This morning I am reminded of where we truly belong, no matter our current national status:
So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household. Ephesians 2:19 (CEB)
In this time of national remembrance and celebration, the words of German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) softly persist in my ear:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Rabbi Alan Cook, respected colleague and leader of the Interfaith Alliance of Champaign County, is joined by many faith leaders in speaking out. Here is an excerpt from the open letter addressing “the question of how our country will respond to those from other lands who seek to make their home here in pursuit of the American dream…, prompted by the misuse of sacred scriptures to justify immoral immigration procedures that are being enforced at our nation’s southern border.”
Abraham was a wanderer, setting out from his birthplace and ancestral home to seek the promise of a better way of life. Moses and the Israelites were homeless wanderers breaking away from a regime that had enslaved them. Jesus and his family were political refugees fleeing Herod’s cruel reign. The prophet Mohammed (PBUH) led his followers on the hejira from Mecca to Medina to flee persecution. In our own time, H. H. the Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet to India in an effort to prevent further bloodshed among his people. The history of religion is one of wandering, one of standing tall in the face of oppression. This has taught us compassion. We look in the eyes of those who may be different from us and we do not encounter fear; we see the face of God looking back at us.
Reasonable people may differ over immigration policy, but our faiths make clear that any such debate must begin with the central premise that every human being is a child of God. We are all deserving of dignity and respect, no matter where we came from, no matter where we will lay our heads tonight.
The letter is a call for action based on faith and morality. See here for the full text on the Interfaith Alliance C-U Facebook page.
May each of us speak boldly of God’s love, as together we are called to be light in the darkness.