Back to Headlines Frontpage
At a press conference in the Guadalupe Cathedral on March 23, Lutheran Bishop Kevin S Kanouse gave this statement:
Statement bv Bishop Kevin S. Kanouse
on Proposed Immigration Reform Legislation 3-22-06
It has become increasingly apparent as our state and nation have become alarmingly hostile and mean-spirited toward those among us who are undocumented immigrants that as church leaders we are being drawn into the debate. This is appropriate as we are public figures, provided with a unique opportunity to speak unapologetically and with pastoral hearts calling for justice.
In proposed legislation we, and others who help undocumented immigrants
among us, are identified as ones who support "illegals" in our midst,
and thus, under the proposed legislation, we are subject to arrest and prosecution.
In solidarity with those who sojourn among us, who contribute
to the well being of our economy and culture, it is time for us to be willing
to lay ourselves on the line, even if it means jail and prison time.
If our legislature creates laws to arrest us for providing food
for the hungry immigrants among us, then let us be arrested for giving them
the bread of new life at the altars of our churches.
If our legislature creates laws to arrest us for providing welcome
for those undocumented immigrants who work in our restaurants, who pick our
grapes of the field and other crops we consume, then let us be arrested for
offering the blood of Christ at the tables in our congregations.
If our legislature creates laws to arrest us for providing housing
for the homeless immigrants among us, then let us be arrested for welcoming
them into our churches and providing them temporary lodging.
If our legislature creates laws to arrest us for giving a drink
to illegal immigrants among us, then let us be arrested for bringing them the
waters of life in Holy Baptism.
If our legislature creates laws to arrest us for receiving undocumented
immigrants among us, then let us remember that there was no room in the inn
for Mary and Joseph, and our Lord provided exemplary hospitality as the Good
Shepherd and let us be arrested for opening our homes and apartments and shelters
to receive them among us.
If our legislature creates laws to arrest us for praying for undocumented immigrants in our midst, the let us be arrested as we pray together with them and give them comfort, and our legislators discomfort.
Yes, we are called upon to protect our sovereign borders, but we should strive to make them smart borders and to walk in solidarity with those who sojourn among us and who contribute to the well-being of our culture and economy, remembering the immigrant legacy of the Israelites, of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and of our own forefathers and mothers. Let us work together to affirm the values that have formed our great nation in welcoming the stranger among us and sustaining those who seek the gifts of life and freedom.
Maria Mata, Catholic Bishop Grahmann, Lutheran Bishop Kanouse at press conference
After Jobs with Justice made our decision and began petitioning for fairness, we learned that we had boarded a fast-moving train. The Dallas Area Interfaith, the leading umbrella organization of religious groups in North Texas, had already scheduled a press conference favoring fair legislation in Congress. Click here for an account. We joined that press conference with our own Jobs with Justice statement.
For updates about the situation in Congress, check the Catholic web site: http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
Back to Headlines Frontpage