‘Nuns on the Bus’ will hit the road for immigration reform

NEW YORK — The “Nuns on the Bus” are revving up their engines for another national campaign, only this time … Continued

NEW YORK — The “Nuns on the Bus” are revving up their engines for another national campaign, only this time the Catholic sisters are taking their mobile platform for social justice along the country’s Southern border to push Congress to pass immigration reform.

“The’Nuns on the Bus’ is going on the road again!” Sister Simone Campbell, head of the social justice lobby Network, told an enthusiastic gathering of faith leaders and charity activists at a Manhattan awards ceremony Wednesday (May 1).

“This time we’re going out for common-sense immigration reform,” she said to rousing applause.

Details of the latest tour are still to be announced, but the bus trip is expected to start at the end of the month, beginning in New York and winding up in California by way of Florida and the U.S. border with Mexico. The tour is to last about three weeks and comes at a crucial time for a potentially historic immigration reform bill that has run into roadblocks in Congress despite largely bipartisan support.

Campbell said she hopes that the timing of the tour, combined with popular support for immigration reform, will help the venture gain at least some of the attention garnered by their first tour last summer, when the bus — “wrapped” in the “Nuns on the Bus” logo — traveled 2,700 miles through nine states. Then the goal was to publicize the plight of the poor and unemployed as Congress considered a new federal budget bill.

The bus stopped at cities along the way, largely in recession-hit Midwestern states, where the sisters and the activists who joined the tour were met at their rallies by growing crowds and media attention.

The “Nuns on the Bus” became both a cultural touchstone and a political rallying point for Democrats during the presidential campaign; the sisters were compared to rock stars and Campbell appeared on news shows and “The Colbert Report,” and she was a prime-time speaker at the Democratic National Convention that nominated President Obama.

Campbell believes the right moment and the right issue are coinciding again, and like many longtime immigration reform advocates she is willing to back the current bill despite reservations.

“We want to amend it, yes, but we want to pass it. We don’t want to nitpick it to death. That’s what we did in 2007,” she said, referring to the previous attempt to overhaul immigration, which ended in failure.

The new “Nuns on the Bus” tour could also provide an opportunity for a breakthrough in church politics, since the nation’s Catholic bishops have also thrown their weight behind immigration reform, pushing for changes but putting a priority on getting the bill passed.

The bishops and the American nuns spent much of the past year at loggerheads following the announcement that the Vatican was investigating the main leadership group of U.S. sisters — along with Network — charging that the nuns were infected with strains of “radical feminism” and were focusing on social justice concerns at the expense of opposing abortion and gay marriage.

Many U.S. bishops also opposed Network’s lobbying on behalf of Obama’s 2010 health care reform plan, while others did not look kindly on Campbell’s social justice views and her activism during the presidential campaign.

But Campbell said Wednesday that she and the American bishops are on the same page on immigration reform, and she has invited them to join her group at stops along the way later this month and in June. “They don’t have to ride on the bus,” she said. “They can come stand with us at the events.”

Campbell made her announcement at a benefit breakfast sponsored by Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, which gave a “Lives of Commitment Award” to Campbell and two others.

They were: Lauren Bush Lauren, member of famous clans in politics and fashion who has dedicated herself to fighting world hunger; and Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., an Iraq veteran who was the first disabled woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and an advocate for veterans and economic justice.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

Comments are closed.

Read More Articles

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

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

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

The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

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

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

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

Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

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

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.

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.

Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

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

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.