From the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life: A Reflection on Trump's Immigration Ban


Reflecting and writing on the executive order issued on Jan. 27, 2017 by President Donald Trump, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” is both humbling and challenging. As a Boston College, Political Science Ph.D. candidate in American politics with a specialization in religion and politics, this order has disturbed me on many levels. You can receive excellent political commentary regarding the executive order pretty much everywhere — although I do recommend Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann as top notch scholars in the field. But, it is from the spiritual lens that I feel I may be able to offer something more useful during these dark, cold days of January. 

It is in the stillness of last night’s snow that I recalled the beautiful eyes of two of our Muslim students who ran into my arms at Bradley Airport after being away this past weekend attending a leadership institute training in Atlanta. I became aware of a deep pain a mix of shame, sadness, anger, helplessness and protectiveness. 

There was something about walking in the gently falling snow last night that allowed me to catch up on my feelings— to leave my head and political analysis behind — and recognize how tender my heart is and how deeply I love our students, and how much pain this –– executive order has caused. 

The events of late have jarred me, but they have also pointed a light to the loving hearts and compassionate souls on this campus. I have hugged more people this week than I have in a long time. I could feel the pain, the anxiety and the fear. I felt it in the darkness of the snow last night. I paid attention to the crystallizing snowflakes as they shone brilliantly and paradoxically in all the shadows. I saw light, I felt hope, I saw beauty. I was reminded how important it is that we pay attention to our feelings, our sight, all our senses — so that we can at least momentarily pull out of the pains and aches of our world — and find relief. I am reminded of how, by embracing my vulnerability, I am strong. 

The eyes, the hugs, the snow, the quiet revealed love in the coldness of this January.