On behalf of Mercy High School San Francisco I feel compelled to comment on the recent Executive Order severely limiting refugee and immigrant entry into the United States. At Mercy we are particularly engaged with issues of immigration as it is one of the enduring and critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy and many within our own community are directly affected.
There are those who think that Mercy and other Catholic schools should remain neutral in the face of politics and the decisions of our government. If neutral really means “silent” or “compliant” this idea must be rejected outright. Our Catholicity and Mercy charism demand that we not be neutral in the face of injustice - it means, among many things, speaking and acting on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, the immigrant, and the refugee. Why? Because Jesus was all of those and more. How we treat the refugee is how we treat Christ himself. Whether we like it or not, there are political implications to the Gospels.
We are proud to be a part of the global community of the Sisters of Mercy who, on January 31st, issued a statement denouncing “as immoral the Trump administration’s Executive Order issued this past week to halt refugee resettlement in the United States…” We echo the Sisters’ claim that “these measures are counter to our Gospel call to ‘love our neighbor’ and ‘welcome the stranger,’ as well as this country’s founding principles and values.”
We are adding the voice of Mercy High School San Francisco to the voices of so many other individuals and institutions who want to support our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters. As Bishop McElroy said in his statement “...the historic identity of the United States as a safe haven for refugees fleeing war and persecution is for American Catholics both a source of justifiable pride and an unswerving religious commitment, even as we recognize that at shameful moments in our national history prejudice, fear and ignorance have led our country to abandon that identity. This week is just such a shameful moment of abandonment for the United States.”
Muslim communities are hit particularly hard by these orders. A new wave of anti-Muslim sentiment threatens both our values and the safety of the American Muslim community. The Sisters of Mercy and their ministries are actively challenging islamophobia and fostering solidarity with Muslim communities across the country. We at Mercy High School San Francisco pledge to do the same. To start, this morning we participated in the National Day of Solidarity with American Muslims by praying as a community for our Muslim brothers and sisters and asking God for the courage to act in solidarity with them as siblings with the same father in faith, Abraham.
Let it be stated unequivocally and fearlessly: Mercy High School San Francisco stands with our fellow human beings who are immigrants and refugees, no matter their religious identity. Their humanity trumps their legal status; the demands of the Gospel of Jesus trump the demands of citizenship. Every member of our community must know that they are safe and protected. Those who are in our larger community of San Francisco and the Bay Area who are afraid should know that they have an ally in Mercy. We see you. We hear you. We are with you. You are not alone.
Scott L. McLarty
Head of School
Mercy High School San Francisco
Photo Credit: SFO #noban Protest -Jan 29, 2016 by Kenneth Lu. Licensed under CC BY 2.0