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Presidential Art Exhibit Generates Immigration Discussion

Recently, CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell traveled to Prairie Chapel Ranch to visit with former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura. The occasion? To celebrate the publication of a compilation of original portraits painted by the former president, and to spark a conversation around the subject of those portraits--immigrants to the United States.

When pressed upon the subject of immigration, Bush demurred, but eventually shared his thoughts:

I don't want to be prescriptive. I don't want to, you know, tell Congress how to do this or that. I do want to say to Congress, “Please put aside all the harsh rhetoric about immigration. Please put aside trying to score political points on either side.” I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system.

President Bush says he’s speaking out to help turn the temperature down on the debate:

The problem with the immigration debate is that one can create a lot of fear: They're comin' after you. But it's a nation that is willing to accept the refugee or the harmed or the frightened, that to me is a great nation. And we are a great nation.

Despite the hoopla over his book’s release, the former President is realistic about its prospects for potential policy proposals:

It doesn't [change policy]. But it's a part of hopefully creating a better understanding about the role of immigrants in our society. Mine is just a small voice in what I hope is a chorus of people saying, “Let's see if we can't solve the problem.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Not only are each of us God's handiwork, but so are others who potentially come to us for help. We must be vigilant to guard against false images of people for the purpose of spreading fear. Instead, we honor God as we pursue avenues for peace and flourishing for all of God’s children.

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