- (Photo: Jessie Palatucci/United Church of Christ)
A coalition of groups from the religious left held a prayer vigil and "Jericho march" at the Supreme Court this week. The court was hearing arguments in a case on the constitutionality of an Arizona immigration law.
The 48-hour prayer vigil began Monday and ended Wednesday morning, the day of the court hearings, with a "Jericho march" around the Supreme Court building. Over 1,000 people were reportedly participating in the march, which was named after the Battle of Jericho from the book of Joshua in which God brought victory to the Israelites after they marched around Jericho and the city walls fell down.
It will be a "sad day in the life of America" if the Supreme Court upholds Arizona's immigration law, Lisa Sharon Harper told The Christian Post in a Wednesday interview. In particular, Harper was concerned about "the most heinous pieces" of the law "that legalize racial profiling."
Harper is the director of mobilizing for Sojourners, one of the groups that participated in the vigil.
The law in question, Arizona's S.B. 1070, would, among other things, require law enforcement to verify the citizenship status of anyone detained or arrested if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they are in the country illegally, require non-citizens to carry documentation showing they are in the country legally, and make it a state crime to be in the country illegally.
The court is being asked to decide if Arizona has the authority to pass such laws, or if immigration laws are the sole authority of the federal government.
"We have to be concerned about the rule of law," Harper said, "there are 11 million who are here, and got into this country in an illegal manner, but we also have to be realistic" about the nation's immigration problem.
Sojourners also participates in a coalition of religious groups representing a broad spectrum of Christianity that is working for comprehensive immigration reform. But this week's prayer vigil, organized by Interfaith Immigration Coalition, included only liberal groups.
Harper urged Christians to allow their faith to inform their views on immigration.
"As Christians, it is important for us to allow Christ to be part of our thinking, as we think about this issue. It is not enough to think about this in practical terms," Harper said. "On a spiritual level, there is no reason why our thinking should be divorced from the call of Jesus, the call of God, throughout scripture, to make sure that, if no else is protected, that widows, orphans an immigrants are protected within our borders."
Correction: Friday, April 27, 2012:
An article on April 25, 2012 about a prayer vigil at the Supreme Court over Arizona's immigration law incorrectly reported that Rights Working Group organized and was involved in the vigil. Rights Working Group was at the 11am rally, but was not involved in the prayer vigil, Keith Rushing, communication manager of Rights Working Group clarified.