Is this really the best that we can do?

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

We’ve encouraged you to call your representatives to vote NO on two bills: The Securing America’s Future Act (also called the Goodlatte bill) and the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 (the Paul Ryan Compromise bill).  Here’s why:

  • Neither bills were crafted by or have bipartisan support.
  • Both make cuts to legal immigration by eliminating the diversity visa lottery and some forms of family-based immigration.
    • The Compromise Bill would end immigration of adult children and siblings of US citizens and would eliminate the diversity visa for immigrants from countries that don’t typically send many people to the US.
    • The Goodlatte bill would ultimately cut overall legal immigration by 25%, eliminating the diversity visa lottery and most family-based immigration. It would expand employer-based green cards by fewer than 50,000 a year.
  • Both significantly tighten asylum standards, making it easier for the government to detain and deport asylum seekers. (Attorney General Sessions recently decided that domestic and gang violence were not adequate reasons to seek asylum.) It allows ICE to detain parents and their children indefinitely.
  • Neither bill offers a satisfactory solution for Dreamers.
    • The Border Security Act creates a new form of legal status, called conditional nonimmigrant status, for DACA recipients and immigrants eligible for DACA. It is a six-year renewable option that can be renewed. This bill would allow DACA recipients to apply for green cards, making them eligible for citizenship after three to five years. The trouble is, they won’t be guaranteed to actually get green cards but will be given points based on English-language proficiency, military service, and employment.
    • The Securing American’s Future Act has no provisions for addressing current DACA recipients.
  • The Compromise bill has the promise of $25 billion for the wall that is tied to the issuance of merit-based visas. It’s a kind of immigrant blackmail.
  • Neither bills address the current situation of the separation of children from their parents, a policy being implemented by the administration.

So, if you haven’t called your representatives yet, please do.  The vote may come as early as Thursday.

Sr. Shawn Fitzpatrick, Staff Member Gaye Reissland, and Sr. Barb Kane stand for immigrants in Columbus.
Dominican Sisters of Peace Barbara Catalano (right), Marilyn Mihalic, (lower right) Daniel Weakland, and Alicia Alvarado join the “Families belong Together” rally in Akron.

 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

What Manner of Love Does your God Prescribe?

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I wonder how many people were as incensed as I was when hearing U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III use the Bible to defend ripping apart families — arresting parents and placing children in internment camps (oops, I mean “detention centers”).

I wonder if my exasperation is similar to that of my Muslim friends who are often frustrated by the misrepresentation of their sacred book.

I am sick and tired of, dare I say, Christian extremists, trying to justify their oppressive views with biblical scripture (taken out of context). I’m no theologian (and apparently neither is Jeff Sessions), but the last time I checked, Christians were commanded to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

What manner of love abuses asylum seekers (who, by the way, have a right to come here), traumatizes children, and degrades human beings?

Everything within me rejects the attorney general’s spiritual arrogance and dangerously misguided and perverted interpretation of biblical scripture as justification for the inhuman treatment of immigrants.

I would like to draw attention to an alternative interpretation of Paul’s message via “Paul’s Letter to American Christians,” delivered by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1956 at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Rev. King described the basis of his sermon as what he imagined the Apostle Paul would write to Christians in America at that time:

“… American Christians, I must say to you as I said to the Roman Christians years ago, ‘Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Or, as I said to the Philippian Christians, ‘Ye are a colony of heaven.’ This means that although you live in the colony of time, your ultimate allegiance is to the empire of eternity. You have a dual citizenry. You live both in time and eternity; both in heaven and earth. Therefore, your ultimate allegiance is not to the government, not to the state, not to nation, not to any man-made institution. The Christian owes his ultimate allegiance to God, and if any earthly institution conflicts with God’s will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it. You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.”

https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/publications/knock-midnight-inspiration-great-sermons-reverend-martin-luther-king-jr-1

As a Christian, I adhere to a just and loving God. I stand against the inhuman and unjust treatment of any human being.

Posted in Associate Blog

Poetry as Prayer

Have you ever written a prayer poem to God?

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

In my teens and young adult years, I found writing poetry to be an effective way of expressing my thoughts and feelings. Words that I found difficult to express aloud flowed easily and freely when pen and paper were my writing tools. Now, my medium for writing and expressing myself is through these once-a-month blogs, using a wordprocessing software program instead to capture my thoughts, and sometimes applying graphics to spruce up a piece.

I think the need to express oneself is important to our well-being and to our soul. We may find that writing or music, art, dancing, acting, or engaging in a hobby empowers us to express who we are. Writing in a journal or writing in a quiet place, for example, are ways that can help us hear and discern how God is speaking to us.

Sometimes we can have a profound experience with God when we engage in the expressive arts. As I look back on my early years of poetry writing, I can see that God was present in these moments when I was searching and discovering what life was about.

At various times throughout my life, poetry served as a form of prayer for me. Poetry became a way to connect with the divine spirit in me and for God to speak to me. One such poem, entitled “Let Me Be With You” that emerged where I believe God was speaking to me is shared below with the hope that perhaps its message enfolds you in God’s caressing care.

Let me fill your emptiness.
Let me heal your brokenness.
Let me nourish you and console you.
Let me speak to your heart and give you peace.
You need not always search deeply for me.
Sometimes I am a quiet whisper.
Sometimes I am a gentle breeze upon your cheek.
Sometimes I am in the silence or in the thunder.

But always I am with you and for you.

Come to me and let me love you.
Come to me and rest from your busyness.
Come to me and just be
So I can embrace you in my endless love.

How is God speaking to you? Is God calling you to religious life? Come and explore God’s love in our community and get to know more about how you might serve God as a Dominican Sister of Peace. Our next Come and See weekend is September 7-9, 2018 and is being held in St. Catharine, KY.

Check out this Come and See Flyer for more details and for registration information. We’d love to have you join us!

Posted in God Calling?, News

The Sacraments of Summer

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

“Green is the season after Pentecost. The Holy Ghost in an abstracted space/ spreads out the languid summer of his peace,/ unrolls his hot July./ O leaves of love, O chlorophyll of grace.” Jessica Powers

I was sitting in the river….and all afternoon I listened to the voice of the river talking./ Whenever the water struck the stone it had something to say,/ and the water itself, and even the mosses trailing under the water./ And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me what they were saying./ Said the river: I am part of holiness./ And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered the moss beneath the water.”    Mary Oliver, “Evidence”

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is./ I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down/into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,/how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day/.… /Tell me, what is it you plan to do /with your one wild and precious life?    Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day.                                                                   

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” writes Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning chimes in: “Earth’s crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God.

Summer glows and grows with the glory of God. It preaches to us of life amazing and tenacious, fertile and fruitful.  You hear it singing in the bird songs of morning, see the pink edges of clouds, the golden shimmer of early sun wobbling toward you over the water, the profuse growth and blossoming of petunias and zinnias and roses, herbs and tomatoes and the tendrils reaching out as the zucchini stealthily captures more ground. Hummingbirds and butterflies. Tiger lilies and Queen Ann’s Lace in weedy plots where fields meet roads. All is holy, calling us to surprise and delight, to a moment’s contemplation of all that “dearest freshness deep-down things” (Hopkins) where God’s ongoing, unfolding creation celebrates seasons present and promised.

Love lives and speaks in bright bits and subtle tones and dangles its green to be noticed. Notice.  Let the small sacraments stir your soul in brief encounters of graced creation, so easily lost in all the noise, the troubles, the constant searing, blearing, smearing (Hopkins) that human progress and fractiousness and technological too-muchness can bring.  See, hear, taste God’s peace and promise of a blossoming beyond our imagining.  And with e.e.cummings, thank God “for most this amazing day” and “for everything which is infinite which is natural which is yes.”

Posted in News, Weekly Word

Prayers for Peace

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

My congratulation to Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim who met and signed an agreement today to establish new U.S./North Korean relations intended to build peace and prosperity. North Korea “commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”   Given Mr. Kim’s demonstrations of nuclear power in the past year, finding a way to bring peace would benefit not just the Korean Peninsula but the entire world.  Mr. Kim is a third generation dictator who has built a nuclear program and a modern city for three million chosen few while the remaining 22 million citizens struggle to find food.  He, his father, and grandfather before him have a history of not fulfilling their promises regarding peace making and reducing their nuclear weapons. Let us pray that this will prove wrong in this situation.

I don’t really want to be skeptical but Mr. Trump has a record of pulling the United States out of all recent treaties including the Paris Accord, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership, and the Iran Nuclear Agreement. At other times, he has agreed to participate in actions and then immediately pulls out of them. This doesn’t seem to be a platform from which trust can evolve. Let us pray that this will prove wrong in this situation.

Both leaders have called each other names and brandished the sticks that they bring to the table.  North Korea says it has nuclear weapons capable of reaching mainland United States.  The U.S. uses trade sanctions and a threat of cutting off all trade with North Korea.  These sticks are huge and impact millions of people. Let us pray that these sticks will not be used in the future.

There have been multiple attempts by the U.S. and the international community to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear development.  Each time, the efforts have collapsed. The latest attempt was in 2003 when the U.S. and North Korea joined with China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea when North Korea pledged to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs” and rejoin the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty).  In the end, North Korea pulled out of the treaty. Let us pray that this will be wrong in this situation.

For the families of military lost in the Korean War, the agreement did commit to recovering POW/MIA remains and repatriation those already identified.  This is wonderful news.  Let us pray in gratitude that this will happen swiftly.

Let us pray that these efforts will also lead to an official end to the Korean War which ended in 1953 with an armistice agreement but not a peace settlement and the reunification of the country.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog