What does it mean to be people of faith in an unjust world?
Sundays after worship, boardroom, January 19 – February 9, 90 minutes each week
In this four-week study group, we take an unflinching look at current U.S. immigration policies and ask, What does the Lord require of us in this moment in response to this situation? We will weave between scriptural guidance, theological writings on ethics, and case studies of resistance actions grounded in faith imperatives.
This inquiry is not abstract or theoretical: throughout, we will keep the people targeted by our government at the center of our discussion and discernment. We will spend time understanding what those policies are, and time discussing what we are obligated as Christians to do. Our government’s policies have concrete – and horrific – consequences for real people’s lives, and our theological searching will demand answers to the question of how those people’s lives will be impacted by the ideas we are discussing.
Our commitment to this journey is one expression of SPSA’s ongoing anti-racism work. The United States is founded on the racist subjugation of African, African-American, and indigenous people; and white supremacy has shaped immigration policy throughout our history. In the Trump era, it can be seen in the asylum ban and “remain in Mexico” policies that apply only to our southern border, the Muslim ban, and of course Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
Many of us are involved in one or another form of witness against immigration injustice, but our aim in this study is not to focus on solutions or strategy. Rather, it is to strengthen the faith that is the foundation of our actions so that, like a tree with deep roots, we can persevere and withstand the violence of our times. We hope that this “inward” look to our spiritual and theological tradition will help shine a light so we can then discern what action we are called to take.
Resource on immigration policy
Led by Benz Text: 718-314-4432; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
With gratitude for the collaboration of Lea and Carol
WEEK BY WEEK
Week 1 – January 19: Holy Impatience
- Case study: Southern Christian Leadership Conference 1963 campaign in Birmingham
- Scripture: Matthew 21: 12 – 14
- Readings: Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham Jail; Benz, #NeverAgainIsNOW
- Case study background: Eyes on the Prize, part 4 (free registration required)
Week 2 – January 26: No Salvation Without Liberation
- Case study: No More Deaths humanitarian aid to migrants crossing the desert
- Scripture: Mathew 25: 31 – 46
- Case study background: No More Deaths; Scott Warren case; Resource guide on immigration policy
- Theological sources: Gustavo Gutierrez, A Theology of Liberation; Traci West, Disruptive Christian Ethics; Miguel De La Torre, Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins; Obery Hendricks, The Politics of Jesus
Week 3 – February 2: Power and Praxis
- Case study: Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), specifically Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya’s sabotage of the pipeline
- Scripture: Mark 3: 1 – 6
- Case study background: Dakota Access Pipeline Activists Face 110 Years in Prison, Two Years After Confessing Sabotage; video of Reznicek and Montoya explaining their action
- Perspective on the necessity of breaking the law: Benz, Lessons from Jesus and the Flint Sitdown Strikers (available electronically from Benz or Lea); Frances Fox Piven, Challenging Authority
Week 4 – February 9: The Fierce Urgency of Now
- Case study: The Confessing Church in Nazi Germany
- Scripture: Luke 4: 16 – 21
- Case study background: The German Churches and the Nazi State; video on early German Protestant responses to Nazi power; Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer. Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
- Theological sources: Lots and lots of Dietrich Bonhoeffer