Politics, Moderate



Do we have the courage to pray for our political opponents?

Esther J. Cepeda on

CHICAGO -- Most Sundays at our church, "Pastor Leslie" begins service with a welcoming prayer asking for strength to "love our neighbors, all our neighbors." This week, she decided to dump her planned sermon to let the congregation share their ideas about what responsibilities people of faith hold in these times.

"In these times" was deliberately vague. But I was heartened that in addition to naming political polarization and amnesia about the suffering of the poor and homeless amid news of our "booming economy," several members of the nearly all-white congregation despaired about immigration.

The owner of a neighborhood restaurant was beside himself because, out of nowhere, two of his longest-serving employees had their work permits revoked by immigration authorities.

Others noted the general fear in the community -- not just fear that immigrants have, but that all of us have who love and depend on those immigrants.

In that moment, I felt there was nowhere I could go to get away from the daily traumatic burden of carrying grief and worry about what's happening both at the border and in communities all over America.

The news stories bring an unending torrent of pain: There are still so-called "unaccompanied alien children" being held in detention centers in Chicago and across the country as a result of President Trump's zero-tolerance enforcement policy, which separated children from their families so parents could be prosecuted for crossing the border illegally.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still reportedly treating immigrants and their friends and family cruelly and without regard to their humanity.

Last week, an unarmed Hispanic man was shot in the face by ICE agents as he attempted to intervene in an ICE house arrest. According to the victim, the agents attempted to detain his housemate without identifying themselves or explaining on what grounds they were making the arrest.

The Trump administration used the incident to double down on so-called sanctuary cities -- Attorney General William Barr announced lawsuits, the withholding of funds and possible criminal prosecution against cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration detainers.

According to ICE, the target of the arrest was released by the New York City Police Department on charges of possessing forged papers even though he had been deported to Mexico twice and had been convicted of assault in 2011. Basically, the administration blames NYPD and their sanctuary city status for an unarmed bystander getting shot in the face during a federal house raid.


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