Saturday, October 27, 2007

Strangers in our midst

I'm not shocked when the Minutemen and FAIR have an organizing meeting at the Wichita Public Library. I'm not surprised when college Republicans at Wichita State have a fundraiser with anti-immigrant themes.

But I'm disappointed that two forces which normally play a progressive, humane role on immigration issues have been less than stellar.

First, a Catholic school in Wichita has imposed an English-only policy on its students. Not only in the class room, but even on the play grounds. One the people upset is a social worker for the Wichita school district who has been involved in the diocese's Hispanic ministry program.

Bob Viboril. the Catholic school superintendent is quoted as saying

"As people take it away from being a simple disciplinary action, it tends to harden the position of people who want to make everything into a Hispanic-rights issue or those who want to make everything as an excuse to push Hispanics away...I am not on either side."

Not on either side! Not wanting to side with bigots or too over-zealous defenders of the marginal. One of the strongest points of Catholic social teaching in recent years has been the preferential option for the poor. It's sad Catholic leaders seemingly forget this principle.

Kansas Protestants also disappointed. The planned what looked like an interesting conference on Hispanic immigration, but cancelled it when there wasn't enough registration.

Bishops' Conference on the Common Good

Bishops Scott J. Jones of the Kansas Area of The United Methodist Church, Dean E. Wolfe of The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas and Gerald L. Mansholt of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will host an event examining the issues surrounding Hispanic immigration on October 21 from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. A light supper will be provided, and a free-will offering will be taken.

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