Blessed are the lawyer flash mobs

We live in world where where the most powerful nation on earth elected a man who succeeded and rose to the top at the expense of others…who deplores and despises the very people  Christians are called upon to give special place and favor.

To show just how anti-Christian Donald Trump is, Michael Stark juxtaposes Jesus’ beatitudes and real quotes from Donald Trump.

Jesus said, Blessed are the meek…                                                                                                              

Trump said “My life has been about winning.  When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling. I always get even. My life has not been about losing.”

Jesus said, Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.              

Trump said,  “I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win..they’re going back.” And he made good on his promise by signing an executive order banning all refugees from that war ravaged land.

But the focus of Jesus’ ministry is not not the King Herods of this world…

God chooses to be on the side of the weak, the forgotten, the despised, and the justice seekers pleading their case–like the “Lawyer flash mobs” at airports trying to get the unknown number of visa and green-card holders being unlawfully detained at airports released.


I like to imagine that if Jesus were to update his Sermon on the Mount with  Some Modern Beatitudes, he would say…

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 

….blessed are the volunteer lawyers who are working pro-bono preparing habeas corpus petitions for detainees at American airports and the thousands of men and women who inspired by their  better angels got in their cars  or hopped on a train and rallied and stood outside and shouted “Let them in!” Blessed are the journalists who search for the truth and write it and help the public separate fact from fiction. Blessed are the artists and poets and actors throughout the world who are arrested and jailed for speaking truth to power.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

You can follow the volunteer airport lawyers on twitter by subscribing to this list . You can search for the hashtag #helpthelawyers .

Also, you can read a lovely first person account, “My Day Volunteering with @OrdLawyersHQ” 

And then there are the refugee detainees right here in our own city…

Blessed are the forgotten ones hungering and thirsting for justice…the asylum seekers held in detention in the basement of the Vancouver Airport–where neither visitors or lawyers are permitted entry…which immigration lawyer Phil Rankin called “the most isolated place in Canada.”




Cutting Red Tape – What’s Good for business, is Good for Refugees, too!

Refugees Are Human Beings

My local newspaper the Delta Optimist ran a front page story on Prime Minister Harper’s recent campaign stop in Ladner. In light of the refugee crisis in which more than 19 million people have been forced to flee their home countries because of war or persecution, it reported him stating that the Conservatives had already pledged greater refugee assistance.

This is simply an empty election promise.

Here are the facts behind Harper’s pledge.

Every year, the government estimates how many immigrants it plans to take in the year ahead. The quota has been stuck at between 11,000 and 14,000 refugees selected from abroad (not just Syria)  annually for years, including 2015. What Harper promised if elected is to take in 10,000 more refugees from Iraq and Syria over four years. While this number sounds impressive at first sight, as the UN refugee agency’s top representative in Canada Furio De Angelis noted, this number is actually within the annual quota numbers already established before the current crisis erupted.

The Optimist story highlighted how the Conservatives take pride in freeing entrepreneurs from the burden of red tape. The current government should take the same pride in coming to the aid of refugee children and their parents and cut the red tape involved in sponsoring Syrian refugees.

It needs to take decisive action now and commit to a minimum of 10,000 Syrians to be brought to Canada immediately.

Photo credit: Freedom House on Flickr


Repression Redux

I recently learned of the plight of Jose Figueroa, a refugee from the civil war in El Salvador and a long-time resident of Langley, BC, who has come to the difficult decision to claim sanctuary inside the safety of the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church.

Jose, a father of three children–who all have Canadian citizenship–is fighting an unjust deportation order. Langley M.P. Mark Warawa could not explain why his government would deport Jose based on his past affiliation with a group which is now the democratically elected government of El Salvador. Warwara stated:

Under these same immigration policies, Nelson Mandela would not be accepted into our country either.

You can read the full story here.

Please support Jose and his family in their claim for justice by:

1) Following @wearejose on Twitter or “liking” the *We Are Jose* campaign on Facebook.

2) Sign the petition to the Hon. Steven Blaney to reverse the deportation order to Jose Figueroa.

3) Visit the We Are Jose website.

4) Learn more by reading the editorial by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group here.