In His Name
No, not Jesus. I’m not a bible thumper, by any possible stretch of the imagination. Too many years of Catholic school cured me of that.
In the name of Mike Katz. My friend. My pal. My bridge partner, roommate, bookie and travel buddy. And the son of refugee Jews.
In the name of Mike Katz I condemn the shameful, cowardly, venal action of Donald Trump banning Muslims from immigration from 7 carefully selected countries. (Not the countries where actual terrorists who have attacked the US are from, like Saudi Arabia. Other countries, where he has no private business dealings. But I digress.)
In the name of Mike Katz I condemn the followers of Trump who think this is a good thing, who see all 1.2 billion Muslims as a danger, as “the other’, as inherently evil.
In the name of Mike Katz I condemn the churches that support this racism and religious bigotry. They have forgotten the teachings of Jesus to love one another.
Why Mike? Because in 1939 the MS St. Louis set out from Hamburg Germany with 937 Jewish refugees, headed to Havana. Although they had purchased visas, the refugees were denied entry to Cuba. Then, in an act of cowardice and bigotry that foreshadows today’s actions, they were denied entry to the US. Then Canada.
The ship was eventually forced to return to Antwerp, where the captain, Gustav Schröeder, refused to dock until all the Jews were guaranteed entry somewhere that was not Germany.
Two hundred eight of them were accepted into the United Kingdom. Among these were a young couple who met and married and made a life together: Mike’s parents. Mike was born in London, emigrating to the US when he was a child.
Today, Trump shamed himself and our nation by signing an executive order banning refugees from Syria. Giving preference to Christian refugees from other nations. Suspension of the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. A cap of 50,000 refugees total in 2017–less than half the previous upper limit. Calling for something called “extreme vetting”–more than the current 18 month to 2 year system that exists.
This is simply shameful. It is un-American. Un-Christian. Unacceptable. Perhaps Trump should add a line to the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(Unless they are Muslim. Then fuck ’em)