Catholic community should fight for universal liberty

Graham Dano

 I went on a religious retreat with the Illinois Wesleyan Multifaith Ambassadors, the Coordinator of Multifaith Engagement, Stuart Haruyama and Dean and Chaplain Elyse Nelson-Winger. 

Our destination was St. Mary’s Monastery in Rock Island, IL, which is run by nuns from the Order of St. Benedict. 

Contrary to popular belief, these sisters weren’t dressed up in the severe black outfits. 

Nor were they controlling a classroom by rapping people’s knuckles with rulers if they spoke out of turn. 

These nuns were very sweet, and in fact quite progressive for a profession that dates back to 394 AD. 

They preached a version of the Gospel that has kept our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters in fear. The nuns preached love and tolerance for all regardless of sexual orientation and were as pro-choice as Catholics could be. 

They take after the teachings of the new leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who famously said “Who am I to judge?” when asked about his opinions on gay people in the Church.

Why does all this matter in a secularized world? 

We are facing a moment of peril as a nation right now. 

People of faith such as myself are called to serve others, and neither of the two political parties are doing a really good job of that at the moment. 

Republican President Donald J. Trump and his party shut down the government in an attempt to secure funding for a wasteful, xenophobic wall on our southern border. 

While Democrats may pat themselves on the back for stopping the shutdow and the wall, they don’t exactly have a clean record on immigration either as the

last administration deported more undocumented immigrants than any in American history.

We Catholics in the US must stand in solidarity with those refugees from predominantly Muslim countries such as Syria.

Refugees are denied access to this country by the policies of a cruel and reckless administration, which chooses who can and can’t enter this nation of immigrants. 

Additionally, we can’t forget the moral imperative of freeing those held captive by the War on Drugs through wrongful imprisonment, which puts us at the top of the list in terms of prisoners per capita globally. 

To quote Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “And let us not forget the guiding principle of ‘the least among us’ found in Matthew: that we are compelled to care for the hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick and yes—the imprisoned.” 

That sentiment is something we can hopefully all agree on, not only as Catholics but across all worldviews. 

We are at our strongest when we serve not the richest among us, but those who are denied the blessings of liberty that our Constitution describes.