Last week, Claremont School of Theology alumni/ae, clergy, and students participated in the Interfaith Day of Prophetic Action on Maundy Thursday, April 13, 2017. Fr. Francisco Garcia, CST ’13, helped organize the event and, in this statement, explained why he felt it important to risk being arrested. Below, two of his fellow alums shared their reasons with CST as well.
Kathleen McGregor, CST ’12:
I am participating in this action as a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate. My religion enumerates a number of principles that serve as the foundation my work in the world: Each person has inherent worth and dignity; I have the right and responsibility of conscience; Equity and compassion are integral to justice; I am as inextricably linked to undocumented immigrants as to every other human in the web of life. My Zen Buddhist practice deepens belief in the interconnectedness of all life, and my responsibility to relieve suffering.
Two weekends ago, I gathered with 250 other Unitarian Universalists in Tucson, and at the border in Nogales, Arizona. Hearing the stories from individuals who suffered in their country of origin, through the hostile desert, at the hands of border patrol, in federal and private detention centers, moved me to action. Seeing Romulo and other fathers and mothers ripped away most cruelly from, and often in front of, their families, creates even more suffering. As a fourth-generation Mexican American with a European name and light(er) complexion, I have more privilege and thus responsibility to commit civil disobedience for the freedom of my undocumented siblings.
Christopher French, current CST MA student, and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) staff member:
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
– Matthew 27:37-40
My neighbors are being rounded up and locked in detention cells. They are afraid to leave their homes, and young children in our community wonder if their parents will be waiting when they return from school. The first DREAMer, 23-year-old Juan Mantel Motes, has already been deported to a country he hasn’t seen since he was nine years old. So, what does it look like to love these neighbors as myself? What would I want someone to do for me if I were in their situation? Shutting down streets is only the beginning.
God’s radical love, Jesus’ life and resurrection, are powerful and illuminating responses to the domination of empire, and to the culture of death and unjust laws that surround us. Jesus put no caveats on loving my neighbor.
And I could not call myself a follower of Christ if I did not do everything I could, including civil disobedience, to point out this ongoing injustice.