Newnan is better than the NY Times thinks we are!

merlin_163915533_f3dfa637-8954-457b-bce3-733a79b52c8d-superJumbo This article by Audra D.S. Burch, is on the front page of the NY Times today. It is not a completely fair representation of our community. While there were some nativist goofballs who raged against it, the portraits were widely accepted in our community. The article neglects to mention that the night before the bozo Neo-Nazi’s came to town our citizens (black, white, hispanic, asian, and more) all flooded downtown merchants and restaurants with shopping/dining to support them because they would be closed the next day. To be downtown that night was to see a celebration of the diversity, community spirit, and integrity that is a hallmark of my hometown of Newnan. That is just one example of the diverse citizens of Newnan coming together. I posted about this celebration of our community back then: #NotWelcomeHere and the resulting embarrassment of the Neo-Nazi fools #YouCantFixStupid. 

A bit more focus in today’s article on the positive race relations in Newnan would have made this article a shining example of what a community can be when it actually honors and respects the dignity of ALL of its citizens. By the way, the people depicted in these portraits are what makes Newnan so wonderful that the population has more than tripled in the 35 years I have lived here. The acceptance of this diversity is what makes our community thrive.

#ShareTheJourney

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Join me, open your arms to Migrants and Refugees – #ShareTheJourney

On Wednesday, Pope Francis led an inspiring launch of #SharetheJourney, a global, two-year campaign in support of migrants and refugees.  He opened his arms wide in a loving gesture and said, “Christ urges us to welcome our brothers and sisters with our arms truly open, ready for a sincere embrace, a loving and enveloping embrace.”

Migrants and refugees are not after our jobs, our lives or our culture.  They are looking with hope toward a brighter future for their families in collaboration and with integration into their new homeland; just as my ancestors sought the same in the mid-1700’s.  Their plight is little different from those in my family who fled war, persecution and economic hardship almost three hundred years ago.  Continue reading “#ShareTheJourney”

Another #WorldRefugeeDay

The Lampedusa Cross on my desk.

#WorldRefugeeDay is a day of action! Through #CatholicRelief, #GlobalCitizen and other organizations, we have the confidence that we can make a difference of people who are suffering from displacement, terror and fear. Continue reading “Another #WorldRefugeeDay”

Pope Francis: The Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone

For many years I have been a big fan of TED Talks.  I find that the talks generally live up to the TED slogan “Ideas Worth Sharing.”  I don’t agree with every speaker and I don’t find all of the talks equally stimulating; but I usually learn something, find a unique perspective or discover a new way to think about the world that we all live in. 

This week in something of a surprise, Pope Francis gave a talk to TED 2017 that was entitled The Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone.   In a world that is increasingly divisive, nationalistic, partisan, and fearful, the Pope makes a strong argument that each person can be a messenger of hope and all of our individual “yous” can be come a collective “us” to address the needs of our world and time.  Regardless of your faith tradition or no faith tradition his talk is compelling and worth a 17 minute investment of time.  If you would prefer to read his comments rather than listen to them they may be found here: His Holiness Pope Francis at TED2017

A Six-Year Old’s Compassion

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Six-year old Alex

Deep within each of us is a moral compass. We can look at that compass and follow it or not; that is called free will.  It is interesting how instinctive and easy it is for children to follow the moral direction it points with compassion and heartfelt sympathy for others.  A six-year old New York boy named Alex saw the picture of little Omran Daqneesh in the back of an ambulance in Aleppo, Syria and was moved with compassion.  He was so moved that he wrote a letter to President Obama asking the President to go get Omran and bring him to the U.S. so that Alex’s family  “will give him a family and he will be our brother.”  The moving story of Alex’s plea can be found here: Alex’s Letter to the President.

Deep within each of us is a moral compass.  Like Alex, we each should follow it; it will help us navigate to a better world.

The Georgia Bulletin: The Refugee Crisis in Europe from an Eyewitness’ Perspective

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Pope Francis walks with refugees as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 22.  The pope invited more than a dozen refugees to sit near him on stage during his catechesis.  CNS photo/Paul Haring

This Commentary was authored for The Georgia Bulletin and was published on July 7, 2016.  Please read the full commentary at:  Deacon Steve Swope’s Georgia Bulletin Commentary on Refugees.