Open letter to Latino Episcopalians in Arizona

Bishop Kirk Smith writes to the Spanish-speaking Episcopalians of Arizona.

My Dear Spanish-Speaking Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today is a sad day in the struggle to see all God’s people treated in a humane and compassionate manner. I had hoped that our Governor and law-makers would listen to their consciences and not be swayed by the voices of bigotry and racism. With the Governor’s signing of SB 1070, it seems that for now the advocates of fear and hatred have won over those of charity and love. Arizona claims to be a Golden Rule State. We have not lived up to that claim.

I know that the passage of this law is deeply troubling to many of you, especially those of undocumented status. I know that many of you fear for your jobs, your families, and your future in this state and in this country.

You are not the only ones affected. According to this law, anyone giving food or even water to an undocumented person in need could be subject to arrest. What would Jesus say?

I am writing to encourage you not to loose heart.

First, there is no need for panic. This law does not take effect for 90 days. During that time there will be many court challenges, including those coming from the federal government. The law might be tied up for months or years in litigation, and I believe that there is a good possibility it will never go into effect.

In the meantime, know that the majority of us in the Episcopal Church, and in many other churches and faith communities, stand with you in support and solidarity. We will continue to work as hard as we can to defeat this law and to work toward just and fair laws that protect the rights of all human beings. We all know that our immigration system is broken, but it cannot be fixed by scape-goating the most vulnerable of those among us.

Finally, know that God is with you in this struggle. Jesus always stands with the oppressed. You therefore have our concern, our prayers, and our support.



En Espanol:

Mis estimados hermanos y hermanas en Cristo de habla hispana:

Hoy fue un día muy triste en la lucha de que todo el pueblo de Dios fuera tratado en una manera humana y compasiva. Yo tenía esperanzas que nuestra Gobernadora y los legisladores hubieran escuchado sus conciencias y no se dejaran llevar por las voces del racismo. Al firmar el proyecto de ley HB 1070, puede parecer que los partidarios del miedo y el odio han ganado sobre los de la caridad y el amor. Arizona dice que es estado de La Regla de Oro. Este día no lo refleja.

Yo se que el pasar esta ley perturba profundamente a muchos de ustedes, especialmente aquellos sin documentación. Yo se que muchos de ustedes temen por sus trabajos, sus familias, y su futuro en este estado y en este país.

Ustedes no son los únicos que han sido afectados. Según esta ley, cualquier cristiano que le de comida o agua a una persona necesitada pero sin documentación también puede ser arrestada. ¿Qué diría Jesús sobre esto?

Les estoy escribiendo para animarlos y pedirles que no pierdan la fe.

Primeramente, no hay necesidad de ser presos del pánico. Esta ley no tomará efecto por 90 días. Durante ese tiempo habrá muchos desafíos legales en contra de ella, incluyendo del gobierno federal. Esta ley puede estar en discusión por muchos meses o años, y yo creo que existe una gran posibilidad que jamás se lleve a cabo.

Por lo tanto, quiero que sepan que la mayoría de nosotros en la Iglesia Episcopal en conjunto con otras iglesias y comunidades de fe, están a su lado en solidaridad. Continuaremos trabajando fuertemente para derrotar esta ley y trabajar por la justicia y por leyes mas humanas que protegen los derechos de todo ser humano. Todos sabemos que nuestro sistema de inmigración está quebrado, pero no lo podemos componer en las espaldas de los mas vulnerables entre nosotros.

Finalmente, quiero que sepan que Dios está siempre con ustedes en esta lucha. Jesús siempre está al lado de los pobres y los oprimidos. Ustedes están en nuestras preocupaciones y oraciones, y tienen nuestro apoyo.


Obispo Kirk Smith


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  1. Doug

    I am proud of my Bishop for taking a stand on this issue. I hope that this law never takes affect, as he says it may not. It causes much fear, as he says for undocumented people, but also for American citizens, who just happen to be of Mexican origin. Unbelieveable!

    Doug Spurlin

  2. Paul Woodrum

    It is comforting the Governor of Arizona has promised there will be no racial profiling because she doesn’t know what one would look for and it would be illegal in enforcing this bill that seems to require just that.

    Can’t remember where I put my birth certificate. Guess I’ll have to pass on the Grand Canyon.

  3. tgflux

    I am writing to encourage you not to loose heart.

    Please tell me it wasn’t the *bishop* who committed, in English, the execrable “loose for lose” error, so confoundedly prevalent on the intertoobs?

    JC Fisher

    …who’s been kvetching online about this one for 15 years now! >:-/

  4. I am appalled that such a bill would be signed into law, and I am deeply grateful to all those who stand and speak out against what this legislation represents.

    Arizona also has enacted a law that allows the carrying of concealed firearms with registration. The day that bill was signed was a sad one. The more recent legislation on immigration even more so. It must not be allowed to stand.

    May everyone boycott Arizona.

    ed. please sign your name next time. Thx

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