|Faith calls us to love neighbors, pastor says|
The Rev. Sonnye Dixon says his faith calls him to pray for his neighbors.
UMNS photos by Mike DuBose.
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
June 1, 2009 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
When President Barack Obama opens the debate on immigration with
Democratic and Republican legislators June 8, the Rev. Sonnye Dixon
will be doing what his faith has taught him: praying for his neighbors.
Dixon, pastor of Hobson United Methodist Church, joined with community,
business and faith leaders at a press conference June 1 to launch a
national campaign to reform immigration for America. Similar press
conferences were held across the country.
“I have been taught by my faith to welcome the stranger and to love my
neighbor even if that neighbor is an enemy,” Dixon said. “I am praying
for that conversation because an epidemic of xenophobia is infecting
The Reform Immigration for America campaign is an effort of 200
national, regional and local organizations representing labor, faith,
education, business and community working for comprehensive immigration
“The June 8 meeting is an extension of Obama’s pledge during the
election campaign,” said Avi Poster, president of the Coalition for
Education on Immigration in Nashville. “Comprehensive immigration
reform is long overdue.”
Remziya Suleyman says,
“America doesn’t want
families torn apart.”
“America doesn’t want families torn apart, it is time for practical and
common sense reform,” said Remziya Suleyman, policy coordinator for the
Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.
Praise for conversation
United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño applauded Obama’s decision to
start the conversation on immigration and work toward reform in 2009.
“As United Methodists, we believe that immigration is a human rights
issue that needs serious attention,” Carcaño said in an April 13
statement thanking Obama for putting immigration reform on his agenda
Carcaño, also the chairwoman of the United Methodist task force on
immigration, said the church stands “firmly in believing that the
inherent value of all immigrants means that all of their civil
liberties should be respected and maintained regardless of their legal
status. We believe, however, that our present immigration policies
violate these basic rights.”
The United Methodist Council of Bishops expressed their commitment to
advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and to stand in
solidarity with “our immigrant neighbors” at the conclusion of its
spring meeting May 13.
“I am praying for success,” Dixon said. “How we deal with reform is how we will be viewed in the world.
“God puts people in our paths so we can learn to love them.”
*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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