Arizona’s network of mutuality

Today’s guest blogger is David Fraccaro, an ordained United Church of Christ Minister who works at the Interfaith Youth Core … Continued

Today’s guest blogger is David Fraccaro, an ordained United Church of Christ Minister who works at the Interfaith Youth Core as coordinator of the “Stranger to Neighbor” initiative which seeks to build greater interfaith collaboration and friendship between diverse communities of faith and their immigrant/refugee neighbors.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño speak in St. Louis about her experience as a faith leader in Arizona. She spoke in front of the Missouri state courthouse, where in 1857 the infamous Dredd Scott case ruled that neither slaves, nor any other person of African ancestry could claim U.S. citizenship or any of the rights therein. She noted how the new immigration law, SB 1070 “Support Our Law Enforcement & Safe Neighborhood Act” similarly challenges the freedom and humanity of recent immigrants in Arizona, and the rest of America.

She told the story of seven young people who gathered outside of the Arizona state courthouse a week before the Governor of Arizona made her decision on the bill. She said the youth decided that one of the biggest contributions they could make outside the courthouse was to pray, and to ask other people to join them in a peaceful vigil. These young people deeply believed in the America of freedom and equal rights for all people. They loved what America had brought to their lives, and felt proud about the contributions they were making in return. Over the next week, seven young people had grown into fifteen hundred.

Bishop Carcaño said that one of the most difficult parts of the day the bill was signed was seeing the idealism in these young people die, as many of them feared they would now be forced further into the shadows of American society. Bishop Carcaño, along with a local imam and rabbi from St.Louis, then offered a prayer for the affected communities across America, and for the broken spirit of a new generation of immigrants.

While the Bishop was praying several young men on the way to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game began laughing, and yelling, “deport em” as they passed by, blind to how their own bigotry affected those around them, or how this might have offended many of the immigrant ballplayers they were about to cheer on. I thought about crossing the street to talk to them, to ask them if they had any immigrant friends, to tell me about their own immigrant ancestry, and to ask them how their faith influences their thoughts and actions on this issue. I doubt anyone has asked them those questions before.

As a person of faith, I believe in the vision of one human family. I believe that we are all created in the image of God, and when one part of that image is tarnished, we are all tarnished. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. eloquently wrote from a jail cell in Birmingham, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Through my work with the Interfaith Youth Core, I have had the opportunity to ask these questions, and listen to the moving answers of young people of many heritages and faiths. Together they are discovering their own networks of mutuality, and how their shared religious value of welcoming the immigrant stranger not only enriches their own lives, but builds a stronger, healthier America.

They understand how what happens in Arizona affects us all.

About

Comments are closed.

Read More Articles

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

concert
Why I Want to Be Culturally Evangelical

I’ve lost my faith. Do I have to lose my heritage, too?

shutterstock_37148347
What Is a Saint?

How the diversity of saintly lives reveals multiple paths toward God.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.