The Common Good

Pray Immigration Reform Into Passage

Sojomail - March 18, 2010



QUOTE OF THE WEEK

They were killed by the Americans. If the government doesn’t listen to us, I have 50 family members, I’ll bring them all to Gardez roundabout and we’ll pour petrol on ourselves and burn ourselves to death.

- Sayid Mohammed Mal, vice chancellor of Gardez University, Afghanistan, whose son’s 19-year-old fiancée, Gulalai, was killed along with two civilian men and two pregnant mothers in an attack by U.S. Special Operations forces on Feb. 12, 2010. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has now brought most American Special Operations forces under his direct control for the first time, out of concern over continued civilian casualties and disorganization among units in the field. (Source: The New York Times)

+ Sign up to receive "Verse and Voice" - our daily quote and Bible verse e-mail

Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

Pray Immigration Reform Into Passage

Get a free trial issue of Sojourners Get a free issue of Sojourners
Donate to Support Sojourners
Donate to support
Sojourners

On Sunday, a major march for immigration reform will take place in Washington, D.C. Tens of thousands of people will gather to call on the White House to lead, and put forward an immigration reform bill whose time has come. We will march and we will pray. And the following morning, a high-level delegation of religious leaders will meet with key White House officials to press the same message. There are both Democrats and Republicans who in the past have said they supported comprehensive immigration reform, and so there ought now to be bipartisan support for such a bill. But in the ultra-partisan and poisoned atmosphere of the U.S. Congress now, bipartisan spirit has fled the halls of power. In Washington, politics is now just a game of win and lose, and it’s only about the next election; the process of politics in the nation’s capital is no longer about solving problems. But the problem is that there are children and families in the balance, and the politicians are now playing politics with the lives of vulnerable people. Those people are our brothers and sisters, they are our parishioners, and they are children of God. And the faith community has come together to say the time for politics over compassion is over.

The number of deportations in this administration’s first year is higher than previous years, meaning more broken lives, more families torn apart. That is not what we meant by change. The president and members of Congress continue to assert their support for immigration reform; but actions speak louder than words. We all know that Congress is hesitant to tackle tough issues before mid-term elections. But comprehensive reform legislation must be introduced, and must be passed. We don’t want more verbal commitments, we want action.

While politicians can write off one more piece of legislation on a packed agenda, they won’t be able to write off, or ignore, a movement rooted in our faith communities. If our political leaders won’t make room for the “strangers” among us, we will -- because Jesus commands us to do so. It’s time to stop playing politics with people’s lives.

We will surround our political leaders with the stories of suffering and pray this reform into passage. The faith community is united on the moral imperative of this issue like nothing we’ve seen in years, and we will do all it takes to see this cause move forward. At this crucial turning point, we must take the call of our scriptures seriously and act prophetically for justice. If Washington fails to make room for the strangers in our midst, we need to make it clear to Washington that we will do it ourselves, and not leave them alone until they do what’s right.

For many of us, faith is a catalyst to action that can solve the really big issues — and this is one of the biggest we face now. People of faith need to look beyond the political calculations and see this for the moral and family crisis it is. It will take people of faith to knock down the doors of Congress and bring the stories of immigrant friends, neighbors, and family members as evidence of the injustices that are experienced on a daily basis. Finally, we need faith in a God who is larger than we can imagine, the God who weeps as we humans build border walls to separate ourselves from our brothers and sisters on the other side, the God of justice who isn’t persuaded by the political timetables of Washington, D.C.

This is the message we will take to the streets of Washington on Sunday, and to the White House on Monday. We will boldly declare that it is morally wrong to keep families apart, and that it is morally right to fix the broken system, and to make sure that immigrants are treated with respect and mercy. We will ask the president and the leadership of the House and Senate not to wait any longer for bipartisan consensus to move immigration reform onto the agenda. Introduce the bill, Mr. President, and don’t wait for those in the other party or even everyone in your own party to join you. Tell the country why this is both right and in the best interests of the country -- of us all. Tell them why it is the American thing to do. And then let us surround our Senators and Representatives with the testimonies of those who have suffered, and with the prayers of the people. We will create one of the most powerful prayer vigils for compassion and justice that this nation has ever seen -- both personally and publicly. Let us pray reform into passage.

E-mail E-mail this article to friends
Facebook Share this article on Facebook
Comment Comment on this article on the God's Politics Blog


INSIDE SOJOURNERS MAGAZINE

Noemi Mena

100318-immigrant-familyHow do we, as people of God, respond to the complex issues surrounding immigration? God puts it simply: “You all have been there and done that. You all know how hard it is to be away from home. You know the challenges of being a foreigner in a strange land. So you ought to know better. Be good and help out the foreign people in your midst.”

Read Pastor Noemi Mena’s sermon on immigration reform, in this month’s issue of Sojourners magazine.



BUILDING A MOVEMENT

March for America: Change Takes Courage and Faith

THIS SUNDAY, March 21, join with people from faith communities across the country in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Be a witness for a just and humane immigration system by coming to Washington, D.C. for March for America: Change Takes Courage and Faith.

The U.S. immigration system is broken: families are separated, immigrants are racially profiled, legal entry is backlogged -- the symptoms are many. It’s time for the president and Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform!

Come join the party! And if you can’t make it to D.C., stand in online solidarity with immigrants.



ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Glenn Beck Promises Week-long Focus on Jim Wallis and His 'Social Justice Nonsense'
by Sojourners

Glenn Beck said he will spend a week coming after me, and that the hammer is coming. I've said he is wrong about social justice. It's isn't "Marxist," but is central to the gospel teachings of Jesus and at the heart of biblical faith. But Jesus also said that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. So whatever Glenn Beck does to me or others, I will not personally attack him and I ask our supporters not to personally attack him either.
+ Click to continue

'My Prayers Were Heard'
by Juan Daniel Espitia

I felt alone, dirty, ashamed, and trapped. Then one day immigration officials came to the farm and we were all deported back. After returning to Mexico, I had no money or possessions and realized that I was two months pregnant.
+ Click to continue

Walking Prophetically: Marching as a Form of Worship
by Gabriel Salguero

This Sunday like tens of thousands of Americans I'll be in Washington D.C. in the March for America rally on behalf of undocumented immigrants.
+ Click to continue

Wisdom from Cesar Chavez: 'The Oppressed Almost Always Overestimate the Oppressor'
by Christine Sine

"Social justice ? you see ? the oppressors always underestimate the oppressed and the oppressed almost always overestimate the oppressor."
+ Click to continue

Video: Phone Calls from Papi
by Eileen Mignoni

Linzi's story -- a story of not knowing if Domingo would ever be released -- reflects the uncertainty that thousands face.
+ Click to continue

Universal Health Care Can Reduce Abortion
by Rose Marie Berger

T.R. Reid, a longtime correspondent for The Washington Post and regular commentator for NPR, published a great Op Ed in Sunday's Post (Universal health care tends to cut the abortion rate) on why people who want to lower abortion rates in the United States should be 100% in support of universal health care.
+ Click to continue

Four Steps to Save the Souls of Big Banks
by Jim Wallis

The biggest banks have an ethical obligation to help alleviate the pain from a crisis they helped create. After being extended such "grace" because of the fear of an economic meltdown, the banks then failed to extend that grace to anybody else, creating a modern "parable of the unmerciful bankers." I would suggest four steps that the big banks should take.
+ Click to continue

The Family Research Council, Wolves, and Shepherds' Clothing
by Chuck Gutenson

In a recent Family Research Council e-mail, in an article titled, "Rev. Wallis: Wolf in Shepard's [sic] Clothing?" Tony Perkins aligned himself with Fox News commentator Glenn Beck's recent attacks.
+ Click to continue

Love Glenn Beck as You Would Love Yourself
by Rodolpho Carrasco

If you are a Christian, you are supposed to love people first. Not agree with them first. Or disagree with them first. Or speak truth to their power first. You are supposed to love them first. This is an equal opportunity, ahem, encouragement. On both the center-left and the center-right I hear ugly caricatures of the opposition-du-jour.
+ Click to continue

Family Values Without Borders
by Juan Daniel Espitia

My faith and my commitment to helping my family back home have kept me going, since I know that my siblings and mother still need me. I haven't been able to see them for over four years now, although I'm very happy when they call me.
+ Click to continue

Pastors: Your Kids Are Listening to You on Climate Change
by Rose Marie Berger

Social intuition has told us that "youth" are and should be more concerned about climate change than older adults. After all, the younger you are the more future you have to lose, right? Well, no.
+ Click to continue

In Spite of Glenn Beck's New Threats, My Invitation to Dialogue Stands
by Jim Wallis

On today's Glenn Beck radio show, I got a response that disappointed me. He said: "In my time I will respond -- my time, well, kind of like God's time, might be a day, might be a week to you, I'm not sure. But I'm going to get to it in my time, not your time. ... But just know -- the hammer is coming, because little do you know, for eight weeks, we've been compiling information on you, your cute little organization, and all the other cute little people that are with you. And when the hammer comes, it's going to be hammering hard and all through the night, over and over..."
+ Click to continue

Inspired by Haitians Rebuilding Haiti
by Eugene Cho

I returned back to the States realizing that "we" can't rebuilt Haiti for Haitians. They need to do that for themselves and while this quake is unlike anything they've ever experienced before, we can certainly come alongside them.
+ Click to continue

Endurance in the Struggle for Health-Care Reform
by Valerie Elverton Dixon

No matter the issue, God has the final say. It is our responsibility to continue to do the work to which we have been called. It is our work to struggle for justice. Health-care reform is a justice issue.
+ Click to continue

I'm also an 'Illegal'
by Ju Hong

"Look at those illegals," my friend laughed, pointing at two Latino immigrants leaning against a fence nearby. I smiled and brushed it off, but inside, I was angry. I wondered what he would say if he knew that I'm also an "illegal."
+ Click to continue

Video: Jim Wallis Talks about Glenn Beck and Social Justice on MSNBC
by Jim Wallis

+ Click to watch

Health Reform: A Major First Step
by Sr. Carol Keehan

As I watched our president present his plan to pass the health reform legislation, it was clear this is a historic opportunity to make great improvements in the lives of so many Americans. Is it perfect? No. Does it cover everyone? No. But is it a major first step? Yes.
+ Click to continue

An Invitation to Glenn Beck
by Jim Wallis

Dear Glenn ... you've moved from labeling social justice as Communist or Fascist to saying it only means "big government" and that it violates the separation of church and state. Then you said that some Christians mean Marxism by that term, but some do not. Then you said that if social justice means "empowering" people to act individually that might be okay. Well, that's progress, but there's still some needed conversation here.
+ Click to continue

A Pro-life Case for Health Reform
by Richard Lowery

A recent study estimates that 45,000 Americans die each year because they don't have health insurance. That figure does not count the number of pregnancies that end in miscarriage or the number of children born with life-threatening conditions because the mother lacks access to prenatal care.
+ Click to continue

A Pastor's Testimony of Redemption May End in Deportation
by Matthew Soerens

Pastor Walter recognizes that he made a serious mistake 15 years ago, but he knows that God has forgiven him, and he served his time. Unfortunately, Walter is one of thousands who have found that the U.S. immigration system is neither forgiving nor sensible. As one of many evangelical Christians in the United States who faces separation from his family under the current system, Walter yearns to see the church in the U.S. "raise its voice" in favor of just, compassionate, and sensible reforms to the U.S. immigration system.
+ Click to continue

SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

+ Sign up to receive our "Daily Digest" e-mail - the latest headlines on critical issues

Top Stories:

What Do Leading Economists and Pro-Life Progressive Activists Have in Common? They Both Support Health Reform
The Huffington Post
As covered in the invaluable National Catholic Reporter, signers, such as Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, and Stephen F. Schneck of the Catholic University of America, express the views of millions of pro-life Catholics and Protestants who identify with a deep tradition of religious social reform. +Click to continue


Faith leaders say abortion provisions adequate in health-care bill
Associated Baptist Press
Signers included high-profile evangelical leaders Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action; Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners; Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla.; and Brian McLaren, author, speaker and founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Md. +Click to continue


Christian Groups Make Last-Ditch Health Care Lobbying Push
Charisma Magazine
The 58 national and 80 local groups, representing Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, evangelical and mainline Protest organizations, said no reform bill will be perfect but "turning back now could mean justice delayed for another generation and an unprecedented opportunity lost." Signatories included ... Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners. +Click to continue


Right-wing witch hunt turns to Rev. Wallis
Media Matters
The right-wing witch hunt against President Obama's advisers has turned to Rev. Jim Wallis, a member of the president's faith council who has worked with numerous conservative and mainstream religious leaders. A WorldNetDaily article uses a series of falsehoods and distortions to portray Wallis as "Obama's new controversial pastor" and a "champion of communism" whose magazine "has published a slew of radicals." +Click to continue


Glenn Beck Attacks Church, Christians Boycott
ABC - World News Tonight
Rev. Wallis interviewed on ABC's World News Tonight about Glenn Beck's comments about social justice. +Click to continue


Beck Doubles Down On Opposition To 'Social Justice'
Washington Monthly
Beck's condemnations aren't going over well in some faith communities. The Rev. Jim Wallis, a prominent evangelical figure and president of the Sojourners network, argued yesterday, "I don't know if Beck is just strange, just trying to be controversial, or just trying to make money. But in any case, what he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show." +Click to continue


Glenn Beck villifies churches preaching social justice
Examiner.com

Outraged by Glenn Beck’s Salvo, Christians Fire Back
The New York Times

Evangelical leader takes on Beck for assailing social justice churches
CNN.com

Glenn Beck: 'Leave Your Church'
Christianity Today blog

Mormons, other Christians decry Glenn Beck comments on social justice
Desert News

Some Christians call for boycott of Glenn Beck after his comments on the church
Examiner.com

Does social justice belong in church?
Chicago Tribune blog

Glenn Beck's Advice on 'Social Justice' Churches Sparks Outrage
The Christian Post

Obama Faith Council: Final Report and Recommendations
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

Jim Wallis urges Christians to turn off Glenn Beck
Associated Baptist Press

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.




Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!






General Secretary: the World Association for Christian Communication Board seeks a new chief executive (based in Toronto, Canada). Information about WACC, the hiring process, and the job description are available on the WACC Web site.

Stickers! Magnets! Buttons! Show your stuff with pithy statements from Sojourners. Order yours today.

Travel Mug: Let others know you're a Sojourner with this exclusive mug, complete with Jim Wallis quote. Microwavable, dishwasher safe, and comes with a lid for commuting. Order now.

Scared of being ‘left behind’? What does Revelation really teach us? Explore this question with Sojourners’ four-part study guide, Christians and the Apocalypse. Use it this Sunday with your small group - available online. Click here.










Click Here!

GIVE TO SOJOURNERS: Donate now to support this voice for justice and peace.

GET THE MAGAZINE: Subscribe today

CONTACT US: General inquiries: sojourners@sojo.net | Advertising: advertising@sojo.net | About Us

PRIVACY NOTICE: Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your e-mail address. Read our privacy policy.