This started as a comment in response to Dogs, Doorwalls and Dianisms at My Left Wing. Somewhere along the way, the comment got long enough to actually be a post. That doesn't seem to happen to often lately, so I decided to go with it...
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 4:37 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007
"The line between good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being", says Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. ... "It's a decision that you have to make every day in various ways."
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 11:20 PM
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Daughter sang with the children's choir today, and, since this is the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Francis, the hymns centered around that. The opening hymn was one I'd never heard before, and it was *adorable*.
There were three more verses. The last line, though, is what made me well up:
When at last we come to you, let our creatures be there too
Our creatures have just got to be there. If they're not, how could it be heaven?
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 10:07 PM
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Okay, the blog isn't much to look at so far, but I can purty it up later. :)
Or maybe simplicity is what I should be going for...
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 7:45 AM
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Well, this is a timely subject for me to be covering with my introductory psychology students.
Each of us has a specific daily sleep requirement. The average sleep requirement for college students is well over eight hours, and the majority of students would fall within the range of this value plus or minus one hour. If this amount is not obtained, a sleep debt is created. All lost sleep accumulates progressively as a larger and larger sleep indebtedness. Furthermore, your sleep debt does not go away or spontaneously decrease. The only way to reduce your individual sleep debt is by obtaining extra sleep over and above your daily requirement.
So, here I am, up to my eyeballs in sleep debt. How am I supposed to get out of debt? By sleeping, one would presume. Except that I get into this ironic-sounding but very real state of "overtired" and I can't. But now, at least I have something new to worry about during those sleepless hours.
Like, if I can't get sleep on my own, and I have to pay off this sleep debt, what options do I have? Go to the sleep bank to take out a loan? Maybe my credit isn't good, and I'd be forced to go to a sleep loan shark. What do they do if you can't pay on time. Instead of breaking your legs, maybe they burn your mattress...
Sleep researcher William Dement--who wrote the article I excerpted above--has said that a large sleep debt "makes you stupid". At very least, as evidenced above, it is making my jokes stupid.
Jokes aside, though, this has been on my mind a lot lately. I think we hear these things about how much sleep we need, and how unhealthy it is to rack up a huge sleep debt, many of us are inclined to nod seriously, but then file that away with all the other "shoulds" that most of us ignore. And I wonder if there's something in the Western, "rugged individualist" mindset that tells us we're supposed to be able to "conquer the natural world", even when it comes to our own biological needs. I can't say exactly where, but I picked up an idea like that somewhere along the line. The idea that I should be able to "overcome" tiredness by sheer force of will. Or the idea that, if my schedule is packed and I can't fit everything in, sleep is an area where I can cut some corners.
I'm coming to realize that I can't, and that I need to listen to what my body is telling me.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 2:46 PM
Monday, September 24, 2007
Just a little something fun that I thought I'd share...
So, where was I? Oh yeah...
The "Doggie Paddle" (a fundraiser for a local dog park) was actually supposed to take place two weeks ago, but was cancelled due to rain early in the afternoon. Once the rain had cleared, Daughter and I put Winnie in the car and headed up to the pool. When we arrived, there had only been a few cars there--belonging to other disappointed dog owners who were discovering that the event had been cancelled.
The next week, I was pleased to learn that the event had been rescheduled, and as we pulled up to the pool yesterday, we were met with a decidedly full parking lot. And a quick look inside the park revealed lots of dogs having a good time. I couldn't help thinking of the scene at the end of Go, Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman (who Daughter in Ohio, as a toddler, called A. B. Beastman).
A dog party!Of course, the dogs at the pool were just the ordinary dog colors, and they weren't partying at the top of a tree, but it was definitely a dog party. And a good, wet, time was had by all.
Remember Dances With Wolves? When I saw this picture, it occurred to me that Daughter's name could be Swims With Rottweilers. ;)
That's Winnie on the left. She wasn't into the whole water thing, but had a great time meeting new dogs. And in the last half hour of our three hours there, she did finally venture into the shallow water.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 12:49 AM
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Found this message from my bishops in my inbox. It was a welcome change from the articles I've been reading about looming schism. -Renee
Posted by Guest Blogger at 4:29 PM
Friday, September 21, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
At that Nehemiah Action Assembly, Senator Ray Miller pledged to introduce legislation in the state house to curb PayDay Lending. You may have seen recent articles in the Columbus Dispatch and elsewhere in which this issue and its abuses have been well documented. Though B.R.E.A.D. is mentioned, it is rarely given the credit for having moved this issue to the forefront.About that bipartisan support--that is apparently the reason Ohio House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty has been hesitant to support the legislation. From the Other Paper article I linked yesterday...
Several state lawmakers of both parties have agreed to take on the cause. While others surely have their reservations, Beatty is one of the only legislators to openly criticize the effort, brushing off the proposed reforms as shortsighted and politically motivated.I have a hard time understanding how a powerful Democrat in the Ohio House would want to delay implementing measures to protect our most vulnerable citizens from predatory lending practices for basically political reasons. Still, she did say I will not support any legislative agenda that I feel is solely for someone’s political gain, and has said that she is willing to hear from her constituents on this matter. Maybe even polite letters from people who are not her constituents, but are able to clearly express why this is not solely for someone's political gain.
The bill (I've been searching for a bill number and an official link, and will update if/when I find that) only proposes the same safeguards against predatory lending that military personnel are now granted via the Nelson Talent Amendment.
The proposed bill would cap interest rates on short-term loans at 36 percent. Currently, the rate on these loans can reach nearly 400 percent when calculated over a year. The bill also would call for financial incentives and tax credits for traditional lenders to encourage them to offer short-term, low-interest loans.So we're talking about reasonable limits on the interest rates that can be charged, not shutting these places down, as Rep. Beatty seems to suggest here:
House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty, who represents some of the same citizens as Miller, said she has talked to people in line waiting to get payday loans.That quote is from an article that was published on July 23. Hopefully by this point, people have clarified to Representative Beatty that no one associated with this proposed bill is suggesting that payday lending establishments should be shut down Still, since she is in a position to either help or hurt the passage of a bill that could offer even some minimal protection to Ohio's most vulnerable citizens, I think it couldn't hurt to politely help see to it that she does understand what this is really about.
Update: In addition to Rep. Beatty, B.R.E.A.D. also has meetings scheduled with the following representatives.
Rep. Jim McGregor, District 20
Rep. Larry Wolpert, District 23
Rep. Tracy Herad, District 26
If you live in one of their districts, please consider writing to encourage their support of this bill.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 6:16 PM
Sunday, September 09, 2007
I just found out about this at church. Tiny bit of background: the pastor of my church is currently one of the co-presidents of B.R.E.A.D. (which stands for Building Responsibility Equality and Dignity, and works with lawmakers to advance achievable goals in the area of social justice.) The goal B.R.E.A.D. is currently working towards is getting legislation passed to put some reasonable restraints on the payday lending industry. You can read here about the action meeting that took place in May.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 1:04 PM
Friday, September 07, 2007
I just received this via e-mail from a retired priest from my church. --Renee
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
A book called The Glory Field was part of Son in Ohio's summer reading. He's had a hard time getting through the book for a number of reasons--not the least of which being that he objects to the whole idea of summer homework in the first place. Anyway, at some point, Son asked me if I would read some of it aloud to him, and I agreed. It turned out to be a decent way of helping keep him engaged in the story.
Wow. And people think Bugs Bunny is "wascawwy". He's got nothing on these two!
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 1:33 PM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 11:48 PM
|it's simple if you ignore the complexity at My Left Wing, I want to draw your attention to an important action alert from Free Press.|
Postal regulators have accepted a proposal from media giant Time Warner that would stifle small and independent publishers in America. The plan unfairly burdens smaller publishers with higher postage rates while locking in special privileges for bigger media companies.
Click here for more.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 12:12 PM
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Apparently (according to a front page post on Booman Tribune) Harold Ford is going to face off against Markos "The Great and Powerful Kos" Moulitsas on Meet the Press this Sunday. I'm guessing the idear for this match-up came about as a result of this statement made by Harold Ford on Fox News.
I would have gone to Daily Kos and told them, I think they’re wrong the way you go about practicing your politics. If you’re serious about winning the war and bringing the country together, get another message and another set of tactics…Which tactics would those be, Harold? The ones where you cozy up to and make kissy faces with the people who will never be on your side no matter how "moderate" and reasonable you try to come across? The tactics where you buy, hook, line, and sinker, Bill O'Reilly's "spin" that Daily Kos is/are the "bad Democrats", because you think you can play that to your advantage? And that perceived advantage is so valuable to you that you can't possibly do the minimal, cursory research it would take to learn that "Daily Kos" is not as monolithic as you suggest.
Harold, do you seriously think that the way to "bring the country together" is to paint a Snidely Whiplash mustache on a segment of the Democratic party, and then celebrate that you and the Republicans now have a common foe? That's just freakin' sad.
I won't be rooting for Markos either. As far as I've been able to discern, his only core value is winning. Period. That, and I think he's an arrogant ass.
This is, of course, not the only thing I hate about politics, but it's a pretty good example of the petty pointlessness of it. And all this energy and air time is being directed toward something other than making things better for people. (Pssst! Millennium Development Goals, people!)
So I won't be watching Meet the Press. I'll be in church listening to my daughter sing with the choir. And I should probably spend some time in quiet contemplation, because I really don't know what's next. Part of me would like to tune out all of politics as Somebody Else's Problem. But I don't know that I could ever do that. A few years ago, I promised Someone that I would work to help "heal the world", and I meant it. I guess I need to connect with some other people who feel the same way, and start working together on one little part of the world that needs fixing.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 9:57 AM
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I did an open thread again today at My Left Wing. Since the tradition is to show a picture of someone who was born on the day (or occasionally someone who died on the day), this give me the opportunity to learn about people I didn't know about before. Today it's Rosalind Franklin.
Rosalind Franklin, born July 25, 1920
From the Rosalind Franklin Papers:
...a British chemist and crystallographer who is best known for her role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. It was her x-ray diffraction photos of DNA and her analysis of that data--provided to Francis Crick and James Watson without her knowledge--that gave them clues crucial to building their correct theoretical model of the molecule in 1953. While best known for this work, Franklin also did important research into the micro-structure and properties of coals and other carbons, and spent the last five years of her career elucidating the structure of plant viruses, notably tobacco mosaic virus.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 10:41 AM
Thursday, July 19, 2007
This morning, just before the post scrolled off their front page, I discovered via An Inch at a Time that Bishop Gene Robinson preached at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena this past Sunday. Click here for the video of the sermon. Lots of good stuff there, so I transcribed most of it
Well, that would all be very nice, except that's not what Micah said. Micah said we must do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. And it strikes me, maybe you're like me, we just looove to love justice, don't we? And even an astounding witness to justice, like All Saints Pasadena can so love to love justice, and sit around, and form committees, and talk about it all day, that we forget that what Micah said is that we must do justice and walk humbly with our God. I think that what Jesus is teaching in this story about the Good Samaritan is that it's not enough to be good. It's not enough to know the creeds and say you believe all the things that you're supposed to believe.
Remember that our baptismal covenant, which is as close to a purpose statement as we have in the Episcopal church, are all action verbs. Right? They're all action verbs. It's not about which doctrines you ascribe to, but will you love and serve one another, will you respect the dignity of every human being, if you make mistakes, will you repent and come back to God? It's all about doing. It's not about ascribing to the right tenets and the right doctrines. That stuff is dry. It's important, but it's not the most important. Because what we see in the story of the Good Samaritan, is the danger of loving God separate from doing the work of loving our neighbor.
So it seems to me, that the real question, the challenge, really, of this story for you and me, is whether or not we want to be admirers of Jesus, or disciples. It's easy to admire Jesus--to think he was a nifty guy with really wonderful ideas. Following Jesus is a whole lot harder. Doing the work of ministry and doing justice--getting into some "Gospel trouble" is what we are meant to do.
You know, this Lent, I realized for the first time that this symbol, this cross, is such a political symbol. Now, let's be clear: the Jews did not kill Jesus. That's a bunch of anti-semitic stuff that runs throughout some of the Gospels, especially John, and it is not true. The Romans killed Jesus.
Now, the Romans killed lots of people, but they saved crucifixion for a very specific kind of criminal. And it was the one who challenged the Powers That Be. Who took on the government, who threatened the Pax Romana with their notions of turning the world upside-down like Jesus did. And they didn't put them all high and lifted up like Cecil B. DeMille--I realize that criticizing Cecil B. DeMille in Los Angeles is...(laughter). But, crosses were actually quite low to the ground, so that as people died and began to rot away, the dogs could eat their flesh, and there would be almost nothing left to bury. They wanted to make a real example of anyone who challenged the Powers That Be. And it is an indictment of you and me that we can wear this symbol around, and it doesn't threaten anybody.
When we wear a cross, it ought to scare people to death! And the more powerful they are, the more it ought to scare them. We should be being followed around by the F.B.I.--I know you're being followed by the I.R.S. (laughter). You've got a good start on this one! But really, really--shame on us that this doesn't threaten anybody! When we put this on, when we put on the cross of Christ, we are saying that it's not just religion that we are about. We are about changing the world, as Jesus changed it. We are about loving the people that Jesus loved--those in the margins. And it doesn't mean sitting in a committee room somewhere talking about loving those people, but actually loving them, and doing the hard work of justice.
Are you and I going to be admirers of Jesus only, or are we going to be disciples?
You know how an innoculation works, right? You don't want to get chicken pox, so you go to the doctor, and they give you just enough chicken pox to make your body form antibodies to it, so you never get a full-blown case of chicken pox. God help us if we come here on Sunday mornings just to get enough religion to keep us from having a full-blown case. It is so easy, isn't it, to come here, isn't it? It feels so good, and you see people you know, and the music's great, and the preaching is good. It just all works! But if we leave here, and it causes us to not do anything any differently, then this is nothing but a religious theme park. Really! We have to be out there doing the work that God has given us to do, or else it is all ultimately just self-serving.
And it'll be hard work! When Jesus says "Take up your cross and follow me", he means it's going to be tough. It's going to be very hard--it means taking risks, it means loving that costs. But the miracle, the miracle is that when we do that, and we face that trouble, we come to know the very God who is at the center of all that is. It's the only way we get to know him--we don't get to know him by memorizing the creed. We get to know him by doing the work that he did.
So, you and I can do that--especially if we do it with him, that he can work in and through us, to do the work that he has given us to do. So the question for you and me today is, do we just come here for an innoculation? Or do we come here for a full blown infection of God's love? Because it's only when you are fully infected yourself with the love that simply know no bounds, can you go out there and love the world, and God's children, in God's name. And this God promises to be with you and me from now on! There is no better news than that, on this, or any Sunday. Amen.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Somehow I missed this one. Apparently Bill O'Reilly used the fact that some commenter on Daily Kos called the Pope a "primate" as evidence that Big Orange is a hateful site. He used that and other random statements by DK commenters to make his "case" about how hateful the site is. But this was all set up for going after Jet Blue for being one of the sponsors of Yearly Kos.
In fact, Bill, it's even in the online Catholic Encyclopedia. And you were an altar boy, too. I'm so disappointed in you...
Now, I'll be honest with you. When I first started to work on this post earlier today, I was planning to go for the cheap laugh, speculating that, from a taxonomic perspective, Bill doesn't quite make the cut as a primate. And then I was going to try to figure out the funniest creature with which I could compare him.
Last night we started a weekly discussion series at my church on the concept of "grace". Our rector started the meeting by sharing this prayer, which he had also shared during the service earlier in the day:
"Show us your presence in those who differ most from us", huh? Guess that would imply a willingness to see that presence in those who differ most from me. Even those who come off like real jerks.
Guess that's one of the reasons I need grace...
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 10:05 AM
Monday, July 09, 2007
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 11:13 PM
This arrived in my inbox from Free the Internet, and I thought it was worth sharing--Renee
We have only five days left to defend a free and open Internet at the FCC. The agency needs to hear from you about Net Neutrality -- the principle that stops AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from controlling where you can go online.
Thousands of people have already told their stories (see below) urging the FCC to protect Net Neutrality. Now it's your turn:
You need to act now before the FCC closes its comment period. If we flood them with comments in support of Net Neutrality, the FCC will be pressed to stand up to the giant phone and cable companies that seek to undermine free choice on the Web.
At SavetheInternet.com, you can read stories from others, view photographs, and join the fight to make the Internet affordable, open and accessible to everyone. You can even create your own personal comment page to share with others. Go there now to see our new video:
This may be the best chance we have this year to demonstrate to Washington that protecting the free and open Internet is an issue that matters to millions of Americans. The FCC needs to know why Net Neutrality is important to you. Tell them how an open Internet impacts your daily life, your business and your ability to connect with others.
To save the Internet, we need to flood the FCC with stories from people around the country. Can you ask five friends to send their stories to the FCC?
With your help, we can send a message to the FCC that they can't ignore.
P.S. Here's what others are saying:
"The greatest hope that this country has is the reconnection of American voices with our political system. The Internet is the first medium that is truly interactive, in which one person's voice can reach millions. This fundamental change would end the open Internet as we know it." Read Jennifer's full story.
"In rural America, the Internet is very important in staying informed. We read several national newspapers every day to get the news our local paper does not thoroughly cover." Read Charles & Carol's full story.
"Currently the media is not diverse at all, and the only option I have found to escape from it has been the Internet. ... If the Internet is controlled by powerful people with money, will it ever be what it has been? Will we be able to enjoy diversity?" Read Norie's full story.
To read thousands of other stories visit: www.savetheinternet.com
Take action on this campaign at: www.savetheinternet.com
Tell others about this campaign at: www.savetheinternet.com
If you received this message from a friend, you can click here to become a Free Press activist.
Posted by Guest Blogger at 1:35 PM
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Here's the video my husband Demetrius did for the The PopSci Podcast/Jonathan Coulton "I Feel Fantastic" Video Contest. (You can see some of the other videos here.)
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:28 PM
Monday, May 28, 2007
From the May 26-27 edition of State of Belief
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Originally posted last night at the Independent Bloggers' Alliance
His name is Davis Mac-Iyalla, and he is the founder of Changing Attitude-Nigeria, a support group for Gay and Lesbian Anglicans, and he is visiting the United States to call attention to the persecution of LGBTs in his country. Even attending a GLBT-affirmative event--something I didn't have to think twice about here in central Ohio would subject me to tremendous risk if I lived in Nigeria. If a draconian "Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act" were to pass, the penalty for being openly "straight but not narrow" would be a five year prison term.
From time to time, I have wondered, if Demetrius and I were born at a different time...if we had met in 1964 rather than 1984...would I have had the courage to follow my heart and marry outside my "race". It's not an easy question to answer. Mind you, part of the difficulty is my tendency to ask pesky, practical questions, such as, "Where would we have met?" and "How likely is it that we could have spent those long, casual hour together with our mutual friends?" But the basic question I ask myself is, "Would I have the courage to be that kind of pioneer? Could I really be that brave?"
Last night, I was faced with a new question: "Would I have the courage to risk my personal safety--possibly my life--in order to make hostile religious and political authorities acknowledge that I exist?
That's an easy one, and I can answer it right now.
No. Freaking. Way.
So I couldn't help but be awed, humbled, and impressed to hear Davis tell his story. From a statement on the first anniversary of Changing Attitudes-Nigeria,
In the first year, we have many achievements to be proud of, including our impact on the life of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, which had previously denied that lesbian and gay people are members of the church. The Church was so disturbed by our visible presence that it attempted to discredit the organisation, at the same time falsely claiming to be open to gays.At last night's meeting, Davis Mac-Iyalla described being arrested after one of the early meetings of his organization. He and his fellow members were beaten, and were held for three days without food or water (and without charges), before finally being able to get the bribe money so that his jailers would release him. And not long after that experience, he led the first national meeting of CAN, which was attended by over 1000 GLBT Anglican Nigerians.
I encourage you to read more about Davis Mac-Iyalla and Changing Attitudes-Nigeria. This is not an Anglican issue, or a GLBT issue, or a Nigerian issue--it is, quite plainly, a human rights issue.
The Daily Office (Sponsor of Davis Mac-Iyalla's U.S. tour)
Changing Attitude UK (The director of this organization was instrumental in helping Davis get Changing Attitude Nigeria up and running)
Also posted at My Left Wing, Street Prophets, Booman Tribune, and ePluribus Media
Update with regard to funding:
The people who wish to silence Davis and others like him are very well funded.
Changing Attitudes Nigeria is not. Josh Thomas, who arranged Davis Mac-Iyalla's U.S. tour, and who operates the Daily Office web site, is helping him raise the money needed to continue his work in educating the rest of the world about the plight of GLBT people in Nigeria. Donations are being accepted here.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:18 AM
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Some 20 Cities Give Refuge to Immigrant Families Facing Deportation
Religious leaders, confronting the unjust treatment of immigrant families, announced the launching of the New Sanctuary Movement. Supported by congregations from across the country, it is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalition that spans the political spectrum and pledges to open their doors, hearts and collective actions to the “moral imperative” of immigrant rights.
At a moment when large scale immigration with its attending social and economic consequences demand reform, the faith community has united to call for policies that are both effective and humane. They are embracing sanctuary seekers threatened by imminent deportations, detentions and the severing of family ties. In most cases the undocumented immigrants have American citizen spouses and children. The movement considers the sanctuary seekers the human face of a cause committed to arousing the voice of people of faith and awakening the moral imagination of the nation.The New Sanctuary Movement will be inaugurated on May 9th with events organized by interdenominational congregations representing a rainbow of racial, ethnic and faith communities. Activities are scheduled in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Diego and Seattle. A number of other cities will hold prayer vigils in solidarity. The movement began as an echo of the 1980’s sanctuary campaign, but has gained momentum as stepped up raids, detentions and deportations spotlight what religious leaders call a “cruel and broken system.”
The sanctuary seekers include Joe Liang, 26, and his wife Mei Xing, 25. They have two American children ages 2 and 15 months. The couple fears being forced to return to their native China. They applied for asylum in New York but are both facing pending deportation orders. “There is nothing more important than giving my children a world where the possibilities are not simply a dream,” confides Chen. The family is being given sanctuary at New York’s Roman Catholic Church of St. Paul the Apostle, at 405 W. 59th Street (Columbus Avenue), Manhattan.Three immigrants have sought sanctuary in Los Angeles including Juan Humberto. Juan sought refuge in the United States after his father was kidnapped during the conflict in Guatemala. He runs a successful gardening business and is the father of two citizen children. His mother, who also arrived as a refugee, is a U.S. citizen. However, because he lacked effective legal support at a crucial moment, he faces an order of deportation. Juan will receive physical sanctuary in St. Paul’s Lutheran church and will receive legal advocacy and pastoral support through a cluster of congregations which includes Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Echo Park United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Cathedral Center, All Saints Episcopal Church and a Mennonite House Church.
The inaugural New Sanctuary Movement events will be followed by a rolling series of launches in other cities across the country. Congregations will collect signatures for the New Sanctuary Pledge and have committed to material, spiritual and physical support in their sanctuaries and among congregants.The New Sanctuary Movement pledge outlines three goals including taking a public, moral stand on behalf of immigrant families and workers; opening the American people’s eyes to the suffering of immigrant workers and families under current policies; and protecting immigrants against hate, workplace discrimination and unjust deportation. They aim to enlist millions of people of faith through signing of the News Sanctuary Movement pledge and other moral and material support.
“A sanctuary is more than a physical place for the faithful to worship. It is a sacred space that guarantees compassion, protection and the love of God,” said Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, a leader of the New Sanctuary Movement and director of CLUE-CA. Rev. Salvatierra underscored the importance of family values as a cornerstone of American beliefs. “We are responding to a broken system that is increasingly creating broken families, and broken lives.”Coordinated by networks in California, New York and Chicago, participating congregations will provide the sanctuary seekers with a range of support services including expert immigration lawyers, transportation to the work place, shelter, and financial assistance. Sanctuary will be offered to families where at least one parent has a deportation order that would separate them from their children and homes.
Steering committee member Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, notes that the New Sanctuary Movement is an outgrowth of a longstanding commitment to immigrant rights. “Immigrants are an integral part of the faith community. Few Biblical messages are as clear as Leviticus which says, ‘the alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt.’”
Rabbi Laurie Coskey, also a member of the steering committee, agrees. “Churches, mosques and synagogues across the country have always opened their doors and embraced those who are new to our country. In turn, immigrants have given their time, energy and resources to grow communities of faith. Now we are called to shed light on those long hidden by shadows. God calls us to use our prophetic voice to denounce unjust laws that separate rather than unite people of faith.”
In the early 1980’s, thousands of Central Americans sought refuge in this country’s churches after fleeing human rights violations at the hands of US backed governments and death squads. Twenty-five years later the urgency and demands have given life to a new movement.Today, the immigrant populations are not confined to individuals fleeing political repression. They are workers who pay taxes, law abiding citizens and families seeking refuge from intolerable economic and social conditions. They have been in this country for many years, have citizen children and contribute to the society.
The leaders of the New Sanctuary Movement acknowledge the challenges. “The large-scale immigration of workers and their families is complex,” offers Rev. Reginald Swilley, a member of the Steering Committee and former board member of the San Jose, Ca NAACP. “The current immigration crisis is rooted in historical, global and economic causes that cannot be answered with simplistic or purely reactive public policy solutions.”
By lifting the veil of silence, telling the stories and providing a sanctuary, the faith leaders say they aim to contribute to national immigration reform. “Silence is complicit,” maintains New York City coordinator Father Juan Carlos Ruiz. “Through our actions we are calling for policies that are effective and humane.”