groundswell-mvmt.org/faithshare/people-are-writing-letters-to-the-migrant-children-and-they-are-beautiful/

Advocate for immigration reform that will allow people dignity and a path to regularization. Congress has recessed for August, so there isn’t legislation to advocate for. But you can still leave a message with your U.S. and state congresspeople urging them to support meaningful immigration reform and humane immigration processes, particularly for children and their parents who may be eligible for asylum, rather than increased criminalization and security measures. TheThoughtfulChristian.com has many books and downloadable studies to help you and your church talk about immigration and take action.

Oppose zero-tolerance policies in schools, stop and frisk public policing, and other ways that disproportionately criminalize black and brown youth.

You may give to UNICEF and UNRWA, who work with children in Gaza and the occupied territories. You can also ask your congresspeople to reconsider our typical military aid package to the nation of Israel. You could work with local peace organizations to advocate for an end to the blockade and the occupation.

Children matter. Join in caring for them.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Friends