The gifts of understanding, friendship and respect for those whose religion and nationality differs from our own have never been more important than they are right now when the actions of the man in the white house are saying to the world that nobody matters but Americans.
Make no mistake about it. We must extend a helping hand and the gift of caring to the strangers in our midst to let the world know Trump does not speak for all of us. The question is how do we do that and where do we start? Here are a few suggestions.
Pray the Newspaper – Inform yourself. Whether you get your news online, from a local paper, a weekly news magazine or a reputable, unbiased television source, taking time to ask God’s guidance for your response to immigration and faith-based issues is a helpful place to begin.
Influence legislation – You can’t listen to the news and not know that Trump has been trying to eliminate the DACA Program for undocumented young people who were brought to this country as children and to secure funding for an expensive border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Let your senators and representatives know where you stand on those and other immigration issues and how you want them to vote. Be respectful but clear. Congressional staffs do tally responses and you can make a difference in the way they vote.
Take a Trip of Perspective – Nothing can compare to the eye-opening impact of visiting another country to see what conditions there are like, and to understand why people will risk their lives to sneak across our borders so they can feed their families. Trips to learn about other cultures and other religions can change each of us and in the process, change the world.
Start a faith club – A few years ago three young mothers from three faiths – Islam, Christianity, and Judaism – got together to write a picture book for their children that would highlight the connections between their religions. As they began talking they realized they had to confront what divided them before they could understand and respect each other’s point of view. They all kept journals of their discussions which ultimately resulted in their book for adults called, The Faith Club.* The final section of it ends with a list of helpful steps for starting your own faith club.
Understanding, tolerance and friendship are priceless gifts of love that we can extend to our neighbors at home and abroad. Like the Gift of Education, the Gift of Good Health, the Gift of Decent Housing and the Gift of Nutrition, these are magical gifts that keep on giving. They are also gifts we give ourselves as we work together to become the people God would have us be.
Blessings on giving and receiving those gifts,
*The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby , Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner