Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

Ethics, Religion, and Father Greg Boyle, SJ

April 15, 2013

SolidarityBusiness ethics students often ask me what’s the connection between ethics and religion, and I stumble to answer, something like all religions share the Golden Rule, which is the heart of ethics. As Hillel said in the 1st century, “All else is commentary.”

And at the heart of the Golden Rule is the ability to see others as like you, not as “other.” Father Greg Boyle, SJ, must be the world champion at seeing others this way. And he does this in the unlikeliest of environments: the Latino gangland of South Los Angeles, where he ministers to/saves/employs/buries—and most of all, loves—gang members and ex-gang members, most of them covered in tattoos and recently released from incarceration. He created Homeboy Industries, which has given thousands on gang members a path to employment and responsibility.

I first heard Greg Boyle (“G-dog” to his “homies”) being interviewed by Krista Tippett on her “On Being” radio show. He’s such a compelling person that I immediately ordered and read his memoir, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. He’s (obviously) religious and I am not, but his steadfast belief that we are all the same before God is an attitude all of us, believers and not, could strive for. He calls his God “not the ‘one false move’ God but the ‘no matter what’ God.”

The book is heartwarming, funny, heartbreaking, and page-turning. Father Boyle is a man of unbelievable courage, love, compassion, and faith. And a heckuva storyteller.


Marco Rubio courageously and compassionately supports DREAM Act II

April 21, 2012

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a darling of the Republican right, so much so that many pundits have tagged him as a front runner for the #2 spot on the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney. If Romney were to choose Rubio, goes the reasoning, it would solidify his position with the party base that has always mistrusted him. And as a bonus, Cuban-American Rubio might help Romney with the growing numbers of Latino voters who have been turned off by his unbending anti-immigrant position.

Immigration is the one issue on which Romney and the right are together: seal the borders and hunt down and deport everybody who isn’t here legally, all 12,000,000 of them.

Rubio showed he’s not one who goes along to get along, in all likelihood forsaking any chance at the VP spot on the Romney ticket. He just announced his sponsorship of a modified version of the DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status in the United States.

Some on the Left have rejected Rubio’s proposal as a betrayal of American values, but chalk that up to hyper-partisanship. Rubio clearly wants to help young people, brought here illegally when they were small children, to stay in America legally and to get an education and a job.

Rubio’s is a story of courage and compassion, and of a too-rare politician who rejects ideology in favor of solving a serious national problem. Hooray.

 


 

Mitt Romney: Liar, liar, pants on fire. Said he didn’t care about poor people, now brushes it off as “I misspoke”

February 3, 2012

Mitt Romney said he’s not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net. And if the safety net needs repair he’ll fix it.

This proves he doesn’t care. If he thinks the safety net is OK he’s out of touch, and his out-of-touchness proves his lack of concern.

The safety net leaves millions of minimum- or low-wage earners without enough to feed, clothe, and shelter their families, leaves them dependent on emergency room visits for any medical care, and—if they’ve been unemployed for a long time—facing termination of their unemployment checks. And candidate Romney, along with nearly unanimous Republican Senators and members of Congress, are reflexively opposed to “fixing” the safety net.

But appearing so heartless can be costly to a Presidential candidate. So Romney tried to lie his way out of it, saying he misspoke. But he didn’t misspeak. Misspeaking is when I call my granddaughter by her sister’s name. Misspeaking is when John McCain tells a Romney gathering that he’s confident that President Obama will cure the nation’s ills. Misspeaking is not saying something, then when challenged explaining what you said. He didn’t misspeak.

The interview that got Romney into this mess went like this:

The candidate told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Wednesday that he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” explaining that he’s concerned about the middle class (more…)

Illegal immigrants: Treat them humanely or make their lives miserable?

April 15, 2010

Ethics can be confusing. Like the case of illegal immigration: how do we decide between compassion and legality? {Disclosure: My ideas may be affected by my family experience. My grandparents came here from Russia and Germany in the 1880s, when there was no such thing as illegal immigration. You just had to be free of TB and you were admitted. Had they not been admitted the whole family would likely have been subjected to fierce anti-Semitism, then murdered in the Holocaust.)

The Arizona House of Representatives this week passed America’s toughest state law against illegal immigration. It makes it a crime to lack proper immigration paperwork and requires police, if they suspect someone is in the country illegally, to determine their immigration status. It also bars people from soliciting work as day laborers. Its author, state Sen. Russell Pearce, explains, “When you make life difficult, most will leave on their own.”

I certainly believe in making life difficult for lawbreakers, but there’s serious collateral damage here. What about the “foreign-looking” people who will be challenged to prove their legal status? Like Graciela Beltran of Tucson, who, the Los Angeles Times reports, was asked for immigration papers while boarding a bus. And the other dark-skinned people who will be “profiled.”

And along with the lawbreakers there are innocents, like the U.S.-born children of illegals, who face having their parents deported. Or who face hunger because their fathers can no longer find day work from the Walmart parking lot.

Americans have contributed to the problem by allowing so many to overstay their visas or to enter illegally. Now it seems to me that we have an obligation to be humane in our treatment.

What’s an ethicist to conclude? Let me know your opinion.