Last Saturday Kim and I participated in a rally in Anchorage designed to draw attention to the need for changes to our nation's immigration laws. It has been a long time, probably since high school, since I was cursed verbally and with hand gestures. I was taken aback by the anger of some passing drivers and wondered if they truly understood why we were there. Did they assume that we were advocating that we open our borders to let everyone into our country?
This event was sponsored by the nonprofit group, Reform Immigration for America, who believes that our immigration laws are broken and need fixing. All three of Alaska's federal legislators agree. Despite the naysayers it was encouraging to see the people who drove by honking and giving their thumbs up. To see more of what this group's principles go to http://reformimmigrationforamerica.org.
How do these principles match with our United Methodist Social Principles? Here's what our church says: ¶ 162 H) Rights of Immigrants — We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities for employment, access to housing, health care, education, and freedom from social discrimination. We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.
So I encourage all Alaska United Methodists to become aware of the issue and to let our legislators know that we need this to be our next national discussion. Please take some time to hear some of the stories of those who live in the shadows. Listening is one of the first things we learn about Jesus' ministry. It should be a primary component of our common ministry.
Grace and peace,