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Bruce McFarland: Calling for clergy action

Democratic Voices

Posted: June 8, 2010 11:46 a.m.
Updated: June 8, 2010 12:33 p.m.
 

Before I address the clergy of Santa Clarita, I must share that my previously scheduled rant about City Councilman Frank Ferry’s terrorism comments must be postponed because of a more pressing issue — an issue for which I actually applaud Ferry’s stance at a previous council meeting.

That issue is immigration.

Ferry took a big risk at the Jan. 26 City Council meeting, where the Minutemen, tea partiers and disgruntled white folks rose up to support Councilman Bob Kellar’s questionable and allegedly unintentionally racist remarks.

Ferry spoke from his councilman’s seat, but he also spoke from his heart. Granted, sometimes it’s hard to see his heart because of his overactive ego, but I’m pretty sure it exists.

It seemed Ferry tried to make people realize that starting a communitywide witch hunt to root out illegal immigrants might have unintended and undesirable consequences, and that by doing so we might actually be hurting our neighbors and their families, most of whom have a right to be here. He was booed.

Ferry had the morality and conviction to stand for what he believes. He, unlike some of the council members, resisted the temptation to totally succumb to the gathered angry masses. The mayor called for a city study session (in six weeks) to determine how to solve the problem of illegal immigration in Santa Clarita. The council said “Yes, we will.”

Although there is no immigration study session listed on the city calendar, it is my understanding the city still plans to have one. That’s why I’m asking the clergy to get involved.

During the past 23 years, I’ve had numerous opportunities to meet and work with many dedicated, concerned and caring religious leaders in the SCV — men and women who are selfless and care deeply about those less fortunate than themselves. I believe it is the duty of these leaders to convey to their flock a message of compassion about the undocumented children of God who walk among us.

No human being should be forced to live in fear because they or a member of their family is not a citizen of the United States. People should not have to hide from the police, unable to report a crime, because they have yet to attain proper credentials.

Children in school shouldn’t be taunted as illegal because of the color or their skin, an accent or a Hispanic surname.

Perhaps Ferry’s sympathy and understanding of the human condition comes from his work in Santa Clarita schools. I’m sure he’s witnessed the cruelty of youth as one young person casts aspersions toward another.

Members of the clergy, aren’t you in the business of facilitating the saving of souls? Parishioners who carry hate in their heart surely need tending to. Please make it a point to bring up this subject to your flock. I’m sure you will say the right thing.

Please clergy, change the tone in the community from hate, fear and anger to one of respect and understanding. All people should be treated with basic human dignity.

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration does not say that only United States citizens have rights. It says “all men.” And it doesn’t say “only rights allowed by the governor of Arizona.”

It says, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Other than the criminal element that should be imprisoned on both sides of the border, most people who come across our southern border do so for a better life, for them and for their families.

So, once again, Clergy, please tell your flocks that all people should be treated with respect, and ask them to spread the good message to their friends and encourage them to go to the city’s immigration study session and to ask the council to treat all people with respect, restraint, compassion and understanding.

Finally, for those who might like to claim I want open borders and lawlessness: I do not. I support strengthening the borders and making it more difficult for undocumented workers to gain employment.

If you like political discussion, I’d like to invite you hear Joe Messina’s new talk show on KHTS AM-1220. Messina’s invited Scott Wilk and me to be his guests next Monday, June 14, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Bruce McFarland is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Democratic Voices” runs Tuesday in The Signal and rotates among several SCV Democrats.

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