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The Ethics of Hospitality


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Acronyms Introduction to the Proposal and the Conversation Partners Part One: Setting the Context-Refugee Families seeking Asylum 1. Witness of the Refugee Families 2. The Intersection of Love and Migration in the Abrahamic Tradition 3. Interreligious Hermeneutic of Love for the Refugee Other Part Two: The Immigration Matrix and U.S. Ideology with Shapes Policies and Practices 4. The Immigration Matrix-A Systemic Overview 5. The Deep Symbols of U.S. Immigration Part Three: Systemic Contributions to Migration from the Northern Triangle 6. U.S. Systemic Culpability-Drugs, Guns, Gangs 7. Cultural Contributors to Sociocide in the Northern Triangle 8. The Dangerous Overland Journey to the U.S. Part Four: Immigration and the Refugee Family `Detention' Experience 9. Welcome to the USA: Refugee Family Incarceration Trauma in CBP Facilities 10. Immigrant Family Detention-Also Known As `Baby Jail' 11. Daunting `Due Process' and the Credible Fear Interview Part Five: Crossing Borders and Welcoming Neighbors 12. An Interreligious Praxeology of Love Radical Hospitality-Welcoming the Stranger as Friend 13. Interfaith Love in Action: Practical Expressions of Radical Hospitality 14. Vulnerability and Dying to Self 15. `Political Holiness' as the Interreligious Praxis of Love 16. Bibliography of Works Cited 17. Index 18. About the Author

About the Author

Helen T. Boursier is professor at College of St. Scholastica.


This book of a volunteer chaplain with refugee families seeking asylum, is a must reading in these anti-immigrant political times and presidential hate-mongering. Helen Boursier's The Ethics of Hospitality, argues for a radical hospitality and welcoming of the strange Other as an expression of our love of God. I highly recommend it! -- Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor, Harvard Divinity School
Helen Boursier has written a memorable and timely book with equal doses of scholar's erudition and pastor's passion. Drawing from her ministry as detention facility chaplain serving asylum seekers, Boursier brings the haunting testimonies of their fight for survival and dignity into dialogue with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim theological visions of love and hospitality. Engaging Bonhoeffer, Derrida, Soelle, Rabbi Sacks-among other seminal theological voices-in light of interfaith volunteer practices of welcome at the Greyhound bus station in San Antonio, TX, offers a spiritually, ethically, and pastorally grounded gateway into the monumental challenges that forced migration poses locally and globally. This book will break hearts and transform minds to enable grasping the enormity of migrant predicaments but also to celebrate their faith and empower their hope through the spiritual practice of radical hospitality in action. Boursier's book is an exceptionally helpful resource not only for theologians but also for college and seminary students as well as all those in our diverse communities of faith who seek theological encouragement for embodied witnessing to the radical love of God that transcends even the most dehumanizing borders. -- Kristine Suna-Koro, Xavier University, author of In Counterpoint: Postcoloniality, Diaspora, and Sacramental Theology
Rev. Dr. Helen Boursier is called to be our witness to the profound suffering of refugee families who find themselves lost among us. In her quest for justice, Dr. Boursier is tasked with protecting their stories while telling their truths. Her descriptions are authentic capturing the fear, pain and sorrow, as well as the deep faith and hope of these families displaced from home and persecuted here. In her most recent work, we follow Rev. Boursier meeting at the intersection of passion and intellect as she asks and answers the question why should we care and what can we do. Dr. Boursier's views are at once informed by her love of God and her belief that people will care about and for the strangers who find themselves as victims in a world gone awry. Rev. Boursier asks us to replace hostility with hospitality and to welcome asylum seekers with compassion and love. From my almost fifty years of experience with this vulnerable population, I know the challenges of doing this and the difference it makes one person at a time. Rev. Boursier has written an important book made even more so by these dehumanizing political times. -- Hope M. Frye, executive director of Project Lifeline, lead attorney at Flores Monitoring
Helen Boursier invites our theologies and philosophies to journey from our heads to our hands and lips by putting the voices and experiences of thousands of displaced people into our hearts. An Ethics of Hospitality: An Interfaith Response to US Immigration Policy is a must-read for anyone who takes seriously the moral imperatives of hospitality in the Abrahamic faiths' sacred texts. After this book a reader can no longer respond to the challenges of border security without factoring love into the solutions. As Boursier's scholarship and insight demonstrate, doing otherwise risks one's own humanity and leaves any claim one might make to loving God little more than an empty claim. This book clearly articulates the reasons so many progressive people of faith oppose current U.S immigration policy. -- Bill Lyons, Conference Minister for the United Church of Christ

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