Membership in Congress comes with enormous responsibilities. Some decisions, such as this week’s vote on the DREAM Act, have profound effects on the futures of people Senators and Representatives will never meet or hear about — people like Bernard Pastor, an 18-year-old honor student who came to America at age three and now faces deportation from the country in which he has grown up and thrived, punishment for a violation which he had no say in committing. Simply put, what’s at stake is whether thousands of upstanding, hardworking young people who have grown up in the US will have access to the American dream, or whether they’ll be trapped in limbo by a broken immigration system that punishes them for violations committed by their parents.
When opportunities arise for Congress to make a real difference in the lives of young people like Bernard, the faith community takes action. We rally in communities across the country. We speak out in the media. We write letters and make phone calls to Capitol Hill. We visit Members to plea, to reason, and to confront them when necessary. We lift up the stories of those who will bear the brunt or reap the fruit of the decisions made by Congress, and we pray, fervently and continually.
Sometimes it works. Yesterday was one of those days. To its great credit, the House of Representatives passed the bill by a 216-198 margin. A Senate vote awaits next week, and right now it’s uncertain whether there will be enough votes to break a Republican filibuster and give tens of thousands of young men and women a fair shot at earning legal status and eventual citizenship. The House has lived up to the enormous responsibility of ensuring that our nation’s immigration policy is an implement of opportunity, not oppression, for talented, hardworking young immigrants. It remains to be seen whether the Senate will follow suit. As we wait, the faith community’s intensive efforts to convince the Upper Chamber will continue.
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This afternoon, the New START Treaty got another boost from prominent religious leaders– Rev. Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops joined their voices to support ratification of the treaty. Bishop Hubbard said that “nuclear weapons represent a grave threat to the human family” and nuclear disarmament is “a task our country must take up with renewed moral energy.”
Rev. Anderson drew on long-standing evangelical support for ensuring nuclear weapons currently in existence will never be used, and also cited strong military support for ratification. “As I travel around the country, I see ‘Support Our Troops’ signs everywhere,” Rev. Anderson said. “Despite political conflicts on many issues, our nation’s security has always been a unifying issue that draws Americans together across party lines.”
Faith groups, from mainline Protestant to evangelical Protestant to Jewish to Catholic, have been rallying for START for month. These diverse faith voices are joined by Republican and Democratic former and current diplomats, international security experts, and military leaders, who all agree ratifying the New START treaty is in the best interests of our nation.
Check out Catholic News Service’s story on today’s press call here.
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I blogged a few weeks ago about pundits who attempt to hide their anti-Muslim bigotry with statistics. National security “expert” Joseph Bosco attempted to appear reasonable by assuring readers that he believed 99.9% of Muslims were peaceful, but then explained that left .1% or 1.6 million Muslims who are “killers.”
On his radio program today, Glenn Beck took that smear one step further, casually alleging that 10% of Muslims are terrorists. To run the numbers again, with a global count of 1.6 billion Muslims, Glenn Beck believes there are 160 million Islamic terrorists. That’s equivalent to the populations of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia combined or one terrorist for every two Americans.
To reiterate, actual estimates of the number of terrorists vary from the
hundreds to low thousands mid tens to low hundreds of thousands. Or put another way, about 159,990,000 159,900,000 less than Beck’s estimate.
Via Media Matters. Listen to the full clip below:
UPDATE: The previous estimates this post linked to were for Al-Qaida membership specifically. Estimates of global terrorists are higher, but still over 1,000 times smaller than Beck’s guess.
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