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Saturday, March 25

The Sins of the Immigration Bill

More proof that a theocracy would never work in this country-- no one would ever be able to decide on which understanding of the scriptures is the correct understanding.

The other day, Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) remarked that the immigration bill "is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scripture because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself," she said. "We need to sound the alarm about what is being done in the Congress." NY Times

Catholic Bishops also spoke out this week for the same reasons more or less. The Bishops called on the flock across America to oppose the bill.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford, NY) came out swinging, calling the bill "God's work" and renounced the Catholic bishops saying that they should concentrate on pedophilia.

He said Catholic leaders opposed to the bill are politically correct liberals who "should spend more time protecting little boys from pedophile priests."

Thomas Wenski, the Catholic bishop of Orlando, Fla., was outraged by King's Wednesday comments. Wenski said he recognizes that comprehensive immigration reform is needed but maintains that the bill senselessly criminalizes millions of undocumented people by making it a felony for immigrants to overstay their visa.

King's days are numbered.

Ethically speaking, making it a crime to aid illegal immigrants in any humanitarian way, is opposed to the American tradition of offering comfort to those huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, metaphorically washing up on our shores. Criminalizing those profiteers who smuggle aliens into this country without documentation should be a priority of the government in this post 9/11 world.

How many of us know how to check green cards and visas? Am I supposed to now check my landscaper's worker's visas (after I figure out what to look for) to make sure that they haven't expired, then put my rat fink hat on and report anything suspicious? Dare I eat in a restaurant without going into the kitchen to check the visas of the workers? Should I check visas at church on Sunday? Am I now an employee of the state? Why aren't I being paid? And then am I supposed to call Peter King to report people if their visa has expired, subjecting these people, many of whom have families to feed, to goddess only knows what... jail and extradiction? And just how much will that cost the taxpayers? Should we Americans just ask everyone with a foreign accent to show us their papers? In the name of God?

It's cruel and inhuman to criminalize those people who do charitable work in their community for giving a bag of groceries to possibly undocumented human beings. I worked in parish outreach for a while. I can't imagine doing charity work AND acting as a spy for the US government simultaneously. No, you can't have this box of pampers and bag of groceries that were kindly donated by parishioners unless I check your papers because I may go to jail if you're not legal enough.

In a secular country, our legislators have no business using the scriptures, which are highly debatable even in a religious context, to debate a bill before the house or senate. That is the biggest sin being committed. Even in the parish setting where we helped the local poor, we didn't ask anyone to produce their baptisimal certificates to assure that we were only feeding Catholics.

Off the record, Hillary was theologically correct and Peter King was wrong. This bill would criminalize "Good Samaritans" and stands in stark contrast to the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. This argument however has no bearing on the morality on the immigration bill.

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