Unto the Least of These…


Our church provided a screening of the movie “9500 Liberty” after services today.  The movie stirred up many deep feelings lying dormant within me.  I found myself bouncing back and forth with emotion between tears of sadness and fits of rage.  9500 Liberty documents the struggle a Northern Virginia community has trying to introduce legislation making it mandatory that law enforcement stop and check the credentials of all people who may be suspected of being undocumented aliens in the community.  Very few will argue the country has a real problem with immigration, and reforms need to be addressed, but ideas like these attempted in Virginia are nothing short of cruel.

The proud constitutionalists answered this concern by loudly thumping their oversized chests demanding these Hispanic families were the root cause of all that troubled this once fine community. (Does that theme reflect a certain European country and its solution?) Leaders trumped up various problems these innocent and vulnerable folks supposedly created, not limited to the reason 9/11 actually happened.  (A collective head scratch took place after that remark)  These elected leaders used every fear tactic imaginable to force chaos upon an unsuspecting group of otherwise normal people.  When individuals react to fear and are driven by raw emotion, count reason and facts as the greatest losers in the discussion and this case was no different.  If leaders actually want to force a people to do something awful, something unimaginable, something unconscionable, all they need to do is create panic in the streets and let the collective tension release its ugly head and spew out on society.  Do we not learn anything from history?

After the muck was scraped away and facts were finally allowed to see the light of day, the community came together and acknowledged the equality which we all share and the horror of such legislation was eventually defeated.  Thank God.

A little known fact about this same effort that lives currently on steroids in the hot desert of Arizona is the reason this all started, at least in Arizona.  MONEY!  The for-profit prison system needed to increase revenues and commissioned an organization to start using the most vulnerable in society as a scapegoat to stir up fear and create a cash cow windfall for the prison system of Arizona.  God Bless American and God Bless capitalism.

As I left the church building I saw children of various ages and nationalities playing together laughing and celebrating the innocence of childhood.  The Hispanic kids smiled like the other kids, ran and skipped the same and probably dream every bit as much about growing up as the Caucasian kids.  How is it when we look at people who are so much like us we see so much that is different?  God doesn’t.

I drove away from church today energized and motivated to work for a project that demands my action and involvement.  I can shout out all the political rhetoric why these undocumented folks should be treated less than others and be part of the loud, angry, uninformed, and easily led to anxiety crowd.  I could easily do that as many others do.  But my conscience won’t allow such a perversion of the good news taught by the master.  This issue is a matter of justice, this is about mercy, this is about helping those most in need who depend on others to step in and help where they are unable.

I’m able.  I’m  willing.

…he has shown me, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of me; but to love justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.  (Micah)

If we are going to use the OT as a hammer, like many do in this discussion, this will be the verse which I choose to ascribe.


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