At Christmas time, why aren’t we protecting contemporary holy families?
It has become standard practice among some Christians at this time of year to point out that the Holy Family was also subject to the indignities faced today by the world’s migrants and refugees. According to the the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are currently 68.5 million people who have been displaced from their homes, and 25.4 million of them are refugees, searching for a new country to call their own. A significant percentage of the world’s refugees, including more than 6.3 million from Syria, have fled from somewhere in the Middle East, just like Mary and Joseph did with the Baby Jesus.
But while that analogy between migrants and the Holy Family is well-intentioned, in many ways the realities for migrants today are much worse than the hardship the Holy Family experienced—and not just in developing countries, where 85 percent of the world’s displaced are hosted, but here in the United States.
Migrants within the United States are being rounded up, not only for criminal felonies (as the Trump administration initially suggested would be its priority), but simply for being undocumented. It happens when they drop their kids off at school, at worksites, while visiting their children at a military base, even while awaiting surgery for their 2-month-old infant.
Many children have also been separated from their parents, almost 15,000 as of last week, according to NPR; something baby Jesus did not have the misfortune to experience. The tent camp outside El Paso alone has about 2,800 children. CBS Dallas-Fort Worth noted its population is larger than all but one of our nation’s 204 federal prisons.
Though they certainly knew what it was like to find their lives in danger, the Holy Family would find many of the trials undocumented migrants and refugees are asked to endure today incomprehensible.
“The way I have been treated makes me feel like I don’t matter, like I am trash,” one child told NBC in July.
Though they certainly knew what it was like to find their lives in danger, the Holy Family would find many of the trials undocumented migrants and refugees are asked to endure today incomprehensible. Abraham Joven, director of the Diocese of San Bernardino’s Advocacy & Justice for Immigrants Program, describes going to bond hearings at the Adelanto Detention Facility and seeing detained men and women dressed in jumpsuits. “The communication right from the beginning is that you’re a criminal,” he said, when most have committed no crimes beyond arriving in the United States without documentation.
The court is actually in the detention center; detainees are walked from their beds to the courtroom. There are metal detectors, and no one is allowed to bring anything into the court, “not even a pencil or piece of paper to keep track of anything that happens in there.”
And in contrast to standard U.S. courts of law, detainees are not guaranteed attorneys. They can seek one out, but that presents a catch-22. Getting an attorney requires using the phone, and the detention center phone charges make that nearly impossible.
“The communication right from the beginning is that you’re a criminal,” he said, when most have committed no crimes beyond arriving in the United States without documentation.
One detainee explained the dilemma to Mr. Joven: “I make, like, a dollar a day doing work here and it costs $4 to make a phone call. So you can imagine how much work I have to do just to make a call.” (Detainees cannot receive incoming calls.)
“Imagine trying to fight a case where you don’t have access to documents that might be able to clear you, you have limited access to people outside, and you’re not provided with an attorney,” asked Mr. Joven. “You’re supposed to be presumed innocent; your liberty is not something we toy with in America. At least that’s the ideal.”
At Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services in El Paso, Texas, executive director Melissa Lopez notes further complications in the manner the government is interpreting the law on asylum seekers. Petitioners who are denied asylum in the past would be allowed to gather more evidence for a chance to re-apply; now they immediately face deportation proceedings, Ms. Lopez said.
The result is that organizations like Ms. Lopez’s are forced to be much more cautious about which cases they put forward. That has made the people it serves feel more alone and less understood. “Sometimes people feel like we don’t want to help them, when we’re just trying to be really cautious about putting people in harm’s way. People think we’re callous.”
At the time of the 2016 election, many, not only outside but within the church, insisted that immigrant advocates’ predictions about the impact of policy shifts authored by the Trump administration were vastly overblown, Mr. Joven recalled. “We were dismissed as paranoid, as folks that were maybe a little too close to the situation—which is what I think a lot of people like to tell people of color when they talk about race in America.”
But those pessimistic predictions have proven, if anything, insufficient to the reality; On Dec. 12 the administration announced plans to begin deporting Vietnamese immigrants convicted of crimes, even those who fled to the United States before the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam in 1995, breaking not only longstanding practice but treaty obligations.
When previously those supporters said “give him a chance,” Mr. Joven said, now they assert, “He might have done some bad things, but nobody’s perfect. We have to forgive.”
“But we Catholics have a process for forgiveness,” he said. “It involves repentance and a penance. We’re asking the oppressed to carry the sins that have been given and to provide forgiveness to someone who is unrepentant and has not paid a penance. It’s like we’re holding these powerful figures to a lower standard.”
“For me,” said Ms. Lopez, “working here really is God working in my life.” She came to Migrant and Refugee Services by accident; she was finishing law school and needed a job. “After I started, I found out my dad was a client back when it first began.”
But the barrage of anti-immigrant rhetoric today makes her work harder than it should be. “We’re privileged to be able to do this work and at this time when the need is so critical,” she said. “But it is difficult when you face so much criticism for just trying to help people.”
“I would just appreciate folks to listen,” said Mr. Joven. “Even if they don’t believe me, to maybe just [hold and listen.]
“I had my first daughter last October,” he said. “And I came back after paternity leave and received a phone call from someone looking for legal advice. Her husband had been detained, and because he had been detained they lost their car and they were short on rent. And she was a new mother.”
“Her child was born two months before mine,” Mr. Joven said. He pauses for a moment; I can hear the emotion in his voice.
“There are names,” he said, pushing on. “There are real stories behind the numbers that you see.”
I feel like we need to do more. Every Saturday I volunteer for Catholic services at our local jail (which contracts with INS to also hold detainees). The pain is terrible, the separation from family and friends, the cruelty of being in a jail for immigration, and the terror of prolonged detention if trying to get asylum and people just give up. I want my church to do more to help.
I admire you for your work in jail. Although I'm unable to do so (I live in a nursing home/rehabilitation center) I do contribute to Catholic Relief Services. Also, a good priest who celebrates Mass monthly at the home (unfortunately, he had a heart attack several months ago and won't be able to again celebrate Mass here until the new year) visits and ministers to men in prison in a nearby city. I sometimes contribute to his parish, which is not my own. However (without misstating my charity, such as it is) I also contribute to my parish. Do you work with people in jail for immigration law,violations? That must be difficult, and I commend you. I happen to know a number of immigrants from Africa who work at the nursing home. Some fled from their native countries to escape violence. Years ago, I worked at a group home with disabled men. Several of my co-workers were o from Liberia, who had fled from their nation because of a brutal civil war. Although I don't believe that our nation can accept unlimited numbers of immigrants, I do believe that we can and should welcome more. We are told in the Old Testament, "And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt." ( Deuteronomy 10: 19). For years, I have been a pen pal with a man imprisoned for life for a serious crime. From our correspondence, I 'm convinced that Hubert, a Jehovah's Witness, has reformed his life. I occasionally send him small amounts of cash for his personal needs. He has written to me about how difficult it is to not have frequent enough visits from his wife and children. Ironically, based on my friend's interpretation of the Bible, my friend favors capital punishment; as someone who's pro-life, I oppose capital punishment as well as legal abortion because I don't believe in killing human beings even to solve difficult problems. I also oppose capital punishment because there have been cases where people have been executed although later they were found to have been innocent. I also favor prison reform. Good luck in all your efforts.
ugottabekidding! The Holy Family may have been well heeled and not begging. The Maji’s gifts may have gone a long way.
Of course, I don't know about the financial status of the Holy Family. I don't think that anyone knows for sure. I imagine that they didn't need to beg in order to live. However, I think it's likely that they were of ordinary means, at best. Jesus during His entire ministry certainly seemed most concerned with people in need: the disabled (the "lame," lepers, blind and deaf) , the Sick (the woman with a hemmorage), those possessed by the devil, and the woman caught in adultery. Aside from Luke (who according to tradition was a physician), and Matthew the tax collector, all of the Apostles were fishermen. Jesus taught that "...it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." Finally, according to an article I read on the History website, frankincense and myhrr (which in ancient times were often used for medicine) as well as components of incense used during Jewish religious rites, that both were "once considered priceless." I found that to be interesting , because while I knew gold was valuable, I wasn't aware of the value of frankincense and myhrr. Nevertheless, since. Jesus. as the divine Son of God, taught that it was difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, I doubt that the One who suffered and died on the cross for our sins grew up wealthy.
This is chock full of erroneous assertion and mistaken moralising.
The holy family were citizens of the state in which they dwelt and they were abiding by the secular, imperial law by going to be counted in a census - they were not migrants but a husband and wife late in her pregnancy.
Later, they sought temporary sanctuary in Egypt to escape their son being murdered by their king threatened by his fear of a rival to the throne. They returned. We know nothing of that sojourn in Egypt.
Christians are commissioned to announce and share the good news of salvation through the life, death and resurrection of a saviour. Part of the response is to be grateful and forgiving and to act and preach charity - it is not our business to pronounce laws contrary to the law of the land nor is it our business to carry on about human rights about which there is not one mention in either the old or new testaments.
Do so few fail to see that the multiplication of rights and the insistence of justice enforced by Caesar is a satanic ploy to utterly destroy and undermine Christian charity. Being granted a right provokes no impulse of gratude while being accorded charity at a personal and singular and particular level invokes gratitude and puzzlement, why have you done this for me, what is the source of your inspiration can lead to the sharing of the good news not smug self-satisfaction.
With respect, the Holy Family were refugees. Joseph was told in a dream by an angel to "take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you." ( Matthew: 2: 13). According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, a refugee is "a person forced to flee their country because of violence or persecution." It went on to state that a " refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution... " While we don't know based on the Bible what happened while Jesus, Mary and Joseph were in Egypt, they may have been there either for a relatively brief time period of a lengthy period of time. While nobody knows, if they were in Egypt for a long time period, in my opinion chances are they may well have met with some difficulties, even hostility from the Egyptians. I don't know the time frame, but for some centuries prior to the birth of Christ the Hebrews had been slaves in Egypt. According to the account in the Old Testament, when the pharoh was threatening and persecuting the Hebrews, God sent plagues upon the people of Egypt. The last one was the death of the first born. God instructed Moses to tell his fellow Hebrews to put the blood of a lamb on their houseposts, to save their children. The first born of the Egyptians were killed. Although from my reading regarding Passover, these events took place about 1300 B. C. (Of course, one must have the faith of a Jew or Christian to believe the account in Exodus). The point I'm making (I apologize for the length of my post) is that even many centuries after the freeing of the Jews from slavery and the killing of newborn Egyptian children, the Holy Family, being Jews, may have been seen as undesirable, even potentially "dangerous" people from another country.
You then assert that it's "not our business to pronounce laws contrary to the laws of the land." First, since we Catholics are bound to obey the just laws of our democracy , we can work to change laws that we seem to be unjust. Many Americans believe that the immigration policies of President Trump (for whom I voted) are in many cases,unjust, and should be changed. I also believe that laws mandating segregation in southern states were unjust and were rightfully changed by civil rights laws. Similarly, I believe that the killing of innocent unborn human beings by abortion is a violation of human rights, and that our laws which allow the violence of legal abortion should be changed. At present, state legislatures can to an extent legally restrict abortion. It would take a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade to allow for more comprehensive anti-abortion laws.
While I agree with you that there shouldn't be an unlimited number of rights, I disagree that the "insistence of justice enforced by Caesar" (the government) is a "satanic ploy" to destroy or undermine Christian charity. I believe that it's possible (and desirable/necessary) for our government to enforce laws to restrict or prohibit behavior that harms people of the common good, as well as provide reasonable assistance to people in need. After all, our government (rightfully, in my view) provides good stamps to people (many of whom are children) to those who would otherwise go hungry. Two more examples (of what could be more examples which I believe are legitimate exercises of our democratic government's rights to pass laws and regulations). Our government mandates a minimum wage to ensure that people who work aren't exploited, as well as laws and regulations regarding health and safety practices in the workplace. Finally the Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides "federal grants to states for supplemental foods, healthcare referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women" and mothers, and to " infants and children up until age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. " I surely believe that people who receive government assistance (and I frankly believe that all Americans, to one degree or another receive benefits from the government) can express their gratitude to their elected officials who favor such programs that benefit them, as well as express personal thanks by a phone call or meeting. People can even express gratitude to government workers (the often criticized bureacrats) who administer such programs.
Tim Donovan---I am very moved by your thoughtful and virtuous observations. Your comments could have come right out of the platform of the Democratic Party, except for abortion.
After reading your views, I was stunned that you voted for Trump. Your comments are so anathema to Trump’s views. I am not judging your vote; I am merely respectfully giving my view. I regret that we Democrats lost you since you are a kind soul.
I am a life-long Democrat (76-year-old grandmother). I feel the Democrats’ policies are much more involved and encompassing of “life” issues than the Republicans, i.e. healthcare, assist the poor, social justice, oppose unjust wars, etc. I believe if we would fully implement many of these policies, the abortion rate would dramatically decease.
A statement by Sister Joan Chittister, Order of St. Benedict, best describes my views. She said,
"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."
Hello, Judith. I very much appreciate your kind words. I'm 56, and as I imagine is true of you, I registered as a Democrat at age 18 and remained a Democrat until I became a registered Independent about 7 years because neither party fully represented my views. (I was only an Independent for about 2 years because I missed voting in party primaries). But I was a registered Democrat for over 25 years. I very reluctantly registered as a Republican about 5 years ago, although as you probably suspect, I agree with most positions typically held by Democrats. From your remarks, I have no doubt that you're a compassionate person, and I will if you don't mind, in a hopefully respectful manner provide my views. I also am not judging you, or how you have presumably voted. Before I begin my remarks at length (I apologize for my inability to be concise, Judith!) you and others may be interested in googling Congressman Chris Smith, a former Democrat as a young man who since 1978 has served as a Republican from New Jersey. If you go to his,biography on the Wikipedia website and read his political positions, I think you'll be impressed that although he has a 100% pro-life/anti-abortion voting record, his voting record mirrors that of most Democrats. To summarize briefly, Smith has high marks from groups that favor gun control, environmental protection, and labor rights. Congressman Smith has also worked in Congress on legislation on behalf of victims of human trafficking, people with autism (I'm a retired Special Education teacher who instructed children with brain damage), and veterans (the executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars called Smith the "best friend of veterans." He also has been outspoken in defending the religious and human rights of religious minorities in various nations. Congressman Smith has sponsored bills to provide government support for adult stem cell research. (Unlike embryonic stem cell research, which I believe is immoral because it kills a young human being, adult stem cell research has been effective in curing some diseases and resulting in the alleviation of some disabilities). Finally, Smith is able to work cooperatively with Democrats. He was ranked as the 17th most bipartisan member of the House during the 114th Congress by the Lugar Center.
If you're patient, I 'll describe my views. I support stringent gun control laws. As an aside, when I checked my late Dad's bank safety deposit box in 1994, I found a handgun inside. I immediately turned it over to my local w department. I oppose capital punishment, and favor strong, reasonable laws and regulations to protect our environment (I occasionally contribute modest sums to the Catholic Climate Covenant). Although I'm not a pacifist, I admire their convictions. I only support war as a last resort after all diplomatic efforts have been exhausted. Civilians must never be targeted, and nuclear weapons. must never be used. As a retired Special Education teacher, I frankly admit that I'm not sure how to accomplish this goal. However, I support a reasonable increase in spending on public education, particularly in at the elementary and high school levels. Although competent teachers should receive a fair salary, I support reasonable merit pay. (I taught at an "approved private school," which is a public school that has disabled students Francis m various local school districts who are unable to provide an appropriate education for the children, up until age 21). I wasn't a union member, and although I support unions, I believe that in education, the emphasis should be on ensuring that funds are primarily geared towards the academic skills/needs of the students. I also support reasonable government assistance to the millions of Americans in need. Among other people, these include people who are disabled, homeless (I occasionally contribute modest sums to a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania homeless shelter for men), veterans, senior citizens, victims of human trafficking (Without falsely overstating my charitable giving, I occasionally contribute modest sums to Dawn's Place in Philadelphia, a shelter for x men victims of human trafficking that provides other as in addition the shelter. I support reasonable increased funding for drug rehabilitation centers, and reasonably increased funding for programs for people who are mentally ill. My brother -in -law's late brother had schizophrenia. Also, my late Aunt Dorothy lived in a state mental health institution from the time she was 15 until her death at about age 70. My family would visit her for many years once a month. Today she would likely live in a group home. However, in the early 1940-s when she was placed in the institution, group homes didn't get exist. I also support a reasonable increase in in foreign aid, for humanitarian purposes and to assist impoverished nations to develop their economies.
There is a minor political party, the American Solidarity Party, which I have contributed modest sums to several times since I read an article in 2016 about them in Our Sunday Visitor. Judith (as well as other readers) you may be interested in going to their website which outlines their platform. The simplest way to describe it is that although the party welcomes members regardless of their faith/religion (or lack thereof) the platform is in line with the consistent ethic of life philosophy. The party is strongly pro-life on abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia, and has a moderate to liberal position on other major issues. I would have been happy to have voted for their candidate for President in 2016_ but in our nation third party candidates (especially those running for President) have almost little chance of success. So, I very reluctantly registered as a , because despite my serious misgivings about President Trump and specifically his policies, I believe that the violence of legal abortion, which kills almost 1 million innocent unborn human beings for any reason up until the time when the unborn infant (or fetus, which means "young one" in latin) is viable. It's _truly a shame that the Democratic platform is so extreme in terms of supporting legal abortion. I live in Pennsylvania, and I was an enthusiastic supporter of the late Governor Bob Casey Sr. I supported Casey by voting for him, financially contributing to his campaign, and distributing literature for him along with members of my county pro-life group. Gov. Casey was strongly pro-life regarding abortion, but was moderate to liberal in terms of most other major political issues. Our state's Abortion Control Act, which was passed by our legislature with strong bipartisan support ( the great majority of Pennsylvania registered voters are registered Denocrats) was challenged in court by Planned Parenthood, and was heard by the U. S. Supreme Court and was decided in June, 1992. (The case was "Casey v. Planned Parenthood" ). The provisions of the state law,we're mostly upheld by the Supreme Court, which primarily resulted in three results. The Court held that each state could pass laws,prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion, requiring parental consent before a minor teen girl could have an abortion (with judicial bypass) and requiring informed consent (providing information about abortion and it's alternatives). Under Governor Casey, a,state program to provide funds for alternative -to-abortion centers was established. Also, our state passed a,law, signed by pro-life Gov. Casey, known as CHIP, which provides comprehensive health insurance for low-income children. It's requirements are follows: the child must be under age 19, a U. S. citizen, U.S. national, or resident alien, a state resident, and uninsured and not eligible for Medical Assistance. I fully support this law. Thanks, Judith if you had the patience to read this lengthy post. I'll end with three final points. You may be interested in this quote from Sister Helen Prejean, who is well-known for working with death row prisioners, and was instrumental in the Church under Pope Francis revising the Catechism so that capital punishment is considered to be immoral under all circumstances (previously as you undoubtedly know, capital punishment was only permitted under rare circumstances, though "bloodless means" we're preferred. Sister also was,the subject of a movie regarding her life some years ago, "Dead Man Walking," starring Susan Sarandon playing her. This quote is from Sister and is from the website of the Consistent Life Network , a,group I have made modest contributions to occasionally (although in all honesty it has,been awhile). Sister Prejean has said: " I stand opposed to killing: war, executions, killing of the old and demented, the killing of children, unborn and born...I believe that all life is sacred and must be protected, especially in the vulnerable stages at tye,beginning of life and at its end. " It's_too bad Sister is,very unlikely to run for President in 2020! I'd vote for her. However, if I remember correctly, priests and religious according to church (canon) law aren't permitted to run for or hold elected office. In any event, her consistent ethic of life principles would undoubtedly make,her unpopular with (almost certainly) a significant majority of Americans. Too bad. Did you read the article about Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who is described as a "Catholic pro-life Democrat." As a former long-time Democrat and very reluctant Republican , I-d be happy to vote for him. I do wish he was more assertively opposed capita capital punishment (he's described as being "circumspect"). Although he makes it a point to say he upports the right to bear arms and talks about owning guns for hunting, he has said that he favors,legal restrictions on guns (although no details were provided). Not only does Bel Edwards have a solid pro-life record on abortion but he also provided Medicaid expansion in Louisiana for a substantial number of people in need. I'm particularly impressed and find it admirable that John Bel Edwards and his wife, Donna, made a difficult decision that to me demonstrates that his pro-life position isn't based on a desire to gain votes statewide in a conservative, Republican states that tended to pass pro-life laws. When his wife Donna was about 20 weeks pregnant, it was discovered that their unborn baby girl had spins bifida. Despite knowing the challenges that such a disabled child would face (as well as he and his wife sharing the challenge) he said that abortion was "never" an option. Also, he favors prison justice reform, as do I as someone who's a pen pal with a man imprisoned for life. Louisiana had the highest incarceration rate in the nation until this year. The number of those in prison fell below the state of Oklahoma 's incarceration rate. This represented a modest improvement. Bel Edwards credits this decline in the number of people incarcerated to the fact that he released some nonviolent offenders early. He noted that the state was able to save $12 million last fiscal year alone. He ended by saying "we're going to reinvest $8 million of that into making sure the people are successful upon reentry " into society. Good for his efforts. I believe in keeping us safe from crime, but I believe that there are some benefits to releasing nonviolent prisoners early, and giving them the tools they will need to function in a productive manner in the life of our nation.
Finally, in another issue that's close to the heart of Pope Francis, human trafficking (which the Pope has described as a "crime against humanity" ) . Gov. Bel Edwards declared January, 2017 anti -" human trafficking prevention month, to encourage positive efforts on behalf of human trafficking victims. He also named people to a board to address this serious problem. According to an article that I recently read, Louisiana is a "hotbed" of human trafficking. FInally, on January 18, 2017, Gov. Bel Edwards and his wife led a delegation from Louisiana to discuss human trafficking prevention in Vatican City. Bel Edwards and his wife Donna met briefly with Pope Francis, who blessed a plaque for a,home in Louisiana run by religious sisters for girls who were caught in the horrendous web of human trafficking. I think Gov. Bel Edwards would be a breath of fresh air in our toxic political environment, as,he has demonstrated both the ability to win in a very conservative state, and has, also shown that he can get legislation supported by his Republican opponents. Such a man who is faithful to his principles, and doesn't like to be pigeonholed as being a " conservative " or "liberal" elected official I believe is unique. However, if he ran for President as a pro-life on abortion candidate who is,moderate to liberal on many other issues, would the Democratic leadership (which is,hardcore in their support for so-called abortion rights) tolerate him as a candidate?
I agree with Robin Vestal’s comments and her efforts to bring relief to human suffering.
I agree with Robin Vestal’s comments and her efforts to bring relief to human suffering.
"“The communication right from the beginning is that you’re a criminal,” he said, when most have committed no crimes beyond arriving in the United States without documentation." Try entering a country in the Middle East without documentation. BTW, has the author offered to allow criminal aliens move intp his house? "And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him." Mark 12-17
With respect, considering that many, if not most countries in the Middle East aren't democracies (I believe that Israel is one of the few democratic governments) I'm not at all convinced that our democracy should follow the legal example of countries such as Iraq, and especially Syria, and most especially Saudi Arabia, which provides no religious freedom whatsoever except for Muslims. I strongly support the right of Israel to exist within secure borders, while not building any more settlements in occupied territory. We should continue our alliance with Israel, and the nation's of the Middle East (who have often been hostile to Israel) must renounce terrorism and acknowledge the right of Israel to exist. Under these conditions I favor the establishment of a Palestinian state. Again, Israel must have secure borders (which undoubtedly would mean the state would be larger than it was when it was founded in 1948). However, in my view Israel should also return some of the territory that it won during various wars).
Would I allow an immigrant who's committed a crime to move in with me? First, as noted in my remark above, I live in a nursing home, so this wouldn't be possible. However, several points. My willingness to allow a criminal to live in my home (when I lived at home) would depend on the crime. Murder of rape? No, I wouldn't allow someone guilty of such crimes to move into my home. However, some years ago, a friend of mine's oldest son with whom I was close (he and his siblings called me "Uncle Tim") went to prison for using illegal drugs. I would have allowed him to live with me. People can and do change. As noted, my friend/pen pal who's serving life imprisonment for a serious crime from our years of correspondence has, as a Jehovah's Witness, changed his life for the better. He is a good man who very much loves his family, and ministers to other men who are prisioners If I again lived at home, I would be willing to have him move in with me. As it is, as he's been married for many years, no doubt he's want to move back home with his wife. My friend's son who was in prison for illegal drug use also changed for the better. He graduated from a noted university with a degree in civil engineering. As a pro-life moderate Republican who for most of my life was a registered Democrat, I still agree with many positions espoused by the Democratic party. Frankly, I primarily became a registered Republican reluctantly only about 5 years ago (I'm now 56) because I couldn't support the party's endorsement of the violence of legal abortion. However, I largely disagree with President Trump (for whom I voted) regarding immigration. Perhaps I'm a single issue voter, but I believe that the deliberate killing of one million innocent unborn human beings each year for any reason up until the time when the unborn infant (or fetus, which means "young one" in latin) is the paramount issue facing our nation today. Other crucial issues in my view include health care reform that provides reasonable care for all Americans, as well as providing reasonable government assistance to the millions of people in need. Among others, these include people who are disabled (I'm a retired Special Education teacher), homeless, senior citizens, veterans, victims of human trafficking, the mentally ill, and people addicted to drugs (whether illegal or legal). I also support stringent gun control laws. When I found a handgun in the bank safety deposit box of my late Dad, I immediately turned it over to my local police department. The final matter that I believe is of crucial importance is protecting our environment.
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