15 March 2006

Welcoming the Stranger

From an article by Jeff Carr, in Sojourners weekly "email magazine":

When was the last time you heard a Catholic cardinal calling his flock to civil disobedience? That's what Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony did in his Lenten message, urging his people to make room "for the stranger in our midst, praying for the courage and strength to offer our spiritual and pastoral ministry to all who come to us." The strangers to whom he was referring are the estimated 11.5 to 12 million undocumented immigrants living on the margins of our society.


If enacted into law, [H.R.4437] would criminalize social service workers and others who provide compassionate or humanitarian aid to undocumented people, including churches and faith-based organizations. The crime would be a felony, potentially punishable by stiff fines and up to five years in prison. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mahony said that if Congress passes the bill, he will instruct the priests in his 288 parishes to defy the law in open civil disobedience.


I hope Mahony would have room to welcome an evangelical Christian minister such as me to join him and his fellow priests in civil disobedience. It's time for people of faith to stand up on behalf of our immigrant brothers and sisters whom I am confident Jesus would have included when he said I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

JC was a revolutionary, I figure, and we could use that now. I'm thinking of starting a group, tentatively named Christian Atheists (Radical/Extremist). That gives CARE as an acronym. A good acronym is essential, I think.

CARE would be a group for those who want to buy in to Jesus' social, economic and ethical philosophy, but not the Old Testamental, Jehovan, moralistic, supernatural, creation-myth aspects of traditional Christianity (at least not in a literal, non-metaphorical sense).

So if us left-wing atheists could make common cause with the social gospel wing of conventional Christianity, along with the Buddhists, Muslims, and any other people of goodwill in the world, mayhap we could bring about that heaven on earth I've heard tell of. Anything beats unfettered corporate capitalism.

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