God's Politics

God's Politics


The Undocumented Body of Christ /by Tim Kumfer/

posted by God's Politics

John Howard Yoder, a Mennonite theologian and significant influence on Sojourners, used to say that the world often helps the church remember what it means to be church. The observations of those outside often serve to return the church to its roots.


Recently, church leaders and faith based organizations have gotten a lot of flack over their outspoken support of comprehensive immigration reform. In light of Yoder, I’ve been mulling over the criticisms from Lou Dobbs and others, wondering if there are any lessons for us.


It took me awhile, but I think I found one. Dobbs loves to point out the “schism between the leadership of churches and religious organizations and their followers and members” over the issue of immigration. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches, and even the National Association of Evangelicals call for compassionate policies, many Christians express support for harsh, enforcement-only measures like last year’s Sensenbrenner bill. Dobbs is right: Our leaders call for inclusion, while the rest of us say “kick ‘em out!”


Clearly there is a communication breakdown, one that I think runs much deeper than failing to educate the people in the pews about immigration polices. Rather, I think this gap demonstrates the failure of church leadership to instill in its people a deeper understanding of their Christian identity.


I recently sat in on a Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform strategy session. Krista Zimmerman, who works for the Mennonite Central Committee, often travels to churches to discuss immigration. She lamented how many white churches fail to see the crisis as their problem, and how the discussion often breaks down into “us” and “them,” even when talking about members of the same church body. She said we have failed to help the church realize it is an “us.”


Theologically, she is exactly right. The church is to be our first family and primary allegiance, and we are to find our identity together in Christ above everything else. Being part of the church is to be a more determinative identity than any of the other ones we carry with us: nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. It is “more real” than anything else about us. When we hold something about us to be more important than our Christian identity (i.e., our American citizenship), we are practicing idolatry and deceiving ourselves. It seems the church in the U.S. has largely forgotten this.


Sociologically, Zimmerman was spot-on as well. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 78 percent of undocumented immigrants (around 9.4 million people) currently in the United States came from Mexico or Central America. In another survey, Pew found that 87 percent of Latinos self-identify as Catholic or Protestant. This means that there are over 8.1 million Christians in the U.S. who are undocumented immigrants. The body of Christ, it seems, does not have all its papers.


With the collapse of the comprehensive reform bill in the Senate, it now seems that it will have to wait a little longer to get those papers, and many of our brothers and sisters will suffer and be deported in the meantime. This is to be lamented. At the same time, the government’s callous inaction provides us with a new opportunity to be the body of Christ. The New Sanctuary Movement is one way churches are siding with our undocumented sisters and brothers, and boldly challenging our nation’s inhumane immigration laws.


Most of us aren’t there yet, though, as Lou Dobbs pointed out. Later in the meeting, Bill Medford of the United Methodist Church said what most churches need isn’t political organizers as much as we need party planners—people who will bring white and immigrant churches together for fellowship. Out of this sharing, eating, and singing will grow a sense of unity and shared calling. Then when the homes of our brothers and sisters are raided, or they are threatened with deportation, we won’t hesitate to act on their behalf … because it’s really our behalf.


Ultimately, how the church in the United States responds to the immigration crisis is less a matter of legislation and more a question of Christian identity and test of our discipleship.


Will our actions legitimize false differences? Or will we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of faith, together as the undocumented body of Christ?

Tim Kumfer is the executive assistant at Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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Ben Wheaton

posted August 17, 2007 at 11:27 am


Perhaps “coming together as the body of Christ” might possibly mean that the “comprehensive immigration reform” crowd will compromise with the great unwashed? Unlikely.



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Donny

posted August 17, 2007 at 11:33 am


We do not say kick ‘em out.
We Christians that oppose the illegal immigration of dishonest people into “America” is that it is dishonest to support dishonesty.
These so-called immigrants, are not willing to assimiltet into America. They refuse to speak english and they refuse to be a true part of America, and willingly HAVE created seperate nations within our borders that have in reality forced real Americans and their children to find neighborhoods elsewhere.
If Sojouners wants to be an honest organization, then encourage and promte Americans to be Americans if they want to live and work in America.
Is that not the honest thing to CONTINUE to do????????
Why do hispanic/latino immigrants get special status and the ability to create a new and alien community on the land of America?
It is just not honest to promote this illegal immigration plague on America, as something that Americans that oppose dishonest people from being dishonest as the ones doing wrong.
If latinos want to BE spanish-speaking citizens somewhere, there are LOTS of spanish speaking countries to live and work in.
America IS NOT ONE OF THEM.
And should never be.
It is neither respectful or moral or honest to continue the unfettered support and promotion of illegal immigrants to America. Until YOU PROGRESSIVES, JOIN WITH honest Americans and encourage immigrants from Latin countries to do what every other immigrant before them has done (that has wanted to become an American) then you to are dishonest too.
Dishonesty is something that Christians should not promote.



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Ben Wheaton

posted August 17, 2007 at 11:56 am


Whoa, easy Donny. Still, perhaps Sojourners ought to consider the theological question from a different point of view:
Disobeying the government, so long as it is acting properly, is a sin. Illegal immigrants are breaking the law coming into the United States without first asking permission. The only way that they could be acting rightly is if the law concerning entry into the United States is unjust. It is not; nations have been allowed to regulate their borders since the beginning of civilization, and they also have the right to deny people entry. The first priority of government is to ensure the regularity of the borders. Even the most restricted immigration laws are not unjust; only laws that do not permit people to emigrate are. Why won’t the church in the U.S. rebuke its Hispanic brothers and sisters for defying the God-ordained institution of government?



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:02 pm


Why won’t the church in the U.S. rebuke its Hispanic brothers and sisters for defying the God-ordained institution of government?
Some may believe that the laws themselves are suspect.



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Ben Wheaton

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:13 pm


Rick, I believe that I stated in my post above that the laws are patently not suspect; asking the government’s permission to enter a country is a just law. Are you suggesting that the government cease patrolling and regulating the borders?



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:16 pm


“nations have been allowed to regulate their borders since the beginning of civilization”
Ben, when do you count the “beginning of civilization”? The notion of a nation-state with “secure” borders and absolute sovereignty over those borders and all contained theirin is a very modern notion. The “sovereign nation-state” concept only goes back about 500 years–the era of the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe. Governments didn’t begin issuing passports (or demanding that visitors display them) until about 100-150 years ago.
The modern period is really an aberration in human history. Migration has been the norm for most of it, and nobody tried to count who was coming in and who was going out. I don’t necessarily advocate going back to that, but as I have argued on this board previously, we won’t be able to stop or even slow the migration from the south until and unless economic conditions improve there. And our laws do need to be reformed to take these facts into account; otherwise we’ll just be spending more and more on border enforcement and getting nowhere, other than creating a humanitarian crisis at the border.
Peace,



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Another nonymous

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:20 pm


“Some may believe that the laws themselves are suspect.”
Indeed. However, I predict that many of the same people who lined up in the Randall Balmer-based discussion below to attack evolution as “survival of the fittest” will line up here in support of keeping illegal immigrants out.
Cognitive dissonance, anyone?



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Ben Wheaton

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:31 pm


Don,
Perhaps I was being a little imprecise. I might mention the Egyptian border forts in the late 14th century B.C., or the Roman garrisons along the Rhine. Territory, and disputes about it, have been around for ages. The right of the ruler of the land to forbid entry to anyone was recognized. Now, the modern concept of a nation state’s sovereignty was, as you stated, a fairly recent invention; however, with this invention came the great boon of peaceful, regulated migration. Do you really want to go back to the ‘good old days’ of the Norsemen raping and pillaging through your town and then settling it and enslaving you?



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Ben Wheaton

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:37 pm


By the way, that mention of norsemen was not meant to be a comparison to the present day in any way, shape or form.



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Deryll

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:50 pm


[If latinos want to BE spanish-speaking citizens somewhere, there are LOTS of spanish speaking countries to live and work in.
America IS NOT ONE OF THEM.
And should never be.]
Donny:
Did you and your ancestors ask permission to come here and speak English. Why aren’t you demanding we speak Cherokee instead of bringing in a foreign language and refusing to blend into the culture which was already established here?



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:52 pm


“Do you really want to go back to the ‘good old days’ of the Norsemen raping and pillaging through your town and then settling it and enslaving you?”
Ben, I already said I didn’t think we should go back there, so why do you ask?
My point is that the current immigration laws create injustice, not because nation-states don’t have the legal right to regulate their borders, but becuase the current laws fail to take account of the situation on the ground. We seem to think that increased and more comprehensive enforcement of current immigration laws will solve the illegal migration problem. It won’t. Not so long as the economic disparity exists.
We need some way of regulating migration that recognizes reality. Our current one tries to ignore reality. The result is families torn apart by immigration raids, something I don’t understand why Christians can support. It also results in deportation of people brought here illegaly by others (usually as a small child and usually by a parent) who had no say in the matter and who has nothing to go back to wherever he/she came from. This is why I agree with Ryan when he says the current laws are unjust.
Peace!



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kevin s.

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:55 pm


“will line up here in support of keeping illegal immigrants out.”
Your silliness about “survival of the fittest” aside, virtually everyone, of every political stripe, including every viable presidential candidate, wants to keep illegal immigrants out.
This debate usually devolves pretty quickly here, but I would say that even Sojo does not advocate an open-borders policy untenable from an economic and security standpoint. The question is how to reconcile the fact that we have done a lousy job enforcing our borders.
The main thrust of opposition to amnesty has not been the desire to send all illegal immigrants back to their home country, but rather the need to address enforcement first to stop the bleeding. That’s where this debate is at, and this article does not even begin to dissect it.



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Deryll

posted August 17, 2007 at 12:56 pm


[Cognitive dissonance, anyone?]
I hear you!!!



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Ben Wheaton

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:12 pm


Don,
Certainly the immigration laws must take account of the situation on the ground, which is why I thought that the recent failed bill would have been fine if it had been enforced. However, my question to you would then be, how would you advocate stemming the flood of illegal immigrants? Rhetoric about ‘disparities’ between Mexico and the U.S. does not obscure the fact that no matter how dirt poor you are, you do not have the right to illegally enter a country, and the U.S. does not have the responsibility to let you in. Immigration raids are very supportable; if you break the law, you suffer the consequences, so long as the consequences are proportional. Deportation is a just penalty for illegal entry. Of course, deportation must be carried out justly (your mention of families torn apart is duly noted), but it is still a just penalty. And I do think that people who have grown up in the U.S. should be integrated; ergo my support of the failed bill.



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Wolverine

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:18 pm


Tim Kumfer detects a communications breakdown, but with him all communication goes only one way — he talks, we listen. It never occurs to him that he might want to listen to illegal immigration opponents.
I am quite aware that my primary allegiance is to the church, but this fact does not negate all my other allegiances. The fact that a Mexican is a fellow Christian does not negate his obligation to respect US law.
Wolverine



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:19 pm


The failed bill, which I also supported as the better of the two options (the other being the one we’re stuck with because of inaction), also included a guest worker provision. That might have helped alleviate the problem of illegal entry. No, we don’t have to let people in, but the fact is we can’t keep them out either. “Stemming the flood” is simply not possible under current economic conditions. The best we can do until economic conditions in Latin America improve is manage the situation. The only reasonable option is to legalize their entry by granting them some kind of guest worker status.
Our current enforcement policy is not ‘duly noting’ the harm that it is causing people, especially family members and people who have grown up here and have integrated. That is why it is unjust.
Later,



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John E.

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:24 pm


The immigrants do not compete with Church Leadership for jobs and resources. They do compete with the laity.



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Anonymous

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:30 pm


Don wrote:
The notion of a nation-state with “secure” borders and absolute sovereignty over those borders and all contained theirin is a very modern notion. The “sovereign nation-state” concept only goes back about 500 years–the era of the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe. Governments didn’t begin issuing passports (or demanding that visitors display them) until about 100-150 years ago.
The fact is we live in a world with tighter border controls. The fact that this is a relatively new development does not make it any less of a reality today, nor does it mean that border controls are wrong We also live in a world with extensive welfare states, which also didn’t exist 150 years ago.
But we might be able to work out a deal. Since you happen to be so fond of nineteenth century governance, lets go all the way: I’ll drop my objections to open borders in exchange for you letting us dismantle the welfare state.
Wolverine



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Ben Wheaton

posted August 17, 2007 at 1:32 pm


Don,
As a matter of fact we can keep many out; fences, more border guards etc. won’t stop the tide, but they can reduce it considerably. What you are saying is that we should just surrender to the inevitable and let ‘em all in. There are those of us who believe that strategy is extremely imprudent. And I might also note that it is primarily the fault of the illegal immigrants that their families are being torn apart.



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Another nonymous

posted August 17, 2007 at 2:05 pm


Posted by: kevin s. | August 17, 2007 12:55 PM
“The main thrust of opposition to amnesty has not been the desire to send all illegal immigrants back to their home country, but rather the need to address enforcement first to stop the bleeding. That’s where this debate is at, and this article does not even begin to dissect it.”
Granted, and I didn’t mean to include you among those guilty of cognitive dissonance. The silliness about “survival of the fittest” isn’t mine, though, as I’m sure you know from reading some of the comments in the earlier thread.



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Annie (UK)

posted August 17, 2007 at 2:44 pm


Donny
You may well speak a form of English but you certainly don’t write or spell it very well. Also weren’t there Native Americans speaking a variety of different languages in what is now the USA long before the Europeans (French, British, Spanish, etc etc) arrived to make Colonies, steal lands and bring in slave labour? I’m not familiar with US history enough to know why English eventually became the official language but the citizens of many European, African and Asian countries manage to speak several languages and I’m sure your migrant labourers soon pick up enough American English to do the unpleasant jobs that they have to do in order to survive and which are so necessary to your economy.
I think the OT has a lot to say about caring for aliens and strangers. It doesn’t say that they have to be in the country legally before they receive that care.



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 2:56 pm


“The immigrants do not compete with Church Leadership for jobs and resources. They do compete with the laity.”
That’s a fallacy.
From http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/myths.html (and note their sources):
Myth: Immigrants take jobs and opportunity away from Americans
The largest wave of immigration to the U.S. since the early 1900s coincided with our lowest national unemployment rate and fastest economic growth. Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs for U.S. and foreign workers, and foreign-born students allow many U.S. graduate programs to keep their doors open. While there has been no comprehensive study done of immigrant-owned businesses, we have countless examples: in Silicon Valley, companies begun by Chinese and Indian immigrants generated more than $19.5 billion in sales and nearly 73,000 jobs in 2000.
(Source: Richard Vedder, Lowell Gallaway, and Stephen Moore, Immigration and Unemployment: New Evidence, Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, Arlington, VA (Mar. 1994), p. 13.
Myth: Immigrants are a drain on the U.S. economy
During the 1990s, half of all new workers were foreign-born, filling gaps left by native-born workers in both the high- and low-skill ends of the spectrum. Immigrants fill jobs in key sectors, start their own businesses, and contribute to a thriving economy. The net benefit of immigration to the U.S. is nearly $10 billion annually. As Alan Greenspan points out, 70% of immigrants arrive in prime working age. That means we haven’t spent a penny on their education, yet they are transplanted into our workforce and will contribute $500 billion toward our social security system over the next 20 years
(Source: Andrew Sum, Mykhaylo Trubskyy, Ishwar Khatiwada, et al., Immigrant Workers in the New England Labor Market: Implications for Workforce Development Policy, Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, Prepared for the New England Regional Office, the Employment and Training Administration, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Boston, Massachusetts, October 2002.
http://www.nupr.neu.edu/1102/immigration.PDF#search='center%20for%20labor%20market%20studies%20at%20Northeastern%20University%20studies‘)



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Alan

posted August 17, 2007 at 2:58 pm


It seems that it is OK for corporations to migrate from country to country and help (or disrupt) the local economies but it is not OK for people to respond to the changing economy by seeking better standards of living in new locations.
It seems to me that if the laws perpetuate a systemic injustice, then the laws must be unjust. We are willing to talk about the right to regulate the borders but less willing to talk about the systemic injustices that may have been created by NAFTA and other laws and treaties.



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:01 pm


“As a matter of fact we can keep many out; fences, more border guards etc. won’t stop the tide, but they can reduce it considerably. What you are saying is that we should just surrender to the inevitable and let ‘em all in”
No, I’m not saying surrender. I’m saying mangage. A well-thought-out guest worker policy could do that.
And fences, more border guards, etc., may or may not slow the tide. But they’ll certainly create an even worse humanitarian crisis on the borders, as more and more take increasingly hazardous routes to try and get here. Do we really want more border deaths on our consciences?
Peace!



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:04 pm


“No, I’m not saying surrender. I’m saying mangage.”
That last word should have been manage.
D



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CL

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:05 pm


Interesting conversations, but the biggest problem I see in the rural/agricultural area in which I live is that ALL the immigrants are targeted with slurs and defamation, not merely those undocumented or illegal. Often, citizens with Hispanic surnames are targeted as well. The national debate about immigration reform has been particularly nasty from the top down and we in the church have the obligation to see that, at least in our arena, it stays on topic and respectful.
On a lighter note, some of the immigrants im my area (some new citizens, some legal immigrants, some undocumented) have graduated from local high schools and are attending college now. Contrary to much of the dialogue about assimilation in our culture, they speak English as well or better than some of our politicians currently in office. The difference is that they also speak Spanish and sometimes a third language better than those politicians, as well.



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Anonymous

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:17 pm


so maybe us christians who disagree with your version of immigration policy ie; leave them alone and forget that they are here illegally, are not as christian as your group. ( new sanctuary movement) or we aren’t there yet. and as soon as we have potlucks in their churches and sing hymns together we will “arrive” and everyone will agree and just get along. i keep coming back to my definition of a christian – one who has accepted Jesus and Lord and Savior. so where is the parable that talks about how clergy knows what we should be doing in our political and social lives. nor does the sermon on the mount tell me to assist those who are breaking the law, nor do i read that i should determmine which laws are just and which are unjust. inhumane immigration laws? party planners? legitimatize false differences? wow! kumfer seems to be stirring the pot with vigor. but but hey maybe his church socials will work. i’ll bring chips.



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Kevin Wayne

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:21 pm


The core issue here is not even being adequately addressed in all the brouhaha over immigration: That US Christians have been practically pre-programmed to think on the Right side of the spectrum in an almost knee-jerk fashion, without much thought as to whether it really logically follows from how the Bible asks us to live.
And if we go by the Bible, then we have to see Christ as the center. He told people they can’t even BE his followers unless they “deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow Me.” Thus, the modern concept of the Sovereign Nation-State becomes moot in light of my striving to best bring myself in line with how Jesus says I should live.
Although this article didn’t mention Health Care, that’s one thing that comes immediately to mind- since I regularly dialogue with Christians from other places such as Ireland and Holland. Places were it’s PROVEN that the use of social welfare (which can very easily bee seen as rooted in the Old Testament) is a good deterrent to abortion. The Christians I talk to from those countries simply shake their heads when considering the American scare mentality on Socialism.
So I think this article is a good beginning but it doesn’t go far enough. Our Churches need to advocate the complete and total obliteration of American-politicized Christianity, as we begin to see ourselves as part of the Global Village known as the Church.



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Jeff

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:27 pm


Your links didn’t help me much. I think we all recognize the contribution of immigrants. The issue is illegal immigrants.
Jeff



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Kevin Wayne

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:28 pm


Someone here made the point about Native Amreicans, but I can’t find it now. But that’s a god tign to consider. How dare we white sons of European ancestors act this way when nobody told us we could commit near genocide to come here.
Or just look at the movie Gangs of New York. Irish refugees coming off the boat all the time! Who regualted them? Seems like this whole metnailty is a new innovation.



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Jeff

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:34 pm


Irish refugees coming off the boat all the time! Who regualted them?
The US government.



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kevin s.

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:36 pm


“Our Churches need to advocate the complete and total obliteration of American-politicized Christianity,”
By this argument, it is not that the article doesn’t go far enough, it is that it goes in the wrong direction. The title of this blog is “God’s Politics”, and the post is an advancement (albeit non-specific) of what the author perceives to be a politicized Christianity.
Is it politicized Christianity that you have a problem with, or is it that the politics advocated by many Christians do not gel with yours?



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jerry

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:38 pm


don; you are so wrong about job competition. come to tucson and see the low wages that have been slammed down by illegals. see legal workers out of work, especially now with a down housing market. everyone is losing. your surveys are taken from employers who could care less about employment figures. and arguments that immigrants have made great contributions are talking about legal immigrants. i don’t know anyone, christian or non christian who argues that immigrants have not made a contribution. i agree that there is a huge body of citizens who will not stand for amnesty and want all illegals out of the country. and……..who are sick and tired of reading about the illegal criminal element, as in n carolina. my heart goes out to alll immigrants who are being persecuted because of the 9 mil. undocumented criminals.



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Wolverine

posted August 17, 2007 at 3:39 pm


Kevin Wayne wrote:
The core issue here is not even being adequately addressed in all the brouhaha over immigration: That US Christians have been practically pre-programmed to think on the Right side of the spectrum in an almost knee-jerk fashion, without much thought as to whether it really logically follows from how the Bible asks us to live.
I think I’ve found the source of the “communications breakdown” that Kumfer was writing about.
For Mr. Wayne, at least, he’s not dealing with fellow Christians who disagree with him, or even misguided Christians who misunderstand the Bible. Instead, we are “pre-programmed to think on the Right side of the spectrum in an almost knee-jerk fashion”.
C’mon Wayne, what’s with the “almost”? Are you going squishy on us?
You want to lecture. You need to argue. But to argue effectively you need to understand (note: that’s not the same as agree) our point of view. You need to understand the distinction that we draw between church and state. You need to understand the reality of nation-states. And you need to understand the weight that we put on rule of law.
I have a mind. I’ve read the Bible. I’m aware that Mexico is a largely Christian country. I’ve drawn the conclusion that amnesty is not compelled by scripture and not wise policy. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I see the issue. Right or wrong I wasn’t programmed any more than any of you were.
Wolverine



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Marta

posted August 17, 2007 at 4:21 pm


I atttend a bilingual and multicultural church where I worship side by side with brothers and sisters from at least 15 different countries/cultures. My church family includes those who are documented and those who are indocumented. The suggestions by Bill Medford (in the article) that what churches need are party planners—people who will bring white and immigrant churches together for fellowship–has naturally worked out in our church. Our daily church life – worshipping, eating, sharing, praying — has resulted in a unity and a special calling. We don’t hesitate to act on our undocumented, African American, African, Asian, or any other brothers and sisters’ behalf >.. because it’s really our behalf.



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 4:31 pm


“Your links didn’t help me much. I think we all recognize the contribution of immigrants. The issue is illegal immigrants.
Jeff”
Jeff, the post I responded to wrote “immigrants.” The writer didn’t limit it to “illegal” immigrants:
“The immigrants do not compete with Church Leadership for jobs and resources. They do compete with the laity.
Posted by: John E. | August 17, 2007 1:24 PM”

Further, I have documentation somewhere that demonstrates that even undocumented immigrants contribute to the economy and don’t take jobs away from those already here. I probably won’t be able to get to that documentation for a while, though.
D



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Alan

posted August 17, 2007 at 4:37 pm


Kevin,
When you talk about the value you place on the rule of law, are you talking about obeying the speed limit and supporting the Bill of Rights, as well.
It seems many of the people who are such strong advocates for following the “Rule of Law” only want to follow the laws that they like.
Alan



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Jeff

posted August 17, 2007 at 4:42 pm


Jeff, the post I responded to wrote “immigrants.” The writer didn’t limit it to “illegal” immigrants:
Exactly, that’s why they weren’t helpful.



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John E.

posted August 17, 2007 at 4:44 pm


Don,
Do any of your studies address the question about whether or not illegal immigration depresses wages for unskilled or semi-skilled blue collar jobs?
John E.



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Wolverine

posted August 17, 2007 at 5:04 pm


Alan,
That was me, not Kevin.
As for the value we place on the rule of law — if you mean to say I never exceed the speed limit, no, I don’t claim to be that perfect, and no law is perfectly enforced. But I don’t expect the state to turn a blind eye to violations no matter how egregious, and I don’t expect to violate the law with impunity.
Police officers frequently allow drivers to go five or ten miles over the speed limit. That’s not ideal, but that doesn’t mean they cannot and ought not pull over the guy that’s doing 20 over, and it certainly does not mean we should not enforce immigration law.
Wolverine



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 17, 2007 at 5:19 pm


There are two different kinds of laws.
One set of laws sets out to protect our natural rights and to enforce contracts.
The other set of laws sets out to protect and establish privileges.
The laws making it illegal to immigrate peacefully to the United States are obviously designed to protect the privilege of those who already live here. There exists no rational explanation for a pluralistic nation to prohibit or limit the flow of immigration.
There is no moral reasoning for limiting competition for work, wages, housing, production, or trade.
All arguments against open immigration fall into protectionist (protection of privilege, not rights) logic.
The only legitimate reason for opposing immigration is related to social programs. It is wrong for immigrants to move to America in order to enjoy social programs they did not pay for. It is simultaneously wrong for nationalized citizens to enjoy social programs they did not pay for. Redistribution of wealth by anything other than voluntary means is violence.
Sojo has compromised itself on immigration, and every other issue, by saying that one form of violence is illegitimate when practiced by the state while another is justified. The Church must have the courage to do the right thing in every instance, and to stand against the use of force on every side.
Nathanael Snow



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Larry Parker

posted August 17, 2007 at 5:31 pm


Honestly, you hear worse things about Latino immigrants ROUTINELY on Bnet than you did in the Jim Crow South from whites about African-Americans. Maybe there is not a truly horrible “N-word,” but the sentiment is definitely there.
Given that presumably a majority of those on Bnet are Christian and a vast majority consider themselves religious or at least spiritual, that is telling.



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Jeff

posted August 17, 2007 at 5:39 pm


Larry,
Are we reading the same thread?
Jeff



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nad2

posted August 17, 2007 at 6:54 pm


“Being part of the church is to be a more determinative identity than any of the other ones we carry with us: nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. It is “more real” than anything else about us. When we hold something about us to be more important than our Christian identity (i.e., our American citizenship), we are practicing idolatry and deceiving ourselves. It seems the church in the U.S. has largely forgotten this.”
while i cannot see ever renouncing my christian identity, i have grown more & more hesitant of late to identify myself with ‘the church,’ as i think following christ & following the church will often lead you in different directions, to the point that i am becoming convinced that if the two paths converge on anything it is pure happenstance. perhaps if i could find a mennonite or quaker meeting or anyone who has heard of yoder w/in 100 miles of my town i’d feel different.



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 7:00 pm


John:
I thought I had some documentation on the impact and/or contribution of undocumented immigrants, but all I found was an unreferenced statement on an advocacy Web site that said the overall impact was positive. That isn’t good enough, IMO. A search on Google Scholar turned up several articles, but unfortunately they were either old or not available in full text from Google.
I will try to find out an answer, but I may not be able to get to it until sometime next week.
I do think, however, that this debate has sort of missed Tim Kumfer’s point. How should we, as members of the community of faith, treat the immigrants in our midst who are also part of that community? We can debate and argue over the legalities forever (or until Congress grows a spine, gets off their collective rear ends, and begins to do what we pay them to do, which is to makes some tough choices that are in the best interests of the nation, not necessarily their re-election chances), but I think Tim’s point is well taken.
Somehow, I don’t think Jesus would be asking anyone to show him their green cards.
Peace!



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kevin s.

posted August 17, 2007 at 7:02 pm


“When you talk about the value you place on the rule of law, are you talking about obeying the speed limit and supporting the Bill of Rights, as well.
It seems many of the people who are such strong advocates for following the “Rule of Law” only want to follow the laws that they like.”
Not sure what statement of mine to which you are referring. I generally follow traffic, so I do sometimes speed. I also support the bill of rights. Do you have an example of where I have not? I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.
“Honestly, you hear worse things about Latino immigrants ROUTINELY on Bnet than you did in the Jim Crow South from whites about African-Americans. Maybe there is not a truly horrible “N-word,” but the sentiment is definitely there.”
No it isn’t, though it would be convenient for you if it was.



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nad2

posted August 17, 2007 at 7:06 pm


“Redistribution of wealth by anything other than voluntary means is violence.”
juris, redistributing wealth from what point? from today? or from before anglos slaughtered natives, took their land & took slaves as their own “wealth” to till it? i hear you brother, but your premise of redistribution doesn’t have a very long view of history or the way it impacted how we arrived at the present “distribution.”



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 7:20 pm


“while i cannot see ever renouncing my christian identity, i have grown more & more hesitant of late to identify myself with ‘the church,’”
nad2:
Maybe it would have helped if Tim had used the term “community of faith” or “Christian community” instead of “church”?
Peace,



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Anonymous

posted August 17, 2007 at 7:40 pm


Hey Don,
My original comments were mostly intended to reference the following from the article:
>>>
Clearly there is a communication breakdown, one that I think runs much deeper than failing to educate the people in the pews about immigration polices. Rather, I think this gap demonstrates the failure of church leadership to instill in its people a deeper understanding of their Christian identity.
>>>
I think it can be argued that the laity are more concerned with the downward pressure on wages than they are interested in sharing all they have with the poor among them.
I’ve suggested over in David Kuo’s blog that what passes for Christianity in America is mostly a nationalistic folk religion that has appropriated the trappings of Christianity.
Christ commands Christians to share all they have with the poor. American Christians fight to keep the poor out of the US because they believe they will harm their economic standing, drain tax dollars, and cause long waiting lines at their local emergency rooms.



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Stephen Amsden

posted August 17, 2007 at 7:41 pm


This topic is very troubling for many of us. I am a W.A.S.P. and was raised as a conservative evangelical suburban Republican. I remember being opposed as a teenager to the Civil Rights movement because laws were broken. It took a change of heart to effect a change of mind. I admit that I think we already have too many people in the U.S. already. I liked America and its small towns and managable cities in the 50′s when I was a kid. I look back and realize that my adherence to legality as a prime issue in the 60′s had a lot more to do with my preferences than they did with ethical issues of right and wrong. I am tempted to the same stance today. What causes me to resist that temptation is the Biblical admonition to remember that we were all “strangers” at one time and to treat neighbor as self. If I were to insist on raw legality as my primary standard rather than mercy, I would have to insist that the US address all the broken treaties and land grabs and enslavement upon which our whole economy rests. I would also have to insist on reparations to the Filipinos and Cubans for years of colonial exlploitation and the Mexicans for an illegal war of aggression and land grab. I have no legal or moral place to stand and demand that this is my country with its own legitimate wealth and we will keep it for ourselves. Once again American Christians are being tempted to place their primary allegiance in imperial democracy rather than in God’s imperium. I can only humbly ask my impoverished brothers and sisters who have or don’t have papers, “how can we help.” Otherwise I will be tempted to fall in with those who think that what they have is theirs from their own merit, rather than a gift to be shared. I do not expect my beloved nation to ever be or aspire to be the Kingdom of God, but I do expect my sisters and brothers in the faith to aspire to Kingdom values.



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John E.

posted August 17, 2007 at 7:41 pm


that previous anon was me. Sorry about that.



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Jeff

posted August 17, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Don said,
“How should we, as members of the community of faith, treat the immigrants in our midst who are also part of that community?”
I agree. But I think I can (and do) serve the immigrant community regardless of legal status and still be in favor of enforcement of the law by the government.
Jeff



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 17, 2007 at 8:04 pm


nad2,
I wish I had a comrade in Yoder, too. Of course, Hauerwas is right down the road from me here, but I can’t find a church which renounces the state for social issues as well as moral issues. Oh, well.
As far as redistribution of wealth, all of it is wrong, was wrong, will be wrong, if effected through violence. Recidivism is an interesting issue, and if there were ample evidence for restitution, I might be able to support it. It would be well within the protection of natural rights strain of the law.
As things stand now, however, it seems unnecessary. If I were to walk upon a piece of land 500+ years ago “owned” by Native Americans, and offer to buy it from them, I would be able to “steal” it from them for a very very low price in terms of the wealth we enjoy today. Probably two or three changes of clothes and a few sharp knives, or even just a horse or a cow would suffice. And it would be a fair trade in terms of their improved quality of life.
So if we were to give all Native Americans a cow, we’d be even? It doesn’t seem right, but what would be? I don’t know. Like I said it is interesting and I’m open to good arguments.
Steven,
I liked your post, and wonder at your statement that you think the US is too full already. Sure, there are places that are crowded, but full? Maybe our bellies are full, but there is plenty of space to go around.
Though the USG has committed many wrongs, of which I would include EVERY foreign war, I think the best course of action would simply be to stop doing it! Stop fighting aggressive wars. Stop blocking trade. Stop restricting peaceful immigration. Stop passing laws of privilege. Stop subsidizing industries. Stop subsidizing individuals. Stop printing fiat money. Stop prosecuting victimless crimes.
Nathanael Snow



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Don

posted August 17, 2007 at 8:35 pm


John:
I got it now. Sorry if I misinterpreted what you said.
Jeff:
“But I think I can (and do) serve the immigrant community regardless of legal status and still be in favor of enforcement of the law by the government.”
True, in principle. I would be happier if the law made allowances for all the hurting people who have been harmed by our enforcement-only policy. Especially since the laws as currently written are virtually unenforceable. And I wish we had a Congress that would put others’ needs ahead of their political careers and make the needed reforms.
Peace,



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Sean

posted August 17, 2007 at 8:35 pm


Wow Donny. I’m surprised. Most opponents of illegal immigration manage to express their opposition without resorting to racist generalizations. As someone who works routinely with immigrant families, I know first-hand that Mexican immigrants, regardless of their legal status, are eager to learn English, teach their children American history and culture, and indeed, become Americans.
That doesn’t mean they have to “assimilate”, by which you mean, it seems, to completely forego one’s heritage and culture for a mongrel “American” one. As an Asian-American, and the son of immigrant parents, I find it interesting that no-one ever tells me or my parents that we have to “assimilate”, despite the fact that our cultural pride and is probably about the same as most of the Mexican immigrants I know my parents’ grasp of English is fairly comparable as well.
Regardless, if you really want to help Mexican-American immigrants, legal or not, assimilate into American society, perhaps we should stop treating them like criminals and blaming them for our economic problems. If we welcomed immigrants rather than shunning them, we’d probably have greater success in helping them become adapted to American society as well. Your condescending and belligerent attitude is not at all helpful.



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bren

posted August 17, 2007 at 8:40 pm


I think the issue of “illegal” immigration is a function of the issue of immigration itself. Who will we accept as one of us? How much like us do they have to be for us to judge them acceptable? I’m not saying that illegal immigration isn’t an issue; I’m suggesting that, like everything else, it’s part of a bigger picture.
Here’s a situation that raises some questions of values. When the U.S. left Saigon they took with them several Vietnamese who everyone understood were at risk of being killed for having worked with the Americans. Before Denmark announced that its forces would be leaving Iraq, they removed all the Iraqi translators who had worked for them–and their families–and took them to Denmark because they understood that the Danes owed their lives to these Iraqis and that if they were forced to stay in Iraq, the translators and their families would be killed. The U.S. has said that it will not help its Iraqi translators leave, when the time comes, even tho everyone knows that the lives of the Iraqis is at great risk.
Does this raise questions of values or of law? I would say it raises questions of values first and foremost and I wonder if those same values are at the root of the American/hispanic immigration debate.



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Jeff

posted August 17, 2007 at 9:49 pm


Don,
I also hope to see congress make some reforms. I’ve seen families hurt on both sides of this issue. My church has been helping start a church for Central Americans (many of them immigrants). One of there leaders was deported. She was brought here as a minor to get her away from violence in her country. She is married to an American and has a child.
On the other hand we know of roofers, drywallers, framers, ect. who have lost here jobs because immigrants (illegal) will work for half the money. Ask them about the positive impact of illegal immigration.
I wonder if we would have enforced our current laws there would be more room for grace for special cases.
Jeff



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 18, 2007 at 12:27 am


I have little or no pity for the roofers, drywallers, textile workers, etc., who have lost their jobs to immigrants.
Why should they be protected from competition? According to what principle?
Let’s say two individuals make widgets. Joe and Larry. Who should you buy a widget from? Let’s assume they are of equal quality. Then you buy from whomever sells for less, let’s say Joe.
Why? Because it shows that Joe’s next best alternative is worse than Larry’s next best alternative. He has a lower opportunity cost.
If Larry can make widgets at a cost of $4 or whatsits at a cost of $5, these are his two options.
If Joe can make widgets for $4 or whatsits at a cost of $6, these are his two options.
Who should do what? Let’s say we want ten of each. If Larry makes whatsits and Joe makes widgets our economy uses $90.
If they switch roles the economy uses $100.
Everyone is better off if they allocate their energies according to what their next best alternative would be. This would be revealed in the price that each would be willing to sell their widgets for. Joe would be to sell for less because his next best alternative has a higher cost than Larry’s next best alternative.
What this shows us is that competition forces people to use their resources in such a way that the entire economy benefits, instead of just concentrated groups.
We might like to protect our buddy’s job, because he’s our buddy. But we are hurting ourself, and others in the long run, by choosing a less efficient allocation than would have resulted through competition.
No one should ever feel like their job is secure, or that they have an entitlement to anything. Competition forces everyone to always work to improve themselves, to innovate better processes, to invent better machines, to work better, smarter, faster, more efficiently. It is through this competitive process that America has risen to a position of affluence such that it can afford to be concerned about environmental issues and such other luxuries.
Those who fall behind in the competition won’t be excluded from participation, they just won’t be paid as much. Their services have fallen in relative value.
Immigration is ultimately either about protection of privileged status under the law – classism, or about abuse of public programs – statism.
Nathanael Snow



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kevin s.

posted August 18, 2007 at 1:24 am


“I think the issue of “illegal” immigration is a function of the issue of immigration itself. Who will we accept as one of us? ”
Who will “we” accept? Or who will “those with whom I disagree” accept? What you are doing here is taking the arguments made for stronger enforcement and substituting them with something (racism) that is easier for you to discount.
“The U.S. has said that it will not help its Iraqi translators leave, when the time comes, even tho everyone knows that the lives of the Iraqis is at great risk.”
I am not familiar with this, though there are a number of conservatives who are for stronger enforcement who believe we should stay in Iraq precisely because those who have supported us will be identified and killed. President Bush is pro-amnesty and (apparently) agrees that we should not take the translators with us.
Right or wrong, I don’t think these two disparate issues constitute a compelling case that certain people are systematically racist.



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bren

posted August 18, 2007 at 2:03 am


Did it matter/should it have mattered to the Canadians when runaway slaves arrived in Canada as “illegal” immigrants? Does it matter to the U.S. that many Cubans arrived “illegally”? Do you assume that when your ancestors arrived in America they all arrived legally?
And, does the fact that Jesus was always attracted to the marginalized, was himself one of the marginalized, not prompt more tolerant thoughts on the subject of “illegal” immigrants?
Just asking.



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James

posted August 18, 2007 at 10:39 am


So, if you’re a good Christian, you would have stood up against the Declaration of Independence. After all, that was completely contrary to Romans 13. Authority comes from God, not the consent of the governed.



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Jeff

posted August 18, 2007 at 11:22 am


“I have little or no pity for the roofers, drywallers, textile workers, etc., who have lost their jobs to immigrants.
Why should they be protected from competition? According to what principle?
Let’s say two individuals make widgets. Joe and Larry. Who should you buy a widget from? Let’s assume they are of equal quality. Then you buy from whomever sells for less, let’s say Joe.”
That fine. Then that applies to outsourcing overseas. If a gulog in China pays a bowl of rice a day and a fish head a week for making widgets then hey it’s just competion. And if an illegal can do no better than $5 per hour because he needs to protect his illegal status and be paid in cash (off the tax rolls) then hey that’s just competition also. Let’s throw open the competition further than blue collar trades. Accountants, lawyers, doctors from overseas undocumented can come over and work for half. Why should farmers get all the benefits of cheap labor. Maybe I’ll hire a maid, gardener and a cook from West Africa ($500 a year is unheard of in their countries). Oh, I forgot some Russian is doing my job for $25,000 a year.
Jeff



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jurisnaturaist

posted August 18, 2007 at 12:12 pm


Jeff,
I agree, it should apply to outsourcing overseas, too. I am courageous enough to take a moral stand and be complete consistent about it, too. Whatever wages people are willing to work for are just, so long as the transaction is voluntary. I think its great that my x-rays can be reviewed overnight by a doctor in India for half the cost. That saves me money! It also allows a doctor here to focus on the more urgent-up-to-the minute demand for doctors. Everyone is better off.
You must believe that there is a steadily expanding amount of wealth in the world, that everyone in the world continually is improving their quality of life, and that free and open exchange only accelerates this.
If you believe in a limited amount of wealth, then of course you will be fearful of diminishing your portion, and will find justification for protectionist measures. But this is ultimately a pagan static view of the world and inconsistent with Christianity. We have not yet begun to harness the wealth of resources and energy available to us on earth, and only creative minds can unleash these things.
In the long run we will see quicker convergence among global standards of living, but EVERYONE WILL BE BETTER OFF. If you hired a bunch of West Africans, and paid them what they would willingly work for, you would be helping them immensely, and yourself at the same time. Its a much better idea than sending money to cruel dictators in those nations.
I don’t believe in any form of nationalism whatsoever. There is no Christian precedent for it.
And this trend is not reversable. It is happening, it is going to happen. The most important thing is to not resist it, but to work to make oneself more marketable in the global economy. We will all have to be more productive, and that is good for everyone.



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kevin s.

posted August 18, 2007 at 12:24 pm


Juris,
So what do you do with the fact that certain countries (ourselves included) place certain controls on their resources and their workforce? Obviously, that country is in the wrong for enacting the controls, but it does prevent everyone from being better off.



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 18, 2007 at 12:42 pm


I don’t believe that the state has any legitimate purpose in limiting controls on resources. It makes everyone involved worse off. It concentrates a small set of benefits on a few incumbents, and diffuses the costs over the whole rest of the economy. But even the incumbents are losers in the long run.
If another country chooses to do this to their own citizens does it make sense to retaliate by doing it to our citizens as well? That’s foolish. Unilateral free trade and deregulation is what is required.
Nathanael Snow



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jerry

posted August 18, 2007 at 1:16 pm


snow is full of crap. his competition analysis is totally bogus. with his thinking global, outsourcing is the answer. so he better not start whining because jobs are being lost here in the u s because of it. “competition forces everyone to work…… blah, blah, blah.” does this apply to educators? to politicians? government workers? who? statism, classism? what is this? just how does illegal immigration promote either classism or statism? are we talking about immigration here, and especially illegal immigration, or is this an poor exercise in economics. continue the sanctuary movement debate please. the clergy that supports sanctuary are violating christian principal by breaking laws and advocating the breaking of laws.
so where is kumfer’s pot luck going to be? i still have my chips.



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Kevin Wayne

posted August 18, 2007 at 1:41 pm


Irish refugees coming off the boat all the time! Who regualted them?
The US government.
Posted by: Jeff | August 17, 2007 3:34 PM

Didn’t look like it from what I observed, if the movie has any historical accuracy at all.



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Kevin Wayne

posted August 18, 2007 at 1:44 pm


Kevin S wrote:
Is it politicized Christianity that you have a problem with, or is it that the politics advocated by many Christians do not gel with yours?
“American-politicized Christianity.” Note the contrast I drew there btween Christians from Canada, Irealnd, Holland.



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Wolverine

posted August 18, 2007 at 1:49 pm


I do think, however, that this debate has sort of missed Tim Kumfer’s point. How should we, as members of the community of faith, treat the immigrants in our midst who are also part of that community?
Actually, there are two questions we have to take up. That’s the first. The second is: how should the government handle immigration?
I won’t go so far as to say that Christ’s instructions to the church have no bearing on matters of state, but there is a tendency at Sojo to treat church and government as if they were interchangeable, and I just don’t think we can do that.
Somehow, I don’t think Jesus would be asking anyone to show him their green cards.
Ah, the good ‘ole WWJD fallacy — all moral questions can be reduced to “What would Jesus do?”
I don’t mean to say you should all throw away your WWJD wristbands, but I think life is more complicated than that.
There are a lot of things I have a hard time imagining Jesus doing — playing softball, drafting memos, debugging software, styling hair, selling auto insurance — but that doesn’t make any of those things wrong.
None of us is Jesus, at least not in a literal sense. We do not have his divinity, and we do not have his unique role of bearing the sins of humanity, which in my case at least is a good thing because I’m not up to it anyway.
The example of Christ is one we should follow as best we can, but ultimately he went where none of us can go. And we may be called on, frankly, to do things that he could not because of the demands of his role. The body of Christ has many parts. Jesus had his role, we have ours.
The question we really should be asking ourselves is “What does Jesus want us to do? And if you happen to be a customs agent, there’s a good chance that he wants you to check green cards.
Wolverine



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Jeff

posted August 18, 2007 at 1:53 pm


Juris,
Actually, I’m not a protectionist. And I don’t believe there is a limited supply of wealth. I think your model would tend to lower our standard of living down to the lowest common denominator. Everything would deflate, not because of limited resources but a lower value placed on work and so then less ability to buy goods at current market prices or even lower prices via competition.
I currently used my limited wealth to help West Africans by sending school supplies raising money for school fees and helping set individuals into business. My plan is to hire a young man to come here and be the Worship Leader/Associate Pastor in the church I pastor(at a good wage). I think these are much better means to help the worlds poor then sanctuary or wide open free trade.
Juris, I do respect your consistency. And though I disagree with you on some points, I do not think you are full of crap.
Jeff



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Kevin Wayne

posted August 18, 2007 at 1:58 pm


I think I’ve found the source of the “communications breakdown” that Kumfer was writing about.
For Mr. Wayne, at least, he’s not dealing with fellow Christians who disagree with him, or even misguided Christians who misunderstand the Bible. Instead, we are “pre-programmed to think on the Right side of the spectrum in an almost knee-jerk fashion”.

Guilty conscience? :) You don’t have to answer that, because I know you don’t.
C’mon Wayne, what’s with the “almost”? Are you going squishy on us?
No, just pulled a punch for your sake. Here let me fix that:
“Pre-programmed to think on the Right side of the spectrum in a definite knee-jerk fashion”
You want to lecture. You need to argue.
Pot met kettle? :)
But to argue effectively you need to understand (note: that’s not the same as agree) our point of view.
So why don’t you live by that: Understand that this is Sojourners and quit berating them for theirs.?
You need to understand the distinction that we draw between church and state. You need to understand the reality of nation-states. And you need to understand the weight that we put on rule of law.
Rule of law is such a phony argument, fyi.
I have a mind. I’ve read the Bible.
Then use it, believe it. :)
I’m aware that Mexico is a largely Christian country. I’ve drawn the conclusion that amnesty is not compelled by scripture and not wise policy. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I see the issue. Right or wrong I wasn’t programmed any more than any of you were.
But let’s face it. There’s something about the air that we breathe in this country that seems to produce a lot of Christians who get their theology from TBN and their politics from some hootin’ hollerin’ traveling evangelist with his mimeographed newsletter badly applying current news events to a half-assed interpretation of Bible prophecy.
It’s just that I don’t notice this tendency as much in terms of Christians form other countries.
And that, sir “how I see the issue. Right or wrong.” :)



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kevin s.

posted August 18, 2007 at 2:35 pm


Kevin Wayne,
Where have you seen Wolvering lecturing as opposed to arguing? Wolverine is correct that you have shown precisely no understanding of the opposing viewpoint. I understand Sojo’s viewpoint (even though they are not always forthright about it) and respond in kind. You simply, well, lecture is the right word.
“There’s something about the air that we breathe in this country that seems to produce a lot of Christians who get their theology from TBN”
I have seen no evidence that anyone here gets their theology from TBN. There are plenty of televangelists in Britain. What they peddle isn’t really Christianity, and their following tends to be short-lived. But again, you don’t want to engage the issue, so you just lump those with whom you disagree into the “hootin’ and hollerin’” crowd.
You are not a conservative. We get it. Now make your case.



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Don

posted August 18, 2007 at 3:28 pm


Wolverine, I should have been more specific, I guess. I meant that I don’t think Jesus would ask to see a green card in order to minister to someone.
And regarding your earlier post (August 17, 2007 1:30 PM), which was also a reply to something I wrote, when did I ever post anything on this blog that indicated I favored a “welfare state”?
Later,



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 18, 2007 at 6:02 pm


Jeff,
Thank you. I almost thought jerry was right about me for a second there.
I explained pretty clearly how regulation of immigration according to laws of privilege led to statism and classism. His response was, “no it doesn’t,” and “blah, blah, blah (his words not mine).” His argument was so compelling that I nearly doubted myself. As for my understanding of the competition model, I am just a 4th year student. I could be wrong about these things. But every economist I have read, and every professor I have had in class agrees that the principle of opportunity cost is valid. It is, granted, a bit counterintuitive, but the evidence bears it out.
As for lowering “our” standard of living, I assume you mean American’s standard of living. How much of our prosperity is owed to privilege? How much of it is owed to better institutions and rule of law? Only that portion which is owed to privilege is threatened by unrestricted free trade and immigration. That portion which is owed to better institutions and rule of law would expand with the population.
Kevin, why is rule of law a phony argument? Could you deconstruct it for me please?
NS



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N. M. Rod

posted August 19, 2007 at 12:45 am


The “WWJD fallacy.” Ah, yes.
That’s the conservative christian theological position that says that Matthew 5, 6 and 7 were “not for us” and says they can’t be taken literally – unlike for instance all the proof texts that those same conservatives like to cherry-pick in support of their own predilections.
In other words, we are NOT to be like Jesus, we are to be like, well… us. Conveniently so and
we can be religious without having to be other than self-righteous, since it doesn’t have to be based on growing closer and more conformed to Him.
Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots… versions all exist today in religion.
It might be that today’s Pharisees will often be caught affirming they “have no king but Caesar” – they serve their own national interest in favor of that of God.



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Keivn Wayne

posted August 19, 2007 at 12:52 am


Where have you seen Wolvering lecturing as opposed to arguing? Wolverine is correct that you have shown precisely no understanding of the opposing viewpoint. I understand Sojo’s viewpoint (even though they are not always forthright about it) and respond in kind. You simply, well, lecture is the right word.
Darn, I was hoping you would say “pontificate” :)
I may have not given much to the fact that there are different debating styles on here, but next time I notice one of you on the right arguing with someone’s point of view on no other basis than it’s not your pov, I’ll be sure and point it out.
I have seen no evidence that anyone here gets their theology from TBN. There are plenty of televangelists in Britain. What they peddle isn’t really Christianity, and their following tends to be short-lived. But again, you don’t want to engage the issue, so you just lump those with whom you disagree into the “hootin’ and hollerin’” crowd.

That was a generalized statement more aimed at the Chritians in the US of A, then specifically at this blog.
Actually, now that I’ve gone and re-read the post that I made that’s set several of you off, I don’t see where I made my comments so specif9ic to contributors of this blog. What the hell are you arguing about? :)



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Kevin wayne

posted August 19, 2007 at 12:58 am


Kevin, why is rule of law a phony argument? Could you deconstruct it for me please?
NS

When I think of Rule of Law, what I hear is an argument that believes that the laws are to be followed and upheld regardless if they are right or wrong. That would eliminate opposing Hitler, IMHO. That’s a short way of saying it, I’m sure it could create a longer discussion.



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N.M Rod

posted August 19, 2007 at 1:12 am


As a practical matter, there needs to be a realisation of the consequences of depriving 12 million human beings of a means to pay for food and rent.
Within several months, all employers will be required to terminate the employment of migrants who never obtained governemnt permission to work, on pain of criminal prosecution.
One would have hoped there was a humane and practical plan to address the consequences of a policy that will result in mass starvation, regardless of violations of laws that, like Prohibition, were more honored in the breach than the main.
Widespread lawbreaking of a criminal nature is likely to result as people seek to feed their families by any means possible once their livlihoods are terminated and there is no possibility for another.
How is it proposed for any country to accept 12 million destitute and hungry people immediately into their borders? It is impossible, and they will not be allowed free passage. It would provoke a humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale at the border.
Twelve million facing starvation.
How are they to be transported? Cattle cars? Where are they to be held in the meantime? How are they to be fed? These were all responsibilities they have until now taken upon themselves, but once made destitute, who will be able to provide for them? What kind of camps will we have to set up to concentrate them away from the rest of us and what will be the conditions inside them?
Will we have to set up crematoria inside the FEMA camps to cope with the pestilence and disease that come with famine?
Are taxpayers willing to feed and clothe them in the meantime while arramgements are made?
How would YOU cope if you and your family were dismissed from work and told you could not work or earn money in any way?
What would you do?
I think we all know that this will lend an entirely more severe dimension to the term “illegal” and “criminal” alien – times 12 million.
I think if we substitute the definition “JUDA” for “illegal” we will begin to get a picture of what both protestants and catholics have tolerated in the past elsewhere and what they will similarly stand for in any present or future contingency where there is a societal stress.
I bring this up because one of our national characteristics, given recent governmental fiascos, is to look no further than the next step and not think of consequences or accountability of our immediate actions and this flaw has the capacity to produce terrible suffering.
I guess we will soon learn how superior American morality really is compared to that in the rest of the world.



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kevin s.

posted August 19, 2007 at 2:30 am


“Wolverine, I should have been more specific, I guess. I meant that I don’t think Jesus would ask to see a green card in order to minister to someone.”
You very much should have been more specific, because this is a radically different statement.
“That’s the conservative christian theological position that says that Matthew 5, 6 and 7 were “not for us” and says they can’t be taken literally”
Nope. It’s the conservative Christian theological position that says we cannot apply Christ’s commands to government completely out of the context of the sciptures as a whole. Deal with that argument, instead of the one that you pretend he is making.
Though, given your handle, perhaps you are making light of the political left. In which case, you might have a point, but maybe make it elsewhere?
“but next time I notice one of you on the right arguing with someone’s point of view on no other basis than it’s not your pov”
I can’t make heads or tails of this.
” I don’t see where I made my comments so specif9ic to contributors of this blog. ”
Well, you quote us, and then make broader points based on what we write. Forgive us for the confusion.



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Don

posted August 19, 2007 at 6:29 am


“You very much should have been more specific, because this is a radically different statement.”
Radically different??? Go back and read my original statement (August 17, 2007 7:00 PM). My comment that I didn’t think Jesus would be asking to see green cards was in the context of this sentence: “How should we, as members of the community of faith, treat the immigrants in our midst who are also part of that community?” I guess I thought I was talking about ministry to immigrants.
I’m sorry it wasn’t more clear.
N.M. Rod:
If I understand you correctly, I do agree with your point that we often don’t consider the longer-term consequences of our actions, in this case depriving 12 million people of their livelihoods. And I certainly think you are right that such action doesn’t put the U.S. on the moral high ground. However, I’m not sure you’re making a slippery slope or a false analogy argument (or maybe both) when you give us your argumentum ad hitlerum. For one thing, even those like me who think our enforcement-only policy toward undocumented immigrants is unjust can see the difference between undocumented immigrants who are after all living and working here without legal sanction, and the victims of the Holocaust.
Making easily invalidated arguments like this doesn’t strengthen your case.
Peace,



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Susan

posted August 19, 2007 at 8:58 am


Well, I don’t think that Black Churches would necessarily agree with your policy or support immigration reform.
I saw that interview between the minister and Lou Dobbs. I thought that she was not a good spokesperson for her cause. She seemed smug, self righteous and morally condenscending.
I don’t agree with Lou Dobbs. The problems of the Working class or Middle Class have very little to do with immigration. This is the message that religious leaders need to send.



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Wolverine

posted August 19, 2007 at 11:47 am


Kevin Wayne wrote:
When I think of Rule of Law, what I hear is an argument that believes that the laws are to be followed and upheld regardless if they are right or wrong. That would eliminate opposing Hitler, IMHO. That’s a short way of saying it, I’m sure it could create a longer discussion.
That would be monstrous if it were how I actually thought, but it isn’t. What I mean by “Rule of Law” is that laws ought to generally be followed and enforced. There are, of course, exceptions: law enforcement has some discretion to disregard minor infractions. (the guy going five-miles over the speed limit) And prosecutors have discretion to set priorities in terms of who to prosecute. (cutting a deal with a mid-level Mafia guy in order to get evidence on those higher up) And we certainly have the right or even the obligation to disobey clearly unjust laws.
Which brings us back to immigration law, which generally speaking ought to be enforced unless you can show me that it is patently unjust.
Wolverine



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Donny

posted August 19, 2007 at 12:41 pm


The incredibly large portion of the American population that sees “Mexicans” as invading our country, and rudely establishing their failed culture here have validation for their position.
“Donny:
Did you and your ancestors ask permission to come here and speak English. Why aren’t you demanding we speak Cherokee instead of bringing in a foreign language and refusing to blend into the culture which was already established here?
Posted by: Deryll”
I notice the gambling casinos on Indian Lands have english words guiding gamblers there.
Time to get a grip pal.
NOW, American citizens are forced to know spanish in order to get many, many, many jobs.
This MUST be challenged with discrimination lawsuits from one end of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA to the other end.



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N.M. Rod

posted August 19, 2007 at 2:16 pm


Nobody likes to be compared to Hitler, except some people who like to be considered evil.
But it’s worth thinking about that legally Jews were non-Germans and the laws gradually distinguished more and more between them and German citizens.
It didn’t happen all at once, and the environment was one in which prejudice built gradually until it reached a fever pitch, fueled by economic conditions.
Finally they were deprived of the legal right to work. All sorts of arcane regulations were developed to figure out who was a citizen and who wasn’t.
We all know in retrospect that Nazism was so bad we don’t want to acknowledge parallels. But are or were Germans a kind of humanity significantly different from the rest of us in the world? We do know that the design of concentration camps was drawn from the example of the European conquest of North American indigenous peoples (also considered inferior under just the same Darwinian ideas) who were confined to reservations where it was expected conditions would result in their disappearing. L. Frank Baum, Wizard of Oz writer and Kansas City Star editor, wrote, “The Indians cumbered the land, and were removed.”
Germany was the center of intellectual, philosophical and religious development. Lutheranism grew there. The country was thoroughly steeped in traditions of militarism and religion both supported by Protestant and Catholic churches. The nation had a proportion of professing believers even greater for its time than America does now.
I do not believe Germans as a people are or were especially susceptible to temptation more than any other people. In a time when we learn that a lot of behavior by our own government since World War II is not what we believed it was – culminating in some of the extremely disturbing government-designed torture revelations and wholesale lying to the public – we must admit that we are not angels, but men.
Of course, in this spirit, it’s unfair to demonise others by comparing them to Hitler and the millions he and his co-conspirators led. But I think we are remiss in not realising that those who deceived themselves and others are our fellow human beings, too, and if I am very honest I must concede that within myself there is the capacity to think and act just as Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot or Mao or anyone else has.
To not acknowledge any commonality is to deny reality and history and through self-deception and self-righteousness place ourselves and others in danger of fomenting our own versions of hell on earth.



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Wolverine

posted August 19, 2007 at 2:35 pm


Rod,
The Jews in Germany were not migrants from some other country, they had been born in Germany, as a general rule they spoke German. Many of them had fought in the German military and generally they were legal German citizens who had fully integrated into German life.
As far as I know, there is no interest whatsoever in revoking the citizenship of US citizens of any sort of ethnic background. Nor is there any discussion of revoking the visa or green card status of any person already here legally.
Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for differences of opinion about the wisdom or morality of immigration law, but until someone starts going after persons who are here legally any comparisons to the Third Reich are at best hyperbole, and at worst slander — something I am quite sure Jesus would not approve of.
We are talking about
I-L-L-E-G-A-L I-M-M-I-G-R-A-T-I-O-N
Please stick to the subject.
Wolverine



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Annie (UK)

posted August 19, 2007 at 3:32 pm


ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION……………The US was founded on illegal colonisation and the persecution and exploitation of the native American Indians. In the 21st century what about the illegal invasion of Iraq by US led Coaliion forces, the illegal rendition of foreign nationals, the illegal detention of prisoners at Guantanamo (and elsewhere) and all the illegal CIA activities throughout the World? While theologically two wrongs certainly don’t make a right I know which I think is the least of all these evils. Do American right wing Christians never read Matthew 25 or have any compassion for any but their own “tribe” ?



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kevin s.

posted August 19, 2007 at 3:45 pm


If Hitler had simply forced the Jews to leave, we would remember Hitler differently. If he had simply asked Jews to leave who lacked proper documentation, we wouldn’t remember him at all.
There is no necessary correlation between refusing legal employment to someone and later executing them. We remove illegal immigrants from a host of other nations, and still others simply comply with the law and leave.
This is based on an economic reality, not a desire to improve our society by way of expunging those who lack the proper legal standing to reside in our country. We are not employing arcane definitions of citizenship, but rather a very simple, consistent standard.
Introducing the ad Hitlerum argument is not hyperbole. It is error. Moving on…
Years ago, I was a student in Australia. Now, I could have simply stayed their illegally. Eventually, I would have been deported. Would it make any sense if I had said that the government had no right to deport me because I was a Christian?



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N.M. Rod

posted August 19, 2007 at 4:05 pm


The first American soldier to die in the current Iraq war conflict was an illegal immigrant – Jose Gutierrez.
Other families of American soldiers serving in Iraq are being deported – sometimes due to what bureaucrats says are “burps” in the system.
Currently, we hear lots of talk about the the abhorrent phenomenon of “anchor babies” – children born in America to non-citizens and how the law ought to be changed to make sure they do not either have American citizenship any longer or have the right to sponsor relatives.
There have been many laws passed over the past 13 years that have made the revoking of permanent residence status easier – in fact, there is no longer “permanent residence” but “alien residence.” The permanent residence cards now carry expiration dates and require re-application and background checks in order to continue to hold them – and they cost a great deal of money to “renew” permanent residence.
Under the RealID Act, American citizens born in other countries will have to have their original birth certificates certified by contact and affirmation from the original country of issuance BEFORE they can renew driver’s licenses,
passports, social security card replacements, Medicare or Medicaid or collect any government benefit.
Revocation of citizenship – a once rare event, has been streamlined and become common.
For centuries, American Indians were not considered citizens – until a mere fifty years ago.
Is it indicative of anything that the hatred of immigrants is aimed almost exclusively at the descendants of those who have lived for millenia on this continent – unlike ourselves? As of yet, there’s no wall contemplated to the north bordering the European-colonised Canada.
It’s not a slander to point out that any of us might be capable of looking the other way in the face of great evil – if we find that offensive, perhaps it’s because we know in our hearts that it is our temptation, as it is for everyone. But America’s original sin is racism, right from Jamestown in 1611 with race-based slavery combined with religious fervor – and over and over, we have averted our eyes from that.
During the thirties, before the war, Hitler and Mussolini were widely admired in America – a majority of Americans polled looked upon their authoritarian systems with admiration. In some ways, it’s easiest for us to recognise them as evil in hindsight, simply because we went to war with them and they became our vanquished enemy – therefore, they must have been evil. But we did not go to war with them because of how they treated their minority populations – our nation and others turned back those who sought to flee the coming Holocaust before and during that war. More unwanted immigrants! We didn’t want those the Germans considered inferior elements, either – except for some elites we could put to use to increase our own power and wealth.
We might ask this: do we love immigrants, legal or illegal, or do we have dislike and anger in your heart for them? Do you consider them of equal value to yourself? Do you care what happens to them? Or to anyone outside of self?
You are free to answer whatever you wish – but there is a callous element of “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain-style in a certain attitude.
The thread of denial of having to be in any way Christ-like, or punting to a “just-following-government-orders” line of thinking shows that material self-interest and nationalistic pride have been elevated, just as in other nations, to a place that warps, obscures and replaces Jesus’ message.
Do we need to beware of wolverines in sheep’s clothing? :-)
I think it’s telling that avoiding asking the question of what Jesus would do is highly necessary to these arguments surviving. They cannot pass that kind of scrutiny when we measure them against the standard of what Jesus said was to be ours if we really would follow Him.
Of course, it may be that those espousing these viewpoints make no claim to be close to Christ or to be Christian, in which case we can say the viewpoints in no way are in conformity to a Christian worldview.
That at least, would be honesty.



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N.M Rod

posted August 19, 2007 at 5:27 pm


Germany did try to force the Jewish populations within its own territories, and those which it conquered, to leave. He is indeed remembered for that. Voluntary departure was initially tried, but other nations, including the Christian western nations, were loathe to accept such large numbers of refugees. Boatloads tried to land at port after port and were refused and finally had to return.
“If he had simply asked Jews to leave who lacked proper documentation to leave we wouldn’t remember him at all.”
The facts are that proper documentation could not be obtained. It’s a fact that many of those who survived and fled did so by obtaining false documentation. Sometimes false documentation was supplied by American bureaucrats who refused to follow orders such as Raul Wallenburg.
The figure of 12 million liquidated because they could not find anywhere to flee to makes the whole of mankind which didn’t help complicit, regardless of whether or not they were church members.
The fact that the German government found itself unable to deport such large numbers of people forced upon it the unsavory decision to meet to discuss “the final solution” as an alternative.
They had by then unleashed such forces that they simply couldn’t go back and admit they made a mistake, but through their pride decided to go forward regardless of the inhuman consequences.
In fact CEO Tom Watson of IBM signed a contract with the Third Reich between the New York IBM headquarters (not the German subsidiary) to design, install and maintain punch card systems to track classification and ultimate disposal of non-citizens of Germany as well as German opponents of the regime, including onsite maintenance to the camps themselves, right during the course of WW II.
The facts are that Germany had a large population of people who were non-citizens in its midst, and powerful political and economic interests found it expedient to demonise those who couldn’t vote to those who could, and did. Democracy abolished itself, willingly, with the connivance of wealthy corporate interests and the appeal to an exclusionary national greatness to the rest of the population. Six million non-citizen Jews died, and another six million of other non-citizen groups perished too as a result.
“Moving on?”
The reason to remember the Holocaust isn’t simply to commemorate those who died or demonise those who treated them as alien. It’s to make sure that the lessons of history aren’t forgotten and that it never repeats itself again anywhere. (Which it already has around the globe elsewhere in the 75 years ensuing.)
If we find that under duress in the past we have been able to commit atrocities ourselves without restraint, and for which we always find retrospective justification – civilian bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including that of Christians there in Japan’s only Christian city, and civilian bombings in all our undeclared wars since WW II – how can we be sure new tragedies won’t be repeated – this time here – if we don’t first consider the consequences of our actions today?



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Wolverine

posted August 19, 2007 at 5:57 pm


NM Rod wrote:
Nobody likes to be compared to Hitler…
…but boy it sure is fun comparing
other people to Hitler!
Wolverine



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Anonymous

posted August 19, 2007 at 7:28 pm


This was a good article. Thanks for it. Thanks for the John Howard Yoder references. Sojourners could be influenced more by him.



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N.M. Rod

posted August 19, 2007 at 9:04 pm


It’s safe bet to say that now even Hitler wouldn’t like to be compared to Hitler – because the name “Hitler” became discredited as synonymous with evil. It was a kind of joke that after the war it was impossible to find anyone in Germany who had been a Nazi or even sympathiser. In this country, no one could recall having listened by the millions to Father Coughlin and his ilk, either.
It’s glib to say that it’s “fun” to compare others to Hitler. That is not so, because the reality is he can be compared to anyone, and that’s far from a “fun” thing to realise. The problem isn’t “Hitler” but what any human beings decide to do to other human beings.
Nevertheless, Hitler’s methods had the adulation and admiration of millions in Germany and around the world until Germany was militarily defeated, and those methods were as equally evil both before and after people had ceased approving of them.
The point is that Hitler was a human being. He was as equally human as any of the 6 billion of us. In fact, there wasn’t a temptation that occurred to Hitler that Jesus himself wasn’t tempted with, because of our common humanity.
Hitler was rather a common man after all, with a common man’s prejudices. Personally, there’s nothing in Hitler’s Mein Kampf that I haven’t heard expressed by someone or other many times over the years. Fortunately, the people who expressed these views either never acted them out or didn’t ever have a position of authority where they could. But the commonality of hyper-nationalism and distrust, fear and blame of those who stand apart culturally occurs everywhere in time and country, for selfishness, egotism and materialism pervade mankind in general.
Hatreds are remarkably easy to whip up. When economic difficulties come, it’s rare for those at the top of the economic ladder and political decisionmakers to take their deserved blame – scapegoats without much power to defend themselves are always conveniently victimised as the cause. It’s highly dangerous because when such violent sentiments are fanned they are not easy to keep under control.
When we forget this, we forget the depth of our lostness and sinfulness and our own propensity for evil and self-deception.
Our enemy isn’t Adolf Hitler or any other human being – it is the dark side of all humans that must be resisted.



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bren

posted August 20, 2007 at 12:42 am


Anyone who believes that Hitler tried to rid Germany of Jews because the Jews were not citizens of Germany hasn’t read history. Hitler believed that Jews were vermin, not human–not because they were or were not citizens (most of them WERE German citizens and their families had been citizens for many generations.) He believed that the continued existence of Jews (in Germany or anywhere else) would pollute the human race. He believed that Aryans (of which Germans were the best example) were the epitome of humanity–blond, blue-eyed, tall, strong–and his aim was to make them stronger and more pure by getting rid of the pollution represented by short, dark-haired, imperfect others.
I’m inserting this short history lesson in the hopes that we can end the conversation on Hitler and re-focus the conversation on immigration. After all, western countries need immigrants if there are going to be enough workers, enough people to care for the elderly, enough taxpayers for the future, not least because existing citizens aren’t having enough children.
So I come back to my much earlier question: what sorts of people will we accept as immigrants? What qualities do we insist that they have (beyond being legal, that is)?



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kevin s.

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:11 am


“What qualities do we insist that they have (beyond being legal, that is)?”
Either none or proficiency at the English language. I believe our process should generally turn a blind eye toward other matters. Wouldn’t you agree?



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N. M. Rod

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:43 am


Everytime I look around, the wrath of current American nativists is being hurled at the “short, dark-haired, imperfect others” who, in the words of one correspondent here, are polluting us “by spreading through America their own failed culture.”
Their culture, although Christian, has as its major failing the ethnicity, the “race” if you will, of its members, as well as the language they speak.
If racism, the progenitor of Nazism is really dead, why is it that books like The Bell Curve seek to prove scientifically that some races are intellectually inferior to others, namely African-Americans and Latinos?
Why is it that it is assumed that the skewed rate of poverty among these groups is an affirmative indicator of inferiority and that it is an unsolvable problem (misreading Jesus’ observation that the poor will always be with you to care for, as a prescription to not worry about their fate) – and to therefore exclude those that aren’t already here and get rid of those who already are?
The concept of being less than human is illuminating – here, the Constution and various rulings had dark-skinned persons as neither citizen nor wholly persons, regardless of place of birth or length of generation. Recently, the administration single-handedly turned 200 years of jurisprudence on its head and said the Bill of Rights applies only to persons – and non-citizens are not persons. Just like the pre-born?
Hitler’s dead but the deranged passions that inflamed him and so many others are not. Lynch nooses hang on trees again in the Deep South and blacks who protest are jailed by white authorities for decades. Today.
We struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in high places.
Don’t you think those same principalities and powers are still looking for fresh minds to operate on, going to and fro across the earth? With some of them stopping off the freeway exits here in the U.S. of A. to see which minds they can toy with?
Divide and rule seems always to be the strategy. Why are we endlessly dividing ourselves one against one another instead of seeing ourselves together as we could be?
Is there really something so deeply flawed in what Jesus prescribed for what fatally ails us, in Matthew 5, 6 and 7?
Moreover, isn’t it a scandal that Christians can’t bring themselves to follow their own (and everyone’s) Savior, when non-Christian figures like the Dalai Lhama and Ghandia have managed to catch the lesson and have a developed a more fully practical non-violent ethics that is faithful to what He taught?
Instead, we are caught up in endless cycles of resentment and violence against one another because we don’t adequately see the fabric of our humanity as a whole, not separate and egotistical.
If we see our fellow human beings as meaningfully separated from us in value by a bureaucratic piece of paper, we are truly caught in legalistic delusions of our own manufacture.



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elsa

posted August 20, 2007 at 8:12 am


I am so sick of people who do not differentiate between legal and illegal immigration.
To those of you who do not seem capable of understanding the difference, really, I ask you, what part of that concept eludes you?
As well, for those who like to pepper their aruguments with reference to Hitler…get real! Learn to construct an arguement without leaning on Nazi Germany! Seems your tactics are more representative of that regime.
This country has stood for the rights of the most vulnerable in society, both within and beyond our borders. Is it too much to ask that people who want to profit from the society and live under the protection that is America, at least follow the general guidelines of the law, like filling out immigration paperwork? Others have and continue to do so, so why should some, based on their race or national origin be exempt from that same standard? But heaven forbid that we ask even that! What fascism! I suppose Ellis Island was a concentration camp too.



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kevin s.

posted August 20, 2007 at 8:37 am


“Everytime I look around, the wrath of current American nativists is being hurled at the “short, dark-haired, imperfect others” who, in the words of one correspondent here, are polluting us “by spreading through America their own failed culture.””
Does it dawn on you that you have to misquote by far the most extreme person on this board in order to even approach an advancement of your viewpoint.
“If racism, the progenitor of Nazism is really dead, why is it that books like The Bell Curve seek to prove scientifically that some races are intellectually inferior to others, namely African-Americans and Latinos?”
The Bell Curve, while controversial, does not seek to prove any such thing, but rather advances the hypothesis that people with greater innate intelligence tend to be more successful, which is hardly earth shattering. To the extent that the authors advanced a hypothesis regarding racial differences, the book was widely criticized, but this is not evidence of collective racism.
Further, I disagree that racism is the pregenitor of Nazism. That is an oversimplification at best.
“The concept of being less than human is illuminating”
Where did this come from?
“Recently, the administration single-handedly turned 200 years of jurisprudence on its head and said the Bill of Rights applies only to persons – and non-citizens are not persons. Just like the pre-born?”
I’ll concede that our nation’s treatment of the unborn is despicable. You might want to take Sojourners to task on that one, considering that it is an adamantly pro-choice organization. Either way, you interpretation of what I assume to be the legal justification for the operation of Guantanamo is obviously misleading.
“Don’t you think those same principalities and powers are still looking for fresh minds to operate on, going to and fro across the earth? With some of them stopping off the freeway exits here in the U.S. of A. to see which minds they can toy with?”
You are going of the rails, here. At any rate. Part of your problem is that you are attempting to take the reign of Hitler as a sum of its component parts. I’ve said this before, but I could just as easily look at the new dawn of biological advancement and draw the conclusion that we are looking at another Holocaust.
But it doesn’t really work that way, because it is the interplay of those events, combined with an extremely centralized government, that made Hitler’s reign possible. Hitler used eugenics as a means of legitimizing his plan to create a perfect race which would be immune to the failures of WWI. He didn’t simply pursue a vendetta against other races.



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Don

posted August 20, 2007 at 9:51 am


“Is it too much to ask that people who want to profit from the society and live under the protection that is America, at least follow the general guidelines of the law, like filling out immigration paperwork?”
Elsa, you have identified the crux of the problem. The issue is this:
1. desperate people are trying to come here to feed their families. They cannot do so in their own country.
2. Our current immigration laws DO NOT ALLOW them to “fill out immigration paperwork.” The current laws do not have provision for unskilled, largely uneducated workers to enter the US to work. Our current immigration policy is geared toward those with professional backgrounds.
3. Yes, many are living and working here illegally. But not because they want to. They feel they have no other choice. They would much prefer to be here legally, but the laws won’t give them that chance.
4. Until our legislators see the light and change the laws to reflect the situation on the ground–that is, change them to allow such unskilled workers to enter the US and work legally, so long as their labor is needed–what are we as Christians supposed to do?
I maintain that current enforcement-only policies are unjust because they harm people. Imagine being torn away from your family and deported, with your family unable to follow, because they are US citizens. Imagine living here illegally, not by your own volition, but because you were brought here illegally as a small child and had no say in the matter. You have grown up as a US resident and know no life, or people, in the place where you came from. Now you’re being deported to a place that really is foreign to you.
Erin, where does “love your neighbor” begin, and where does it end? Do we need to see green cards before we minister to those in need?
Peace!



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elsa

posted August 20, 2007 at 10:34 am


Don,
Nice try..however you seem to forget the mass numbers of legal immigrants who were in the same situation and followed the rules.That’s why a segment of the Hispanic community around the country, for instance, is furious over the concept of amnesty or other bailouts for illegals. Some chose to follow the rules, somehow, magically. Imagine that! Desperate people who were still lucid and conscientious enough to be law abiding. That is the person I want as my fellow American.
“Yes, many are living and working here illegally. But not because they want to. They feel they have no other choice. They would much prefer to be here legally, but the laws won’t give them that chance.”
Don, we can not take the whole of mankind into this country and rationally expect to be able to pay for it. Frankly, I don’t think for an instance that all of the illegals in this country give a hoot whether they entered illegally or not. They do not care about becoming Americans. They have no passionate attachment to America, the constitution or our culture. What they want is the cash. No surprise there if they are desperate. The US is literally proping up the Mexican economy! Perhaps Mexico and other nations economic and social responsabilities need to be examined FIRST before placing, yet again, all the burden on the US. I’m tired of it.
Don, rules are good. We need them. Love thy neighbor is always the rule to live by.
But paying for our neighbors is not always possible. That’s the reality that you don’t want to face but one that we must if we want to survive as a nation. I am the grand-daughter of immigrants. But guess what? They followed the rules to enter this country! It wasn’t easy then either. But they managed to do it legally and without any social safety nets to bail them out of tough times.
elsa



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aaron

posted August 20, 2007 at 10:39 am


“How should we, as members of the community of faith, treat the immigrants in our midst who are also part of that community?”
Send them back with nice letter ala Philemon?



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aaron

posted August 20, 2007 at 10:41 am


I don’t believe that the state has any legitimate purpose in limiting controls on resources. It makes everyone involved worse off.
Even environmental controls?



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Wayne

posted August 20, 2007 at 10:45 am


Amen Don
There is practically no way for an uneducated Mexican citizen to come here legally. Demanding people only come here under our current system of laws is the same as saying “don’t come.” They cannot obey a law that essentially doesn’t exist. We need the labor, they need the work. If we would demand immigration reform which met both of these needs there would be no argument over this. To not demand comprehensive reform is to support the status quo situation whereby illegal immigration is the only option. Therefore all of you who oppose such reform are actually supporting what you say you hate. If you are opposed to illegal immigration the only sane stand is to demand Congress reform current insane and unjust laws.
WWJD “Who would Jesus Deport?”



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wayne

posted August 20, 2007 at 10:54 am


” Elsa writes
“But paying for our neighbors is not always possible. That’s the reality that you don’t want to face but one that we must if we want to survive as a nation. I am the grand-daughter of immigrants. But guess what? They followed the rules to enter this country! It wasn’t easy then either. But they managed to do it legally and without any social safety nets to bail them out of tough times.”
Elsa
It certainly wasn’t easy for your grandparents but it was mch easier than it is today. Your grand parents didn’t have to do what our current laws demand. They could just come and their paper work was processed at the port of entry. Your comparison is therefore illegitimate. If we had the same rules today as in your grandparents day none of the twelve million undocumented would be illegal. They would have been able to enter the country just like grandparents did.
Demand reform NOW!



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Anonymous

posted August 20, 2007 at 11:01 am


Wayne,
You state, “They could just come and their paper work was processed at the port of entry.” You need to reread your history. The port of entries in this country would literally turn people away if they did not meet the criteria established by the government. That meant, literally, you got back on the boat!
But you are right Wayne, if we had those rules today, we sure would not have the problems with illegals we do now. They would have been sent back home long ago.
elsa



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Anonymous

posted August 20, 2007 at 11:20 am


don; you say they are not here because they want to be here. hello. why else would they be here?
i do not read about mass starvation in mexico. they are here because they want our stuff. many are here as criminals. easier laws, less severe punishment. many are here for the benefits our gov’t offers.
i don’t see anyone here arguing against immigration reform.
i can love my neighbor without breaking laws and helping him break laws. loving ones neighbor has no boundries.
its time for the mexican people to suck it up and make some demands of their own government.



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wayne

posted August 20, 2007 at 11:37 am


Elsa
But what were those requirements? Health was the main one and usually that could be dealt with by a temporary quarantine and Medical treatment.
Anonimous
For the most part they do not want to stay. They come only for the need. Most Mexican nationals do not envy us so much that they would leave home and family permanently. If they coould come and go they would. Our laws have kept them here.
You don’t read anyone “saying” they are against reform but their stance on enforcement only is in fact a stance against reform. We can do both. Change the laws to reflect the reality AND demand enforcement of them. As Don said we do not need to close the border, WE NEED TO MANAGE THE BORDER!
To say “THEY WANT OUR STUFF” is kind of myopic don’t yoou think? They want to provide for their families and themselves. The two are not equal. There are no Mexican hordes looking to take YOUR STUFF! As far as you not reading about mass starvationI doubt you read many Mexican newspapers. Most USA cits couldn’t care less about what goes on in Mexico. Mexican citizens are demanding reform but in the meantime how about you demanding reform here? Or do you like the status quo on immigration?



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Anonymous

posted August 20, 2007 at 11:41 am


Elsa
It is you who need the history lesson. The Irish immigration was far larger per capita than todays. And very few were sent home then or ever in our history! Stop the disinformation and read something besides John Birch Society why don’t ya



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Don

posted August 20, 2007 at 12:09 pm


“Frankly, I don’t think for an instance that all of the illegals in this country give a hoot whether they entered illegally or not. They do not care about becoming Americans.”
More misinformation, Elsa. Polls have repetedly indicated that the vast majority of undocumented workers in the US want to learn English, they want to become part of American society, and many would jump at the chance for citizenship if they were given the opportunity.
Focusing our immigration policy on enforcement only will not solve the problem at hand.
Anonymous (August 20, 2007 11:20 AM) wrote, “loving ones neighbor has no boundries.”
How true! So why are so many of us so fixated on boundary enforcement before we are willing to extend our love to our neighbors?
Peace,



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elsa

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:11 pm


Don,
You wrote, “More misinformation, Elsa. Polls have repetedly indicated that the vast majority of undocumented workers in the US want to learn English, they want to become part of American society, and many would jump at the chance for citizenship if they were given the opportunity.”
Oh, really? Then why is the only flag I see in illigal immigration rallies the Mexican flag?
Yes, what American patriots! Particulary the “reconquistas”! Ever heard of them, Don?
I have no doubt that some illegals want to be American. But they need to start by being law abiding.
Anonymous wrote: “The Irish immigration was far larger per capita than todays.”
Ok,… so? What’s your point?
Excuse me, Anonymous, but here is a history lesson for you. The mass wave of Irish immigrants that came to the US in the 1800′s was the result of famine and British policy towards the Irish populace, such as in, food for conversion to Protestantism and ships filled to the brim with supplies sitting in Dubin harbor while the Irish starved to death.
Please tell me how famine and oppression compare in any way to illegals flooding into this country just to make a few bucks which they send back to Mexico? I don’t recall any news reports about mass starvation in Mexico or religious oppression. Please explain what the Irish diaspora has to do with illiegal immigration to the US in 2007?
elsa



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N.M. Rod

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:14 pm


Q. “Why is it that books like The Bell Curve seek to prove scientifically
that some races are intellectually inferior to others, namely
African-Americans and Latinos?”
A. “The Bell Curve, while controversial, does not seek to prove any
such thing, but rather advances the hypothesis that people with
greater innate intelligence tend to be more successful, which is
hardly earth shattering.”
Thus, according to this argument racism is meaningless, and therefore
believing other races are inferior is not prejudice if inferiority
of some races is scientifically established. This is so because the
intent of the authors was not to prove their inferiority – that fact
was discovered in the course of research.
Beliefs like this on the part of Christians who’ve allowed their Christianity
to be warped and filtered by non-Christian ideologies of left or right -
the Bell Curve, is indeed, part of the canon of conservatism, promoted
and defended in prominent conservative prublications from The National Review,
American Spectator and The American Conservative – makes for de facto
racists who pose with the arched eyebrow of supposed disinterested
inquiry rather than cross-wielding anti-intellectual sheet-wearers,
but the effect is as pernicious. Those Christians end up making the same
perversion of the faith that Southern Baptists who justified racce-based
slave-owning on the basis of inherent racial intellectual inferiority did.
Now if you get a “base” of like-believers having a major influence on
immigration policy who hold these views, just what sorts of would-be
immigrants are they likely to favor excluding? Or want to deport?
I think it’s telling that many of the nativist agitators who rail against the
1965 reform of the immigration laws, which eliminated preference for white
Europeans, as the major error of “liberals” that has “destroyed” America.
We have a culture of “politically correct” speech enforcement, but legalisms
do nothing to change the heart. We need less “PC” and more genuine
transformation of our souls.



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N.M. Rod

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:27 pm


Comment:
“I’ll concede that our nation’s treatment of the unborn is despicable. You might want to take Sojourners to task on that one, considering that it is an adamantly pro-choice organization.why is it that books like The Bell Curve seek to prove scientifically that some races are intellectually inferior to others, namely African-Americans and Latinos?”
I will “take anyone to task” or rather, express the conviction in love to them that it is hypocritical to be pro-life while being pro-war, since both practically result in the inevitable death of innocent human life.
So those who reluctantly support abortion because the higher interest of the mother’s “choice” produces the unfortunate “collateral damage” of the death of the unborn baby are very similar to those who “regret” the necessary “collateral damage” of death in their “just wars” of the civilan innocents – whether, man, woman, child, or woman with child.
Until the Church’s “great compromise” with Constantine to become the state religion of Rome (some term this the Church’s own “Babylonian Captivity”) Christians practiced only non-violent resistance. Persecution of Christians ended, and Christianity’s part of the deal was to support the state’s secular interests, such as its desire for conquest.
So what’s changed? More and more, Americans style themselves as “The New Rome.” And Christians style themselves as primarily having the function of promoting the national interest (determined, after all, by a very secular and wealthy elite) regardless of what the Savior taught us to be!



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carl copas

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:53 pm


Rod,
applause for your spirited and incisive comments.



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N. M. Rod

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:54 pm


- last message got scrambled, sorry, correction follows -
Comment:
“I’ll concede that our nation’s treatment of the unborn is despicable.
You might want to take Sojourners to task on that one, considering that
it is an adamantly pro-choice organization.”
I will “take anyone to task” anyone or rather, express the conviction
in love to them that it is hypocritical to be pro-life while being
pro-war, as well as pro-choice and anti-war, since both practically
result in the inevitable death of innocent human life. (I don’t actually
have any knowledge that Sojourners is pro-abortion as you say, though.)
So those who reluctantly support abortion because the higher interest of
the mother’s “choice” – often seen as more akin to painful necessity -
produces the unfortunate “collateral damage” of the death of the unborn
baby are “end-justifies-the-means” amoralists identical to those who
“regret” the necessary “collateral damage” of death of innocent civilians
in their “just wars” – whether, man, woman, child, or woman with child.
They both have values – it’s just that they have differing hierarchies of
those competing interests and both proffer moral relativity according to
ideological preference.
Until the Church’s “great compromise” with Constantine to become the
state religion of Rome (some term this the Church’s own “Babylonian
Captivity”) Christians practiced only non-violent resistance.
Persecution of Christians ended, and Christianity’s part of this Faustian
bargain was to support in return the state’s secular interests, such as its
desire for conquest.
So what’s changed? More and more, Americans style themselves as “The
New Rome.” And Christians style themselves as primarily having the function
of promoting the national interest (determined, after all, by a very
secular and wealthy elite) regardless of what the Savior taught us to be!
[Is it one of the unintended consequences of abortion-on-demand that not
enough people were born to Americans, contributing to the unfilled entry-level
"job magnet" that unscrupulous employers use to lure immigrants regardless
of their legal status? If so, this is one more reason to carefully think
through the consequences of any of our public policy changes before rushing
to implementation.]



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elsa

posted August 20, 2007 at 1:56 pm


NM Rod stated,
“I will “take anyone to task” or rather, express the conviction in love to them that it is hypocritical to be pro-life while being pro-war, since both practically result in the inevitable death of innocent human life.”
That is an absurd statement. Firstly, who is pro-war? Does it not enter your mind that sometimes military action is necessary to stop violence and oppression of peoples? Why are you against that?
How many tyranical leaders and regimes have to torment humanity for you to be willing to say that they should be confronted and made accountable for their crimes? How many genocides will it take? How many crimes against humanity? How many concentration camps and slaves and slaughters?
Being willing to fight does not equate to being “pro-war”. It means you are willing to make sacrifices to defend something other than yourself. To sit back and claim being “for peace” is a cop-out. It basically translates in today’s world to mean never being willing to stand to defend anything other than your own skin.
You also say, “those who reluctantly support abortion…” Please! Reluctantly?! Ok, so those who stand up to defend the country in time of war are “war mongers” and pro-war. But those who support aborting babies are simply “reluctant supporters”! Spare me! Do not defend Sojourner’s on the abortion issue if you feel they are wrong. Just say it.
For heaven’s sake, say what the pro-abortion lobby is; a group of people who have no problem with infants being killed in their mother’s womb. If they had a problem with it, they would stand up and say so.



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Sojourners

posted August 20, 2007 at 2:19 pm


A friendly reminder of the guidelines for posting on this site. Lively debate is encouraged, from all points of view. Name calling and sniping does not add (positively) to the discussion, so please keep your comments on topic and not personal comments directed at anyone.
Blessings – Sojourners.
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wayne

posted August 20, 2007 at 3:13 pm


So Elsa
you have no problem wit going to war to fight for the rights of oppressed people. You are adamantly opposed to anyone who would kill babies. And yet you are in support of the deportation of a mother of American citizen children?
Let them live and, if they are in another country, let them live free, but if they are here illegally kick them out and take away their children?
Your righteousness is a wonder to behold and your logic a two sided sword. Basically you seem to have found a way top have your cake and eat it too.



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N.M. Rod

posted August 20, 2007 at 3:50 pm


Dear Elsa,
If only it were so that violence were redemptive.
But the more you study history in detail, the more you will learn
that what you thought was so, ain’t. As a Christian formerly
heavily influenced by conservative ideology, I’ve experienced
the pain of disillusionment in my idol of politics that I had put
before Christ. There were a whole lot of things that I just avoided
thinking about and averted my eyes to – after all, I could learn
everything I needed to know through World Magazine or Jerry Falwell.
But then, reality began to intrude and I began to experience cognitive
dissonance. Who was I going to believe, them, or my lying eyes? Since
I have always prayed to know truth, God insisted I no longer turn away
from truths inconvenient to my prepackaged ideology.
Theories of Just War were developed by Christians, primarily
Augustine after persecution of the Church had ceased. It was
in the physical, if not moral, interest of Christians to avoid
persecution and in the interest of the state to regain the moral
authority that had been lost as its own old gods fell to the
increasing influence of Christianity. Mars, the discredited war god,
needed to pass on his mantle to someone of more moral authority!
By means of the state subsuming the moral authority of the Church
it could be possible for all the old aims and interests of imperial
Rome to be sustained, which had been inimical at their core to a
persecuted and martyred Christianity’s own precepts as taught by
their Savior, and which were so revolutionary in transforming the
human heart that it had become an emergency to put a stop to it.
Constantine was wise enough in the ways of conquest to realise
that co-option would be a successful policy when coercion had failed.
The aims of great states and empires, as well as those seeking to establish
such, have been true to the selfish and jealous spirit of Cain. Since
their inception they have been marked by an organised competition for
obtaining wealth by means of warfare. Yet in contrast to this highest
of human enterprises, the scriptures say, “The love of money is the
root of all evil.”
A great man, in some ways Augustine performed the same function as
intellectuals today in service of the state – that is, to develop
justifications and a moral position to be sold to their subject
peoples for the morally indefensible appetites of elites and the
politicians they influence.
Unfortunately, we are all the victims, whatever country we live in, of
this sort of propaganda and warped view of history. It’s designed to
be flattering, emphasize the essential evils of other nations and
affirm the essential goodness of our own.
Yet, scripture warns us that all our own goodness is as “filthy rags.”
Why would this apply to each of us individually and yet not corporately
when combined into a nation? Why would the apostle Paul term himself
accurately as “The chiefest of sinners,” rather than, say someone
equivalent to the Hitler of his day? (There he goes again, as Reagan used
to say! :-) ) Shouldn’t the most righteous of nations (voted to be America
by Americans) humble itself similarly? (And as it turns out, as accurately
as Paul, for our real history is not the sanitised version we tart up to
please and justify ourselves.)
It is the hardest thing, as the poet Robbie Burns observed, to “have the
gift to see ourselves as others see us.” This is the universal human
condition, not particular to America, lest anyone imply it is unfair
America-bashing. It is a message for all peoples everywhere.
You see, a clear study of history will reveal heinous national crimes
on the part of every nation. “All have fallen short of the glory of God.”
Walt Kelly used to have his comic strip character Pogo observe, “We
have seen the enemy, and he is us.” I guess he meant that we as Americans
were our own worst enemies, and retrospection could affirm this what with
the recently declassified history of our secret wars in other nations
and the lies we have all been fed. The Okeefenokee Swamp wasn’t the only
quagmire we’ve found ourselves in.
But I would go further. Humans in reality are not really separated as
we suppose. When we war against one another, we all fight the same
enemy – ourselves. Every human being is really a part of every other.
This is revealed in how man and woman – who progenate all of mankind -
are made into one flesh. Anyone who has “gone to war” against their
spouse will recognise the pain it causes to one’s own self. When you
retaliate and use violence in hatred against your own flesh, you really
do wound yourself unto death.
This is why when the crowd followed Jesus, because they had received
miracles and had their bellies filled – materialism – that he then
proceeded to reveal what following Him really required.
This is the Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount – all of Matthew 5, 6
and 7. I urge you to please read these passages in their whole, in a
spirit of teachability and openness.
You are likely to be struck by how far you fall short. This is why
it can’t be characterised as “easy,” “never being willing to do anything
except saving your own skin,” “cowardly” or pacifist. On the contrary,
it is very hard to return good for evil and to love your enemy. You will
be reviled and misunderstood. It’s far easier to compromise and go along
with the status quo. Opposing evil without doing evil effectively requires
far more sophistication and effort than simply responding in kind.
It’s all too easy when someone says something nasty, for us, like the
drunk in the bar itching for a fight, to respond, “Bring it on!” It doesn’t
take too much to realise that the drunk is going to regret it in reality,
regardless of how Hollywood likes to entertain us with barfight scenes
in which the heroes’ violence never really causes anyone serious harm. Ask
emergency room responders how that one plays out in reality.
I have had a lesson from the Iraq War which initially I had supported,
because I believed “that sometimes military action is necessary to stop
violence and oppression of peoples?”
It’s then asked, “Why are you against that?”
Because the clear results are for all to see that it did not stop violence
or oppression of peoples at all, and that our elites’ support for the war
was not predicated on even those Just War precepts. Instead, we
can say that violence has increased, not abated, hundreds of thousands of
innocents have died who would not have otherwise and all the precepts
for Just War turn out to have been violated.
A study of history, which I subsequently re-examined based on this unforeseen
outcome, shook my confidence in violence being redemptive.
Measured by the Just War theory, there hasn’t been a single war
that in retrospect actually satisfied the criteria developed by Augustine.
Instead, every single war, either through its conduct deteriorating or its
initial aims being immoral, instead of offering permanent resolution,
just heaps up unresolved wrongdoing. Evil is added to evil, just to sow
the seeds for the next war.
We end up with increasing ever more destructive cycles of violence. By
the application of our Just War theories, have we made the world more
or less violent? And now, we have the means to end all life and destroy
the planet itself proliferating, aided and abetted by our own failed
policies – all of us in humankind – that we insist on applying again
and again.
It wasn’t long ago that men had the right to use violence with
little restraint within their families, using violence against their
wives and families. We know acknowledge that violence cannot solve
family conflicts. Why is it still seen as the pre-emptive choice for
resolution of conflicts outside the family? Why do we think it doesn’t
work in families anymore but we believe it still does outside the
family in relations with others?
One way we can reduce conflict is to make a genuine attempt to see the
reasons those who oppose ours hold the views they do. If we demonise
others, it really means we’re seeking to justify why we’ve decided to
go to war against them instead of grant them the moral authority to think
for themselves without being considered “evil.” In the case of those who
support the right to abortion, there’s no question that their public
statements do say they consider it necessary in some cases but it is
regrettable. “Legal, safe and rare,” I think is their statement. Yes,
this means they support abortion on demand. That is evil. But by
their own lights, their views are by no means value-free. And by
denying this in order to make the attacks against them even more
justified, you lose moral ground, because you are not respecting what
they know about themselves and dialogue is thereby ended. Does this
really change anything? Will passing laws without the majority of the
population believing they are justified result in any change of
heart, or just foster hypocrisy and contempt for the law by all the
majority unconvinced? Somehow, to be effective, the hearts and minds of a
majority must be convinced, then the law will be an assent to what is
held as true in the heart. This is never effective using force, though it
might seem, as some conservatives have said, that “we can change laws
faster than we can change hearts.”
But, I submit, that’s a cowardly abandonment of the way of Christ simply
because we aren’t willing to work that hard. It seems so natural to follow
the same methods the world used to get us to where we are now despite
all the evidence that Jesus’ radical call to sacrifice and humble
service are the only hope.



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elsa

posted August 20, 2007 at 5:56 pm


Wayne, you stated:
“you have no problem wit going to war to fight for the rights of oppressed people. You are adamantly opposed to anyone who would kill babies. And yet you are in support of the deportation of a mother of American citizen children?
Let them live and, if they are in another country, let them live free, but if they are here illegally kick them out and take away their children?”
Yes, I am in support of her deportation. Now, if she wants to go thru the process correctly and leagally to re-enter, she is welcome. It’s called the law. Again, what part of following the law eludes you? Why is the law so uncomfortable and impossible for you or her to follow?
And no one is taking her children away from her. Ridiculous! I would assume her children are dual citizens and can easily travel to Mexico with her.
She seems to be a woman with a great amount of ability to lobby and protest, trying to make changes in US law and in American society. She was certainly clever enough to seek sanctuary in the US and last within it for a year or better. Perhaps she should consider directing her remarkable energies toward reforming her own government’s laws and toward changing Mexican society. Wow! Now there’s an idea!



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sls

posted August 20, 2007 at 6:18 pm


“Why won’t the church in the U.S. rebuke its Hispanic brothers and sisters for defying the God-ordained institution of government?”
It seems dangerous to call the U.S. or any government a “God-ordained institution”.



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N. M. Rod

posted August 20, 2007 at 6:50 pm


Government as an organising principle is ordained by God.
The Bible is ordained by God too, but you can preach saving grace from it, or you can use an especially heavy one – King James Authorised Version, large print, preferably – to thump opponents about the head with until beaten completely senseless.
I seem to recall the loyalist church in the 1700s DID rebuke its rebellious colonial brothers and sisters for defying the God-ordained institution of government.
Sauce, goose, gander?
Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, no doubt! Oh, wait,
that’s from a unitarian universalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson!



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Don

posted August 20, 2007 at 6:57 pm


“Oh, really? Then why is the only flag I see in illigal immigration rallies the Mexican flag?
Yes, what American patriots! Particulary the “reconquistas”! Ever heard of them, Don?”
Gosh, Elsa, such vindictiveness!
Read these surveys and then tell me that undocumented Latino immigrants don’t want to become American citizens or learn English:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/documents/PressRoom/Forum-MI_Bendixen_Poll.pdf
http://www.bendixenandassociates.com/studies/National%20Survey%20of%20Undocumented%20Hispanic%20Immigrants.pdf
The reconquista was the reclaiming of the Iberian peninsula from the Muslim Arabs by the Christian kingdoms during the middle ages, culminating in the reconquest of Grenada in 1492. Oh, yeah, I think I have heard that the word is now being applied to an alleged plot by Mexicans to reclaim the US southwest, land that we stole from them in an illegal and unjust war 160 years ago (a war that was opposed by real patriots like Abraham Lincoln).
It’s such a serious threat, isn’t it? I’m losing sleep every night worrying about it!
Peace!



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Don

posted August 20, 2007 at 7:03 pm


Oh, by the way, Elsa, my college-age son has a Mexican flag hanging in his bedroom window. My family (which is Northern European in origin, not Mexican) has been in the USA since the 1680s.
Vehicles from Jackson County, Ohio, which was settled by the Welsh in the mid-1800s can often be seen sporting bumper stickers featuring the Welsh Ddraig Goch (red dragon) flag. And you’ll find German flags flying in the German Village neighborhood in Columbus. And I bet you’ll find Italian flags flying in the “little Italys” around the country, or Polish flags in Chicago, etc., etc.
So how is a Mexican flag at an immigration rally any different?
Later,



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Roger

posted August 20, 2007 at 9:10 pm


Agreed: Current US immigration law is broken. So why is allowing immigration governed by NO law preferable? That situation is what proponents of mass legalization and sanctuary are advocating. And in all the caterwauling about injustice and fixing broken things, where is the Christian community’s outrage about Mexico’s corrupt and broken politics, its failing economy, and the immoral willingness of Calderon and his predecessor Fox (both abetted by Bush) to dump the human victims of his failures in our country? Others posting to this list have noted that Mexico is, by and large, a nation of believing Christians. Where is the outrage on the part of Mexican bishops and pastors?



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Anonymous

posted August 20, 2007 at 11:42 pm


Just a observation, it seems those who are most upset at Mexicans illegally entering the US (because it is ILLEGAL) are the same ones who see nothing amiss in Americans crossing the border of another country (without legal authority from that country) not to find jobs but to bomb them into oblivion.



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wayne

posted August 21, 2007 at 1:23 am


Elsa writes
“Now, if she wants to go thru the process correctly and leagally to re-enter, she is welcome. It’s called the law. Again, what part of following the law eludes you? Why is the law so uncomfortable and impossible for you or her to follow?”
Elsa
There is no law that allows for elvira, or any other Mexican, Central American etc. who is an unskilled worker with a high school education or less, to enter this country except on a temporary visa. These visas are severely limited and their allotments are filled well before the year they are issued even begins. She could be sponsored if she has a relative here but that is the only way to do so. Mexican are severely restricted in the number of visas available, by our laws, yet the majority of the people who come here are from Mexico. Why is that Elsa?
They have been coming for over one hundred years and yet we have not made provision for their doing so legally. Why is it that only now we are upset?
Mexican men and women come here to work. If they can only do so illegally we can then pay them in cents rather than in dollars. We are the ones who created this travesty. We are the ones profiting from their labor. We are the ones who are wrong. We are the ones who can fix it. What we have done, (nothing) should be illegal.
Elsa you seem to have strong opinions on this matter but you do not seem to have the facts needed in order to justify any position at all. Why? What are you afraid of? In over one hundred years America has experienced nothing that justifies our fear of these hard working people.
Your fears are just the unjustified scapegoating of people you do not know for reasons you are either misinformed on, or willfully ignorant of.



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BRoss

posted August 21, 2007 at 4:15 pm


Thank you Tim for your insightful writing. I wonder what would have happened had our forebearers in faith been subject to the ridiculous rules concerning their comings and goings that those trying to enter this country face today. Would Joseph’s brothers ever have been able to come into Egypt and thus save their family? Would Ruth and Naomi ever have been allowed to go back to Bethlehem? Let’s not even think about all the travelling that Jesus did.
If you think about it the whole Bible is a story of people on the move and in all those stories, in all those lessons, not once do you read of a border fence, or ICE raids, or coyotes. Rather, one reads a epic story of HOSPITALITY, ACCOMMODATION, AND LOVE!!!
peace,
~B



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Anonymous

posted August 21, 2007 at 5:36 pm


nimrod; put away your term paper and start looking at some reality. like it or not there are apparently about 9 million illegal immigrants here in this country now. all your history lessons and feelings for the downtrodden are irrelevant because you are not willing to accept the situation as it is. tell me exactly what is Jesus’ message regarding immigration from one country to another? go read your endless ranting and tell me what is your point. you have berrated just about every organization, church group, and person who does not agree with you. is that your view of WWJD? your rag tag rants about history and your interpretation of it goes no where with respect to the illegals in this country and the sanctuary people. ( by now you know that some of them are back home.)what solution do you think you and your progressive political friends could offer that would be acceptable to all and could pass through congress? and would be what Jesus would want? and stop dissing people that disagree with you. and don’t listen to the professors, they have no useful answers.



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bren

posted August 21, 2007 at 5:49 pm


Some here seem to think that the U.S. is propping up the Mexican economy. On the contrary, the U.S., particularly through NAFTA, is destroying the Mexican economy, forcing the Mexicans to give up their own industries and give access to foreign (read, U.S.) ownership instead. And of course NAFTA doesn’t allow Mexico to protect its resources, even if it wants to. e.g., The blue jeans being produced in such great numbers just on the other side of the U.S./Mexico border have so polluted the water that grass now is blue!
That’s not an argument for illegal immigration, merely an explanation for why some people might be so desperate that they will run the risk of possibly dying in Arizona deserts so that they can get to a place where they can earn the money to build a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
Those who have grandparents (or others) who didn’t have to worry about being killed while waiting for U.S. immigration approval are very lucky. We are not all that lucky. We may regret the illegality of some people’s status, but we have no right to condemn them for being less lucky than we are.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 21, 2007 at 7:23 pm


The problem with immigration reform that Sojourners appears to be advocating for is the same as for most other reforms our government has undertaken , such as education reform . The problems remain after the refroms and money is spent .
Consider the facts, the current situation now entitles people to have a better life from where they are coming from , but a lessen life here that they could if a better system was in place .
If the current numbers of immigration are gotten control of , the standardof life for those who are illegally coming will become worse.
Simply , people who come here should come here legally , they need to pay taxes and receive the benefits of being an American . They should be able to repotr sub living conditions with out fear of being thrown out of the country , and they should be allowed and encougaged to have their children learn Enlish , Math and American History . Many illegal aliens live in neigborhoods where drugs and gangs have become the norm , and they are powerless to do anything about itand can’t even vote to have politicians willing to get tougher with polce protection for them and their familkies . The present situation is that if they are here illegally , they are just as afraid of the police as the gang bangers are , more so , which puts them on the same side of people who are causing them and their children problems .



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Joseph T

posted August 23, 2007 at 12:13 am


I am rarely, OK so far never, in agreement with Kevin and Wolverine, but I have a hard time seeing immigration laws or their humane enforcement as being oppressive or immoral. Nor do I think it immoral to try to regulate one’s borders. I would certainly be interested in a debate about a world with universally open borders. On the other hand I think this issue has taken on more attention than it deserves as a moral and social concern. I think outsourcing presents far more threat to American Jobs and to the internal distribution of wealth than does immigration. But I do think we should have immigration laws and policies and I think we should enforce them.
Also I think the US might have more respect for its borders if America wasn’t so willing to cross other countries’ borders militarily as in Iraq, Iran, Nicaragua, Vietnam, El Salvador, Cambodia, Chile, Mexico, Cuba, Columbia, Guatemala, Panama, Haiti, or the hundreds of broken Indian treaties. Maybe if we could go 50 years or 30 years or even 10 years without crossing borders and planting military posts we would be more credible as defenders of national sovereignty and of the integrity of national borders.



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Don

posted August 23, 2007 at 10:04 am


“But I do think we should have immigration laws and policies and I think we should enforce them.”
Joseph, I think most, if not all, the advocates of immigration reform, like myself, would agree with this. Few people that I know of advocate completely unregulated, open borders. For one thing, that just doesn’t make sense in an age of terrorism.
What we want are laws that are both enforceable and reasonable, neither of which can be said about tht the current laws, in our opinion. And our government’s attempt to enforce the current laws has created opression and immoral situations–especially tearing families apart and depriving families of their sources of income.
Having said that, I agree with almost everything else you wrote, especially regarding outsourcing and our military adventurism.
Peace!



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elsa

posted August 25, 2007 at 8:10 am


Don wrote,
“Oh, by the way, Elsa, my college-age son has a Mexican flag hanging in his bedroom window. My family (which is Northern European in origin, not Mexican) has been in the USA since the 1680s.
Vehicles from Jackson County, Ohio, which was settled by the Welsh in the mid-1800s can often be seen sporting bumper stickers featuring the Welsh Ddraig Goch (red dragon) flag. And you’ll find German flags flying in the German Village neighborhood in Columbus. And I bet you’ll find Italian flags flying in the “little Italys” around the country, or Polish flags in Chicago, etc., etc.
So how is a Mexican flag at an immigration rally any different?”
Hi Don,
It is profoundly different.The moment those flags become a political prop used at politically motivated rally’s in an attempt to change US law, that is when it changes. I have Irish fag for example. So what? I do not use that flag as a prop to protect illegal Irish in the US. And let me tell you..there are a lot of illegal Irish in this country today. The moment a foreign flag is raised and waived in a movement on American soil and the people waiving it are demanding changes to American law, then yes, I have a huge problem with that. Most Americans do.
I’ll give you another example. I have always had a huge problem with so called Irish-Americans for instance and many true Irish have as well. Why? Because in embracing the Irish flag on American soil, many of those “Irish-Americans” over the years have given huges amounts of American money to terrorist origanizations like the IRA and Sinn Fein. What do you think the Irish government and Irish people have thought about that? For many Irish Americans, that Irish flag goes far beyond a show of cultural pride. It becomes political ad I have a huge problem with those people too.
If they want to be Americans, then at these same marches and events, should not American flags be the prop to show their desire for citizenship? It goes back to what I wrote earlier…the illegals in this country, by and large, do not care about becoming cultural Americans. They care about obtaining the financial benefits of citizenship. That is a far cry from wanting to become an American on a cultural level.
Ciao



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Anonymous

posted August 27, 2007 at 9:38 am


Elsa
How is it you know what people meant by carrying the flag of their country?
I was at all of the demonstrations here and never ran into anyone holding a flag from Mexico that seemed to be doing anything but asking or pleading their cause. I had many come up to me with tears in their eyes and tell me thanks for being there with them.
I did hear of demands but they came from the minute men.
This is the United States of America Elsa. The Minute men have the right to demand things, but everyone has the right to demonstrate peacefully in our streets and these protests were all peaceful. The people in them may or may not have been citizens, it is kind of hard to tell by their flag, but they all seemed to be acting like citizens or like people who wanted to assimilate and act like citizens. By the way Elsa just to be absolutely clear, all Mexican citizens are in fact “Americans”, as are Bolivians and Brazilians etc etc.



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