Former Colorado governor (and Catholic) Bill Ritter Jr. weighs in at the Denver Post on the recent controversy of a small Colorado non-profit that works with immigrants potentially losing its funding from the USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development because of its membership in a statewide coalition of groups that has taken positions on some LGBT issues.
These are hard times. One in six Americans now live below the official poverty level and more than 46 million of our fellow citizens — almost half of them children — rely on food stamps to make ends meet. Some members of Congress want to slash safety nets for children, the elderly and the sick. Catholic bishops and other Catholic leaders have correctly described themost recent GOP budget proposal as morally indefensible.
With some in Washington determined to play politics with the lives of the poor, it is more important than ever that we keep politics out of the church’s commitment to the most vulnerable. Do we really want more children going to bed hungry, or an immigrant mother denied prenatal care simply because the organization providing the care is associated with another organization that does not meet a conservative litmus test? This makes no sense and undercuts the effectiveness of organizations doing critical work helping struggling families.
It seems to me to be a drastic departure from how we American Catholics try to practice our faith.
Yesterday, as the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law, people of faith capped off 48 hours of prayer with a biblically-inspired “Jericho March” around the Supreme Court. More than 150 participants from diverse faith traditions wore white and marched to the sound of trumpets in silent solidarity with those impacted by anti-immigrant laws.
The concept of a “Jericho March” comes from the Book of Joshua:
The LORD said to Joshua…’You shall march around the city… seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. “It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.” (Joshua 6:1-6)
The faith community has been an omnipresent force in the fight to overturn SB 1070 and similar laws across the country on grounds that it criminalizes faith and impugns human dignity. We’ll soon find out whether the Supreme Court agrees with them.
As the Supreme Court weighs the Department of Justice’s case against Arizona’s discriminatory anti-immigrant law SB 1070, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez has an op-ed in The Washington Post reaffirming the USCCB’s opposition to the law and explaining the moral principles behind their position:
Archbishop Gomez’s letter comes on the heels of the USCCB joining the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and the Presbyterian Church (USA) to submit an amicus curiae brief in the case (over 50 other faith-based groups signed a separate brief as well) and the inclusion of this issue as an example of threats to religious freedom in the bishops’ letter on the subject earlier this month.