Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Trump, the Immigrants, and Us

Statue of Liberty Close Up
Alex.m.haward via Flickr, licensed CC

When word came down last Friday that the United States was issuing a ban against Muslims via President Trump's Executive Order, the Twittersphere and my Facebook Newsfeed went nuts. Condemnation and defenses were going at such a breakneck speed, it was difficult to figure out what was true, what was false, and what was just spin.

But there also seemed to be the swift sword of criticism and rhetorical attacks on anyone who wanted to take a pause before condemning the executive order and the travel ban without getting all of the facts.

This for example, came from one of my relatives. Someone I have known from birth:Screenshot 2017-02-01 13.25.06

In the choice between hate and ignorance I guess I plead ignorant - because I truly didn't know all of the specifics behind the order and all of its repercussions.

I want to understand the truth. I don't want to just back Trump because he was my choice (in the lesser of two evils category). Nor do I want to join every bandwagon against him. So in an effort to understand the issue, I did some research and finally came across this well parsed and thought out article by Dan McLaughlin at the National Review.

So first some facts about what the executive order and American Immigration policy.

  • It is not a permanent ban. It is 120-day halt to admitting refugees.
  • The halt only includes seven countries:  Iraq, Iran, Syria, yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia
  • Does not discriminate between Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any other immigrants. 
  • The Obama administration discriminated against religious minority Christians from Syria admitting only 1/2 of 1% from Syria. 
  • The Obama administration never had an open-borders policy for all refugees from everywhere  and in fact stopped processing refugues from Iraq for six months in 2011.
  • Only three weeks ago, Obama stranded scores of refugees from Cuba in Mexico and Central America.
  • Foreigners do not have a constitutional right to demand entry into the United States or to challenge reasons for refusing them entry.

The risks of radical Islamic terrorisms resulting from a lot of Muslims entering the country as refugees is not 0. 

Mr. McLauglin had many example of attacks from terrorists posing as refugees:
  • The 9/11 plotters were immigrating from the Middle East to German.
  • Tsarnaey brothers  and the Bostom Marathan were children of asylees
  • Time Square bomber was a Pakistanin immigrant
  • Underwer bomber from Nigeria
  • San Bernadino shooter son of Pakistani immigrants
  • Chattanooga shooter from Kuwait
  • Ford Hood shooter from Palestinian immigrants
  • Ohio State stabber from Somalia.
"But efforts to salami-slice the problem into something that looks like a minor or improbable outlier, or to compare this to past waves of immigrants are an insult to the intelligence of the public."

None of my liberal friends on Facebook address this. Not. a. one. And my young friend's dilemma of pushing us all into the either the "hate" or "ignorant" category left out the more pressing "fear."  Fear of an unprovoked, unimagined, and unexpected attack sometime, somewhere in the mall, campus, grocery store, football game, or some big sporting event.

So why these seven countries? Because these countries, include the most refugees and the biggest problem in vetting backgrounds. Hopefully once the vetting process (which is already stringent) is more secure for these coutries and the countries themselves can give more information, the travel ban will come down.

Where Trump failed this time was in the way the order was issued. With a little more heads up and more personnel trained to vet visitors who were already on the way to the United States, this wouldn't have been such a nightmare.

This, shouldn't have happened.

And how embarrassing that we invited this doctor to our country and then denied her entry!

And is there ever really a reason to put a 5-year-old in handcuffs?

5-year-old Boy handcuffed at Dulles

As Mr. McLaughlin said, this was a "public relations amateur  hour, and an unnecessary, unforced error."

A little more notice and training on the ground could have prevented a lot of this.

The executive order explicitly permits consideration for refugee and asylum:
The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked. 

Hopefully we will see that.

The entire McLaughlin essay is worth a read. I printed and highlighted my copy.

His conclusion summed the reality up well:

The American tradition of accepting refugees and asylees from around the world, especially from the clutches of our enemies, is a proud one, and it is a sad thing to see that compromised. But our tradition has never been an unlimited open-door policy, and President Trum's latest moves are not nearly such a dramatic departure from the Obama administration as Trump's liberal critics (or even many of his fans) would have you believe.

At this time more than any, it is important that citizens do their own homework, and look at news from a variety of other sources. My young friend's Facebook post was a wakeup call. At the behest of my friend, I choose to live in the real world of  facts, truth and faith - not hatred, ignorance or fear.

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