Immigrant rights are civil rights

As members of the Peace & Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we are deeply saddened by the national conversation concerning immigrants and refugees, particularly those coming from south of our nation’s border. They are too often being portrayed as violent criminals who are only interested in coming to the United States to cause harm. However, the vast majority are families fleeing war, violence and poverty in their native lands coming to the United States for a better future.

While our country does have a right to protect its borders, our bishops have taught us that our commitment to the common good and safety cannot rest solely on building a wall.  

“Construction of such a wall will only make migrants, especially vulnerable women and children, more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers. Additionally, the construction of such a wall destabilizes the many vibrant and beautifully connected communities that live peacefully along the border,” the bishops’ Committee on Migration noted in 2017.

“We will look to build bridges between people, bridges that allow us to break down the walls of exclusion and exploitation.”

We believe the national discourse and conversation on immigration should not be driven or limited by the rhetoric about the building of a wall. Rather, it should be a conversation on finding ways to help our sisters and brothers in a fair and just manner, while respecting the dignity of the person.

We pray and work with immigrants every day regardless of their legal status. Our immigrant sisters and brothers are members of God’s family who we sit next to at Mass, who are our next door neighbors, who are our work colleagues and who only want to give all children hope for a better tomorrow. May we continue to pray and walk with one another in respect and hope and to build up the unity within God’s family together.

The Ethical Society of St. Louis (ESSTL) and Ethical Society Mid Rivers (ESMR) will present two public events for visitors, newcomers, friends and anyone interested in learning about Ethical Societies.

The meetings will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, January 27 at Ethical Society Mid Rivers, 260 Brown Road in St. Peters; and 7 p.m. Thursday, January 31 at Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Rd. in Clayton.

“‘How can you have a congregation without god?’ That’s a question many people ask when they first hear about the Ethical Society of St. Louis,” ESSTL Outreach Director James Croft said.

“The truth is simple: we provide all the programs and benefits of a traditional religious congregation, without teaching the tenets or scriptures of any particular religion, and without requiring our members to hold any specific religious beliefs. Our community is a place where all people can come together to ask the biggest questions about life, without reference to god or any religious dogma at all.”

Other common questions include: What do people at Ethical Societies believe? What do the meetings look like? Does someone need to be a member to attend programming? What is humanism?

Ethical Society clergy and members will be present to answer these and other questions. Both events are free and open to the public. All are welcome.

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