There has been a lot of loose talk about immigration and who should stay and go. How soon we forget that we are all immigrants to this continent, beginning with those who came undocumented across the Bering Straits back in the cold days of the last ice age. There has been far too much ratcheting up of anger and blind hatred over this issue. The tangible results are dangerous and devastating for those upon whom this anger is turned. I have a friend who works with immigrants and tries to protect them in this hostile environment. The stories this friend tells are dismaying.
Every day, immigrant workers gather outside of stores in particular places in town to be picked up for work. One location is outside of a convenience store operated by a particularly hard hearted fellow. These workers come into his store, purchase coffee and breakfast, and then return to the curb to await work. Once this store owner has gotten all the money he can from these workers (who send the bulk of what they earn back to families in other countries), he calls the police and has them removed from in front of his parking lot, claiming they are a nuisance and disturbing the peace. They miss work.
One pay day, one of the immigrant workers had just cashed his check (losing money to the check cashing fee) and was attacked when he walked from the store. He was badly beaten and his money taken. The police were called. They told the beaten, bleeding man, "We are not paid to protect you." No justice for this worker. The dangerous thieves were left to perform this evil again with impunity, provided they prey only on those who fall outside of police protection.
I can't help but think of Alabama's new, extremely strong immigration laws and one official's response, "But who will cut our lawns, care for our kids, and build our cities?" It reminds me of the Egyptian response in The Ten Commandments to letting the Hebrews go.
In a different topic, two suburban young adults come into the same city to visit a skate park. There are 20 children and teens, ranging in ages from 11 to 18 there playing basketball on the courts beside the park. In the past, these kids would watch the skate park activities and all was well. Today the suburban teens were there alone and things went differently. The kids came over, knocked the teens down, and beat on them until they managed to escape, battered, shaken, and concussed. The police report that in all likelihood nothing can be done.
In the same city, the 99% are currently gathered to protest the inequity of wealth distribution in this nation. Fortunately, they are protected and all is going well for them. I wish them luck in their efforts. These are difficult times and people are angry.
I think we need to remember Paul's definition of love, implement it, and try to turn this thing around.
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,* but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.1 Corinthians 13:1-8