By Jessica Connor
This month, the Advocate is wholeheartedly applauding the bishops of four major denominations in this state for their bold move in the name of love.
Our resident bishop, Mary Virginia Taylor, along with Lutheran, Episcopal and Roman Catholic bishops, showed tremendous, courageous love for our immigrant brothers and sisters through the prayer service they held Dec. 19 outside the federal courthouse in Charleston (see story, page 2).
It s no secret that issues surrounding immigration “ whether we should seal the borders, whether police should have the right to detain people who look like they are immigrants, whether U.S.-born children of immigrants should be granted citizenship “ are hot topics in this already heated election year. South Carolina, as well as the rest of the nation, grows increasingly polarized as one camp trumps the other with so-called facts and figures and points and counterpoints. And caught in the middle are the families “ some here legally, some not “ who are seeking a better life yet have so much to lose. On a daily basis they wonder if they will be detained, deported, separated from their loved ones for months, years “ if not forever.
As we prepare to celebrate Valentine s Day this month, we praise the agape love these bishops are exhibiting in calling for South Carolinians to do as Jesus would have done: to welcome the stranger. It took guts and great wells of compassion for these bishops to stand up in a place so divided over immigration and peacefully demand unity and open hearts.
As Bishop Taylor reminded us during the prayer service, There is no dividing wall of separateness or alienation that cannot be overcome by seeking the mind of Jesus Christ. ¦ Give us eyes to see each other as brothers and sisters with a common desire for our families to flourish.
Does it matter to God where we were born? Will he seal off his kingdom to us because we don t have the proper papers? We think not.
The Advocate prays we can strive to be as open a society on earth as we are promised the Kingdom of Heaven will be. But it starts with us. It starts with the way we treat our neighbors, regardless of their citizenship, residency or lack thereof. It starts with the way we treat our earth, our animals, the least of these and everything else for which we are responsible.
Think about it. Pray about it.
God has already shown us the way.