Hospitality and the Border

One of my favorite little exercises when dealing with complex ideas is to figure out how to represent said ideas with simple symbols. It helps me clarify my thinking and get down to the most fundamental part of a concept that I can.

I’ve done this with all of the ADF’s Nine Virtues, and the symbol I use for the virtue of Hospitality is a key. Because really, Hospitality is the key to everything.

And America’s legendary Hospitality, as enshrined by Lady Liberty herself, is being sorely tested at our southern border.

The plaque of "The New Colossus", mounted to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

The plaque of “The New Colossus”, mounted to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

The dance of Hospitality between guest and host is a sacred one, a series of steps that ensure every movement apart will be followed by another chance to connect. To be hospitable is to make space in our lives for the experiences, insights, and feelings of O/others. Because of that, Hospitality is the key to every other virtue, is the key to the Three Realms, and is the key to interacting with E/everyone outside of ourselves.

Like most dances it’s also a joy when your partner knows the steps too. We in the US are stumbling hard during this particular dance, have been stumbling, and now we’re falling to the floor.

If we can’t dance the dance of Hospitality with other human beings, how can we ever hope to tred those steps with the Powers? How can we hear the whispers of the Gods when we close our ears to the screams of fellow human beings? What is a religious life, without Hospitality as an anchor and a shield?

As a human being I am horrified that children who came to us for safe haven are instead sobbing in terror on our southern border. As an American I find every justification for this horrorshow – as if traumatizing children is ever justified! – self-serving and hateful. And as a polytheist I find myself sickened by those using religion to support the infliction of said trauma.

The ADF has issued a statement of their own. Here it is, in full.

Statement from the Mother Grove:

The Mother Grove is aware of and concerned about the safety of families, both within ADF and in the communities around us.

At ADF, we look to our virtues as guiding principles, and the one that comes to mind is hospitality. We support safe environments for families, both within ADF and in the world in general. We see hospitality as acting as good guests and good hosts, both as members of the ADF community and as citizens of the world.

We cannot condone the separation of families, be they for political, religious, racial, or other reasons, that endanger the sanctity of family life, and put children in danger of being taken from their parents (except in instances where the children are at risk of harm or peril). We look to leaders everywhere to assure that families are kept together whenever issues relating to families or the movements of families arise. We ask this through the notions of national and international hospitality that come to bear when families are involved.

I am proud to see the ADF take a stand on this issue that mirrors my own. Here’s hoping the US will follow the examples of the ADF, other faith organizations, several state governors, and a large majority of the American people to reverse this disastrous policy and once again connect with people beyond our own limited perspectives and and national borders.

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