About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Looking for Human Rights in ... Iowa?

St. Pius X Catholic Church in Urbandale, Iowa, seems like a fairly typical prairie church in the middle of Iowa. And as part of the reality of the twenty-first century, the church held an information fair on Catholic Social Justice and immigration in the United States. While Urbandale may be 1.6% Latino (not sure how far you would need to adjust that for undercount), it is snuggled up against Des Moines, Iowa, which has a Latino population of over 10% - almost twice what it had at the census of 2000. Better yet, in a world of double-digit unemployment, Iowa has only 6.8% unemployment. And to add to the complexity, Catholic Charities in Des Moines also takes in refugees from Latin America - the coordinator of the event is an Argentine.

Well, and Iowa has corn - elotes, anyone? Chile and lime on corn has to be better than using it for ethanol, no?

Seriously, though, St. Pius is attempting to accomplish something important: Help Catholics make decisions based on sound facts and faith and not talking heads:
Confusion over the need for immigration reform has polarized the voting public in such a way as to make it impossible for legislators to satisfy their constituents. There are many sound bites out there that attempt to tell us what to think based on a 90 second TV infomercial. St. Pius X is hosting a symposium designed to explain the issues and answer questions about immigration reform. More on the parish.
Sounds like a good goal. By the way, the United States Catholic Conference on Bishops supports immigration reform to promote human rights. These steps include: At least minimum wage for immigrants, family reunification, restoration of the legal process suspended by the 1996 immigration law, and general access to humane treatment and conditions.

Recently the Methodist Women's Group in Ft. Worth started sponsoring events that center on the humane treatment of immigrants to the United States - illegal or no. That this is not just a Catholic Social justice question should be highlighted by the detention of a Mormon missionary in the United States illegaly and scooped up by DHS and detained as he was returning to Utah from a mission for the LDS church in Ohio.

Latin America long ago addressed the question of rights and religion in the way that the United States used to. Perhaps these anectodtal incidents point to a new trend of a return to thoughtful religious practice in the United States regarding human rights.

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