Social & Domestic Issues

Religious Left Puts Immigration Spin on Epiphany

The Minnesota Catholic bishops have declared January 4 “Immigration Sunday.” In truth, they mean pro-amnesty Sunday or illegal immigrant Sunday.

To be sure, there’s more of posturing than of piety in this spectacle.

U.S. Catholic bishops, along with Protestant elites in the decrepit mainline denominations, are optimistic about the chances of winning a renewed legislative fight over immigration. They believe larger majorities in an all-Democrat Congress and a new, liberal, Democratic administration improve their prospects.

That is, amnesty backers in clerical garb are betting on a lot of “hope and change” in Washington come 2009.

January 4 is the Christian feast day known as Epiphany. This feast celebrates Jesus’ incarnation and the visit of the Magi.

But the Minnesota Diocese of New Ulm’s Hispanic ministry director has redefined that signal event to serve the hierarchy’s political purposes. The Star-Tribune quoted her, “That feast celebrates the unity of being one human family. This is a chance to recognize and celebrate the gifts and benefits immigrants share with us.”

Huh? Really? Her spin on Epiphany could be read as stretching the truth — otherwise known as bearing false witness.

No statements or activities by Big Religion give balanced Christian perspectives. Rather, they assume illegal aliens should be legalized and gain their ultimate goal: permanent U.S. residency, even American citizenship. These religionists favor expanded legal immigration (though it’s choking the system and the country already), cheap foreign labor for their Big Business allies and ending any real enforcement.

Texas Cardinal Daniel DiNardo endorsed a 2002 Bishops Conference policy position, backing mass amnesty. He recently participated in a one-sided conference in Houston called “Clergy Summit: Welcoming the Stranger and Immigration Reform.”

DiNardo claimed amnesty is the only way. “Without some form of broad-based legalization, the problems will just fester and fester,” he told the Houston Chronicle.

The Minnesota nun quoted before asserted to TV affiliate Fox News 12, “”People have a right to migrate, to look for a better life for their families and at the same time acknowledging that countries have a right to protect their borders but do it in a just a[nd] humane manner.”

I’ve got news for this nun and her ilk. No, people don’t have some inherent right to force themselves on a sovereign nation or to migrate without conforming to the specific terms and conditions that nation sets for their stay.

Rather than lobbying for amnesty, opposing the faithful enforcement of immigration laws, labeling opponents as “hateful” and “anti-immigrant” (as did a Methodist bishop at the Texas conference in November), religious officials should try to foster honest debate and resolution of this issue. But that would require their neutrality in the political fight.

These political advocates in robes and collars should have the decency to acknowledge that Christians’ views opposite to legalization are legitimate. They should give their fellow Christians a fair hearing. They should defend them from name-calling and Leftist tactics intended to stifle open debate.

And they should drop the political gamesmanship: picking sides against the majority of their lay members in a legitimate, political issue on which both sides may claim moral authority.

What’s more justifiable a biblical position than Romans 13, where the Apostle Paul teaches obedience to civil laws? The state doesn’t wield the sword of justice for nothing.

Or taking the many Scripture passages about protecting the innocent and the powerless in the context of the law-abiding? That would make public laws protecting citizens from unjust labor competition laudable — and strategically inconvenient for the open-borders, antinational sovereignty religionists.

The purpose here isn’t to rebut every factual error, false assumption or wrong claim put forth by the mouth of open-borders clergy (indeed, that’s way too big a job for a single op-ed). Instead, it’s to urge church-going Americans who disagree with their denomination on immigration to speak up on January 4.

We in the pews can speak with our pocketbooks. Congregant victims of immigration brow-beatings may withhold tithes and offerings on January 4. Some might want to drop it in the offering the following week. Others might want to donate that month’s offering to an independent ministry that’s not an amnesty advocate (be careful, many religious groups involved with refugees are in league with the proamnesty forces because of government payouts they profit from.).

On January 4, celebrate Epiphany for what it is: remembrance of Jesus’ coming incarnate and the Magi’s trek to the Savior. Don’t let organized religion politicize this important occasion with their liberal immigration policy agenda.

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