God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Jesus and Lou Dobbs, Round Two

posted by gp_intern

At our press conference on Monday announcing the formation of Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, I remarked, “If given the choice on this issue between Jesus and Lou Dobbs, I choose my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”

As you might imagine, Lou didn’t like that very much. In his column on CNN.com, “A call to the faithful,” rather than addressing the need for reforming a broken immigration system, he accuses us of being “hell-bent on ignoring the separation of church and state” as we “conflate religion and politics” by our “political adventurism.” Then he suggests:

… before the faithful acquiesce in the false choice offered by the good Reverend, perhaps he and his followers should consult Romans 13 where it is written: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

I don’t think Lou read our statement, where we clearly said:

We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God’s image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7).

The current U.S. immigration system is broken and now is the time for a fair and compassionate solution. We think it is entirely possible to protect our borders while establishing a viable, humane, and realistic immigration system …

Dobbs doesn’t understand that compassion is not amnesty, and that reforming an unworkable system is not simply flinging open our borders. But then, he long ago stopped being a journalist, and is now one of the leading advocates against comprehensive immigration reform.

He also doesn’t seem to understand that most people now believe that bringing our faith into public life is not undermining the separation of church and state. As I’ve said many times, where would America be if Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had kept his faith to himself? And on this issue, given a choice between Jesus and Lou Dobbs, I’ll still choose Jesus.



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Sven

posted May 10, 2007 at 9:46 pm


Jim, while I wholeheartedly agree with you that the United States is in need of comprehensive immigration reform, I was disturbed by the way you framed your comments at the recent press conference. I have greatly appreciated over the past several years hearing you trumpet the notion that “religion does not have a monopoly on morality” and that, while your political conviction rests on your Christian faith, it would be foolish not to include those of other faith traditions (as well as the non-religious) in conversation about moral issues facing our county. Calling on themes from scripture seems like a good and healthy way to challenge your fellow Christians to embrace a compassionate view of immigration reform. However, I find it hard to believe that using isolated scripture quotations as the primary basis of lobbying Congress is a productive way to hold a universally accessible policy discussion. As Senator Obama wisely stated at the 2006 Pentecost conference, “(D)emocracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal values.” If we are to converse across sectarian lines, our motivations may stem from religiosity, but shouldn’t our public discourse be steeped in reason, rather than trying to convince Congress to bend to scripture? I was most disappointed with your rhetoric at the CFCIR press conference because as I listened to you chide legisators for not heeding the “Leviticus immigration policy,” I couldn’t help but wonder how you would respond if your more conservative colleagues lobbied for our nation to abide by Levitical laws. It certainly wouldn’t lead to the compassion you have advocated for toward the gay community. As ministers, politicians, and the media seek to hammer out an inclusive vocabulary around religion in public life, I hope that you will continue to help, as you have so often done, rather than hinder, as I felt you have this past week.



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PatientWitness

posted May 10, 2007 at 10:14 pm


I agree also on the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Yet I submit that if one is to use Scripture to argue a point, then one must pick and choose the verses, for almost any argument that can be made using Scripture the opposite argument can also be made using Scripture. The opposing views argued by Jim and Lou Dobbs bear this out.



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Wolverine

posted May 10, 2007 at 10:24 pm


Much as I disagree with Jim Wallis on immigration policy, I have to say that Lou Dobbs’ response was very poorly done. First of all, while I think Wallis does a poor job of applying scripture, Dobbs’ response implies that scripture is itself irrelevant or illegitimate, which is wrong. The proper response to a poor use of scripture is a better use of scripture. Second, Dobbs implies that Christians are all united in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants. (So much for the monopoly of the Christian Right!) But anyone who has read the follow-up to the original Wallis v. Dobbs article, or is on the FRC email list, would know better than that. Wolverine



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Douglas Corkhill

posted May 10, 2007 at 10:59 pm


Jim, As we all were once aliens you might pass on to Mr. Dobbs the following: And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.Reference: Deuteronomy 10:19-21



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Christian for NO AMNESTY

posted May 10, 2007 at 11:07 pm


While I agree with Jim Wallis on a lot of things. This is not one of them. All Christians don’t believe as he does. I believe in secured borders and am not in support of amnesty for illegals immigrants. I believe the churches should be staying out of this. To imply that you are not a Christian, to want secured borders and the rule of law followed is simply wrong. This is not a Christian or non-Christian problem. It is not a Republican or Democrat problem. It’s an American problem and Americans need to get informed and wake up.



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DeWayne

posted May 10, 2007 at 11:12 pm


Lou Dodds in (using) scripture out of context, such as in the book of Romans warning to obey authority, apparently has misinformed even his followers about ‘authorities’ and their difference. Thank God some Christians know the difference between the authority (Gentile) out of the will of God, and the authority (Supreme) within the will of God. Unfortunately today many false teachers in this manner teach being obedient to Satan and his servants. Lou Dobbs, please warn your followers, when confronted with authorities such as the Gentile told of in scripture, and the Lord who is Supreme authority also told of in scripture, that they remain obedient in these conflicts to the Lord. Respect the (Office) of authority, but do NOT enter into or become part of the error and sin of an office-holder. Today our government (authority) reminds me of an Old Testament people and their (new) leader, betweem whom the Lord sent an evil spirit. Learn the difference between authority that tears down and divides, and authority that builds and unites into maturity.



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Ralph Starling

posted May 10, 2007 at 11:18 pm


Well said, Jim!



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Phil Reed

posted May 10, 2007 at 11:20 pm


I heard Lou Dobbs last night quote a Catholic Priest who said that we Christians couldn’t respect the borders that were put up between peoples. Dobbs called the statement “breath-taking” in its implications. Ah yes, Lou, the Gospel is truly breath-taking when it’s taken seriously. Would that more would let the breath of the Spirit loose in this debate and in this country.



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JWH

posted May 10, 2007 at 11:30 pm


Dobb’s Roman 13 citation is perplexing. It conflicts directly with the Declaration of Independence’s “- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,….” His position could have prevented our actions in WWII vis a vis Germany and Japan if we acknowledged Hitler’s and Tojo’s invasions and reigns of terror to have been blessed by God. Dobb’s position would mean that Jesus’ “render unto Caesar/render unto God” means that our politics actually is unrelated to God. I disagree. And how can Dobbs assail our “being ‘hell-bent on ignoring the separation of church and state’ as we ‘conflate religion and politics’ by our ‘political adventurism.’” Does really he believe that the 1st Amendment prevents citizens from advocating their faith through the political process? That position is ignorant of the Constitution, of America’s history and of the Founders’ positions. Lou, it prevents government action, not citizens’ advocacy. Dobb’s entire position seems to me to be ignorant on the topic. Aren’t we commanded in everything we do – including our politics – to love our neighbors as ourselves? That’s from Leviticus 19:18 as well as from Jesus. Among other things that means being truthful, respectful of people who disagree with us, and fair [also patient, kind, slow to anger, without envy, boastfulness, pride, etc. - our job description in Paul's I Corinthian 13. And he says that smooth talking without love meaningless noise.] Those are our moral values that must always apply – especially in politically tough places. Our scripture and moral values do not dictate, and may or may not preclude, certain political options on today’s immigration policy, etc., but they certainly must frame the nature and contents of an “in good faith” debate.



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Linda

posted May 10, 2007 at 11:42 pm


Given a choice between Jesus and Jim Wallis, I’d choose Jesus! Do not presume to speak for God or Jesus, Jim Wallis, on the issue of illegal immigration. There is a difference between being humane to illegal immigrants and making them legal residents. And making that distinction does not make one less of a Christian. So does this mean every time I disagree with Jim Wallis over the interpretation of scripture, I am denying Jesus? Even the devil can quote scripture for his own purposes.



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DeWayne

posted May 10, 2007 at 11:49 pm


Watching a Congressional hearing prior to the 2006 elections, it was made quite clear why we have an illegal alien problem, and it had nothing to do with border security or fences. What was made clear in the Congressional hearing was that since approx year 2000 there had been almost an absence of Fed-law in enforcing (existing) laws that would seriously restrict our present illegal immigrant problem. What was made clear was that in year 2000 there were over a thousand cases where Fed investigation brought US-Corp’s into Fed-Court where they were found guilty and heavily fined for deliberately hiring illegal aliens. In year 2005 there were ONLY THREE (3) cases brought to Fed-Court for deliberately hiring illegal aliens. The point brought STRONGLY home, was that the Fed-Gov stopped enforcing Fed-Law’s that effectively encouraged and enabled illegal immigration that errode jobs (and wages) for everyone. So don’t blame border security that Homeland Security in taking over seriously underfunded, or illegal aliens (who benefit from Free-Trade) in South America, blame our US Corp-Government and uninformed Americans.



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C.D. CHAMBERLAIN

posted May 10, 2007 at 11:55 pm


JIM: I disagree that our immigration policy is broken. Our current policy functions precisely the way it is intended to function. What is broken is the ability of our nation to own up to its aims and purposes. Our present situation is not an unintentional o-o-o-ps! It is a carefully planned and executed strategy that accomplishes precisely what we intend it to do. Discussion on both sides of the issue are largely hypocritical. We have no intention of fixing the problem. Some are willing to exploit the issue for short-term political gain.1. We want cheap labor. The jobs that must be done domestically because they cannot be outsourced must be done by cheap immigrant labor. Cheap immigrant labor tends to depress the wages of all workers. This permits the US to practice distributive injustice. This is the goal and purpose of our free market, capitalist system. This has always been US policy. Nothing new here. 2. We want laws on the books available for rbitrary and capricious enforcement. This means that a business that is on the government’s enemies list can be cited for immigration violations. This works like a dream. Friends who support political campaigns can be ignored. 3. We want to shore up the SS system by exacting taxes from persons who will never receive any benefits. Any change to immigration law will place SS in deeper financial problems. Congress and administrations do whatever they really want to do. The only conclusion that can be drawn from the present situation is that it is precisely what we want. If we do not approach change from the perspective that we are not at all honest about current policy, the hypocrisy will only deepen.



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Russell Meyer

posted May 11, 2007 at 12:08 am


Jim, Let me share with you the email I sent to Lou: Lou, your ongoing immigration reports are full of passion. But the latest assault on religious leadership is alarming. The 20th century was shaped by wars caused by those who told the Church that Romans 13 meant they were to shut up and take whatever the State handed out. In spite of simplistic readings, the passage has as its core the statement that all authority has its source in God and that Godly values determine what authority is. Please do not confuse power with authority. Authority is that which gives life — power may take life, but by itself cannot give it. Perhaps the warning should be that the faithful are advised to avoid religious adventurism.



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DeWayne

posted May 11, 2007 at 12:14 am


America, one nation “under God.” It is teachings of people like Lou Dobbs that seperate not only Church and State, but the servants of God from their service, and this foretold would involve being brought before rulers and authorities. What part are we being told by the Lou Dodds to forfeit to Satan, a nation and people, or should we listen to the Lord who gives Christians power and authority in a ‘great commission’? It may indeed be true, as held by some secular humanists, that (some in the church) teach subjugation and obedience to Satan and his ways.



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frank

posted May 11, 2007 at 12:24 am


Illegal immigration has taken the place of slavery as a way for exploiting others. No one can object to access to this country through a legal process, but the flow of illegals across open borders is a great threat to our national security. But, as much as I may agree with Dobbs passionate appeal for closing our borders his appeal to Hitchens in his antireligion passion has cost his credibility with this old preacher. Hitchens is the best argument against immigration, legal or illegal, that I can think of.



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Jenn

posted May 11, 2007 at 12:28 am


Mr. Wallis is seeming to be more like Jerry Falwell when he attempts to paint his statements as some profession of his Christianity. I wonder how much money the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has funnelled his way in this.. because the stance Wallis is taking, isn’t in the interest of helping the poor. It is about pitting one group of poor people against another, for the profit of corporations. Perhaps Wallis should get off his overly pampered posterior and get out in poor communities to speak with the American poor. They do exist, and in record numbers. Is Mr. Wallis blind to the fact that since the 1980s that manufacturing jobs have been eliminated in this country, that Americans are faced with an ever declining job market and the influx of illegal aliens has undermined real wages and the ability to be protected by workplace protections? No, Jim Wallis isn’t interested in helping deal with poverty, nor is he interested in following Christ’s teachings, his true interest seems more to earn some big payoff from the lobbies who seek to turn the clock back in America to a time when the poor were little more than slaves to the most powerful. Shame on you Jim Wallis, I hope you are exposed as the same type of fraud Jerry Falwell is.



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Antonia

posted May 11, 2007 at 12:48 am


I see Lou Dobb’s bible quotation, and the context he used it in, as the real confusion between church and state, and a rather chilling one at that. Our immigration authorities to be bowed to as the right hand of God? Does he have some the ICE raids in mind? Migra.org reported on Lou Dobb’s coverage of the recent immigration rally. Here he is, involved in this issue for so many years, and yet, throughout the evening, reported wrongly on the position of the demonstrators regarding the guest worker programs. How does a “journalist” make such a big mistake? See the SPLC’s website for their new report out on the horrific conditions of these programs, and their recommendations for needed changes. Our immigration system IS broken, and protecting American workers as well as redressing poverty means reforming laws that maintain slave labor conditions and underclasses, and deprive American children of the right to grow up in their own country with their own parents. If the piper isn’t paid now, he will be paid later. The same contractors that profit from our presence in Iraq are profiting per head throwing the working poor in prisons, including children and infants. We can build all the walls and prisons we like; it won’t address the reasons why people come across the border in the first place. Just like anyone here would too, if they were walking in that someone else’s shoes.



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B. Hudley

posted May 11, 2007 at 1:18 am


Apparently, care and wisdom should be encouraged when addressing the strengths and weakness of government policies. This forum breaks open a clear example of why Christianity (or any other belief) should not be misused as ammunition, either pro or con. I don’t see Jim Wallis representing the Church, per se. There is an obvious agenda here. We’ve seen it too often in the past. If debates such as this resulted in an accordance to even the smallest extent, one of the two factions could claim justification.As erudite as Mr. Dobbs can be in his arguments of great importance, his audacity to intrerpret Romans 13 smacked of disrespect. I would bet he knows which power was being alluded to in the scriptures. Additionally, I found Mr. Dobb’s over use of the term “schism” to be entertaining. That sort of thing wouldn’t exist in Congress, would it?



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Lanny Howe

posted May 11, 2007 at 1:22 am


Lets keep our politics and our faith in separate corners. One of the reasons why I am opposed to prayer in the schools is that there are too many prayers given on which I would walk out and which I would certainly not let my children listen to. We need a humane immigration policy not a Christian one.



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Waveland

posted May 11, 2007 at 1:26 am


Dobbs’ proof-texting of the Romans 13 passage is a good example of the unhelpfulness of such practice, because while this passage might indicate that government can be legitimate, nobody in their right mind would assert that anyone who claimed to be a government therefore had God’s blessing on whatever they chose to do. Furthermore, there is clearly a prophetic call expressed throughout the Bible to confront and oppose the inappropriate use of any sort of authority or power, as well as a frequent command to be hospitable to the resident alien. I don’t know where the dualistic choice Jim refers to (Dobbs vs Jesus) came from, but in a democracy such as ours it is the people to whom God has given the ultimate power and authority, and they then delegate it to others to serve them by leading them. The people (including religious people and their groups) also have a solemn obligation to hold their government and its leaders accountable for serving the people and their interests faithfully. To expect and require that our leaders will lead us toward compassion rather than hatred, toward harmony and reconciliation rather than toward violence and oppression, is not rebellion against legitimate authority but rather the exercise of citizenship, and anything less would be a betrayal of God’s gift of democracy.



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Antonia

posted May 11, 2007 at 1:28 am


Correction on 6:53 P.M. The migrao.org reference should have been migramatters.blogspot.com/ (without the www.).



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Don

posted May 11, 2007 at 1:33 am


“It is not a Republican or Democrat problem. It’s an American problem and Americans need to get informed and wake up.” “…the flow of illegals across open borders is a great threat to our national security.” “America, one nation ‘under God.’” –climbing on soapbox– It appears that the nationalists have finally found an ideal place to post their stuff. Here are some thoughts to ponder: “There is no longer Jew or Greek (or Mexican or American or Guatemalan or Salvadoran–gosh, did Paul say that?), there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female’ for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”–Galatians 3:28 “For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”–Hebrews 13:14 “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”–Acts 5:29 I am one Christian who will not bow to the false god of America or sacrifice compassionate treatment of my neighbors–whether they be here legally or not–on its altar. My first citizenship is in the Kingdom of Christ, and thus my first obligations are there. Yes, I’m glad I live in the USA, but I refuse to make the circumstances of my birth into an idol. The God I serve is far less interested in so-called secure borders (a very recent concept, historically) than he is in how I treat my neighbors. The people we’re talking about are strangers and sojourners here in the USA. Guess what? So am I, and so are you if you truly call on the name of Christ. –climbing down from soapbox– La paz de nuestro Se or Jesucristo sea con Uds. (The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.) Have a good evening!



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Dan Banks

posted May 11, 2007 at 2:30 am


I have always and still do considered me a very liberal, compassionate Democrat. Lou Dobbs has historically been a very conservative commentator. But his recent conversion to opposition of the so called “fair trade” agreements (which cause world-wide environmental damage and exploit workers everywhere, especially in the United States, by making domestic workers compete with the lowest cost workers in the world) and his opposition to unfettered immigration has endeared him to many of the workers, or would be workers, that are legal residents of America. For those that are truly in favor of a compassionate future for citizens of the less developed countries, instead of working to open our borders to any and all who want to enter and to allowing those that have already entered illegally to stay, will work to insure that their home country has a satisfactory place for them. Work to eliminate the so called “fair trade” agreements and replace them with trade agreements that encourage salaries, working conditions, and environmental conditions that enhance those countries. Agreements that attempt to lift those countries up to our level, rather than dragging us down to theirs.



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HASH(0x118b0c34)

posted May 11, 2007 at 2:30 am


Jim Wallis should focus on pro-corporate, pro-inequality groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AEI, Wall Street Journal editorial board, and Cato, not Lou Dobbs. Dobbs is on the air every night denouncing corporate power and looking out for the little guy. Immigration has always been about cheap labor. Lou Dobbs understands this fact, as do his pro-corporate adversaries. Sure the system needs reform, but it’s interesting which side of this divide you choose to align yourself with Jim.



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Jeremy

posted May 11, 2007 at 2:48 am


Way to Go Jim! I loved reading Lou’s article and I even mentioned it in my blog. Lou and others like him would rather people of faith stay out of the public realm all together, oh that is until they want a photo op with some religious leader like Billy Graham in order to get good publicity. What they wholeheartedly fail to understand is that as people of faith our whole lives are informed by our faith and that means when we go into the voting booth and when people of faith serve in public office that we bring our faith with us. I know its inconvienent for people who think we should just keep our faith to ourselves, but then if all non-religious people are allowed to call upon their philosophies and values then why shouldn’t WE be able to? (BTW that’s rhetorical)



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 11, 2007 at 2:48 am


I reluctantly confess when we move from the necessary relationship of faith and ethics to law and politics–to the application of scripture or religiously coded language to soundbites for the scoring of political points that I am pushed towards a hard separation of church & state. The breadth of sectors within the church need to much more aggressively bring our minds, hearts and lives to bear on public issues from an explicit Christian base. We need to live out a way of life and service that gives fuller expression to the marvelous love of Jesus. And we need ways of public expressing the Christian base on which we stand. But the minute we start using Faith language to score political points we have lost our way



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DeWayne

posted May 11, 2007 at 2:52 am


I worry for this nation and the many who believe their choices are limited to the ‘lesser of evils’. This is not Christ-like thinking, this a patriotism to the point of seperating Christ (Supreme Authority) from our government under God. The word of God describes the difference between Gentile authority and Gods’ authority. If they fear being brought before the authorities, perhaps they are not prepared, and for this we are commanded in Gods word. My worry for this nation is that they are not prepared to serve God, nor do they know good from evil.



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Andrew Palmer

posted May 11, 2007 at 2:54 am


Why?



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Jeremy

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:00 am


I heard Lou Dobbs last night quote a Catholic Priest who said that we Christians couldn’t respect the borders that were put up between peoples. Dobbs called the statement “breath-taking” in its implications. I agree everyone gets really confused when people of faith actually place a higher priority on their faith and the Kingdom of God than on some arbitrarity contrived imaginary border that is designed to separate people by nationality when the reality is that there is no difference between us at all! I guess its true that everything is fine as long as we all play by the rules of the game that we have contrived in order to maintain our own way of life, and once that is distrubed then people begin to cry foul! I for one refuse to play by their rules when they hurt others, especially when God’s rules are far superior and the consequences are far more damning.



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Payshun

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:09 am


This is one Christian for amnesty. It’s the only just option. p



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Don

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:15 am


It’s also the only reasonable option, Payshun. Dan Banks is correct that the only long-term solution is to bring up the economies of Latin America. And problems with some of the free trade agreements are contributing to the serious economic conditions there. But that’s not the basic problem. The real problem is the endemic political and economic corruption in many Lat.Am. places. That can’t be solved by the USA alone. Peace,



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Sarasotakid

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:11 am


Ditto on taht Don and Payshun.



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John Salmon

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:36 am


“…But then, [Dobbs] long ago stopped being a journalist, and is now one of the leading advocates against comprehensive immigration reform.” When he comes on, condemning how Congress and advocates for reform are “trying to force [reform] on the American people,” I think I’ve somehow turned on the Fox Network instead of CNN. It has tainted the high regard I have had for the usually unbiased news on CNN.



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bennie

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:38 am


When Dobbs quoted Romans 13 regarding governments being established by God, and the necessity of our submitting to it; would he also say the same thing if we were living under governments headed by Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin etc.????? – I doubt it! It’s useless to quote things like this, if you are not willing to apply it to ‘all’ governments and be consistant. Our focus should be on taking care of the poor as Jesus commanded.



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butch

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:48 am


“Immigration has always been about cheap labor.” I had 25 Mexicans working for me, I wasn’t looking for cheap labor, I was looking for employees who would show and work.



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Russell

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:51 am


I am afraid I have to disagree with Mr. Wallis on this one as well. I am not sure if calling Lou Dobbs out was the best way for christians to respond to this issue. That seemed a little childish to me. I agree with Jim on many issues, but we differ greatly on this one. They are ILLEGAL aliens and I do not think that amnesty is the answer. We cannot reward those that have repeatedly defied the laws of this country. These people make it very hard for the immigrants that are trying to come to this country the right way. This little fued between Jim Wallis and Lou Dobbs, which Mr. Wallis started, is not the way I want people to perceive christians. Jim, you are representing many people when you talk at a press conference so please act as Jesus would.



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Jim T

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:52 am


While I agree that it is important to show compassion for others, I also believe it is important to protect the sovereignty of our nation. Illegal aliens are not immigrants. They are breaking our law just by being in this country. I doubt that people who work in the hospitality, construction or landscaping industry find it too compassionate when they are expected to work for lower wages simply because illegals are willing to work cheaper and for fewer (or no) benefits. It is a fact that wages in all these fields have declined in recent years because of the influx of cheap labor. While I agree that our immigration laws need to be revised I think our first priority should be controlling our borders to insure the security of our nation. Amnesty should be off the table. It did not work the last time and it is completely unfair to the many people who have been trying to enter the country legally.



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Andrew Newson

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:00 am


Romans 13 must be the most overly-cited passage in all of Scripture by people arguing against Christian nonviolence and compassion. It is misread (as it must be read in light of Romans 12, especially, but also Romans 14 and all other Scripture), but also mis-quoted, as people usually bust this Scripture out in a proof-texting fashion in order to make Christians who speak out against their own government feel bad or cowed. This isn’t the message of Romans 13! Since Lou Dobbs clearly hasn’t read Romans very clearly, or Sojourners’ statement of belief, I cannot take his opposition seriously. He is operating out of something other than the compassion of Jesus, whatever it may be. Jim, I don’t think your tone was wrong or off-base: it is the choice we all must make about many different things. The constant question is, “Jesus, or ourselves?”



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canucklehead

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:33 am


“I am one Christian who will not bow to the false god of America or sacrifice compassionate treatment of my neighbors–whether they be here legally or not–on its altar. My first citizenship is in the Kingdom of Christ, and thus my first obligations are there. Yes, I’m glad I live in the USA, but I refuse to make the circumstances of my birth into an idol.” Don Bravo, Don! Where can I get me some of that soap?



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anonymous

posted May 11, 2007 at 7:11 am


The Bible says that, on judgement day, we shall be gathered before God as nations, but judged according to our righteousness. Righteousness in how we saw and treated God in the least of the people.



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kevin s.

posted May 11, 2007 at 7:21 am


“Illegal immigration has taken the place of slavery as a way for exploiting others. No one can object to access to this country through a legal process, but the flow of illegals across open borders is a great threat to our national security.” This is exactly right. Not only the exploitation of illegal migrant workers, but of legal migrant workers, and the poor. I am a middle class, college educated, white dude. My job is not threatened by illegal immigration. In fact, I may well benefit from it. However, it is a moral disgrace to permit a class of people to circumvent the law, and punish those who scrap for a living in this country.The Bush administration has abandoned its principles with regard to exhibiting compassion to the poor by kowtowing to powerful chamber of commerce interests. I’m a pro-business guy, but this is completely wrongheaded.Apparently, the Dobbs/Wallis conflict drew some attention. A lot of good honest opinions both ways. May the dialogue continue,



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Lyle P.

posted May 11, 2007 at 8:20 am


For several years I have advocated for taking the borders down! There are three nations in North America – count them! Canada, US & Mexico. There are more than enough resources for all – if we could learn to share instead of protecting our “God Bless America” piece of the pie. My theory is that citizens of Canada and Mexico, like US citizens perfer thier own home town and country, and if they could come and go freely and safely folks would do just that. As for Lou Dobbs, this is just the kind of conversation that keeps him on the air.



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Daniel A.

posted May 11, 2007 at 8:27 am


Jim: I personally find it distasteful and inappropriate to use language that pits “Jesus” against someone. . .as you did in your comments about Lou Dobbs. Disagreeing with him on principles of justice and the gospel would be quite adequate! Shalom, –D A



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L. J. Sullivan

posted May 11, 2007 at 11:15 am


Has anyone in this generation ever heard of ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’? It is readily available on the ‘net. You all — every one of you — need to know something that clearly almost no one seems to know. This document is LAW. Our Constitution says that any agreements or treaties we sign with other countries have the full force of law, the same as the Constitution. Excerpted from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is law that is binding on us, as an international treaty; we were largely instrumental in creating it, and we ratified it, so it is unquestionably binding: > Article 15. > > (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. > > (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. > Article 25. > > (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. > > (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. We seem to have completely forgotten that we signed onto this agreement. Do you understand what it is saying? People have a RIGHT to change their nationality! No qualifiers there. It’s a basic human right. But that’s not all we seem to have forgotten — or just been too ignorant to have ever known. These people pouring over the borders into our country are the descendants of the first occupants, the people we slaughtered and raped and cheated and stole from in the first place. At the end of this period we grudgingly allowed some of them some land for reservations — making sure it was the poorest, most useless land available. Learn the truth about American history, and forget that garbage you were taught in school. Read Howard Zinn’s book, ‘A People’s History of the United States’ and ‘Lies My Teacher Told Me’, by James Loewen. Learn the truth about how we acquired what we have. And then learn some recent history. Learn the truth about ‘free trade’ and ‘globalization’, about NAFTA, GATT, CAFTA. Read ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’ by John Perkins and find out how we have put so many small countries in a stranglehold for the sake of enriching the already very rich and enslaving their people — a process now going on right here in our country. Learn about those wars going on in Central America back when Reagan was President — and what he had to do with keeping them going, and how the CIA was dealing drugs to finance them. When you learn what we have had to do with impoverishing those countries, including Mexico — millions of small farmers in Mexico have lost their land due to our greed and, just as so many have here, lost their livelihoods; they come north in desperation. And the truth is, we are all in the same boat, so it behooves us to get off our high horses and recognize our common humanity, our common needs, and that the only help for us all is to work together. The United States government has been secretly, behind our backs, working with the Canadian and Mexican governments to create an entirely new entity — the North American Union. The plan is to dissolve our national borders, abandon our constitutions, replace our current governmental structures with a corporate-type governing unit — completely bypassing the will of the people and any semblance of democracy. If you doubt it, Google it. As for that biblical passage about how all authority on earth is put there by God, I rather imagine Paul might have changed his mind at the end of his life, when his beloved Rome was getting set to execute him. Those who edited the New Testament had their own motivation for having people believe that. Read some real Bible scholars and learn all about it.



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Jeremy

posted May 11, 2007 at 1:51 pm


I had 25 Mexicans working for me, I wasn’t looking for cheap labor, I was looking for employees who would show and work. Then you may well be the exception to the rule but here in Central Kentucky and Southern Indiana (where I used to live) far too many employ undocumented workers because it does cost them a lot less, 1) they don’t have to pay minimum wage, 2) employers they don’t have to pay employment taxes, 3) they don’t have to give benefits. This happens all the time here on the horse, and cattle farms, and in the tobacco fields. And quiet honestly its the only way that many of these farmers are able to make any profit at all. (mega-horse ranches excluded). Recently a farm storage shed burned to the ground near us, it was used to house tractors and other farm equipment, it was also being used as living quarters for several undocumented workers, and it was not remodeled to serve as an apartment. What we have here in our area is 1 hispanic male who speaks english and he works as a broker between the farmers and the workers, and the workers pay him a fee. We recently tried to begin teaching ESL classes (English as a Second Language) at our church and I asked the farmers in our church to gauge the interest with the workers. I received lots of support from the farmers because they wanted to be able to more easily communicate with the workers. Guess who the resistence came from……..the broker. And with out fail each of the farmers came to me afterwards and said that they were not able to push the ESL issue because the broker would have steered good workers away from their farms. I still want to do the ESL but right now I’m stuck, because I can’t reach the workers without the broker.



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Jeremy

posted May 11, 2007 at 2:18 pm


After reading through many of the post that oppose amnisty, let me just say this, nations are arbitrary, what exactly separates El Paso, Texas from Juarez; Eagle Pass, TX, and Piedras Negras, MX? The answer is a River, and some line that someone drew along that river that now says that the people who live north of the line are going to have more opportunities than the people who live south of the line. Let me tell you, as a husband and father of two if I lived south of the line, and did not speak english but I knew that going north of that line meant that I could send money to my family so that they could be taken care of, even if it meant that I might be arrested and sent back across the line. Well, hear this, I would cross that line, legally or illegally. And anyone who knows the abject poverty that so many live in down there and would still suggest that they wade through our bureaucracy and immigration laws, might do well to check their conscience. Oh, and you can turn this into a security issue, if you want but that is just laughable, because I don’t hear much talk about the Canadian border, and it is much easier to cross than the Mexican border, thousands of miles of the Canadian border are completely unprotected, and unmonitored. I wonder why we build a wall on one border and leave the other almost completely unattended? I wonder why that is? But, surely its not because we are trying to secure the borders, because that is laughable in view of the evidence. Not to mention that its a lot like shutting the barn door after the horse gets out. I’m afraid that the real reason we want a secure border with Mexico is because of race and economic status, two things that scripture warns us Christians about focusing on.



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Harlon

posted May 11, 2007 at 2:53 pm


I have been inspired and disappointed numerous times by both Jim Wallis and Lou Dobbs. This is one of the times I am disappointed by both. It is my considered opinion that when we talk about the person rather than the issues, we are losing focus on God’s plan and also his commandment to “love one another”. Whether you choose Jesus or Lou Dobbs is not really a legitimate question, as I believe that Jesus does the choosing and my educated guess is that he has chosen both of you and while neither are perfect you are both forgiven! Enough already!



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Sarasotakid

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:08 pm


I am a middle class, college educated, white dude. My job is not threatened by illegal immigration. In fact, I may well benefit from it. However, it is a moral disgrace to permit a class of people to circumvent the law, and punish those who scrap for a living in this country. Kevin S. You have made it clear, Kevin, that you prefer free markets over government regulated ones. I have more respect for somebody like Juristnaturalist who wants totally free markets in terms of both the exchange of goods and the flow of workers. Your are ideologically inconsistent. In order for a free market to really work, you need a free labor market. But you would rather just ship ‘me back to where they came from. You are intellectually inconsistent, Kevin.



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:26 pm


The border is an ‘arbitrary line’ as is the ‘speed limit’ as is the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ as is the name ‘citizen’ as is language. We can reduce everything to meaninglessness if we desire.The government, on behalf of ‘the people’ in submission to the Creator is responsible to create and administer justice. The government is a responsible steward; and in this case is steward of a border and citizenship. Our primary need now, in my mind, is not for a particular policy but for a clear bipartisan commitment to administer immigration with responsible justice. Maybe I have been fooled. But in so many issues we debate; it looks to me that our interests are really very close. We just speak to different sides of the issue–not staking out positions that are really in opposition. The problem I see, as often, is 537 elected officials in Washington DC who corporately refuse to act responsibly to steward a sane and just policy. Yes there are complexities. But really, it is not that hard!!!!!



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Gretchen L. Haynes

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:26 pm


If I read Lou Dobbs’ interpretation correctly, he would have us saluting the British Union Jack and singing God Save the Queen. I guess he hasn’t read the Declaration of Independence: governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed. As the wife of an immigrant, I can only applaud the work of Sojourners on this subject.



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HASH(0x118ca6b0)

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:27 pm


It’s about time the Christian community confronted Lou Dobbs about his hateful, exclusionary views on immigration. You notice that he hauled out that old “obey the authorities” chestnut to bolster his anti-Christian views. That one has come in handy on many occasions–supporting slavery, Jim Crow laws…the list is a long one. Christianity does not promote exclusion and walls to keep out the unwanted. We reach out to our neighbor in love, even if it means risking our comfortable lives. Janchief



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William Holt

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:33 pm


I think what disturbs Lou Dobbs and what makes him over-react is that the Catholic Church has declared that it will work, not just to change the laws, but to actually defy immigration laws. Unfortunately, it gives the appearance that the Catholic Church has a thinly-veiled agenda of trying to boost its sagging membership and coffers by importing illegal aliens. Should the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society be deserving of compassion, comfort, and our assistance? Of course. If these people have broken our immigration laws, obtained the social security numbers of thousands of U.S. citizens and used these to their own advantage, without regard to the harm that they are causing to the people whose identity has been stolen, I believe that we should apply the concept that we should love the sinner, but not the sin. We are all strangers in a strange land, but we are not all guilty of breaking U.S. law. Immigrants are welcome. “Illegal alien” is a term that means that the individuals have entered this country illegally. It would be applied to me if I entered another country without permission. The conflation of true immigrants with the plight of illegal aliens only confuses people and does not help us address the problem. Illegal aliens will say, “No one is illegal”, as if it is a personal judgment, when in reality the term refers to the legal standing of a person that has entered this country unlawfully, breaking immigration laws. I would like to see Christians pursue an agenda of helping the illegal aliens in this country without encouraging them to break the law. I would also like to see Christians work to change laws that they disagree with, rather than just defying them. As others have pointed out, any verse can be lifted out of the Bible and used properly or improperly to support a particular view-point. I have to give credit to Lou Dobb’s choice of scripture. My scripture would be “Render unto Caesar…”. I was disturbed yesterday when Lou Dobbs, apparently in an attempt to tweak the nose of Catholic Church leaders, had Christopher Hichens on the show, promoting his book, “God is not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything.” I would feel much better if both sides of the debate avoided extremist rhetoric, and focused on finding a solution to the problem. The Christian Church should hold itself to a higher ideal, and not use the tactics of the Bush Administration’s false choices and appeal to emotions rather than reason. In the Bush White House, there is a Winner and a Loser on every issue, and they believe that they should “win” in everything that they do. Of course they ignore the fact that people on the opposite of an issue, as “losers”, are sometimes harmed by this no-holds barred ideology of “winning”.



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ken

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:38 pm


“My theory is that citizens of Canada and Mexico, like US citizens prefer their own home town and country,” As a Canadian I happily affirm that. As a descendant of people who fled the U.S. because they disagreed with the revolution that brought the nation into being (and there were very many) I find it interesting that those who use Romans 13 never apply it to the rebellion against England in the 18th century. Would Lou Dobbs(whoever he is)?I marvel that no one ever brings up the fact that except for our indigenous peoples we are all immigrants (some, of course, at the forced hands of their owners). If the rules that we apply to immigrants today were applied to our ancestors when they made their journey here, most of them would have been sent back. If Louisiana had had more strict immigration laws many of the French people expelled out of my country by the English would have died homeless on ships. (Got a French last name?)Examine your own last name and investigate the horrors that led people to leave everything to find a welcome elsewhere. And now that we are here and settled in so nicely we want to say “this is our place and there’s no room for foreigners”? Our ancestors were brave pioneers and today’s immigrants, legal or not, are lazy leaches with no regard for the rule of law? Very strange.



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Don

posted May 11, 2007 at 3:57 pm


William: “If these people have broken our immigration laws, obtained the social security numbers of thousands of U.S. citizens and used these to their own advantage, without regard to the harm that they are causing to the people whose identity has been stolen…” Do you have evidence that this is happening? Yes, many use forged IDs to obtain jobs, etc. but stealing identities? Give us evidence to back this up. Further, the only immigration law that the Catholic bishop in question said they would disobey was that unjust law proposed last year that would have made assisting undocumented immigrants in any way a crime (such as feeding them). I would disobey such a mean-sprited, unjust law myself.And if we want to be less prejudicial in our terminology, let’s stop using the terms “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien.” Instead, let’s use the INS’s term and call them “undocumented.” Peace,



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:22 pm


Mr. Holt, What about Pres. Bush’s stance on immigration reform do you consider “false choices and appeal to emotions rather than reason…a no-holds barred ideology of “winning”. I am not disputing. I don’t know his actions very thoroughly. Just want to know what you refer to.



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sara

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:26 pm


The most important element in this issue is the law and others definition of compassionate. It is not healthy for our country to close their eyes to an obvious breaking of our laws. We do not want a system that picks and chooses which laws are to be inforced. My good friends from Poland returned to Poland with their two American born children because the law required it. How have we failed so miserably in asking that the same law be applied to everyone. If you want to look at it politically – the money earned in this country is generally spent in this country supporting our economy. The third largest source of income for Mexico is money sent from the U.C. and being spent in Mexico. One town recently fined employers for hiring ILLEGALS, raised the salary by $2.00 for americans and legal foreigners and the community has improved economically. I think it is imperative that we look at all of the factors in making this decision. We will then be doing God’s will. Our brain was given for us to use and not over riden by emotions/good intentions. The two must be combined. Sara



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Don

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:39 pm


Sara “It is not healthy for our country to close their eyes to an obvious breaking of our laws. We do not want a system that picks and chooses which laws are to be inforced [sic].” True. But when the laws in question cannot be enforced with equity–because economically desperate people who want to come here to work cannot do so legally–it’s time to change the laws. We need laws that we CAN enforce. We need to manage this migration that we cannot stop with some kind of guest worker policy, unless and until the economies of Lat. Am. dramatically improve. And in the course of reforming the laws, we need to do something about the 12 million or so who have been living here without documentation, some for many years, some with citizen spouses and/or children. What’s the most compassionate, equitable, and practical thing we can do with them? I submit that some kind of provision that will allow them to stay is the only real solution. “The third largest source of income for Mexico is money sent from the U.C. and being spent in Mexico.” That says a lot, doesn’t it? But it’s a better foreign aid system than when our government sends money to often corrupt officials who are lining their own pockets. At least the funds go to people who need them. Later,



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:47 pm


Are ID’s used to obtain jobs forged or stolen? Don–Is there an ethical or legal distinction here that I am missing? I see no better illustration of the government’s failure to steward the laws and immigration. The government knows the exact location of employers from whom they receive approximately 10,000,000 W2′s with bad Soc Sec numbers. This is not some huge mystery. Social Security pulls in some $10 billion a year in payments from people who will never be eligible for benefits. We need laws which allows people and businesses and government to function justly. Our government is not governing; which means our elected officials are not meeting their obligations. This, to me is the call of Jim Wallis and Lou Dobbs. President Bush, Nancy Pelosi,……..do your job.



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Tim

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:55 pm


regarding this use of Romans 13: “submission” is by no means the same thing as “obeying.” the law of the world clearly stops, according to the arc of Scripture, when God’s law contradicts it.



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Don

posted May 11, 2007 at 4:56 pm


letjustice: The distinction between a forged ID and a stolen ID should be obvious–identity theft causes serious and lasting harm to the person whose ID is stolen. Who is really harmed by a *forged* ID, presuming it has the bearer’s actual name on it and he/she isn’t using it for some truly criminal purpose? I think you and I are on the same page. We do need laws that will allow people and business to function justly. We need laws that won’t force economic refugees to resort to buying a forged SS card or drivers license just to get a job. Later,



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wayne

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:10 pm


Laws are supposed to protect. We value the law for this reason. Current immigration law is not doing what it was intended to do. It is not just because it is not enforced. It is because it is not enforcable. Some employers are taking advantage, as those mentioned in previous threads. Many more are just employing people who want to work and this is the job pool available to them. Many employers, such as California Farmers, Landscapers in Pennsylvania, and resorts across the nation are understaffed and cannot find enough people to work. The Laws must be changed. The only questions we should be asking on this blog is “In what way? How are we to do this so that we accept our responsibility for not changing the laws sooner? How do we do this and remain sane and humane people?” The demand to reform these laws must become so strong that it over rides our legislator’s fears and forces them to do the right thing. If anyone deserves the term “illegal” it is those senators and congressmen who have failed us in this matter. Lou Dobbs is just selling fear and laughing all the way to the bank. He deserves every negative thing said about him. He deserve it from Christians because it is the truth. Jim has been more than nice to poor old Lou.



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can'twealljustgetalong

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:14 pm


Don I understand your forged vs stolen distinction. But the use of a Soc Sec number that is not one’s own is a theft, it is illegal, and it is dishonest.And yes, I find the entire situation full of dishonesty and unethical behavior. But I do not think we get to just solutions without an ethical clarity. If we as Christians are not enthusiastic supporters of the law–we will have little enthusiasm for just laws.



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Don

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:22 pm


can’twe: Am I encouraging or endorsing lawbreaking? I don’t think so! But if we cannot understand the level of desperation that drives people to do these kinds of things, we will likewise not have the clarity to devise workable solutions. Peace,



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:23 pm


Agree with you Wayne on demand for reform. I see no ‘winners’ in the present system. The varied parties have just calculated how to compropmise the system for their own ends. This is very bad use of the law. If lawmakers do not act, something atrocious will happen that will be followed by draconian measures. President and Congress must act.



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Rev. Hank

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:26 pm


Dobbs has committed a mistake that often occurs with those not familiar with the scriptures. Where theologians try to draw the meaning out of a given text, the Greek term for this is exegesis. What Lou Dobbs did was eisegesis, which means to read one’s own opinion into a given text. I am so pleased that Jim and other religious leaders have taken the time to address this unholy policy. God’s map of the world is not divided by black lines, it is us who have marked up the land like a side of beef.



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can'twealljustgetalong

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:29 pm


I won’t speak for you Don. I endorse lawbreaking. There are persons I know who have moved back and forth across the border. Their needs and circumstances, the incapacity for the government to accomodate what the society demands (business needs for labor), etc. lead me to support them in taking illegal steps. To me, that is what our society has selected. All I am saying is that in a climate of such moral confusion, we will not add clarity and clear-headedness if we cannot be ethically clear.



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kent stockstill

posted May 11, 2007 at 5:57 pm


Sorry Rev Wallis ; In my view you’ve fallen from grace. you,ve joined the PAT ROBERTSON of single minded ,self serving ,stiff necked and blind. Yes I do consider myself a God living and fully depending on JESUS CHRIST AS MY LORD AND SAVIOR ! As far as I’m concerned you both spoke unwisely, with far less wisdom than I would expect. What you don,t see that DOBB’s is doing ,what most people won’t .He is speaking for MILLIONS of citizens who are under paid ,no health insurance and a very dim future. H e is very critical of our VERY WELL COMPENSATED CONGRESS who are not doing any thing for the AMERICAN CITIZENS who are their paying salaries. He is not against immigants, as he said many many times. The key word is illegal!!!! I,beleive you might look at Dobbs program differenty if you followed it more closely.MAY WE ALL CONTINUE TO SEEK THE HOLY SPIRITS GUIDANCE ALWAYS GRACE AND PEACE TO ALL KENT



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carol wolman

posted May 11, 2007 at 6:35 pm


Re: Romans 13: … where it is written: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” This is often quoted by right wing Christians to justify following Bush. The fact is, however, under the US Constitution, authority ultimately rests with We the People, not with the president, who is an elected public servant, nor with Congress, whose authority as Representatives derive from the citizens they represent. Bush is flouting the authority of the Constitution and of We the People, who are the sovereign ones- fulfilling Matthew 5: 3- “the meek shall inherit the earth” In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman



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Tom

posted May 11, 2007 at 6:42 pm


Sven, the very first comment on this thread, says it all right here: “As Senator Obama wisely stated at the 2006 Pentecost conference, “(D)emocracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal values.” If we are to converse across sectarian lines, our motivations may stem from religiosity, but shouldn’t our public discourse be steeped in reason, rather than trying to convince Congress to bend to scripture?”



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Wolverine

posted May 11, 2007 at 6:44 pm


Who is harmed by forged ID’s? I dunno, how bout everyone who has a legitimate ID? Or everyone who flies, drives, or does business that checks ID to confirm that the people they do business with is who they say they are. In short, just about everyone. Wolverine



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Mike

posted May 11, 2007 at 6:45 pm


Dobbs cites statistics of Protestants and Catholics who favor deporting aliens. Then, without any further statistics, claims there is a broad schism between Christians and their leaders on this issue. There are at least two problems with this line of thinking. First, how can he be so sure that such a schism exists? Unfortunately, I’m inclined to think that the majority of Christian leaders are more in line with Dobbs on this one. Second, there are a multitude of issues on which Christian leaders probably do not agree with their congregations. That fact alone does not make the leaders wrong. Their job is to help transform our hearts, minds and actions into that of Christ. Finally, Dobbs seems to be addressing Christians as an outsider. In other words, he seems to be posturing as someone who is not a church member or Christian. If that’s the case, it takes a lot of balls to interpret our scriptures for us. Thanks anyway, but I’m much more inclined to hear Rev. Wallis’ take on Romans 13.



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jesse

posted May 11, 2007 at 7:09 pm


“If given the choice on this issue between Jesus and Lou Dobbs, I choose my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.” –Can we all agree that lines such as these are too arrogant and obnoxious to be a part of civilized political debate? It sounds like something Jerry Falwell would say. Nauseating.



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Herk

posted May 11, 2007 at 7:14 pm


Jim, I enjoy your daily comments from “A” Christians point of view regarding the interpretation of the Bible for daily living. And for most part on your interpretation of the Bible regarding our political process. I also enjoy Lou Dobb’s assessment and reporting of the daily news. I donot always agree with him editorially. However, when the both of you begin to use single Bible verses to support your positions I suggest you stick to interpreting the Bible for daily living and stay out of politics. And I suggest that Dobbs stick to reporting the news as it happens and editorilizing without using the Bible as support.



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God's Politics Moderator

posted May 11, 2007 at 7:29 pm


“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) This message thread has been visited by a God’s Politics Blog moderator for the purpose of removing inappropriate posts. Click here for a detailed explanation of the Beliefnet Rules of Conduct: http://www.beliefnet.com/about/rules.asp which includes: Courtesy and Respect: You agree that you will be courteous to every Beliefnet member, even those whose beliefs you think are false or objectionable. When debating, express your opinion about a person’s ideas, not about them personally. You agree not to make negative personal remarks about other Beliefnet members. You agree not to engage in derogatory name-calling, including calling anyone evil, a liar, Satanic, demonic, antichrist, a Nazi, or other inflammatory comparisons. Disruptive behavior: You agree not to disrupt or interfere with discussions, forums, or other community functions. Disruptive behavior may include creating a disproportionate number of posts or discussions to disrupt conversation; creating off-topic posts; making statements that are deliberately inflammatory; expanding a disagreement from one discussion to another; or any behavior that interferes with conversations or inhibits the ability of others to use and enjoy this website for its intended purposes. Vulgarity: You agree not to display words, information, or images that are vulgar, obscene, graphically violent, graphically sexual, harm minors in any way, exploit images of children, or are otherwise objectionable. Copying Content: Beliefnet discussions are intended for interactive conversation; members are encouraged to express their own ideas in their own words, not to parrot the words of others. You agree not to create posts that consist substantially of material copied from another source. Help us keep the conversation civil and respectful by reporting inappropriate posts to: community@staff.beliefnet.com



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Tom Yoder

posted May 11, 2007 at 7:36 pm


I sent the following to Lou and provide to you for your thoughts. Lou, Be watchful of what you preach. Catholics were bared from political process in England during the rise of the Church of England in much of the 1600s and early 1700s based only on their religious affiliation. Why bar any faith based organization and its members from political process. The separation of church and state rhetoric sounds much like the charge of patriotic heresy to criticize the Iraq war. Founding fathers constructed government to prevent state control of faith practices. Founding fathers were obviously politically vocal with their rhetoric based in their spiritual beliefs. It is very dangerous to our civil liberties to bar individuals and leadership of faith from speaking openly about practical application of values and ethics preached from their Sunday Schools and pulpits. And certainly no different than active campaigning by any special interest group, or individual for candidates, legislative issues and funding priorities. Many by the way enjoy non-profit, tax free status. Am I weary of the religious right thumping their political drum? Sure I am, but that drum beat is really just a call to debate and dialogue that requires each of us to leave the comfort of the status quo to exercise our civil responsibilities. But please reconsider your tactics of using the old fear factor and stigma of separation of church of state to limit this group from the political process. If this had been done in 1776 and your Romans quote applied, the founding fathers would have largely been banished from the Continental Congress and this country would still hold the Queen as sovereign by divine right.



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Wolverine

posted May 11, 2007 at 8:03 pm


Jesse, I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it nauseating, but I have to say that Wallis decision to call out Dobbs at the press conference, without any explanation, just didn’t work. I mean, are we supposed to be surprised that Wallis would pick Jesus over Dobbs? Wolverine



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William Holt

posted May 11, 2007 at 8:04 pm


Don asked: “Do you have evidence that this is happening? Yes, many use forged IDs to obtain jobs, etc. but stealing identities? Give us evidence to back this up.” I first saw this on the mainstream media newscasts. They interviewed people who were identity theft victims. One memorable victim, who was U.S. citizen, and a woman, had many people using her social security number – all were illegal aliens. She had to spend many thousands of dollars to get the IRS to recognize that she was the true owner of the SS number. She also had ruined credit ratings, and difficulty on job interviews where they would do a background check and find out that she had a criminal record, even though she had never been in trouble with the law. Here’s the U.S. government article regarding the identity theft by illegal aliens, and a snippet of the article: http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/newsreleases/articles/061213dc.htm “U.S. Uncovers Large-Scale Identity Theft Scheme Used By Illegal Aliens to Gain Employment at Nationwide Meat Processor”Worksite enforcement investigation reveals that hundreds of U.S. citizens and lawful residents may have been victimized “WASHINGTON, D.C. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Julie L. Myers, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras and Cache County (UT) Attorney N. George Daines today announced that approximately 1,282 persons have been arrested as part of an ongoing worksite enforcement investigation into immigration violations and a massive identity theft scheme that has victimized large numbers of U.S. citizens and lawful U.S. residents.” — I hope this answers your question. You can search Google with the following: “identity theft” “illegal aliens” and you will turn up more articles. The problem appears to be that there is much money to be made by brokers that are responsible for stealing and selling Social Security numbers and other identity information to illegal aliens trying to establish an identity for themselves in the U.S. The illegal aliens are not stealing the identities. They are just purchasing the stolen identities from brokers who are taking advantage of their customers as well as their victims.



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kevin s.

posted May 11, 2007 at 8:29 pm


“Your are ideologically inconsistent. In order for a free market to really work, you need a free labor market.” By this argument, I am inconsistent if I oppose child labor. I am not in favor of anarchy. I don’t see illegal labor as necessary for a free market. “But you would rather just ship ‘me back to where they came from. You are intellectually inconsistent, Kevin.” I would rather have an influx of legal immigrants. That isn’t inconsistent. You are stretching here.



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butch

posted May 11, 2007 at 8:44 pm


We need laws that won’t force economic refugees to resort to buying a forged SS card or drivers license just to get a job. Don If we tax immigrants at a higher rate then there is less money going back to Mexico and less reason to come her to work. Immigrant taxes goes up ours goes down and if they need to get proper citizen status to keep more of their money then the work to get citizenship will improve, learning the history, language, etc.Increased taxes could pay for checking illegal status. Taxes are a great way to affect behavior, look at tax breaks for large corporations.



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jesse

posted May 11, 2007 at 9:47 pm


Wolverine, I agree that it’s not surprising that Wallis would choose Jesus over Dobbs. The cause of my nausea is really Wallis’ implication that Jesus is on his side of the issue. This is the same thing he criticizes conservatives of doing.I would hope that I would never end any political debate by declaring “I’m sorry, but I’ll choose Jesus over you.” Such rhetoric politicizes the gospel and is insulting to your opponent.



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Jason Connolly

posted May 11, 2007 at 10:43 pm


I find no dichotomy between strict enforcement of immigration laws and treating persons with dinigity and respect. As a country, the U.S. has the right to control it’s border and determine whom it wants to allow to enter the country. For the persons whom the U.S determines do not have the right to be in the U.S. the U.S. authorities can treat with dignity respect. Treating people with dignity and respect is done at the invidual level. Immigration policy is not based upon the invididual, but rather at the collective level. A civil society requires social order and the U.S.’s current policies on immigration issues is leading away from a civil society to immigration anarchy. The current policies must be changed.



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Sarasotakid

posted May 11, 2007 at 10:48 pm


But if we cannot understand the level of desperation that drives people to do these kinds of things, we will likewise not have the clarity to devise workable solutions. Don Don you are a good soul.



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dlw

posted May 11, 2007 at 10:51 pm


I simply don’t believe in associating our strategies for changing and improving the immigration system with Jesus. If Lou Dobbs is not inline with our calls for changes, it is not necessarily about whether he is inline with Jesus. It’s a rhetorically dangerous approach. I myself would like the US to help establish an Alaska Permanent-fund-like yearly income transfer for Mexicans, possibly from oil-wealth that we took from their country many years ago. This will reduce the demand for them to immigrate to the US. We can also at the same time mandate that they share their oil wealth better and with better fire walls against public and private corruption. Now, if Jim and Sojo’s doesn’t get on the (rather small at this point) bandwagon that I am on, am I going to accuse them of not following Jesus? Maybe we have diffs on what is and isn’t feasible for reforms? Anyways, I always want to both critique and defend Wallis, but I fear his statement wrt Dobbs may have gone too far… dlw



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wayne

posted May 11, 2007 at 10:56 pm


Identity theft is an on going concern. Just as driving without a license or insurance is a big problem. Let see, what answers could we possibly come up with? I know! Lets deny all undocumented workers drivers licenses. Refuse to allow them any way to become legal. Tell them if they leave their families here, or take them back to whatever dump they lived in before they came here, we will forgive them for being here and carrying our luggage and cleaning our bathrooms. Yeah that oughta work! Good idea! I think we should market a new wrist band. “ICJOLD” which of course stands for “I Choose Jesus Over Lou Dobbs” and then just to be fair we could make one with “CAUTOLD” “Christians Against Unfair Treatment of Lou Dobbs” We’ll clean up!



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Payshun

posted May 12, 2007 at 12:28 am


I agree wayne p



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Alicia

posted May 12, 2007 at 12:43 am


Sven said, in the very first combox response: “As Senator Obama wisely stated at the 2006 Pentecost conference, “(D)emocracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal values.” If we are to converse across sectarian lines, our motivations may stem from religiosity, but shouldn’t our public discourse be steeped in reason, rather than trying to convince Congress to bend to scripture?” I think, Sven, you have put your finger on one of the things that really bothers me about Wallis’s approach, and I also agree with what Barack Obama is saying here.Religion may inform an individual’s attitudes towards particular social issues, but when it comes to persuading one’s fellow citizens who may not share the same religious convictions, “proof texting” from scripture is not enough.



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Jeremy

posted May 12, 2007 at 1:05 am


I have to give credit to Lou Dobb’s choice of scripture. My scripture would be “Render unto Caesar…”. The only problem here is that WE are Caesar; remember that whole “of the people, by the people, for the people thing….well guess what as Caesar we choose which laws remain, which one’s get changed and which ones get thrown out all together. So ok you want to quote it fine, Render unto Caesar…now tell me what that really looks like in our context and not in a context where we are governed by a dictator, but in a context where WE are the lawmakers, or at the very least where we choose the lawmakers. Something tells me that this pet verse looses some of its preceived punch when it has to stand up to our own personal responsibility and we can no longer pass the buck to some disembodied “government” that is somehow distant from us. We decide, and since we are called to be imitators of God with all of our lives, then my guess is that as we are Rendering unto Caesar we had better be rendering those same things unto God. Take responsibility, no more passing the buck, we will succeed or fail as a nation because of OUR choices, and our actions. Presidents aren’t the only one’s who are judged by future generations you know. Personally, I want to be seen as a generation who cared for those whom support much of our nation.



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Jeremy

posted May 12, 2007 at 1:11 am


“If given the choice on this issue between Jesus and Lou Dobbs, I choose my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.” –Can we all agree that lines such as these are too arrogant and obnoxious to be a part of civilized political debate? It sounds like something Jerry Falwell would say. Nauseating. Actually, I think it was a brilliant move, becuase what would have otherwise been an easily ignored press conference, has all the sudden gotten a lot of attention, sure they want to focus in on the sound bite but in doing so they have to discuss the issue. Tacky? Maybe, but it sure did get us talking about the issue, did it not?



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Jeremy

posted May 12, 2007 at 1:19 am


But if we cannot understand the level of desperation that drives people to do these kinds of things, we will likewise not have the clarity to devise workable solutions. Amen! My step-father’s brother; walked, hitched, jumped trains, to make his way from the slums of Honduras to the Mexico border. It literally took him weeks, when he got there he was basically held captive by the “coyotes” until my mother and her husband could bring the $1,000 from Florida to Houston to pay the “crossing fees”. If they did not pay, the “coyotes” would have taken him into the desert and left him, the implication was that he would not be alive when they did so. I wonder how many of us would have gone through what he went through not to work as a CEO of a fortune 500 company, but instead to just be able to work as a migrant worker at farms and orchards, in order to send money back to his family in Honduras.



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Jeremy

posted May 12, 2007 at 1:27 am


Religion may inform an individual’s attitudes towards particular social issues, but when it comes to persuading one’s fellow citizens who may not share the same religious convictions, “proof texting” from scripture is not enough. Proof texting?! So are you trying to say then that care for the poor, oppressed, and marginalized is not a major theme throughout the Biblical narrative? How about abuse of cheap labor? I hardly think that Wallis was “proof texting” instead he quoted a passage that is representative of a MAJOR Biblical theme, found most notably in the Egyptian Captivity/Exodus account. Where a nation was built on the backs of a foreign people.



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wayne

posted May 12, 2007 at 1:39 am


Lou Dobbs, Bill “O’really” and others like them have used Romans 13 etc. for proof texting many times before this press conference. They all talk about the “rule of law.” never admitting that this idea springs from the concept that all people are due the rights we enjoy because they come from God, not our legislators. If they can use God’s Word, or religion in general why can’t Jim? I understand Barack Obama’s thoughts and the wisdom in following his suggestion, but to say that Jim W was wrong here is too much. Perhaps if these remarks were pointed at anybody else I would agree with you. Men such as Jim W. or Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, or even Pat Robertson, are ministers and as such I think it would, could, even should, be expected of them to openly state their allegiance to Jesus over any one else. Further I think we need to see these remarks were in part at least, aimed at the Church, many of who think Lou Dobbs is right. If the Evangelical Church does not see the implications of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this matter, why would we expect the world to do so? I am far more concerned with those Evangelical leaders who have not stepped forward on this matter than I am about Jim’s approach.



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Richard Bond

posted May 12, 2007 at 3:03 am


I’m all for compassion in dealing with immigrants. There is no way the current population of illegals can be sent back, and I favor a process to grant these people citizenship, subject to conditions like learning English. This is a finite country, however, and we cannot offer a place to every single person who would like to come here. We need to have a conversation as to how much immigration can be handled without economic and social disruption. I think this number will be higher than the legal number of immigrants admitted now, but less than the current level of illegal entry. At the same time, we need to support efforts toward economic and political reform in Mexico and elsewhere, so that foreigners will have a chance at a good life in their own countries. To the extent we support corrupt or unjust regimes, we increase pressure on our own borders.



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Don

posted May 12, 2007 at 3:18 am


Don you are a good soul. Sarasotakid Well, duuno about that, Sarasota. Jesus said nobody is good except God alone. But it just seems so obvious to me that this is a test of whether we are going to be true to what the Scriptures teach us about our responsibility to our neighbors. Maybe the undocumented among us are the new Samaritans. And those darned Hebrew prophets keep getting in our faces, too. Peace,



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butch

posted May 12, 2007 at 3:47 am


Interesting all the discussion about citizenship and learning english. If you went to Mexico or Honduras to work would you want to learn the language and become a citizen.The bad 1st argument will be they don’t have to come. Because of their bad economic circumstances and our good economic circumstances and our proxicimty they will attempt to come.



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canucklehead

posted May 12, 2007 at 4:45 am


“Don you are a good soul.” Sarasotakid Hey, what about me? I don’t beat my wife. I go to church. I drive an 87 Honda Civic (386,000 km, thankyou very much!) and give to the Moonies when they come to te door. OK, there WAS that time I smuggled cantalope across the Calif-Oregon border back in ’76 but my mother always said “willful waste brings woeful want” so I’m going w/ Mom just as Bro Dobson hath taught us.



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canucklehead

posted May 12, 2007 at 4:46 am


Hey, did anybody else notice that it was after the word “Herk” appeared that the moderator came on and lectured Sarasotakid about not allowing any unwholesome communication, etc, etc.



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Sarasotakid

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:09 am


Because of their bad economic circumstances and our good economic circumstances and our proxicimty they will attempt to come. butch As I see it, there are two things that are exacerbating the problem: 1) Poverty in South America; and 2) The availability of jobs here. A Christian paradigm would have two basic parts to the solution: Justice & Mercy. Justice: 1. Fine the hades and impose criminal penalites on the employers who break the law by hiring illegals. This may require a real/time computer based system for checking employment eligibility. It may also require a computer-readable national i.d. card that is the only document that shows employment eligibility. The current I-9 system is too confusing and too easy to circumvent. 2. Make illegal aliens pay fines for having broken the law. Illegal entry is a misdemeanor. Overstaying a lawful entry is not a crime but a civil offense. Document fraud is serious and can be a felony. If they want to stay and integrate into society, make them pay fines and graduate them based on the offense: for document fraud, make them pay very high fines, for the misdemeanor of illegal entry, a moderate fine. For overstaying a lawful entry a smaller fine. Zero tolerance for criminal aliens. They get a one way ticket home. If they show up here again they get free room and board in a federal jail (which already happens anyway). Mercy: 1. Offer illegal aliens the opportunity to remain legally in this country and to come out of the shadows so that they can have drivers licenses, so that they can negotiate a liveable wage and live a normal life. 2. Foster policies of equitable growth in our neighboring countries to the South so that the need will not be so great. 3. Have a workable temporary worker program which will relieve some of the pressure on Latin American economies but make sure that it is well regulated so that it does not depress wages here.



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Sarasotakid

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:10 am


Forgot one point- elect Lou Dobbs Pope!



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:33 am


“…sure they want to focus in on the sound bite but in doing so they have to discuss the issue. Tacky? Maybe, but it sure did get us talking about the issue, did it not?” Jeremy Disagree Jeremy. It distracts and confuses the issues. It turns Jim Wallis and Lou Dobbs into the story. It reduces the use of faith language into political hit lines. I will speak only for me: “It pushes me away.” In my thinking, too many have already left the dialogue.



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Curt Freeberg

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:55 am


I am disappointed in both Jim and Lou for lobbing Bible verses at each other but I am with Lou on the basic argument. I am ashamed when Christians make the argument that they can pick and choose which laws the are going to obey because they claim some higher authority. I was on a jury when a defendant claimed she was innocent because she answered to a higher authority that transended the laws of man. She had caused an accident while driving with no license, no insurance and an illegal plate on her car. Where does the line get drawn and who draws it when we are deciding which laws to obey? A friend owns a small plastering business. He no longer bids on drywall jobs because he “would have to hire the illegals” and he won’t do that. Maybe Jim would chastise him for not giving a job to the illegals, but where is the compassion for all the people in the building trades, manufacturing, farming, etc, etc who used to be able to support their families and send their kids to college doing those jobs? The CEO class says they need those laborers because “Americans” won’t do the jobs. They won’t do them because they know they can’t maintain a middle class lifestyle on what the CEO wants to pay. Agriculture needs them because we have a cheap food policy so we can gorge ourselves and then spend billions on the weight loss industry and medical bills. We say we have the greatest economy in the world. More and more it is dependent on a work force somewhere in the world working for less than $1/hr. What can’t be outsourced is done here by immigrants at minimum wage or less. That is no poverty reduction program. The resulting trends are all wrong. More people without healthcare, stagnant to decreasing real wages for the W2 class, college less afordable to many, loss of retirement plans, record bankruptcies. The argument for comprehensive immigration reform says lets keep this going. We bought the amnesty program last time and got a bigger problem. I took a class based on a booklet by the “Foreign Policy Association”. There was a chapter on Mexico and one on immigration. They were supportive of increased immigration. They suggested that the federal government should compensate local governments for the cost of the immigrants. Apparently they are not concerned about the debt we are already passing on to future generations. Mexico is not a poor country. It has oil and other natural resources, a tourism industry and extremely hard-working people. While they don’t pay their workers a decent wage, the country holds $43 billion in US paper. Their lawmakers pay themselves $125,000/yr plus a plethora of benefits for being in session 7 months. They also have a large pot from which they reward colleagues. They have a tax rate only slightly higher than Haiti.They frequently do not levy taxes on owners of large property and water holdings. They are low on the scale of what nations spend on education. The public education system is low quality and corrupt. “Until now, Mexico’s establishment has found it much less expensive and much more convenient to thrust onto U.S. taxpayers responsibility for their social indifference by using the northern border as an “escape valve” for the nation’s have-nots.” Intentional or not, “comprehensive reform” supports that system. All those hard working people with the gumption to come here should be encouraged to stay home and take over their country. That is the only long term solution. It is interesting that the Catholic Church has little to say about the corrupt system in largely catholic Mexico while encouraging people to break the law in the U.S. Curt



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Jeremy

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:59 am


Disagree Jeremy. It distracts and confuses the issues. It turns Jim Wallis and Lou Dobbs into the story. I hear what you’re saying but if no one is listening then how can the issue be confused, especially when people are already distracted? And personally I think Lou Dobbs needed to be called out he’s supposedly a journalist, he needs to stop editorializing and start investigating and reporting the facts.



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kevin s.

posted May 12, 2007 at 6:29 am


“And personally I think Lou Dobbs needed to be called out he’s supposedly a journalist, he needs to stop editorializing and start investigating and reporting the facts.” I don’t think this is the direction CNN is going in general. The trend is to blend commentary with reporting. Wallis recognized this with a well placed cheap shot designed to garner coverage for an otherwise unremarkable press conference.



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wayne

posted May 12, 2007 at 8:43 am


curt Look up demographic trends in population. Our workforce is getting smaller. You could pay three times as much for drywallers, and all you would do is shift the worker shortage to another area. In 2005 500,000 mexicans came through the deserts and found work. The crops still went unpicked in large areas of California’s agricultural industry because there were no workers. If you want to reform Mexico, have at it. Until then we have to have an answer that will work. The boomers are becoming dinosaurs, yet the economy grows and creates more jobs. Hotels can’t find enough people to hire. I was at a resort one month ago in Tucson AZ. It was staffed entirely by Jamaicans on six month work visas. It was a large chain and had shifted some of its foriegn workers there for the winter season, because they could staff all their hotels and resorts. these Jamaicans were unhappy about it and most said they didn’t want to work that far away from their homes in Jamaica. 2007 quotas for these types of visas are already filled. There is surprising few of these visas allowed compared to the need.



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Brian B.

posted May 12, 2007 at 8:51 am


What I don’t understand is why almost EVERYBODY I hear talk and write about the 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. always seem to focus singly on immigrants from Mexico? Aren’t there many other immigrants from all six continants where people live on the earth? According to the most recent U.N. census data, 56% of illegals in the U.S. are indeed from Mexico, but that leaves 44% from other nations! A couple of months ago I read an investigative report in the San Francisco Examiner where it is estimated that more than 80,000 Irish criminals are living illegaly in the Bay Area alone?And these people are not just stealing construction, restaurant cook, landscaping, and fast food jobs. The majority of these illegals work in Silicon Valley in high-tech, software & hardware, insurance, at the Pacific Stock Exchange, etc. And even though I am a 4th generation Irish Catholic, I say let’s hunt these criminals down, ship them back to Ireland and make them wait in line like all of the honest families waiting their turn with patience and dignity!



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John Grubb

posted May 12, 2007 at 9:46 am


First, Lou Dobbs is a thorn in the side of government and other institutions, and society needs that in order for our own democracy to work. We have a Congress and an administration that panders to special interests for money and power in return and that needs to be challence and exposed constantly if the average citizen will ever gain representation. I think Lou Dobbs fulfills that social need when he sites stories about China companies not having to pay duties equal to what American companies have to pay for exporting to China or how our politicians sell jobs overseas with trade agreements that do not have to be debated or voted on by Congress like trade treaties do. Statistics and reason are on Lou’s side of the debate, and since Sojo is a growing institution with a bias influence, there should be a thorn in its side. I like some of the stands Jim Wallis has taken but I view some of his rhetoric like most liberals. Though I liked some of his ideas about handling Hussin and having a government for peace, I am not hearing strong solutions for handling some of the problems unbridles imigration bring to our country. How about calling our presidents on the carpet for being lovey dovey with Mexican presidents and not demanding that Mexico deal with proverty, graft, or the drug trade. How about dealing with the drain on our health dollars when we have 46 million citizens without healthcare. How about playing fair with the immigrants that try to come in this country the legal way. How about demanding that corporations that break the law be prosecuted. Place some tangible solutions in a public forum like CNN. Why do people forget American history? Pilgrims came to this country to escape persecution by a cruel and powerful religious institution that was conflated with a self-serving and dictorial government. To say religion is apolitical is naive and religion does have an important role to play in our politics, but we did exterminate American Indians because they were in God’s way, we did have a preacher not too long ago publically say a dictator should be killed because he was in the United States’ way; we do have preachers say that if you do not believe like they do, you are wrong and not as good as they are. Many of us are fedup with preachers who objectify “G__” to prove they are the only ones right. Preachers and politicians are both guilty of this. So religion needs to be heard from but kept honest by people like Lou Dobbs.



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Sarasotakid

posted May 12, 2007 at 11:24 am


OK, there WAS that time I smuggled cantalope across the Calif-Oregon border back in ’76 CanuckleheadHow can I call, YOU, a Canadian a good soul after you so egregiously broke U.S. law by smuggling a cantalope into fortress America? You make the case for a wall on the northern border, buddy!



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Carol Land

posted May 12, 2007 at 1:59 pm


Pres. Ford believed that one’s religious beliefs should be private; and I wholeheartedly agree with him. One’s relationship with God is between her and God…period. The reason a church exists is that some people feel the need for some formalization or ritualization of their beliefs; and it is cheaper to band together and hire a minister than it is to pay for private spiritual counseling. It is also easier. All one has to do is just show up once a week for two hours. Let’s look at the current religious war in progress in Iraq. The Sunnis and Shiites hate each other….why? Because they have a differing opinion as to the succession of Mohammed. And they killing each other over this! God is weeping. If each of them privately sought God and communicated with him constantly, then this religious war would not exist. Thus, my message is: tend to thy own heart and leave mine alone. I will do the same. Religion (note that I said religion which is a man-made institution; also note that I did NOT say God) has no place in the political arena. It is too corrupt and corrupting. Look at the right wing (Christian) terrorists who kill people and blow up abortion clinics. Now, these people are scary and are no better than the Muslim terrorists we are trying to rid the world of.



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Jeremy

posted May 12, 2007 at 3:27 pm


Wallis recognized this with a well placed cheap shot designed to garner coverage for an otherwise unremarkable press conference. Exactly, and guess what? It worked like a charm. Everyone is so worried about not offending our modern sensibilities, but the interesting thing is that historically prophets (not exactly calling Wallis one yet) have often employed non-polite tactics in order to draw attention to the words of the prophet; i.e. laying naked for 3 years, marrying a prostitute, etc etc. Maybe God isn’t as worried about offending our sensibilities as we are. Now, this is not permission to be rude, but I do think that it opens the door to using various methods to garner attention to the message.



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Jeremy

posted May 12, 2007 at 3:45 pm


Pres. Ford believed that one’s religious beliefs should be private; and I wholeheartedly agree with him. One’s relationship with God is between her and God…period.The reason a church exists is that some people feel the need for some formalization or ritualization of their beliefs; and it is cheaper to band together and hire a minister than it is to pay for private spiritual counseling. It is also easier. All one has to do is just show up once a week for two hours. Wow what an absolutely shallow understanding of the church, and faith in general. Let me ask this, scritpure tells us to “love the Lord our God with our hearts souls and minds” and “to love our neighbors as our self” it also says we are to be imitators of God and by imitating Christ we imitate God. Now, from my reading of scripture, God is interested in how we live not only in our personal piety but more importantly in the way that we live with one another, this then necessitates us living our faith outside ourselves, and can in no way be privatized. Privatized religion is a fallacy of Modernistic thought that believed we were able to compartmentalize our lives, where one area does not inform and affect any other, authentic Christian faith as described many places throughout the Bible (Sermon on the Mount, and all throughout Exodus etc) rejects this notion at every turn. The prophets too are much more concerned with the outward behavior of the people of God in the ways that we treat the “widow and the orphan” and all of those on the fringes of society. So to say that our religion should be private, well, I believe that if we as Christians keep our religion private then we are not the Christians that we profess to be. Afterall, “they will know you are my disciples if you love one another” this necessitates a public living of our faith, and is only made moreso when we deal with legislation that seeks to help “the widow and orphan” and those on the fringes of society.



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mike

posted May 12, 2007 at 4:57 pm


I was a Lou Dobbs fan for years and I think he is right on many things he espouses but I turned him off after his fawning interview with the atheist Hitchens, the author of “God is not Great.” I’m never watching his program again but I will continue to watch other journalists on CNN. Dobbs has shown where his heart truly lies. He is no friend of Christians.



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kevin s.

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:18 pm


“And even though I am a 4th generation Irish Catholic, I say let’s hunt these criminals down, ship them back to Ireland and make them wait in line like all of the honest families waiting their turn with patience and dignity!” Absolutely. Worse, these people will also benefit from any amnesty arrangement. We need to be much more diligent about tracking the immigrant who come into this nation, and there are proposals on the table to do just that.



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Carl Copas

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:52 pm


kevin s, if you’re right about the trnd toward blending commentary with reporting, then that’s one more reason not to bother with watching televised “news.” Blessings to all. And be sure to think about your mom. (Is tomorrow Mother’s Day in Canada also?)



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Marnie Rourke

posted May 12, 2007 at 6:09 pm


The separation between church and state in no way deters us from arguing amongst each other on the basis of our religious beliefs. Indeed, freedom of speech suggests that we always have the right to say what we mean and mean what we say, whether our comments are faith based or not, whether they are good theology or not, and whether we are wrong or right. A faithful reading of the “Federalist Papers” will show one that this has always been the case, though the religions of our forefathers were more similar than those found in our current society. To all the consternation about the uses of scripture in the refuting of each person’s argument, I would like to suggest the basic principle that democracy itself is a way of living out ones faith, whatever that faith may be. For democratic principles allow each of us to vote with our hearts as well as our minds, and to listen to the spirit and honor our own beliefs. If we were not allowed to speak to our governing officials from our heart of hearts in regards to matters that affect our country, that not only would deny our freedom of speech, we would be forced to remain silent, whether in the “majority” or not. At both the beginning and ending of the day we are called by both our Constitution and by the Christian faith so many of us hold dear is to “speak the truth in love.” It does not matter if we are discussing immigration, social welfare, war, or access to health care, or any other matter of civic life, the rule of democracy calls each of us to speak faithfully as people full of faith. This is not only upheld by the Constitution, but by the every religious tradition, Christian or not. As for me and my house, all are welcome for we know first hand how true it is that by welcoming strangers we may find ourselves in the presence of angels. That was our blessed experience in inviting the two youngest children of Ethiopian friends, who needed to return to home to their ministry there, to join our family. When the youngest of the two needed to return home because he needed his own mother after a few years — and for a brief time famine was not adding to the devastation of social unrest — we learned how horrific it is to be caught in the web of our immigration laws and their sometimes hideous enforcement. For when the time came for Gutu to return to us, we could no longer sponsor him as legal guardians. And even though a Mennonite boarding school that had been the home enjoyed by his two oldest siblings some years earlier was ready to welcome him, still a visa would not be granted. For almost a year his parents would bring him to our embassy and beg for him to be allowed to come home to us. It took not only faith and courage to continue to knock at the door and ask, it required great forgiveness. Forgiveness because on every visit one staff member or another would verbally assault them with remarks like: “Why does that family (meaning us) what to spend their money and time on someone like you? They should spend it on their own children, not you!” Following the advice of a friend who is an attorney working for the INS, we sought the help of our congressional representative. That is when Congressman Danny Davis wrote a letter to the embassy in Ethiopia that essentially said: “Let my people go!” Gutu then returned home and is now finishing college. More importantly my son no longer has to limit himself to his responses to the prompts provided by his 6th grade teacher when the class was assigned the task of writing their autobiographies. When asked to name the happiest day of his life he said: “When I learned Gutu would be by brother. And flipping the coin he indicated that the saddest day of his life occurred when Gutu returned to Ethiopia. Now two brothers who love each other, one white and the other black can be with each other with a love that cannot be described. My story is exceptional, yet there are no exceptions to holding onto and seeking every opportunity to hear the inner voice that calls us to love and be loved. It is this voice that those who want to immigrate to our country seek us to hear. It is this call of love that makes everyone our neighbor. It is also this love that makes those who would be immigrants seek to find a home in our own neighborhoods: they love us and want to love us more closely. Backed up by the scriptures I defend as a Lutheran pastor or not, it is this love, this very human expression of the heart that should inform our decisions in changing our immigration laws. That is not only the call of the Gospel, but the cry of the heart. May our cries be heard that the weeping of the night may become tears of joy when morning comes.



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Tom

posted May 12, 2007 at 9:00 pm


You are all trying to fit a square peg into a round hole! Even the pro-Sojourner people are sounding fundamentalist. No amount of using biblical quotations as proof text will ever suit those who ve been alienated from religious life. The extreme part of religion in this country has alienated would be believers so much that it doesn t matter how Christianity is fancied anymore. Christians have to come to grips with the fact that a certain segment of Christianity has pushed people away. Even though Progressive Christians can do something about this, they re definitely limited make no mistake about that. The reason is that many simply will forever be sterilized to any semblance of Formal Christian expression and/or the continued conventional presentation of it. So, it doesn t matter how liberal or progressive organizations like Sojourners come across, the lexicon of our secular population has supplanted church rhetoric (and I don t mean at all to sound cynical about theology or religious doctrine). Instead of assuming the role of foster parent perhaps Progressive Christianity should consider reconfiguring their approach. Put yourself in their shoes, Progressive Christians. Consider how strangely uncomfortable it is to be put into these categories. The best approach is to trust your faith and imagination and channel your loving energy more wisely instead of doubling up on religiousism in hopes of restoring the reputation of Christianity more quickly. We must be able to promote human values, such as compassion, forgiveness, and tolerance, without talking about religion. Notice I said, We must BE ABLE TO In other words, moral ethics are not only based on religious faith. And I m not saying there s no place for aspects of Christianity anymore. Non-religious and/or non-believers don t hate religious folks. They re only averse to the conventional way that it s presented. I m simply saying that Progressive Christians need to have a thick skin because like it or not we are primarily a secular moral society and not a religious one. We live in a big nation with a variety of moral belief systems. I believe Rev. Wallis gets it but the more he brings everything back to a rigid biblical context the more the non-religious will tune out. Christianity is still very popular in America and it has the capacity to effectively guide our moral conscience. But it will just have to be presented in a different way. It s absolutely vital for Progressive Christianity to embrace the burgeoning movement of American moral ethics in secular society. This is the only way to successfully promote human values to all sides and thus fulfill the Christian mission of peace and harmony for all.



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canucklehead

posted May 12, 2007 at 10:49 pm


(Is tomorrow Mother’s Day in Canada also?) Carl CopasYes. Or ‘Others Day for same-sex male couples.



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Carol Harrison

posted May 13, 2007 at 9:25 am


l. We don’t need more laws. Enforce the laws that we have. Employers need to follow the law. If there is no job for an illegal, perhaps they will stop coming. 2. America is bulding factories and businesses in Mexico. I wonder why they are not responsible for living wages for Mexicans? (I am against outsourcing for lower wages.)



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Payshun

posted May 13, 2007 at 10:40 am


Tom,There are plenty of Christians that do put themselves in “their shoes.” That’s one of the reasons I am no longer an evangelical. p



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wayne

posted May 13, 2007 at 3:35 pm


“We must be able to promote human values, such as compassion, forgiveness, and tolerance, without talking about religion. Notice I said, We must BE ABLE TO In other words, moral ethics are not only based on religious faith.” I take it you do not mean we must be “limited to”. Historically when things got bad as in England in the late 18th century the answer was a return to religion. It was never a return to the status quo and or what the church had shrunk itself to, but rather a religion of the streets and of the poor. A religion that doesn’t speak religiously or mention religious messages doesn’t seem like much of a religion. I don’t think it is the “religious” talk that is the real problem. It is that it seems to be only that, “TALK” with no substance, no personal cost, and devoid therefore of any value. Tolerance by definition demands that something must at least rub you the wrong way. We do not demonstrate tolerance by only scratching in the way or in the places others are comfortable with. On the other hand if all we do is talk, well that would annoy anyone I would think and the message would fall on deaf ears. If we refuse to live opposite of the system, or if our lives do not demonstrate some real difference, we as the church have nothing to say.



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Tom

posted May 13, 2007 at 6:27 pm


Payshun: could you help me understand how you try to put yourself in their shoes? I could be wrong but doesn t Rev. Wallis consider himself to be a kind of evangelical? Wayne: you wrote, I take it you do not mean we must be “limited to”. Actually, I take it to mean that Christianity should share its message in more understandable terms. You seem to make the assumption that religion is able to promote values better than secular society can. I disagree. I think they re both capable. And thank God they re both capable because, as I conclude in the last comment, secular society is now the vessel that steers our society like it or not. We ve got to step back and access the social landscape. The demographics of our culture are one of a secular society so we have no choice but to express our morality and ethics this way. But, as I ve mentioned, Christianity is still the popular religion in the US and it serves an absolutely vital role because it must utilize its abilities to help guide American moral ethics in this secular society. The culture is trying to embrace diversity. And within this big tent we express our morality in terms of secular ethics. People have moved away from interacting in a religiously conventional way as they attempt to remain open to all types of difference. For example, it won t be just black democrats who will vote for Obama in 2008. Most democrats do vote with their hearts and it s definitely a plus that he projects solid moral faith as a Christian as well as being a competent leader. However, Obama will get votes from a wide-ranging political populace because the bigger issue is the diversity he represents. JFK was so well liked because society wanted to embrace a broader religious perspective at that time. But because of the social relations/conditions that exist today, it s the love of diversity that shapes the progressive worldview. Obama is the new JFK minus the impetus of conventional modern religion. Again, I m not dismissing the role Christianity must play. But do you see my point about the ebb and flow of our culture today? Christianity shouldn t be viewed as loosing ground whatsoever. But it will inherit that perception as long as it resists adapting to the realities of the social climate! Tom



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George Livesay

posted May 13, 2007 at 8:17 pm


Sorry, but I’m with Lou Dobbs on this issue, which is why I have asked you to take me off of your mailing list.



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Sarasotakid

posted May 13, 2007 at 9:30 pm


America is bulding factories and businesses in Mexico. I wonder why they are not responsible for living wages for Mexicans? (I am against outsourcing for lower wages.) Carol HarrisonWhy? Because under the Free Trade agreement with Mexico, American companies are taking advantage of the cheap labor in Mexico. The average “maquila” worker makes about $40 per week for full time work. Food costs the same down there. Housing is not that proportionately cheaper. That is why these policies have to be reevaluated.



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HASH(0x11917e9c)

posted May 13, 2007 at 11:04 pm


I hear often the irresponsibility or unattractiveness of an ‘amnesty’ approach or of allowing people already here a path towards legalizing their status… What then do you propose? Kevin S. – you mention plans that are on the table you agree with; if you are opposed to allowing folks already here to stay, what then should be done with them? Are you advocating deportations en masse or a plan I have heard described as deportation through attrition? How do you reconcile that with Jesus’ gospel message? It is not a rhetorical question; I am truly asking because it seems you and others on this board have problems with Wallis claiming spiritual authority on this issue. You do realize people have been here a very long time, have deep roots and families, leaving will be devastating. Is the pain, displacement, and destruction of families that will be caused by an ‘enforcement-only’ bill (or even by the absence of any immigration legislation) acceptable? How can we accept that reality knowing what Jesus said about welcoming the stranger being the equivalent of welcoming Him?



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wayne

posted May 14, 2007 at 12:49 am


Tom I am trying to make sure I understand you. I am not at all opposed to speaking in ways that are understood by all. I am not opposed to using language that doesn’t alienate or is just christian jargon. I just don’t see why Jim gets blasted for it in this instance.If Barack Obama said what JW said I would understand. I would think it very unwise in the least. Any Christian running for office would be in that same boat. Jim on the other hand is a very visible Christian minister who makes no pretense about his views being shaped by his faith. He is not currently running for anything. He called another visible figure on the carpet for his stance while at the same time pointing out to all of the Church that there is a problem with Lou’s ideas when we compare them to the words of Jesus.I think it was a statment made in large part to the Church and those can certainly still be done in plain old “Christianese.”



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Payshun

posted May 14, 2007 at 4:38 am


Tom: could you help me understand how you try to put yourself in their shoes?It’s not trying, it’s actually been done. I have been in their shoes. I don’t evangelize except to teach people about purely loving themselves and other people. I am not an evangelical so I don’t see the gospel starting off w/ the sinful state of man.I know what it’s like to know that church structures don’t apply. I know what’s it’s like to feel like religion itself is dead and full of the supernatural childish ramblings of a small group of superstitious people. I have lived all of those things. I have been the “unchurched.” So the idea is to understand that one must not worry about presenting anything. This is not a show it’s about love and love alone (at least from the contemplative perspective.) I am in their shoes because I am not judgemental about behavior. I am not condemning about thoughts but I will call attention to ideas and things that cause death, pain or heartache. That to me is the gospel message and what Christians should be doing. But that’s just me. I don’t expect evangelicals to agree w/ me or to even understand contemplative Christianity. It is just a different branch of the tree.p



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Tom

posted May 14, 2007 at 5:39 am


Oh, jeez, I don t know, wayne. I m basically just saying that I think a lot people, say under 50, could make some extraordinary connections with this kind of Christianity if they didn t feel so constrained by all the categories of traditional religion. Their hearts are as close to being in the right place as anyone who expresses their faith from Biblical scripture, in my opinion. If people don t conform to the traditional religious culture of fellowship then they re not treated as believers. These non-believers share just about everything in common with traditional Christian s except for two things: putting scripture as the paramount priority in one s life and regularly attending church services. Payshun, Sounds like you have a good perspective in the way you handle your faith. Thanks for sharing, :) (smile).



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Payshun

posted May 14, 2007 at 5:57 am


N/P I just hope I was clear. p



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Wayne

posted May 14, 2007 at 6:05 am


Tom Thanks for the explanation. I think the Church is largely irrelevant when it comes to most of the difficulties we as a society and as individuals face. I think the reason is that we live our lives concentrating on a few very minor things, usually things that our Christian culture recognizes as being good, going to church, studying scripture, evangelism, etc. The sad thing is we do such a poor job on even these little things. For instance I find prayer to be one of the most unnatural exeriences in most American Churches. The weightier issues of loving, (not just in deeds of kindness, or even ones of practicality, like job creation, education, mentoring of youth, health care, all of which I am for and do,) but really loving, caring, patiently coming along side of, and befriending, seem foriegn to many and we know very little about them. We present ouselves as people of the “great expectation” instead of people of “hope” who truly love and appreciate each other. It is when all this expectation causes pain and rejection that I find the trouble. I cannot see it as enough to just talk in understandable terms. Sometimes there must be a jerking of the reins and stern warnings. I would though, rather hope than expect.



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Mark Kemp

posted May 14, 2007 at 5:28 pm


The difference between Lou Dobbs and George Wallace is that Lou Dobbs has a much more powerful, ubiquitous and influential position from which to spew his hateful, divisive, racist rhetoric — on our TVs each night. But he doesn’t have legislative power, he can’t block college doors and we have the choice to turn him off. The only way to let CNN know that the airing of his hatred is unacceptable is to change channels. Stop watching CNN.



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Payshun

posted May 14, 2007 at 5:30 pm


Wayne, I am in the same boat.p



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Tom

posted May 14, 2007 at 6:08 pm


Here s maybe my last point, Wayne. I see something very interesting in what you say about the importance of the Christian culture to remain steadfast in the presentation of their beliefs. I agree with you. Speaking in understandable terms should never be done without focus and veracity. And so I agree that the Progressive Christian should always exercise sternness even if it means citing Biblical text. However, religion is not the only part of society that can hold the culture accountable to these weightier issues, as you say. Again, if I understand you, this seems to be a matter that religion is only capable of addressing. Is this right? Do you think secular society is incapable of exercising sound moral authority, at least to a similar degree of success as say religion can?



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kevin s.

posted May 14, 2007 at 7:03 pm


“Are you advocating deportations en masse or a plan I have heard described as deportation through attrition?” I think the former is more humane than the latter. “How do you reconcile that with Jesus’ gospel message? It is not a rhetorical question; I am truly asking because it seems you and others on this board have problems with Wallis claiming spiritual authority on this issue.” Jesus asks us to welcome a stranger into our home. To extrapolate this to constitute a policy position w/r/t illegal immigration, is to suggest that any cap on immigration is unbiblical.That simply isn’t practicable, and I don’t see where Christ commands it. We are to love our neighbors and provide for them, whether they are strangers or no. That does not speak to whether they may reside in our nation. It’s apples and oranges. “You do realize people have been here a very long time, have deep roots and families, leaving will be devastating. Is the pain, displacement, and destruction of families that will be caused by an ‘enforcement-only’ bill (or even by the absence of any immigration legislation) acceptable?” I realize it will be painful. It will also be painful for a number of people down the road if we establish a precedent we will legalize anyone who can evade enforcement for a certain period of time. I don’t see any way to get around painful solutions. Someone is going to lose out.”How can we accept that reality knowing what Jesus said about welcoming the stranger being the equivalent of welcoming Him?” Let me use an analogy, if someone shows up to your doorstep, are you required to house them indefinitely, lest you run afoul of the gospel? What if you have a policy that people may stay at your house, so long as they follow procedure. Are you also required to allow those who break into your house to stay as long as they please? Our country does welcome the stranger. We have a process for applying for citizenship in this country, and the Bible allows for the establishment of law.



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Wayne

posted May 14, 2007 at 7:05 pm


Tom Do you think secular society is incapable of exercising sound moral authority, at least to a similar degree of success as say religion can? I would say it can and does. It is also capable of the opposite. The problem is that the church is so wrapped up in society that it can no longer speak with much moral authority at all. One answer is to use the words of our secular society to help guide and direct it. That is totally proper, but in the end shouldn’t churchmen and women seek to rise to the position of actually being and doing better? If our only reaction is to attempt to communicate on the secular world’s terms I don’t think we get very far. In the days of the great depression most of America could hear Jesus say something like “go sell everything, give it to the poor and follow me” and think it just a matter of the heart. In their life context this would make sense. Today when we are the richest generation to ever live on this planet I think the same message must be more concrete. I think the secular world sees this, (it is easy for them to see the charlatans who say they follow Jesus but are just amassing wealth in his name). Since they see this dichotomy between the Christian message and the Christian life style, they are excused at least from treating anything we have to say as relevant. I do not think the secular world has the words in its vocabulary to communicate to the church. We cannot look to the secular world for a kingdom oriented message.I don’t really think Jim was pointing his barb at Lou Dobbs. I can’t imagine him thinking that way. Why would he do so? I don’t think Jim would think he could change his mind. Lou is just a secular version of our own charlatans. Preaching his brand of fear and hate while laughing at us on his way to the bank. I think Jim was talking to those members of the church who resonate with voices like Lou’s, saying, Heh! Church! This guy doesn’t speak for us and we shouldn’t listen to him. Aren’t we suposed to follow Jesus! It is just so sad that we can’t seem to look to ourselves either. We are like sheep without a shepherd.



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Tom

posted May 14, 2007 at 8:42 pm


It s accurate to say you don t have much confidence in secular society. Let me explain one particular perspective we definitely disagree on, Wayne. I believe there s a strong current of moral ethics at play in our secular society and that has a lot to do with Progressive Religion, such as the Christian message practiced from Sojourners and elsewhere. I think you greatly underestimate how much non-churchmen and women admire Rev. Wallis and others like him. I for one couldn t have grown up with a more traditional Christian lifestyle. Yet when I went to church as a young boy I barely saw a handful of my friends there and by the time I was 13, I saw none of them. My friends and I did not grow up to be of little faith or irresponsible adults. You make another big mistake by advocating a Christian life style. Many non-churchmen and women believe in the Christian message but should they be obligated to follow this specific lifestyle? It s not when in RomeIt s when in America, don t hesitate to mirror all others who have the same philosophy as Jesus. You can arrive at a party as a Christian and at the end still walk out as a Christian. The point is that we should have enough confidence in our faith to at times follow other similar philosophies. Maybe I d be sitting in the church pews with you today if this belief was more accepted. You wrote, I do not think the secular world has the words in its vocabulary to communicate to the church. We cannot look to the secular world for a kingdom oriented message. I find this to be a very shortsighted view for someone to have in the 21st Century.



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Wolverine

posted May 14, 2007 at 8:49 pm


I agree with Kevin that gradual enforcement or “attrition” is infinitely preferable to mass deportations. How do you reconcile that with Jesus’ gospel message? Could you be more specific? What teachings are in conflict with enforcement? Wolverine



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Wayne

posted May 14, 2007 at 10:10 pm


Tom I think this is a conversation we should have over a table or sitting on the sofa. It is possible you have read more into what I said than I intended. That being said despite our shared experiences in church as a youth and my also turning away when very young I am today an evangelical. I am not what my parents would have considered a Christian, at least not a very good one, and I welcome any and all to worship. I have standards that I try to hold to. I try to not impose them, but I do defend them at times. If I see someone else being hurt I do not remain silent. If I see my neighbor living a lifestyle I think is wrong but that affects no one but themselves and others who are of like mind, I don’t try to get them fired or in any other way look down at them. If they were discriminated against and came to me for help, I would help. If they asked me what I thought about their life style I would respectfully tell them, but I find that a very rare thing. By the way it just occurred to me that you might think I was referring to Gays and though I would include them I was not specifically thinking of them. I have a neighbor who is heavily into pornography. I happen to think that is a pretty bad thing. I can’t imagine my printing up placards against them. I do not drink at all. I would not support a movement to ban alcohol. I smoke cigars and I don’t even agree with myself on that. Friends are good, unity is good, lock step marching is neither. Not everything that is against the law should be. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is “good”. I did not mean to disdain other religions or philosophies but I still put my whole faith in my own.



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Tom

posted May 14, 2007 at 10:54 pm


I had problem w/ this statement, Wayne: “I do not think the secular world has the words in its vocabulary to communicate to the church.” And I sense you aren’t really even disdaining secular society. It sounds like you’re mainly expressing your religious convictions. And i’m fine w/ that. But, I still believe the statement i’ve mentioned is a ridiculous one. We may have reached a good stopping, I agree.



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Sarasotakid

posted May 14, 2007 at 11:13 pm


Analogies of overstaying your welcome as a pretext for kicking people out are woefully inadequate. The analogy fails to take into account kids, born here, who have every much a right to be here as anybody else and they will be forced to follow their parents to (in many cases)very poor conditions abroad.



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Kristi

posted May 14, 2007 at 11:16 pm


Where you are born, in the U.S. or Mexico, in a rich country or a poor one, is purely up to chance. U.S. born citizens do not deserve all of the benefits they get from that citizenship anymore than those born citizens in other countries deserve to suffer the horrible conditions in theirs. It is good and acceptable to strive for the best possible life for oneself and ones family. Our country has set ITSELF up as the most democratic and rich country on the globe, so why are we surprised everyone wants to live here? How many billions of dollars worth of tourism do we benefit from in this country every year? Yet we say, go ahead give us your money, fall in love with America but for heavens sake don’t LIVE here? We benefit greatly from our toxic industries being placed in other countries, and from using up their natural resources and paying a pittance for them, yet we are lacking in compassion when those in poor countries that are getting poorer, partially because of OUR abuse, want to live here instead? I don’t think that I am going too far in saying that not only is none of this Christian behavior, but it is plain hypocritical. We have lots of land, plenty of money, and enough work in this country (for those who are willing—and I’m not talking about the immigrants here—they don’t think that honest, but hard or dirty, work is beneath them). HAVE A HEART AMERICA!



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Don

posted May 14, 2007 at 11:38 pm


Amen, Kristi. Thanks!



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Sarasotakid

posted May 15, 2007 at 2:12 am


HAVE A HEART AMERICA! Kristi | Yep, it really boils down to that doesn’t it?



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canucklehead

posted May 15, 2007 at 2:55 am


Today I sat with a Colombian woman our church is assisting who told me that the hotel where she works gave all the Caucasian Canadians on staff a $3/hour raise. They gave her .75 cents b/c “your English isn’t too good.” What should I do?



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Kristi

posted May 15, 2007 at 4:17 am


Canucklehead- Well for one thing, it depends on how her English actually is, but since you had a fairly complex conversation with her, maybe she is being treated unfairly. If that is the case, my advice is to contact the Canadian equivalent of the Better Business Bureau, as well as an org. like the ACLU—report the hotel to your BBB for unfair practices, and then find a civil rights org. that might be willing to take the case—I’m sure that she isn’t the only immigrant getting the shaft.



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kevin s.

posted May 15, 2007 at 5:06 am


But if you work in a hotel, and your english isn’t good, that is a work related issue. I couldn’t do my job if my English skills were subpar. I would be fired.



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Wayne

posted May 15, 2007 at 9:53 am


That sub par English problem will knock you out of the Hotel job market everytime!



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Sarasotakid

posted May 15, 2007 at 11:01 am


Canuckelehead, Is English required for job? Is it a work related issue? It’s not like she has a blog and has to write nasty right-wing comments every day, is it? If the latter is the case, she would have to give the appearance that she is fluent in English and that she is properly using high flutin’ vocabulary so that her English is on par.



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Wolverine

posted May 15, 2007 at 3:02 pm


Yesterday I asked which of Jesus “gospel” teachings were in conflict with immigration law enforcement. Since this is the home of “Red Letter” Christianity, I figured that I should get some sort of answer. But to this point I have yet to see anyone even attempt to answer this question. The silence is deafening. Wolverine



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Jeremy

posted May 15, 2007 at 3:51 pm


Is English required for job? Is it a work related issue? There it is right there, if her english is integral to her job then the case might be made for a lower raise, however I would quickly ask that if her english was so important to her job then why did they hire her for that position to begin with only to hold her english against her during her evaluation? Now if her english is not integral to her performance like say for those in housekeeping (which I’m guessing is the case, since the church is helping her to begin with) then they have to answer why her raise was so much lower.



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Wolverine

posted May 15, 2007 at 4:04 pm


Wayne, If it’s true that you could “fill the blog” with quotes from Jesus that would foreclose enforcement, why don’t you come up with one or two examples? Maybe I’ll tear them up, and maybe you’ll come up with something I haven’t thought of before. C’mon, what have you got to lose? Wolverine



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Jeremy

posted May 15, 2007 at 4:13 pm


Yesterday I asked which of Jesus “gospel” teachings were in conflict with immigration law enforcement. Since this is the home of “Red Letter” Christianity, I figured that I should get some sort of answer. But to this point I have yet to see anyone even attempt to answer this question. The silence is deafening. You are making the wrong-headed assumption that Jesus alone speaks to all issues of faith and political (read public life) and as Christians we form our faith not just on New Testament passages as if Jesus somehow could be separated from the Old Testament. So I completely reject the idea that Christians should be “Red Letter” people and thereby rejecting the other 95% of scripture. So now if you are wanting to honestly discuss the issue then stop trying to argue from silence and start reading the plethora of passages that teach us how we are to treat the sojourner in our lands. BTW keep in mind that Israel didn’t have an immigration policy, because they never would have been able to enforce it. The only reason that we have one is because many live under the illusion that such a policy is actually enforceable and is completley ignorant of the fact that nations and border are only ideas that are controlled by those in the positions of power, and those who make the maps. Poor people who struggle under abject poverty in countries like Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala care little for someone’s idea of where a border might be, they care about feeding their families and hopefully moving out of a shanty town. The only people who care about maintaining the borders are those who want to protect something and that something is all to often found in their wallets.



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Wolverine

posted May 15, 2007 at 4:45 pm


Jeremy, As the founder of “Black Letter Christians”, I am on record questioning the notion that all important issues of faith or morality can be resolved by Jesus words alone. However, it has been argued that enforcement of immigration law, either through deportation or attrition, is contrary to “Jesus’ gospel message”. and I’d like to know if anyone could substantiate that, preferably through reference to a saying attributed to Jesus. Wolverine



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Jeremy

posted May 15, 2007 at 5:20 pm


However, it has been argued that enforcement of immigration law, either through deportation or attrition, is contrary to “Jesus’ gospel message”. and I’d like to know if anyone could substantiate that, preferably through reference to a saying attributed to Jesus. See I don’t take “Jesus’ Gospel Message” to be soley contained in Red Letter (as if every word of Jesus is written in red) or that we are to understand his ministry as any different than than the OT, for I believe that “Jesus’ Gospel Message” is the fulfillment of the entire Biblical Gospel message and as such all of Biblical teaching find their fulfillment in Jesus thus the teachings of Amos are part of Jesus’ Gospel message in the same way that Matthew 5-7 is part of that same message. That’s the way I read it, others may view it differently, but when I hear “Jesus’ Gospel Message” I hear “God’s Gospel Message”, as such I don’t restrict it unnecessarily. Therefore I don’t find it necessary to find a red letter statement in order to attribute the teaching to Christ since all Biblical teaching finds its fulfillment in Jesus.



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Don

posted May 15, 2007 at 6:27 pm


Maybe we need to spell it out one more time: NOBODY who favors comprehensive immigration reform OPPOSES ENFORMCEMENT of JUST immigration laws. Actually we desperately WANT laws that CAN be enforced. The current laws CANNOT be enforced, NOT WITHOUT VIOLATING our BASIC UNDERSTANDINGS of what the faith requires of us–you know, “do unto others as you would have done to you,” “bleseed are the poor in spirit/meek/peacemakers,” “suffer the little children to come unto me,” “I was hungry/thirsty/sick/naked/in prison and you ministered to me” (There. Now you have some “red letters” to chew on.)–not to mention violating standards of simple, basic, human dignity and charity. We want immigration LAWS AND POLICIES we can enforce down the road in the future. Meanwhile, to take care of the present situation, we want TRANSITIONAL LAWS that will allow us to treat those who are currently here–documented as well as undocumented–as equitably as possible, without breaking up families, without automatic deportations, and to give those who want to come and work here and whose labor is needed the ability to come and do so legally. This isn’t some kind of blanket amnesty, and it isn’t necessarily an automatic path to naturalization, either. But however it is finally crafted, it needs to be done as justly, equtably, and compassionately as possible. We are not asking for license to violate immigration laws. It is really, really tiresome to have to keep restating our positions and thus reiterating the obvious. But we seem to be talking past certain individuals whose desire seems to be not to understand what we are saying, and who will do everything in their power to perpetuate their misunderstandings. As Wayne points out, it’s all falling on metaphorically deaf ears. Sigh. Peace,



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Wolverine

posted May 15, 2007 at 6:32 pm


Jeremy, Okay, fair enough: you’re not a Red Letter person and I can respect that. But there are a lot of others who post on this website who are Red Letter Christians. The question for them is: is there a specific quotation that mandates amnesty? If yes, where is it? And if no, what does this mean for their apparent conviction that enforcement without amnesty is not merely misguided, but anathema? Where have all the Red Letter Christians gone? Wolverine



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canucklehead

posted May 15, 2007 at 6:32 pm


Thx for the input on my Colombian friend. She works the hotel front desk so, yes, English is essential to her job. However, the example they used “against” her was ridiculous. A guest called down asking for “pepper” and she thought they meant “paper” as in “newspaper” so she sent one up. “pepper?” “paper?” by that criteria, don’t people pronounce those words about ten different ways in North America depending on the local bayou?



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Don

posted May 15, 2007 at 7:00 pm


Oh, now someone asks, we are looking for a verse that mandates amnesty? sking for specific verses that TELL us we should VIOLATE immigration laws or mandate amnesty is asking the wrong question. See my post above for where we are coming from, if those who pose these kinds of questions really desire to understand where we’re coming from. Later,



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Wolverine

posted May 15, 2007 at 7:42 pm


Don, Let’s take your quotes apart piece by piece, shall we? “do unto others as you would have done to you,” Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but this isn’t an actual quote. I think what you are looking for is “love your neighbor as yourself”. But that’s a quibble. The question is, would I expect my neighbor to allow me to get away with a crime? Maybe it its a petty one, I certainly wouldn’t expect my neighbor to turn me in for driving 55 in a 45 mph zone. Is illegal entry of the United States a petty crime? “Bleseed are the poor in spirit/meek/peacemakers” This is a very solid general principle, but also hard to apply to these facts. Do you mean to say that laws should never be enforced at all? After all, deporting anyone for any reason doesn’t strike me as particularly meek. “suffer the little children to come unto me,” So let me get this straight, Jesus can not be found in Mexico, only in the states? I just hope I never hear any more griping about American exceptionalism. “I was hungry/thirsty/sick/naked/in prison and you ministered to me” Funny, I don’t see “in legitimate legal trouble and you helped me beat the rap” listed there. Now, you all swear up and down that you don’t oppose enforcement, but you demand that any enforcment must begin with making 12,000,000 exceptions. And anyone who disagrees is not merely misguided, but monstrous. The thing is we’ve tried amnesty. In 1986 we gave legal status to illegal immigrants who had been here five years. And now here we are again, with even more illegal immigrants, debating another legalization. And you wonder why some of us are sceptical about your commitment to enforcement. Wolverine



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Sarasotakid

posted May 15, 2007 at 8:46 pm


There are two types of crimes- mala in se and mala prohibum. Mala in se are crimes like robbery, murder, stealing, etc. Mala prohibum are not necessarily bad but society has made certain acts for prohibited for policy reasons, e.g. going 80mph in a 65mph zone is not considered to be intrinsically bad. Same with immigration violations. It is not a “crime” under U.S. law to overstay your visa. It is a violation. It is a misdemeanor to enter the country illegally 8 U.S.C. 1325 but it is not considered a crime of moral turpitude (one that will keep you from getting your green card). Many (not all) of the people who have come here and overstayed or who have entered illegally are coming to get out of poverty. If they entered legally, they have committed no crime in overstaying. If they entered illegally, they have committed a crime that does not involve moral turpitude. But some heartless people, in order to satisfy their sense of justice would prefer to split up families or force U.S. citizen children to leave with their undocumented immigrant parents to satisfy their sick and inordinate sense of justice. Much like Inspector Javert and the pharisees. Don’t buy their argments. They may go by the self-designated title of “black letter” christians but they do not honor the spirit or the letter of the gospel of mercy, hope and justice. They embody more the spirit of the pharisees than that of prince of peace.



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Jeremy

posted May 15, 2007 at 8:50 pm


If yes, where is it? And if no, what does this mean for their apparent conviction that enforcement without amnesty is not merely misguided, but anathema? I guess I still reject the insinuation that any “red letter” Christians are against the enforcment of laws, instead what I hear Wallis et al saying is that they want to change the laws, so in that sense I guess I’m kinda sticking up for the “red letter” folks. Now, as far as breaking certain proposed laws (i.e. feeding, sheltering, caring for undocumented people) then yeah I’ll support breaking those laws, and my guess is that we can find all sorts of “red letters” to support violation of those laws. On a similar note I challenge you to find any text where Jesus supports such things as you and noted here, and please spare me the “render unto Caesar” and Romans 13 passages as if Jesus were giving blanket endorsements to all governments and their laws. Show me where Jesus is for the the enforcement of national borders. You have made your point that Jesus doesn’t talk about the enforcement of immigration laws, but at the same time you must also concede that he doesn’t advocate them either. So it is an argument from silence either way. Now, if we take the whole of scripture into account, my guess is that we can find plenty of themes expressed that illustrate how we are to care for those undocumented peoples. Deuteronomy 10:19 You shall also love the sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.



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Jeremy

posted May 15, 2007 at 8:55 pm


Is illegal entry of the United States a petty crime? Yes, especially if that person entered illegally in order to improve their position in life via employment, which will then help out their families, and as a result help out the industries that they work for, however under current law they must remain in hiding or else be deported, thus hurting their position, their families and the industries that they work for. I dare the government to deport all illegals, and just watch to see what happens with our economy. No politician could withstand the recession/depression that would soon follow, and this is why comprehensive immigration reform is a “when” and not “if” proposition.



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Jeremy

posted May 15, 2007 at 8:59 pm


And you wonder why some of us are sceptical about your commitment to enforcement. We are not skeptical about enforcement of laws in general, just the ones that do more harm than good, this is why we are advocating CHANGE in the law. But, you feel free to keep banging away on that “you all don’t respect the law drum” maybe sooner or later you’ll realize that we’re singing a different song. maybe



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God's Politics Moderator

posted May 15, 2007 at 10:40 pm


“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) This message thread has been visited by a God’s Politics Blog moderator for the purpose of removing inappropriate posts. Click here for a detailed explanation of the Beliefnet Rules of Conduct: http://www.beliefnet.com/about/rules.asp which includes: Help us keep the conversation civil and respectful by reporting inappropriate posts to: community@staff.beliefnet.com 9



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notawhiteguy

posted May 15, 2007 at 11:16 pm


How about this for a solution? How about lobbying for the Mexican gov’t to simply open its borders and loosen its immigration restrictions to undocumented Americans, who can then freely invest their capital to set up businesses from which to hire only local Latinos, unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape? I mean, really…what’s the difference between doing that and having undocumented workers working in the USA? In fact, it might be more advantageous for illegals immigrants if Mexico did open its borders that way….. — Undocumented Latinos would have less reason to go north and more reason to stay in the familiar country of their birth/heritage. No worries of families getting split up, either. — Undocumented Latinos would save on paying large portions of their earnings on the higher costs of American living, travel expenses, wire transfers, exchange rates, etc., allowing them to reinvest ALL the money they earn straight into their home and homeland’s economy. — Undocumented Latinos would avoid the stresses of illicit travel, language barriers, border crossings, etc…..all while improving the conditions in their homelands. — Taxes (purposely made less than US B&O taxes to woo American capital) on undocumented-American businesses in Mexico would mean extra revenue for the Mexican gov’t, used to improve their country. A true win-win-win scenario, if you ask me. But that’s an onus completely on the Mexican gov’t. And if the Mexican gov’t won’t support such a policy, one must wonder….why? What would make the Mexican gov’t so protective of having well-intentioned, but undocumented Americans flood their society in order to invest and improve it? Could it be a….*race* thing?



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Wayne

posted May 16, 2007 at 4:36 am


Wolfie I am sorry I haven’t responded to your last query. I seem to have fallen into a hole of some kind. It looks like a trap was dug by some crafty individual. I will give them credit they didn’t disguise the trap at all. I was just too busy looking for ways to aide and abet criminals that I fell in this hole. Luckily I had my cell phone with me or I wouldn’t have been able to get out an SOS for help. My rescuer did come and soon I will be good as new.He asked me if I knew who set this trap and I had to tell him that I only had a vague description. He is, I told him, a person who is more interested in winning than most and prides himself on his ability to lay traps like the one I fell into. I know he often does things like this because I had seen it before. Truth, for them, is something chiseled into concrete and must always be seen through a mirror that reflects their own face as well. My rescuer then informed me that he also knew of people like this once. He said that he found them to be the sort that loved the letter of the law more than the spirit and the punishment of others was, for them, a sort of obsession. “They always look for proofs for things that are obvious to most,” he said, “and then debate the relevance of the proofs they ask for ad nauseum.” My new friend then said “They operate as if men were made for laws instead of the other way around, and think solutions are not nearly as important as problems.” The next bit I didn’t quite understand but it had something to do with my being excused for not understanding people like this as they often had mouths full of Camel meat? Wolfie do you have any insight into what he could have meant by that? If so please respond. Anyway I have to get back to my work with criminals. Right now I have a very special program for all those violators under the age of five, which I am very intrigued with.



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Jeremy

posted May 16, 2007 at 5:15 am


Wayne | 05.15.07 – 10:41 pm | #Wow, nice work Wayne. ;-)



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Wolverine

posted May 16, 2007 at 6:01 am


Wayne, Sorry, you completely lost me with the camel meat bit. I honestly have no idea where that came from. As for the rest, I guess this is your latest way of saying I’m either stupid or evil. Believe me, I got that message a couple hundred posts ago. The funny thing is, I never accused you guys of that. I think I’ve admitted that there are grounds for some sort of amnesty. I’m not sold (obviously) but there’s a case to be made for it. I think you’re wrong, but I don’t think you guys are crazy or evil for advocating legalization. Its a tough call; decent people are going to disagree. It’s the rhetorical overkill that gets me. I want to see the law enforced. Is that really so outrageous? Silly question. I’m evil and/or stupid. Whatever. Good night. You can keep the camel. Wolverine



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Wayne

posted May 16, 2007 at 9:11 am


“Now, you all swear up and down that you don’t oppose enforcement, but you demand that any enforcment must begin with making 12,000,000 exceptions. And anyone who disagrees is not merely misguided, but monstrous.” Wolverine I don’t know wolfie. Its hard to tell if thats fur your wearing or some other coat. You and Kevin play the same game. Hard ball, softball. The crack about red letter christians was certainly a good jab and it certainly looked like a ploy to me. Is this a ploy also? First your the great debater and now you act hurt? The Bible is full of references that should satisfy you that there is a very good basis for doing what I and others have proposed. You know this so why did you ask for the citations unless you were just playing a game at debate strategy? The “exceptions” you refer to are not the only guilty parties, as we let it happen and turned a blind eye. We have all created the problem so a fair solution woould be that we all deal with it and cause as little further hurt as possible. I don’t think that is an exception for 12 million but the recognition of shared responsibility by more than 312 million. Your emphasis on punishment is either an obsession, scapgoating, or a mask for hidden prejudice. The law is not an end in itself. It was not meant to be and it cannot be. The “weight” of this particular law was well outlined for you by sarasotakid. You seem to ignore it. By the way have you gotten the gnats out of your teeth yet?



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HASH(0x11944bb8)

posted May 16, 2007 at 11:17 am


The 1986 Amnesty was not a failure because of its giving amnesty thus creating a bad precedent; it was a failure because it did not allow for further LEGAL immigration to adequately satisfy our labor needs during the past 20 years. Thusly, 12 million people came illegally to get to those jobs that America could not fill. (Read: not jobs Americans didn’t want, but jobs the U.S. did not have domestic workers to do).



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HASH(0x11946ed0)

posted May 16, 2007 at 11:44 am


kevin s. said: “Jesus asks us to welcome a stranger into our home. To extrapolate this to constitute a policy position w/r/t illegal immigration, is to suggest that any cap on immigration is unbiblical.” No it isn’t. Obviously nations have to be ordered. This is not the debate. The debate centers on how we treat immigrants. Currently, we schizophrenically adore their labor force while abandoning them completely societally. This is what is un-biblical. “That simply isn’t practicable, and I don’t see where Christ commands it. We are to love our neighbors and provide for them, whether they are strangers or no. That does not speak to whether they may reside in our nation. It’s apples and oranges.” No it isn’t. Again the message in scripture from the Old Law God gave to order society and from Jesus’ teaching spoke to treating foreigners fairly and with justice. As I have said that is not currently the case. Nor is it in concert with current ‘enforcement only’ platforms that would uproot people who have long lives lived in this country working, paying taxes (its true!), going to church… “I realize it will be painful. It will also be painful for a number of people down the road if we establish a precedent we will legalize anyone who can evade enforcement for a certain period of time. I don’t see any way to get around painful solutions. Someone is going to lose out.” You seem awfully comfortable with this. Must be nice. Other people suffering is always preferable than experiencing it ourselves isn’t it? Where is that in scripture? Anyways, your argument is based on what Brueggemann calls ‘the myth of scarcity.’ It is an unhealthy theological motivator. So far our country has taken in 12 M people, unemployment is at all time lows, our economy is growing, we are doing fine. In fact most scholars attribute an overall benefit at the federal level due to immigration (unauthorized and otherwise). Check out a study by a libertarian group: http://www.freetrade.org/pubs/pas/tpa-019es.html You seem to think mass deportations are the desired response to this issue. How would that work exactly? Do you really believe our communities, industry could handle that? Wolverine – you voted, on the other hand, for more of an attrition route. So when immigrant children are being left to their own devices outside of our schools and hospitals – will you still not see the discord with Jesus’ teaching?



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HASH(0x11945e84)

posted May 16, 2007 at 12:18 pm


Almost forgot. Wolverine wants scripture? Scripture he shall recieve.. As the good Evangelical that I am, here you go: (this list is not exhaustive…) Exodus 22:21-24 (New International Version) 21 “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. 22 “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless. Exodus 23:9 (New International Version) 9 “Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt. Leviticus 19:10 (New International Version) 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:33-34 (New International Version) 33 ” ‘When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. 34 The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. prison and you came to visit me.’ Leviticus 25:35-36 (New International Version) 35 ” ‘If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest of any kind [a] from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you Numbers 9:14 (New International Version) 14 An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD s Passover must do so in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for the alien and the native-born. Numbers 15:14-16 (New International Version) 14 For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do. 15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD : 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.’ ” Deuteronomy 16:11-12 (New International Version) 11 And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you. 12 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees. Deuteronomy 24:17-22 (New International Version) 17 Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. 19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this. Deuteronomy 26:12-13 (New International Version)12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 Then say to the LORD your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. Deuteronomy 27:19 (New International Version) 19 “Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.”Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”



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HASH(0x11947278)

posted May 16, 2007 at 12:19 pm


(Continued) Job 31:32 (New International Version) 32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street,for my door was always open to the traveler- Jeremiah 7:5-11 (New International Version) 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. 9 ” ‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, [a] burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”-safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD. Ezekiel 22:7 (New International Version) 7 In you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have oppressed the alien and mistreated the fatherless and the widow Ezekiel 47:23 (New International Version) 23 In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD. Zechariah 7:10-12 (New International Version) 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’ 11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry. Malachi 3:5 (New International Version) 5 “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty. Matthew 25:31-46 (New International Version) The Sheep and the Goats 31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU INVITED ME IN…



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June Carlson

posted May 20, 2007 at 10:41 pm


I agree with Lou Dobbs. We must keep the separation of church and state. To condon illegal immigrants is outrageous. We are a country of laws. Let all the immigrants get on line and become a citizen legally. England is changing their ways by insisting that all people coming into the UK must speak English. It is costing the taxpayers a fortune to educate all these illegal immigrants.Stop the flow of illegal immigrantion before we have a taxpayers revolt.Our hospitals are hurting and in desperate need of money. Our American institutions are slowly being destroyed. Our government is heavily is debt. We are broke and cannot afford to give our own citizens health insurance much less take care of all these illegal immigrants.



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julio

posted May 24, 2007 at 10:43 pm


It is amusing to see someone who has never experienced or known the affecting issues, i.e. being an immigrant, talk publicly as if he is an expert. When Dobbs experience the bias and struggles of a Latino immigrant in American, then he can be listened to. Otherwise, Lou Dobbs is a mere talking head deserving no credibility. That no authoritative figure is brought on to face him squarely and put him in his place is another example of the bias prevalent in the America media. No Latinos, no women, no modernists. Biased, biased, biased. No justice can be done this way.



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Anonymous

posted June 11, 2007 at 4:09 am


How much longer must there be opinions based on Bible verses which have nothing to do with the present? The Bible is only a small portion of other more realistic ideas of intelligent people. Tell me where God was before creation and where is that imaginative being now? Thinking people understand how the fearful people of centuries ago imagined the gods they believed could punish or reward them. The flood was supposed to destroy “sin” but seemingly failed. Isn’t it time to recognize the stupidity of believing in hell and a devil? Read The History of Hell and wake up to reality.>



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amber james

posted July 21, 2007 at 11:24 pm


I agree with Lou’s stance on separation of church and state. I started watching Lou Dobbs about 2 years ago and can honestly say he is the reason I have cable. He galvanized me into action on a host of issues. I re-registered as an Independent. Sean Hannity and Bill O Rielly are nothing more than Bush bots..I hate it when people lump Lou into the same category as those brown nosers. I used to subscribe to the New York times but after the way that rag has gone after Lou I would not used it to line my bird’s cage. I think he is one of the most powerful men in America and a true hero to every day working Americans. I just love the guy and encourage everyone I know to listen to his broadcast.



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Anonymous

posted October 13, 2007 at 6:52 pm


It’s a slow Saturday here in the Rocky Mountains, so I read nearly all of the above comments–found the scriptural quotes especially meaningful. The use of humor often conveys a point in a most poignant manner, and I believe Wolverine has the ability to be a mirror by letting others see themselves as they really are. I refer to his request for red letter authorities, and then exposing the real meaning of those verses as they apply to unlawful immigrants. The site moniter is to be commended for keeping things clean. I am convinced that Christians are only allowed to ignore man’s laws (government) when there is a conflict with God’s law (Acts 5:28,29), and not to encourage people to leave their families in Mexico simply for filthy lucre in this land. I work with hispanics and others in the agricultural fields during harvest, and know many who had sufficient income in Mexico but lusted after more and easier money here–some who sold their farm (five acres) in Mexico so they could pay a “coyote” to deliver them here in Colorado. The Bible says to be content with such things as we have, not for us to help those who lust after carnal treasures break the laws, leave their wives for a girlfiend up here, and engage in other sinful conduct such as buying lottery tickets! Leon Moyer.



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