A recurring triad in the Christian scriptures is the mandate from God to show appropriate concern for widows, orphans and aliens. In recent years the challenge of caring for the "stranger within our gates" has escalated to new levels of confusion and frustration because our current immigration laws leave millions of people with no practical way to come out of the darkness. Our current immigration laws also leave our border states and cities in a condition of chaos and uncertainty. Many families in our country live with the overwhelming weight of fear every single day. They wonder if they will be deported and separated from their families, perhaps forever. I believe they must be shown a way to enter the mainstream of American life so that they can become fully contributing members of our society.
Our church started a Spanish-speaking ministry several years ago. It has flourished and became one of the defining ministries at Willow Creek. The joy that our Latin American congregants have infused into our congregation is palpable. However, when we learned that many were undocumented, we began to ask why. Again and again we heard stories about the economic hopelessness that first drew them to this great country and we heard about their current daily dilemma living in an almost surreal state of limbo.
But today is a day of hope. Today an earnest bi-partisan conversation begins that those of us in the Faith Community have been praying about for many years. We urge the members of Congress to consider all parties who are affected by this escalating issue. We ask you to act with a spirit of urgency and unity to chart a tough but fair path for the millions of people who entered our great nation with the same kind of dream my grandparents did a century ago.
Mr. President we thank you for your courageous leadership in this challenging initiative. We want you to know we hold you in our prayers.
And now it is my privilege to introduce to you the 44th President of the United States…Barack Obama.