Advent a Time to Hope — and Fast — for Immigration Reform

The Fast for Families is replicating the great public fasts in history for immigration reform in the hope of the Advent season.

The Fast for Families is in keeping with a long biblical tradition of public fasting that seeks to move the conscience of a nation while openly confessing our total dependence on God. Esther and Mordecai held a public fast when the Jewish people were in peril. The prophet Daniel fasted to receive clear direction from God about the future of the nation. In modern history, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Desmund Tutu and countless others fasted publicly to draw attention to national challenges. Recently, Pope Francis asked for a global fast for peace in Syria. Public fasting is a discipline that reminds leaders and nations that there are things that need urgent attention.

To be clear, the winds are changing! The arguments that economists and business leaders should call for immigration reform on fiscal grounds is gaining ground. In addition, the report from the Bipartisan Policy Center stating that common-sense immigration reform would both help the economy and contribute to reducing the deficit has made a significant impact. Increasingly the spurious economic arguments that create zero-sum winners and losers are falling away. There is growing consensus that now is the time for immigration reform. The biblical and moral arguments of practicing hospitality, while not imposing undue hardships on citizens, are winning the day. Bipartisan efforts in the Senate and recent public remarks by both Speaker Boehner and President Obama signal that we might be close to a resolution. We are fasting so that all our leaders, Democrats and Republicans, will find the political will to have common-sense immigration reform cross the legislative finish line.

The significance of an Advent fast cannot be overstated. Advent is the season where Christians wait expectantly for Christ. Christ who is the embodiment of, “Peace on Earth and good will to all.” We await Christ who taught us to the parable of the Good Samaritan and the love of neighbor, friend, stranger, and even enemies. Christ who came to earth to manifest the love and grace of God. The Fast for Families, begun by immigrants themselves, is helping to change the winds. We will fast during Advent because we believe the words of Scripture that “prayer availeth much.”

This Advent Season the fast started by immigrants will be offered to the nation, with thousands joining from all over the nation. A group of faith leaders, including Rev. Jim Wallis and myself, will continue the fast. Many faith leaders and pastors will be coming to join us in the tent across from the Capitol to fast and pray. Each day, groups of us will fast and pray in the Capitol Hill tent, welcoming visitors and fellow-fasters who wish to join us. So please join us wherever you are this Advent Season in prayer and fasting. Pray for a vote on immigration reform. Pray for 11 million people and their families. Pray for a miracle.  Prayer and righteous action work.

The Rev. Gabriel Salguero is president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition .

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  • Dan Farrar

    This is a totally sacrilegious article deliberately designed to falsely connect a religious event with a disingenuous political charade. The author tries to connect Advent, that heralds the coming of the Christmas season, with the idea that granting amnesty to millions and millions of low-skilled, foreign born illegal workers is, like Advent, on the verge of becoming a reality. It tries to create sympathy by confusing legal “immigration” with the millions and millions of undocumented foreign nationals who have ignored our laws and smuggled themselves into this country for the sole purpose of stealing American jobs, wealth, prosperity, livelihoods and birthrights and cynically asks you to pray for their continued success. I simply cannot think of any more disgusting way to deceive people than the efforts used by this traitorous author in this deceptively written article.

  • MaryamtheProud

    If fasting is so powerful, then the author and those fasting SHOULD BE DOING IT IN THEIR HOME COUNTRIES, the places they have a right and evan a duty to be.

    “The arguments that economists and business leaders should call for immigration reform on fiscal grounds is gaining ground.”–Yhr only economic benefit of illegal immigration by millions of unskilled uneducated workers is to provide business with lots and lots of cheap labor that taxpayers subsidize–precisely the reason that so many illegal aliens can’t make decent livings in their own countries. “Faith” in the form of the Catholic Church has dominated Latino culture in Latin America, leading them to eschew birth control and to have populations that they can’t afford to support and whose elites won’t support.

  • chopper23

    DUMB!

  • joelwisch2

    1. Religious leaders are not allowed to participate in our political affairs unless they regester as lobby groups in which case they can.. but they pay taxes. Time for the IRS to swing into action in a …constitutional… way. (Oh yeah.. that’s gonna happen… NOT)

    2. The preacher wants those illegal aliens in his pews, but I would warn him now.. they leave the Pews far, far behind them as soon as they obtain legality.

    3. The American People, to the tune of about 70%, do not want the illegal aliens to become citizens, naturalized, or with green cards. They want the law enforced.. and they want the illegal aliens deported as the Democratic Party swore it would do in 1986. (They do spread a lot of wet bull don’t they.)

    4. All these people out there who want the illegal aliens to become citizens or at least legal, are NOT offering to sponsor them which would mean if they decide they need welfare and go for it… the people who sponsor them will be the folks who pay the welfare.

    (Boy howdy.. a good deal for the citizen Taxpayers, and a good deal for the Preachers and Catholic Clergy who cannot obey the law, and who want them in their Pews. Yep.. that one is gonna happen too. NOT.)

  • BigDude1

    Great points. You speak for many people who are sick of this “reform” jibberish.

  • DocD

    Pray for the Senate Immigration Bill to burn in the corrupt hands of those who wrote it without reading it. Pray for the sovereignty, security and adherence to laws in the USA contrary to the prayers of evangelical anarchists and actions of the 30 million illegal aliens they aid and abet in order to destroy our nation!

  • Alberto1

    I am offended by this comparison of Advent to the radical agenda of open border lobbyists. Their “cause” is that the U.S. does not have the right to control who enters and resides within its borders and that those who ignore U.S. sovereignty and law must be rewarded with citizenship so as to further open borders, ethnically based political power, a permanent labor glut to maximize profit, etc. Sorry, America’s conscience is not moved by this self-serving publicity stunt.

  • wmcmyers

    joel,

    No one loses their right to free speech because of their religious faith or leadership.

    As long as religious leaders speak for themselves, and not for the institution of which they are part, they do not impact that institution’s tax status. And even if a particular religious institution supports a political cause, even that does not affect its tax status so long as such activities are a de minimus part of their overall mission.

    And no one need register as a lobbyist unless they are paid to affect legislation on behalf of another. Individuals seeking to advance a cause on their own behalf are CITIZENS not lobbyists.

  • SimonTemplar

    Ever notice how often we read or hear the words, “pathway to citizenship,” or, “immigration reform” with no accompanying explanation of what those words actually mean and no details of what these plans involve?

    There has been a path for immigrants to become citizens in this country since this country was founded. That is why this country has traditionally been called “A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS.” That is why every American citizen reading this can say they are part Irish, Scottish, Polish, African, Arab, German, Hispanic, Jewish, etc.

    Why is there a sudden need for immigration reform? I believe it has more to do with elections and/or corporate greed than anything else.

  • SimonTemplar

    Well, in addition to elections and corporate greed, there are also leftist agendas to stir up controversy and unrest.

  • ScottVA

    The immigration system needs to be, not reformed, but put back to what worked before the Leftists made it a means to change the demographics of the nation to third world Socialism.

    The system is racist in that it favors minorities. The system is onerous, yet allows people who add nothing, indeed detract from, society to become citizens.

    It needs to admit those who want to become Americans — not hyphenated Americans.
    It needs to shut down whenever unemployment reaches six percent.

    It needs to be selective, yet streamlined.

  • ScottVA

    Well said.

  • ScottVA

    Imagine you are at the DMV; you have been sitting there patiently for over an hour holding your number. Slowly, the signs show that your number will be up before long. Then about forty people rush in the doors and up to the counter, insisting that the clerks attend to them immediately.

    Your jaw drops as the clerks comply, rather than directing the mob to the ticket counter.
    You sit there staring at your number, wondering why you followed the rules.

    That’s what illegal aliens do every day.
    Where is the fairness in that?

  • ScottVA

    Here is common-sense comprehensive immigration reform:

    First, put a bounty on ever illegal — say, $500 per head to whoever turns them in.
    Then, give another $500 to the local law enforcement agency that processes each illegal.

    Seize all assets of any illegal alien AND anyone knowingly employing an illegal alien (both business and personal assets are seized).

    Put the illegal on the border with a pick and shovel, building the “fence” for one year.
    Put the employer next to him building the fence for one year.

    Deport the illegal.
    Set the employer free to start over (records expunged).

    Problem solved within a year.

  • Felinis

    I have seen what un-controlled immigration can lead to – in England. Britain has become Asianized with the Pakistani servents taking over the manor-house.

    Put the illegal Latins on busses and send them to Mexico City before it is to late for the U.S. Then load the Indians onto ships and send them back too.