published Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Immoral and unscriptural

By Brian Clark

By Brian Clark

Something is about to happen in Georgia that violates the Golden Rule, the greatest commandments and everything Judeo-Christian scripture teaches about the treatment of others. A special legislative committee in the Georgia General Assembly is discussing an Arizona-style immigration law that targets undocumented persons and is due to come before the House and Senate in February or March.

The proposed legislation is gaining strength and likely will pass with little opposition unless the religious community speaks on behalf of our neighbors in great number and with great clarity. The reasons behind the proposed legislation are economic in nature. The committee would have every Georgian believe that their lives would be better and their economic futures more secure without undocumented persons living in their neighborhoods, attending their schools and working in their businesses.

Despite the fact that undocumented persons contribute to the state tax base, bolster the agricultural economy and keep local businesses alive, the real issue before the committee isn't economic. The real issue is that Arizona-style legislation is both immoral and unscriptural.

The legislation is immoral because it threatens to tear families apart, destroy the lives of countless children and youth already living productive lives in our communities, and does nothing to advocate for a fair earned pathway to citizenship. The legislation is unscriptural because it ignores the biblical mandates to love our neighbors, to offer forgiveness, and to treat others the way we desire to be treated.

God loves the undocumented persons living among us as much as God loves every natural born citizen and calls us to treat them with love and respect. Leviticus 19:34 says, "The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." (NRSV)

I would ask every person of faith to answer these questions:

• Ddo we want our state representatives passing legislation that does not represent our Judeo-Christian heritage and values?

• Do we ignore the mandates of Scripture?

• Do we quietly turn a deaf-ear and a blind-eye while our neighbors are treated unjustly?

I believe we do so at our own peril. At this critical moment, persons of faith need to say loudly and clearly what many of our denominations have already said in official formats. The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, the denomination in which I serve, passed a resolution on June 14, 2007, advocating for a "just, humane and intelligent immigration reform" that aims to "provide a path to citizenship, protect workers, reunite families, and restore the rule of law and enhance security." Together, we need to inform our representatives of the type of immigration reform for which persons of faith are advocating.

Brian Clark is senior pastor at the Calhoun (Ga.) First United Methodist Church.

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LaLydia said...

I am of Mexican descent; my family entered legally. I always think it is interesting to ask people who believe as Brian Clark does how many more people they think we should allow to immigrate here. Last year, the Pew Hispanic Institute, a research organization, polled Mexicans in Mexico and reported that one third of them want to immigrate to the US. That would be about 40 million more uneducated, poverty-stricken people entering our country for us to take care of; more than 10 percent of the Mexican population already has immigrated here. So my question is, how many more does Mr. Clark think we should allow to immigrate here out of the goodness of our hearts? How many more people does he think we can we absorb and pay for without short-changing our own children? Or are we obliged to short-change our own children for this purpose? Does our Judeo-Christian heritage require us to take in and provide for the entire world? What percentage of that 40 million would Mr. Clark admit?

January 30, 2011 at 9:12 a.m.
oatka said...

This is the typical thinking of those who want to misquote the Bible in order to support the presence of illegal aliens - NOT "undocumeted persons". (The next time a Trooper pulls you over, tell him you're an "undocumented driver" and let us know the results.)

"The committee would have every Georgian believe that their lives would be better and their economic futures more secure without undocumented persons living in their neighborhoods, attending their schools and working in their businesses." They are right. Check out your Hospitals jammed ER, or the overcrowded classrooms, or the overflowing unemployment offices.

". . . and does nothing to advocate for a fair earned pathway to citizenship." A "fair earned pathway" already exists - it's called LEGAL immigration, not allowing people to cut to the front of the line and obey their demands for entrance.

Many of these pro-illegal screeds remind me of the arguments used to justify slavery and the accompanying poverty.

Any country that does not control its borders commits national suicide.

January 30, 2011 at 3:40 p.m.
AmericanPride said...

As I recall the Golden Rule states that we should do unto others as we would have others do unto us. First of all, I would never sneak into a person's home (and my country is my home) like a thief. I would fully expect someone to punish me if I entered their home without their permission.

As for "The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."... just like a typical illegal alien supporter you ignore the 'illegal' part. God doesn't say love the ILLEGAL alien and God does say in the Bible that we are to obey the laws. We Americans have embraced and loved people from all over the world who have come to our country legally. We welcome over a million new citizens each year... people who have respected our country by obeying our laws. There are plenty of ways for people to come here legally if they qualify. Those who don't qualify (diseased, criminal background, unable to afford it) don't belong here. We have requirements for coming here so that we can protect our people and our way of life.

My grandparents came here from Mexico legally and I expect the same from any and everyone else in the world.

January 31, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
davegorak said...

I'd appreciate hearing from "LaLydia," "Oatka" and "American Pride."

Dave Gorak Executive director Midwest Coalition to Reduce immigration La Valle, WI www.midwestcoalitiontoreduceimmigrati... mcri@mwt.net

January 31, 2011 at 10:34 a.m.
smckenzie514 said...

Rev. Clark is exactly right: the proposed legislation is unscriptural and immoral. It’s unscriptural by definition: it hurts immigrants even though the Bible says we are supposed to be kind to the alien, welcome the stranger, forgive trespasses, and love our neighbor. One might object that the Bible is morally demanding, and they’d be right. Nonetheless it says what it says.

The proposed legislation is immoral because it would hurt so many kids who haven’t done anything wrong and parents who have only done what so many of us would do if we were in their situation. What an awful choice they had between obeying the government or providing for their families! For so many immigrating legally is not an option. According to a recent John Stossel article, a Mexican high school graduate with a family has to wait over 100 years before he can come legally. So congratulations to La Lydia, whose family was able to come legally, and to all of us who were lucky enough to be born here, but can we not all do what the Bible says and have mercy on those who are not as fortunate as we are?

Thanks to Rev. Clark for standing on principle. Were more Christian leaders to do so, perhaps we could prevent another Trail of Tears out of Georgia.

January 31, 2011 at 9:09 p.m.
AmericanPride said...

smckenzie514, it is an insult to the Native American people to compare anything about them to illegal aliens who have INVADED our country. They were natives that were run off THEIR own land. Illegal aliens are trespassers to our land and trying to do the same to the American people.

I choose to learn from the mistakes of the Native Americans in dealing with invaders... had they not aided and abetted the pilgrims they may not have lost their land to them.

February 1, 2011 at 3:07 a.m.
smckenzie514 said...

AmericanPride is a proud American and wishes the Native Americans had run us all off. Hmmm.

February 1, 2011 at 4:40 a.m.
Ali999 said...

smckenzie514:"According to a recent John Stossel article, a Mexican high school graduate with a family has to wait over 100 years before he can come legally. So congratulations to La Lydia, whose family was able to come legally, and to all of us who were lucky enough to be born here, but can we not all do what the Bible says and have mercy on those who are not as fortunate as we are?"

Do you know what one country sends the most legal immigrants to the US, and has for more than 2 decades? MEXICO. It regularly accounts for 15-20% of all our legal immigration. In fact, the reason for the long wait for Mexicans is that we already have so many of them, each of them sponsoring more relatives. All due to our emphasis on "family reunification" with parents, adult kids, and siblings with their families.

February 7, 2011 at 2:29 p.m.
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