By Christian Harvey
If you are wondering who in the world Kimberly Rivera is, don’t worry, most of us had never heard of her until a couple of weeks ago. But to fill you in, Kimberly was a soldier in the U.S. Army who volunteered to go to Iraq and defend American democracy, or so she thought. When she got there she realized the true cost of war, the countless civilian casualties and children who’s lives were being decimated by that needless occupation. She realized that she could not reconcile what she was apart of with the Bible she read and the Jesus she followed. So she left the war, became what the army calls a deserter, and moved with her family to Canada and applied for refugee status. She has been her since 2007. On Aug. 30 of this year Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney and the Canadian Government ordered that Kimberly, her husband Mario and their 4 young children be deported back to the U.S. where Kimberly will most definitely be charged and sent to prison.
I don’t know why but this story has hit me hard. Probably because I see in this story how little my convictions have cost me. I speak out about non-violence, about the sin of war, but it doesn’t cost me anything. But for Kimberly it will cost her everything. She will be taken from her four young children, she will be treated like any other criminal, she will probably struggle finding a job when she does get out, all because she believes that she is meant to love her enemy, not kill them. Would my convictions stand up to that sort of persecution? I hope so.
But this does not have to happen. Kimberly and her family do not have to be deported, this grievous act of injustice does not have to take place, and we can work to stop it. Let us join together and tell Minister Kenney and the Government of Canada that we are a country that values peace makers, that values people of conscience and protects them. Let us tell Minister Kenney that in deporting Kimberly and her family he is not acting on behalf of the Canadian people. Let us tell him to let Kimberly, Mario and their four children stay in our country.
Doing this is easy. You can contact him in various ways:
Write to: 325 East Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or fax: 613-957.2688
If you are not exactly sure what to say, then you can use this online letter. You can also contact your MP and tell her or him the same thing. Lastly, you can sign this petition. And while you are doing this pray for the Rivera family, pray for Minister Kenney and pray for all those who are persecuted for proclaiming peace.
We follow the Prince of Peace, the one who called us to love our enemies, we worship a God who calls us to make weapons into farming equipment and to welcome the alien and the stranger. Let us bear witness to this by speaking out for the Riveras today.