Prayers to end hateful rhetoric

The Baltimore Sun faith blog reports:

A week after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress, faith leaders will gather in Washington on Tuesday to pray for an “end to hateful rhetoric that creates a toxic environment for immigrant families.”

Participating in the vigil outside the Capitol will be Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, who chairs the Committee on Immigration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Bishop Prince Singh of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, N.Y.; Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church and Dale Schwartz of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

Comments (7)

I just read that the House of Representatives just voted to "rebuke" the gentleman from South Carolina. My first thought was that I wish they'd move as decisively to get affordable health care for our people. These gestures do nothing but burn up money and buy cheap publicity. Let's pray that our elected representatives SERVE the people, especially the most vulnerable among us. That would be a good thing to pray for.

I am glad this gathering will be held. I am appalled at the negative attitude toward immigrants that I encounter here in North Carolina, and while I'm sorry Rep. Wilson was rude last week, I think his outburst opened a door into an area of thought that needs to be scrutinized.

I'm pretty sure this is hateful rhetoric towards illegal immigrants as well:

"There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms -- the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."

Does the means (making this denial) justify the ends (passage of a health care bill)?

And while the denial may be technically true, it's not as if the president's plan actively seeks to change the facts on the ground -- which are that illegal immigrants already get care (however demeaning) when they appear at the emergency room. Nor would his plan change the fact that federal dollars end up being spent for that care as a result.

Re: Your Comments John,

I also find it sad that the only way we can pass any health care is to make a point of not offering insurance to those who are trying to scrape out a living here. As it is, we currently pay for them anyway, and it would be cheaper to bring them into the system. Unfortunately, politics gets in the way of doing what's best, and cheapest. And for that matter, what's right, taking care of our fellow man.

Jimmy Carter has spoken out about the racist nature of this outburst here

Quite so. From the rallies I've observed, it seems that much of the rhetoric directed against President Obama is not only about his skin color, but goes hand-in-hand with where they think he was born. The 'birthers' (and those that cynically manipulate them) refuse to see him as anything but foreign born in Kenya, thus ineligible to hold the office of president. In their eyes this makes him the "arch-immigrant" & a counterfeit President. Quite naturally President Obama is now the focus of all the pent-up fear-driven hatred of the 'hordes' of (primarily non-white) immigrants the Right believe are overwhelming "their America".

"The United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops, following the Gospel mandate to care for the "least of these," urges us to look at health care from the bottom up. A particular gauge against which to measure true universal coverage would be how reform treats the immigrants in our midst who contribute their labor and taxes to our nation, but are at risk of being left out of health care reform."
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/09/16/health-care-reform-a-moral-imperative-but-must-cover-immigrants/

Similarly, E. J. Dionne
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/13/AR2009091302247.html
"The president included the line about illegal immigrants because he thought, probably correctly, that for many voters, it would be a deal-breaker if they learned that his health proposals would help those who broke the law to come to this country.
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Yet it should bother us a lot more than it does that alleged plans to kill off seniors and promote abortion are spoken of in almost the same breath as the matter of delivering health care to fellow human beings, however they arrived on our shores."

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