McCain Finds Love in Ohio
I attended an interfaith Immigration Reform vigil and rally on Sunday, May 9th in Delaware, OH. Why tiny Delaware? Because John McCain was speaking at the commencement exercises at Ohio Wesleyan University, and we were asking the Senator to move back to his earlier position of supporting comprehensive immigration reform rather than Arizona-style drastic measures. The crowd – about 100 strong – was also very vocal about its opposition to bringing any kind of Arizona-style law to Ohio.
We carried our “Standing on the Side of Love” banner, and the folks from the Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship brought their congregational banner too. Church World Services helped organize the event, and the attendees included a Methodist bishop, an Ohio Wesleyan University professor, students from the Methodist Theological School, and members of Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Catholic and Unitarian Universalist congregations. It was a really nice mixture of people from a variety of faith traditions, all working together – effectively – in common cause.
Several speakers told their personal stories, including the mother of two-month-old Ariana. Ariana’s father was deported just before Mother’s Day, leaving a devastated young mother and grandparents to care for the newborn – one more example of a family torn apart by our country’s unjust and inconsistent immigration laws.
The great Dorothy Day once said, “People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble case into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions…No one has the right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.”
Those of us gathered here are like those pebbles. We spread justice in all directions when we stand on the side of love with immigrant brothers and sisters, when we stand on the side of love with those who society rejects. With the help of God and one another, let’s take our love out into the world, send our ripples out in all directions, and know that we can make a difference. Amen.
In retrospect, I wasn’t nearly as articulate or as poetic as I would have liked, but I meant what I said. This event confirmed again, for me, that we need one another. If we are serious about changing our society and healing our world, Unitarian Universalists need the United Church of Christ folk and the Methodists and Church World Services and others. And they need us. I believe that the progressive elements in our various faith traditions are called to stand together on the side of love as we work to build the Beloved Community. We are all in this together.
Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is District Executive of the Ohio-Meadville District of the Unitarian Universalist Association.