Examining religion and public life
On May 26, 2010, local leaders and immigration reform activists gathered at the U.S. Constitution Center in Philadelphia to rally for the restoration of exclusive federal authority to enforce immigration laws. They were protesting an Arizona-type immigration law recently introduced in the PA State Senate. Rev. Nate Walker of First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia said the following about the rally:
“We gathered today to stand on the side of love with immigrant families. We gathered at the birthplace of our nation to remind elected officials of their duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution. We gathered as people of faith, to not only condemn Arizona’s SB1070, but to make clear that we will not accept any such copycat legislation here in Pennsylvania. We forcefully condemn any legislation that permits the police to harass, detain and discriminate against racial minorities regardless of their citizenship status. This is clear violation of the Constitutional guarantee to due process and equal protection."
"Too much of our public discourse about immigration reform is driven not by love, but by fear, which often scapegoats racial minorities and deem immigrants as somehow less than human. This is not only a violation of all faiths which are centered in love but also a violation of our country’s founding documents. When will our Union learn to be united? No one is illegal; no human being can ever be deemed illegal – an identity, a race cannot be legislated out of existence. We hold these truths to be self-evident. All humans are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights. We gather as part of a national movement to harness the power of love to stop oppression, exclusion, and violence. Let this gathering serve as an invitation to all people to stand on the side of love with immigrant families."
Photo by A Hirotoshi Nishikawa of Rev. Peter Friedrichs