Thursday, August 21, 2008

Go, Father Malm!

He is the Pastor at St. Joe's in Newport. He was the only local along with Bishop Tobin & 14 others to sign a letter reading in part:

“We the undersigned…urge you to declare a moratorium on immigration raids in the State of Rhode Island, until our nation can implement a comprehensive and just reform of our immigration laws. It is our hope that such reform will make immigration raids obsolete. Until then, we believe that raids on the immigrant community are unjust, unnecessary, and counter-productive.”

“As religious leaders we understand and support the need to apprehend and arrest individuals who are responsible for felonies and other serious crimes. The enforcement of just laws is necessary for public safety and the common good. But the arrest of serious criminals is not what we have observed in the arrest and detention of immigrants that has taken place recently in our State, particularly in Newport and in Providence.”

“What we have witnessed is that the police action of ICE against immigrants has divided the community, instilled fear in our streets, disrupted the everyday life of good people and separated family members, innocent of any crime, from one another. The confusing and secretive detention of those arrested has further complicated the situation. As religious leaders concerned for our people we ould be negligent of our pastoral duties if we didn’t speak out against these unjust government policies and practices.”

“…we encourage the agents and staff of ICE to evaluate the morality of their participation in immigration raids in the context of their faith and sanctity of their conscience. If their discernment leads them to the conclusion that they cannot participate in such raids in good conscience, we urge them not to do so. If ICE agents refuse to participate in immigration raids in conformity with their faith and conscience, we urge the Federal Government to fully respect the wellfounded principles of conscientious objection.” (http://www.dioceseofprovidence.org/?id=14&uudis=69)

I am told that there are now ICE agents stationed permanently in Newport. If you don't personally know any of our immigrant population, then you're not really paying attention to who mows your lawn, serves your lunch, works in the kitchen, etc., etc. These neighbors pay taxes, pay rents, & buy goods & services. They came here for the same reasons your grandfather and great-grandparents came. Exactly the same reasons. The problem is that the rules were changed. And we waited 10-20 years before we decided that we might give a try to actually enforcing those rules which often make little sense anyway. (BTW, in the interest of full disclosure, I actually have a great-great grandfather who came over here ILLEGALLY. He hid in a ship's hold coming here from Portugal to New Bedford)

Thanks to Matt at RIFuture which gave me the heads-up.
They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.’ - Matthew 25:41-45


And then there are those pesky little beatitudes. Those things are always getting in the way of a new "ownership" society, aren't they?

The text of St. Matthew runs as follows:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land.

Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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