Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is the issue of immigration (both legal and undocumented). As I wrote about a couple days ago, for my preaching class we'll be doing "public issues" sermons. This is supposed to be a sermon about the theological lens through which we are advised to see a particular issue in the "public realm." I'm planning to do something about immigration. I think I'll use passages on treating all people humanely, especially instructions about treating foreigners who live in one's country just the same as citizens.
The problem is, I'm woefully uneducated about the whole issue. I realize that people are immigrating to the US, especially from Mexico and Central and South America, as well as Puerto Rico, Cuba, etc., because they see life in the US as a more likely opportunity to live a better life. I'm not sure if that is what they encounter when they get here! The US employs many illegal immigrants as well as "migrant workers" to do jobs US citizens don't want to do. But still, although they're doing all our dirty work, we treat them with contempt, and throw them out of the country, disregarding their family structure and so forth.
I hope to learn Spanish when I'm done with school here. I hope to build relationships with people who are affected by immigration laws--both from being in the country without "legal" documentation, and from fear of being taken for an "illegal alien." I hope to begin breaking down barriers caused by language, culture, race, and class, and bring communities of Anglo Friends in contact with their Latino/a neighbors. In our Yearly Meeting we have several Hispanic Friends meetings, but only a few Anglo Friends actually have any contact with them, and there are few sources of support for them, and none really for issues of solidarity with the struggles faced by that community in regards to the law. Good things are being done, but we need to do more.
Who makes the laws? We do (supposedly). So we need to give voice to how we think those laws should go.
(This is obviously not an easy issue, because we can't just have people moving here as they please--then it would not be a good situation for anyone! But I think we as a nation need to start with better economic and political relationships with the countries in the rest of the Americas, so that the living situations there become better. We as individuals need to start by actively practicing hospitality--which means going outside our comfort zones, learning something new [like a new language], and doing more than just "tsking" and shaking our heads about the state of things).
Probably I'm doing too much "public issues" preaching on my blog and you're becoming overwhelmed by all the issues raised, but hey...that's what's in my head, so enjoy your moment of participation! =)