Friday, July 2, 2010

Farm Job Applications Now Available

Today's post kicks off a 7-week sabbatical for EasyYolk, a Time for reading, writing and re-connecting with my wife. We will post summer "shorts" from time to time, shorter versions of our usual theological-political-economic-social conversation starters. And as usual, context is important: I'll be writing from Lawrence, Kansas, the home of the Kansas Jayhawks (since 1865) and Free State Brewing Company (since 1989), right in the heart of "Tornado Alley." We encourage you to read these critically and meditatively, preferably with your favorite summer beverage.
Now Jesus was not a Roman citizen. He was not protected by the normal guarantees of citizenship--that quiet sense of security which comes from knowing that you belong and the general climate of confidence which it inspires.
Howard Thurman, Jesus And The Disinherited (1949)

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard.
Matthew 20:1

Yesterday, President Obama gave his first immigration speech, a call for "comprehensive" immigration reform: a political package of tough enforcement at the border with a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants residing and working in the US today. This was a key campaign pledge that he promised to fulfill back in '09. Perhaps no issue is so highly polarized and emotionally combative. Political leaders who talk tough with "securing the borders" risk losing support of the growing immigrant population, while those who encourage "amnesty" will inevitably lose the angry white vote. We've already written about our support of the Dream Act, which would give all illegal immigrants who came to the US before they were 16 an opportunity to gain permanent legal residency.

Stephen Colbert (above), who will officially announce this new project during his July 8 broadcast, has teamed up with the United Farm Workers of America to create a website encouraging unemployed and underemployed Americans (16.5% of the population) to apply for farm jobs. Of course, 50% of farm workers are undocumented and an overwhelming number are immigrants with darker hue than I. My white brothers and sisters, however, have been known to scapegoat Latino workers, blaming them for "stealing jobs from Americans." We'll see how many out-of-work-and-legal residents apply for positions that come with this description ("warning"):

Job may include using hand tools such as knives, hoes, shovels, etc. Duties may include tilling the soil, transplanting, weeding, thinning, picking, cutting, sorting & packing of harvested produce. May set up & operate irrigation equip. Work is performed outside in all weather conditions (Summertime 90+ degree weather) & is physically demanding requiring workers to bend, stoop, lift & carry up to 50 lbs on a regular basis.

Jesus, the poor blue-collar worker from Nazareth, was denied citizenship in the Empire he lived and worked. He gave his life nonviolently resisting the Powers that oppressed his fellow disinherited: peasants, prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors, sinners and women. May the Spirit give us eyes to see and be in solidarity with the disinherited among us: from the unemployed white American to the scapegoated brown laborer.

--Theological Autopilot

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