August 1, 2014
Rev. Kathleen McTigue, director of the UU College of Social Justice, was arrested yesterday at the White House during a protest by faith leaders concerned with deportations and immigration injustice. She was released several hours later. At the interfaith prayer service that preceded the civil disobedience, McTigue delivered the following statement:
We’re gathered together here as people of faith, as well as conviction. We come from many different faiths, so I wouldn’t presume to know all the reasons so many of you have gathered. But I can tell you why the Unitarian Universalists are here.
We’re among those who find our home on the religious spectrum at the place that is most thoroughly grounded in this world, in this one precious and fleeting life. We are the religious descendants of people who believed that the God they knew, the God of pure love, could want only good things for every human being.
So these ancestors of ours rejected the idea that God has a hell waiting for us after death. Instead, they pointed to all of the ways we human beings create hell for each other, right here on earth. Their faith called them to do something about that very real and present hell. Our faith — the same faith — is calling out to us still.
That’s why we are here, as Unitarian Universalists. We see the hell of hopelessness that’s been created for immigrants who are lost in detention, the hell of anguish when family members are torn away from each other, the hell of fear when people are so scared of deportation that they can’t call the police when they need them. We see the suffering and the deaths caused by turning our borders into military zones. And we see the desperation that drives tens of thousands of children to flee their homes with nothing but a little sliver of hope that they might find safety here.
Religion, at its core, is not about our beliefs. Real religion is about what we do with our beliefs. Our faith calls us to act, in every way we can, to ease the suffering of migrants and to demand justice in our immigration laws. So today we call on President Obama — our elected leader — to lead us now in the right direction, and to join us in standing on the side of love. May it be so.