Posted by Kendall Harmon

After protesters shouting “Go home” turned back busloads of immigrant mothers and children in Murrieta, Calif., a furious Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, sat down at his notepad and drafted a blog post detailing his shame at the episode, writing, “It was un-American; it was unbiblical; it was inhumane.”

When the governor of Iowa, Terry E. Branstad, said he did not want the migrants in his state, declaring, “We can’t accept every child in the world who has problems,” clergy members in Des Moines held a prayer vigil at a United Methodist Church to demonstrate their desire to make room for the refugees.

The United States’ response to the arrival of tens of thousands of migrant children, many of them fleeing violence and exploitation in Central America, has been symbolized by an angry pushback from citizens and local officials who have channeled their outrage over illegal immigration into opposition to proposed shelter sites. But around the nation, an array of religious leaders are trying to mobilize support for the children, saying the nation can and should welcome them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

GONZALEZ: It's a scene that captured the attention of the country and world. Anti-immigrant protestors blocking buses filled with undocumented Central American migrant children, some adults, from reaching a border patrol station in the southern California community of Murrieta.

The children aboard the buses were just some of the more than 52,000 minors, many of them unaccompanied by adults, who have been detained by immigration authorities since October. It's the largest influx of asylum seekers into the U.S. since 1980.

There are so many migrant children arriving, temporary immigration holding facilities along the border have been filled to capacity, and the children have been flown to other parts of the country, for shelter and care at military bases and other facilities. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of migrants, the government has turned to faith communities for help.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Mexico* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda was a strong supporter of the final bill there. He was among the religious leaders who recommended changes in 2010 to make it less harsh by removing the death penalty, reducing the sentencing guidelines and deleting a clause on reporting homosexual behavior.

On Wednesday (March 5), Ntagali denied reports that the province was considering breaking away from the Anglican Communion. According to the primate, the fabric of the Anglican Communion was torn in 2003 when the Episcopal Church in the United States consecrated Gene Robinson as bishop in New Hampshire.

“Not only was this against the Bible, but it went against the agreed position of the Anglican Communion,” Ntagali said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.CanadaEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 7, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just why is American politics so dysfunctional? One answer is that both parties, for different reasons, have created self-serving mythologies that reward them for not dealing with pressing problems that, though daunting, are hardly sudden or secret. For proof, see Paul Taylor’s new book, “The Next America.” Taylor oversees many of the Pew Research Center’s opinion surveys. His masterful synthesis of polls shows that three familiar mega-trends lie at the core of America’s political and social stalemate.

First, immigration....

Second, family breakdown. In 2011, unmarried women accounted for 41 percent of U.S. births, up from 5 percent in 1960....

Finally, aging. Every day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. The retiree flood is swamping the federal budget. By 2022, Social Security, Medicare and the non-child share of Medicaid will exceed half the budget, up from 30 percent in 1990, projects an Urban Institute study. To make room for the elderly, defense and many domestic programs are being relentlessly squeezed.

There’s no generational justice, argues Taylor: “The young today are paying taxes to support a level of benefits for the old that they themselves have no prospect of receiving when they become old.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 4, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block marched toward the U.S. Capitol Building on a cloudy afternoon this October, he said he felt “a little nervousness.” Walking arm-in-arm with dozens of other faith leaders and surrounded by thousands of chanting protestors—some holding signs that read “People of faith for immigrant justice!”—Kimelman-Block suddenly realized he might be arrested for the first time in his life.

“I’d never done this before,” Kimelman-Block said. “People were cheering and chanting, and it felt like folks were making a big sacrifice for the larger cause. It felt very powerful.”

His inaugural act of civil disobedience was part of the “Camino Americano: March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect,” a massive day of action that gathered thousands in Washington, D.C. to pressure Congress into passing sweeping immigration reform that would create a viable pathway to citizenship for America’s more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General

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Posted November 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's a familiar sight at the Catholic Center, the archdiocesan headquarters on First Avenue in Manhattan where I work. Dozens of new arrivals to our country line up early in the morning, waiting for our office to open. They know that here they will get the help they need to become citizens, learn English and civics, reunite with their families, and navigate the complex legal immigration system. Our telephone counselors answer 25,000 calls from immigrants each year in 17 different languages.

It isn't, however, confined to our office. We've all seen the men—almost 120,000 of them nationally on any given day—queuing up on the side of the road on hundreds of street corners throughout the U.S., hoping to be hired for the day. In places like Yonkers, N.Y., volunteers from Catholic Charities offer these day laborers coffee and sandwiches and even some employment advice.

The Catholic Church is doing the same things in Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Houston, Newark and Miami. More than 150 Catholic immigration programs across the nation assist immigrants in becoming Americans. Helping the newcomer to our land feel at home is part of our mission, as Christ reminds us in Matthew 25 that "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Historian Henry Steele Commager wrote that: "The Church was one of the most effective of all agencies for democracy and Americanization."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

,,,,church leaders are taking a more aggressive approach starting Sunday at Masses held throughout the country.

Unlike a "Justice for Immigrants" program conducted in 2006-2007, this time church leaders are urging Catholics to call, write and e-mail their congressional representatives, even providing prewritten letters and electronic postcards. Congress returns from its summer break Monday, and although an immigration bill passed the Senate, it faces tough opposition, mainly from Republican lawmakers, in the House.

Kevin Appleby, director of immigration policy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the latest immigration overhaul campaign is larger, bolder and a more unified national effort than in years past.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted September 8, 2013 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Catholic Church is ramping up support for immigration reform with plans to mobilize up to two dozen dioceses in key states in hopes of convincing House Republicans to support a comprehensive bill, organizers said.

The church is planning a series of loosely coordinated events, including an immigration-focused Mass at some churches Sept. 8 — the day before Congress returns from a five-week summer recess — and pilgrimages of church members to regional offices of lawmakers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted August 22, 2013 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...both The Times and Politico each published an opinion piece by different Christian leaders recently arguing for comprehensive immigration reform using the words quoted above.

Ordinarily, believers do and ought to make their case in the public square using language and reasoning accessible to nonbelievers. But with immigration, some are conspicuously quoting the Bible in a way rarely seen with respect to issues more out of keeping with secular liberal values.

Interestingly, those who ordinarily would gnash their teeth at any hint of religious motivation for a viewpoint have been uncharacteristically silent about the effort of certain religious figures to encourage immigration reform. Set aside the apparent double standard under which the mainstream news media suddenly are eager to print policy prescriptions from an explicitly religious perspective.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted August 14, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Southern Baptist from Spartanburg with no political experience walked the halls of Capitol Hill on Wednesday with his wife, lobbying Congress to support immigration reform as a moral issue.

Jim Goodroe, director of missions for the Spartanburg County Baptist Network, has ministered to the immigrant community of Spartanburg for the last 12 years. His wife, Nancy, teaches young children who don’t speak English as a first language.

The Goodroes are well-versed on visas and green cards and the struggles involved in migrating to a foreign country. But the political arena is a new world to them.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptists* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 15, 2013 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indeed, evangelical elites have a rosier view of immigrants than do the Republican rank and file. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 55 percent of Republicans view immigrants as a “burden because they take jobs, housing, and health care.”

“Leaders are usually ahead of the laity — that’s called leadership,” Richard Land said. “But the gap is closing.”

This debate is not just about immigration policy. For Latino evangelicals, making life better for immigrants requires investment in education and the social safety net as well as legal reform. If demographers are right, and America’s political future lies in the hands of Latinos and other minorities, conservative evangelicals cannot resurrect the Republican Party without following their political campaign to its theological conclusion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigration* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted May 14, 2013 at 4:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Latino evangelical Christian movement is ascending from a remote constituency to a force, while also striving to reshape culture and politics in our country.

Believers such as Rodriguez want to marry the righteousness of Billy Graham with the justice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Those two world views are not typically associated in a meaningful way but have found a nexus in Latino cultures, where people are comfortable with invoking God in everyday life while taking a less strident tone on immigration.

Given Latinos' strong influence on the last presidential election, the work of faith leaders such as Rodriguez hint at greater changes within our political culture – some of which could prove surprising.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted April 30, 2013 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Senior pastor Kenton Beshore said the first sermons on the plight of illegal immigrants didn't go over well with many members of his evangelical church, which sits on a 50-acre campus in Orange County and has a 3,400-seat sanctuary, sports facilities, restaurant and a man-made lake.

"We took a hit on it," said Mr. Beshore. "We had people who walked out and whose giving went away." It was part of the reason the church ended 2012 with a $500,000 budget shortfall, he said.

But much has changed in the two years since—both at Mr. Beshore's 14,000-member Mariners Church and at conservative evangelical congregations around the U.S.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted April 9, 2013 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal bishop for Arizona joined several religious and union leaders urging that family-unification policies be included in any comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Bishop Kirk Smith said that the family is the “chief social unit in society” and protecting and keeping immigrant families together should be paramount as federal lawmakers consider reform.

“This is one thing that we do all agree on, and that is support of the family, because we consider that to be an imperative that’s given to us by our religion and by our God,” Smith said on a conference call with the other officials.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While she doesn't anticipate getting deep into complicated cases at the monthly clinic, she wants to offer guidance to an immigrant group who may be feeling marginalized from mainstream society. She will provide initial consultations, evaluate if further representation is recommended and make referrals when appropriate.

"These clients want clarification," [Elizabeth] McGuan said. "They want to know what their situation is and what their options are regarding their legal status and becoming citizens. Many consider being deported worse than going to jail. When people are desperate, they can be exploited. I want to help make sure that doesn't happen."

McGuan said the clinic will focus on immigration law, but she is prepared to address issues of divorce, custody, paternity, child support and domestic violence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigration

0 Comments
Posted November 1, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why should a former Church of England leader like myself intervene now? After all, the Christian faith emphasizes the need to welcome the stranger. Jesus and his family were themselves refugees fleeing to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. The Church has rightly and repeatedly given sanctuary to many genuine asylum-seekers over the years. This compassionate Christian tradition has contributed to the British reputation for tolerance and a very proud history of welcoming successive waves of immigrants.

We have successfully integrated many communities from the Commonwealth.But there comes a point when we have to reconsider policy and, without backing away from a commitment to those who need asylum, find ways to limit the scale of immigration which is disturbing our way of life.

The stark fact is that our proud heritage of welcoming strangers is threatened by the breakdown of our border control during the past 15 years. Net migration was allowed to increase from 50,000 a year in 1997 to a record level of 250,000 in 2010. The growth in population during the last ten years was the largest recorded since the very first census in 1801.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ulf Bastian tramped into Christengemeinde Elim Pentecostal church in Hamburg, Germany, parading his punk-rocker duds: hair dyed a shocking bright color, black leather jacket, torn jeans and a T-shirt screaming the angry message, “Hate Mankind.” His ex-girlfriend, who had become a born-again Christian (and is now his wife), urged him to attend.

“I thought she was crazy,” he says. “I did not want to be part of Christian people.”

Still, the Holy Spirit coaxed him to return a second time. Arriving late, he grabbed a chair in the last row. The worship music and pastor’s preaching about sin and the cross of Christ hit home. Weeping, he rushed to the altar at the end of the service and told the pastor, “I need forgiveness.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigration* International News & CommentaryEuropeGreece

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After two years of protests, boycotts and lawsuits over Arizona's immigration law, Monday's Supreme Court decision leaves the state of immigration reform almost unchanged with states frustrated and Congress avoiding the debate.
"I would guess [Congress] won't touch this with a 10-foot pole until after they come back after the election," Charles H. Kuck, managing partner at Kuck Immigration Partners in Atlanta, told CNN.
The court's 5-3 ruling was a split decision, upholding the law's most controversial feature -- the "show your papers provision" that allows police to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws -- but also dismissing the Arizona's right to regulate immigration at the state level.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General

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Posted June 26, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I write to you today regarding two important matters.

The first is the decision of the Supreme Court this morning to overturn much of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 law. I was asked by Episcopal News Service for a comment, which I now share with you:
As one working and praying for a more just immigration policy, I was guardedly pleased with the Supreme Court ruling. Although much work still needs to be done to insure that law-abiding immigrants in our country are treated in a just and humane manner, the Supreme Court's decision to strike down much of SB 1070 as unconstitutional is a step in the right direction, though I wish that it had gone further. For example, the "show me your papers" provision of the law, which the Court left standing, still has enormous potential for racial profiling and other abuses. There is still much work that must be done to assure that all our immigration laws respect the dignity of every human being.

At this time, I am unaware if further demonstrations or press conferences are planned by church leaders, but I would expect that no one sees the struggle for human rights in Arizona to be over. No matter what your opinions are in this matter, I would ask that you keep in your prayers those of your fellow Arizona Episcopalians whose lives are affected on a daily basis by the struggle to find a just solution to this problem.

Secondly, as most of you know, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church will begin in one week in Indianapolis. The deputies will be facing tough decisions in a number of areas. At the top of this list are efforts to restructure the larger church in way that will refocus our energy and money on the mission of spreading the Gospel. For those of you interested in learning more about this, I commend to you the series of articles written by one of your own elected deputies, The Rev. Susan Snook, and posted on her blog site: goodandjoyfulthing.blogspot.com.

Other issues to be dealt with include changes in insurance and pension benefits for lay employees, liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex unions, and our relationship with the wider Anglican Communion. This will be a difficult convention. We are painfully aware of the decline in both membership and giving, and the failure of our current structures to adequately address these problems. There is a need for radical change and the abandonment of old programs and practices that no longer work. This will take both courage and sacrifice. Therefore, I especially ask you to remember the work of the General Convention in your personal prayers and in the public prayers of your parish these next two Sundays. You may either write your own prayers to include in the Prayers of the People or adapt the one provided by The Book of Common Prayer, p. 818.

Please also remember your lay and clerical deputies: Judy Conley (Trinity Cathedral), Matt Hall (St. Matthew's, Chandler), Barbara Harber (St. Luke's, Prescott), Diana Moreland (St. John's, Globe), Pat Thompson (St. George's, Holbrook), The Rev. Megan Castellan (NAU Canterbury), The Rev. John Kitagawa (St. Philip's in the Hills, Tucson), The Rev. Susan Snook (Church of the Nativity, Scottsdale), The Rev. Anne Johnson (St. John's, Williams), The Rev. Jim Fitzsimmons (St. Andrew's, Nogales), as well as our delegates to the Episcopal Church Women Triennial meeting: Marilyn Hedges, Winnie Follett, Connie Castillo, and Kerry Jo Hanstein. I will be honored and proud to be representing you as your bishop. Please pray for me, too!

Faithfully,

--(The Rt. Rev.) Kirk Smith is Bishop of Arizona

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigration

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Posted June 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. bishops greeted with hope and caution the June 25 Supreme Court decision to strike down provisions of an Arizona immigration law that would have allowed warrantless arrests of people suspected of an offense that is deportable, that would have made it a crime to seek work in the state and that would have made undocumented presence a state crime.

The bishops found hope in the decision in Arizona vs. United States and said it reflects the bishops' call for humane and just immigration laws and concern for laws that could tear families apart. Their caution lay in the lifting of an injunction against immigrants having to show papers in some circumstances.

The bishops had filed a friend of the court brief in the case.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigration* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted June 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Supreme Court is set this week to decide the politically charged constitutional clashes between President Obama and Republicans over his healthcare law and his immigration enforcement policy.

By most accounts, the justices must make a stark, clear choice either to endorse Obama's policies — including the mandate for all to have health insurance — or to strike them down as flatly unconstitutional.

But the justices could rule in unexpected ways that would allow both sides to claim a victory.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

0 Comments
Posted June 25, 2012 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Sudan’s years of conflict were meant to be over when it won its independence from Sudan last July after generations of fighting with the people of the north. But the jubilation quickly faded, and now, not even a year later, after weeks of pointed barbs and border skirmishes, this vast and vastly underdeveloped country is once again mobilizing for war — and asking some of the poorest people on earth to pay for it, with whatever they have at hand....

Sudan and South Sudan have yet to resolve a number of prickly and vital issues, not least of which is how to demarcate a border of more than 1,000 miles and share billions of dollars of oil revenue. Border clashes escalated in late March, killing hundreds, and strategic oil fields have switched hands.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--North Sudan--South Sudan

2 Comments
Posted May 11, 2012 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For Episcopalians, Holy Week is under way with a pilgrimage from Los Angeles to the Mexican border to pray for the plight of immigrants.

About 50 people – led by Episcopal bishops of Los Angeles and San Diego – held a prayer Monday morning in Los Angeles' MacArthur Park and then drove in a caravan down I-5 through Orange County, led by a pickup laden with a life-size wooden statue of Jesus.

"It's not what you're used to seeing when you are driving down the 5," said the Rev. Tom Callard, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Highland Park. He was among about 50 Episcopalians who gathered at St. Clement's Episcopal Church in San Clemente for a "way of the cross" service before heading to Chula Vista for the next prayer session in a series.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted April 3, 2012 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A federal judge blocked several parts of South Carolina’s immigration law Thursday, saying in his ruling that the measure tramples on federal powers.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel granted a preliminary injunction, according to The Associated Press and Reuters, ruling that the federal government has the sole constitutional authority to set immigration policy and regulate enforcement. Gergel said parts of South Carolina’s law are in violation of those powers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted December 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A half-dozen religious leaders this morning delivered a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's office asking him in the spirit of the Christmas season to support the repeal of the state's immigration law -- the Beason-Hammon Act.

"We are writing to let you know that we are praying for you as you consider the multitude of problems caused by the Beason-Hammon Act," the letter states. "In this time when we celebrate the greatest of gifts, we pray that you will show great political courage and leadership and support the repeal of this unfortunate legislation that has brought such heartache to our State."

(Letter to Gov. Bentley)

The letter is signed by: Henry N. Parsley Jr., bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama; The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, of the Catholic Diocese in Birmingham; The Most Rev. Thomas J. Rodi, archbishop of Mobile; William H. Willimon, bishop of the Birmingham area of the United Methodist Church....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralState Government

12 Comments
Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The words, deeds and life experience of Jesus don't describe someone who was hostile, divisive, mean-spirited or exclusionary, but someone who embraced all humankind and worked to better the lives of those shunned and oppressed by the religious and political powers who controlled his nation.

The acceptability of South Carolina's immigration law as it relates to the Constitution of the United States of America will be decided by the federal court without religious considerations, since there is no official American faith.

While I hope that the law will be overturned, I have no idea what the court will do. As a Christian, however, I have no doubt of what Jesus would do and would kindly suggest that those who intertwine their faith and their politics pray on that as they proclaim their love for God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

4 Comments
Posted December 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The problem of racial profiling and other concerns over the state's immigration policy have prompted religious leaders to call for a humane solution to what seems to be an intractable national problem.

Since 1991, LARCUM, an ecumenical group of South Carolina bishops representing the Lutheran Synod, two Episcopal dioceses, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston and the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, has been meeting to discuss matters theological, ecumenical, ecclesiastical and practical.

Lately, the conversation has shifted to the issue of illegal immigration. These leaders are promoting dialogue and reconciliation and citing the Bible repeatedly.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

6 Comments
Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[LUCKY] SEVERSON: The solution the legislature came up with has caused quite a commotion. A federal judge temporarily blocked the enactment of House Bill 56 because of several lawsuits filed by four Alabama bishops of different denominations, the Justice Department, the ACLU, civil rights groups, joined by county sheriffs and 16 foreign governments. But some of the loudest protests came from church leaders like Pastor Angie Wright of the Beloved Community United Church of Christ.

PASTOR ANGIE WRIGHT: If I have ten undocumented persons in my church for an English-as-a-second-language class, or for worship, or vacation bible school. and I know that they’re undocumented, I can go to prison for 10 years and pay a $15,000 fine.

SEVERSON: In a nutshell, the bill, as it stands now, criminalizes working, renting, having false papers, shielding, harboring, hiring. and transporting undocumented immigrants. It also deprives them of most local public benefits. As it was intended, it punishes just about every aspect of illegal immigration.

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralState Government

4 Comments
Posted September 27, 2011 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lawsuits by churches, the U.S. government and civil-rights groups seeking to stop Alabama from enforcing new restrictions on illegal immigrants will be heard as one.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn in Birmingham, Alabama, ordered the cases’ consolidation yesterday. Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Methodist bishops; the U.S. Justice Department, and the American Civil Liberties Union sued Alabama Governor Robert Bentley starting July 8.

Church leaders claim the law stops them from carrying out their religious mission by denying food, shelter and worship to people who are in the U.S. illegally. The U.S. says the law conflicts with federal authority over aliens, such as regulation of migrant employment. The ACLU, joined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, objected that transporting children who are illegal immigrants will be a crime.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigration

0 Comments
Posted August 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. Catholics have a responsibility to bring a "faith perspective" to the current immigration debate and to keep in mind the "whole story" of immigrants' role in this country's history, said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez during a talk at the Napa Institute July 28 in Napa.

"When we understand immigration from this perspective, we can see that immigration is not a problem for America. It's an opportunity. It is a key to our American renewal," he said.

The archbishop was one of several speakers during the July 28-31 annual conference sponsored by the Napa Institute, an organization that promotes Catholic thought and apologetics.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigration* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2011 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Jesus wept." (St John 11:35) As a child I learned that "Jesus wept" was the shortest sentence in the Gospels. I grew to understand that it is also one of the most powerful. I wept not long ago when I learned that the State of Alabama (the lower part of which is within my episcopal jurisdiction) passed legislation that would put me in violation involuntarily with State law because of my faith and religious convictions. With the implementation of HB56, we face one state's edict to limit assistance and ministry only to those who can produce certain documentation.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some churches are objecting to Alabama’s tough new law that aims to clamp down on illegal immigration, saying it violates Christian principles in the heart of the Bible Belt.

Leaders of the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church all have criticized the law as running counter to biblical teachings about caring for neighbors, helping visitors and showing hospitality to strangers. Episcopal Bishop Henry N. Parsley of Birmingham said the law “will make it impossible to love and be hospitable to our neighbors as we ought to be.”

“It is a profoundly disappointing decision and a sad moment for our state,” he said in a statement late Wednesday.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

18 Comments
Posted June 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leaders from four Christian denominations are calling on Mississippi lawmakers to reject an Arizona-style immigration bill that would let officers check during traffic stops to see if a person is in the country illegally.

Bishops from the Catholic, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran and United Methodist churches in Mississippi said Friday residents must be willing to forgive immigrants who enter the United States without permission.

In an open letter to legislators and Gov. Haley Barbour, the bishops said the U.S. immigration system is “broken and outdated,” but should be reformed by the federal government, not by states.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

9 Comments
Posted February 26, 2011 at 11:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigration* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

10 Comments
Posted September 22, 2010 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What would the contours and outline of comprehensive immigration legislation based on these biblical principles look like? The Bible tells us God has ordained the civil powers (the government) to punish lawbreakers and to reward those who obey the law (Romans 13:1-7). Unfortunately, the U.S. government has not respected its own immigration laws enough to enforce them consistently for more than two decades (since President Reagan's amnesty of illegal aliens in 1986). The government has not controlled the borders. The reality has been that too often, those who desire to enter our country illegally have encountered two apparently contradictory signs at our border: one saying "No Trespassing" and the other saying "Help Wanted."

Any immigration reform that will generate sufficient public support to pass Congress must begin with securing the border first, then deal in a constructive and compassionate way with the 12 million undocumented workers already in the United States.

The failure of the 2006 effort shows reform must be done sequentially, not simultaneously. The people do not trust the government to commit the resources necessary to secure the border. The government will have to demonstrate its commitment by securing the border first.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

16 Comments
Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Nashville's Richard Land talks to Hispanic Southern Baptists this month, he'll tell them the denomination supports establishing a path to U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants.

After borders are secure, he'll say, there needs to be a way for them to pay back taxes, take a civics course and get in line with others seeking legal status.

Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, admits it's a message that will test some of the church's mainstream membership, but it's one that needs to be said.

"It's love your neighbor, do unto others," Land said. "This is a kingdom issue. They are disproportionately suffering because they are forced to remain in the shadows because of their illegal status."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigration* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over the past week various people from around the archdiocese have asked for help in reflecting on Arizona’s new immigration law. As readers will know, I’ve used this space many times in the past to urge sensible, national immigration reform. Citizens of this country have a right to their safety and the solvency of their public institutions. But we undermine those very goals if we ignore the basic human rights of immigrant workers and their families.

In the case of Arizona state law, Catholics should listen first to the leaders of the Arizona Catholic community, for obvious reasons. They know the situation there best. Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson and Bishop James Wall of Gallup, N.M. (whose diocese includes portions of Arizona) are all excellent pastors. Their leadership in the coming weeks and months should set the tone for our own response.

Having said that, it’s worth making a few simple observations:

First, illegal immigration is wrong and dangerous for everyone involved....

Second, the new Arizona law, despite its flaws, does unintentionally accomplish one good thing. Thanks to Arizona, the urgency of immigration reform and the human issues that underlie it—deported breadwinners; divided families; the anxiety of children who grew up here but do not have citizenship—once again have moved to the front burner of our national discussions. Our current immigration system is now obviously broken. Congress needs to act....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenateState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted May 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

THE fierce battle over the future of America's immigration system is spilling from Capitol Hill onto the airwaves, as conservatives accuse Democrats, human rights groups and even some labor unions of trying to stymie Republican efforts to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

But in recent weeks, some commentators and prominent Republicans have turned their swords against another formidable foe in their battle to tighten the borders: the Roman Catholic Church.

Immigration has long caused friction between the church, with its advocacy for migrants, and conservatives, who want to slow illegal crossings over the Mexican border. But as Congress wrestles with the fate of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants, that tension has escalated into a sharp war of words, highlighting the divide among some Republicans and Catholics who have fought side by side on other issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

In December, after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a tough border security bill that, among other things, would make it a crime to assist illegal immigrants, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assailed it as extremely punitive and called on its flock to oppose it. Church officials have sent lobbyists to Congress and this month parishes sent members to rallies in Chicago and Washington to push for legislation that would legalize undocumented immigrants and put them on the path to citizenship.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted May 18, 2008 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scratch the surface of the current immigration debate and beneath the posturing lies a dirty secret. Anti-immigrant sentiment is older than America itself. Born before the nation, this abiding fear of the “huddled masses” emerged in the early republic and gathered steam into the 19th and 20th centuries, when nativist political parties, exclusionary laws and the Ku Klux Klan swept the land.

As we celebrate another Fourth of July, this picture of American intolerance clashes sharply with tidy schoolbook images of the great melting pot. Why has the land of “all men are created equal” forged countless ghettoes and intricate networks of social exclusion? Why the signs reading “No Irish Need Apply”? And why has each new generation of immigrants had to face down a rich glossary of now unmentionable epithets? Disdain for what is foreign is, sad to say, as American as apple pie, slavery and lynching.

That fence along the Mexican border now being contemplated by Congress is just the latest vestige of a venerable tradition, at least as old as John Jay’s “wall of brass.” “Don’t fence me in” might be America’s unofficial anthem of unfettered freedom, but too often the subtext is, “Fence everyone else out.”

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsImmigration

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Posted July 4, 2007 at 11:53 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bill was flawed on its merits. For much of the past three weeks, Americans have had a tutorial on the substance of the immigration bill, and many came to dislike what they saw. From providing permanent temporary visas within the space of a business day to all comers before January 1 - including those from "countries of interest" well-known for their terrorist ties - to the "triggers" that could be largely certified without any meaningful improvement in border security, the bill's opponents identified the significant dangers and disadvantages hidden in the bill.

Other controversial provisions included the elimination of the EB-1 visa, designed to facilitate the entry to the U.S. of those with exceptional gifts, skills or talents, and (especially for those on the left) the creation of a guest worker program unacceptable to labor unions. In fact, the more its provisions came to light, the more that even long-time self-described "liberals" on immigration like Bill Kristol came to oppose the legislation.

The rollout of the bill was misguided. Like Athena springing full-grown from the head of Zeus, the immigration bill arrived directly on the Senate floor as the product of negotiations between a select group of senators. It bypassed the normal Senate committee system, which allows for both a deliberative and orderly process for the consideration of legislation, and the full airing of amendments. What's more, it's been reported that Senator Ted Kennedy admitted that special interest group La Raza was offered a veto over the bill's provisions - before many other senators even had seen them. The closed-door drafting and special interest input only raised suspicions that the bill was being shoved down America's throat - concerns that were heightened when the bill's supporters presented the legislation insisting that it be "debated," voted upon and passed within the space of a week.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigration

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Posted June 12, 2007 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Latino evangelicals are becoming more politically active in hopes of persuading Congress to support an immigration reform package that weighs border security with a compassionate approach toward undocumented immigrants.

The political activism among Latino evangelicals, however, has created a rift with other evangelicals that could unravel political alliances on critical conservative issues such as abortion.

It also could dilute the voting power of a key segment of the Republican Party.

Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the evangelical movement. Latino evangelicals also are more likely to be Republican as Latino Catholics, who make up the majority of Hispanics. As their numbers grow, Latino evangelicals have the potential to offset the traditionally Democratic Hispanic vote.

The last election showed that Latino evangelicals are turned off by the hard-line stance on immigration taken by some conservative Republicans. As a result, any advantage Republicans stand to gain because of a surge in Latino evangelicals could be lost, making it harder for evangelicals to get support for conservative issues such as abortion, traditional marriage and school prayer.

Latino evangelicals are upset that other evangelicals either oppose any sort of legalization for undocumented immigrants or remain silent on the issue.

"Only a minority of White Evangelicals have spoken out on the issue. Most have avoided it, and we hear their silence," said the Rev. Luis Cortes, president of Esperanza USA in Philadelphia, one of the largest Hispanic evangelical groups in the country, with a network of 10,000 churches and groups.

"We are in a battle, so we need our brothers and sisters to stand with us. If they aren't going to stand with us, then how can they ask us to stand with them?"

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigration* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

37 Comments
Posted June 10, 2007 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A broad immigration bill to legalize millions of people in the U.S. unlawfully suffered a stunning setback in the Senate Thursday, costing President Bush perhaps his best opportunity to win a top domestic priority.

The bipartisan compromise championed by the president failed a crucial test when it could not attract even a simple majority for an effort to speed its passage.

Intense public concern over immigration across the country conspired with high political stakes to produce a roiling debate on the issue. Ultimately, those forces overwhelmed a painstakingly forged liberal-to-conservative alliance that sought to insulate their compromise from partisanship.

Supporters could muster only 45 votes to limit debate and speed the bill to final passage, 15 short of what was needed on the procedural maneuver. Fifty senators voted against cutting off debate.

Most Republicans voted to block Democrats' efforts to advance the measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who had made no secret of his distaste for parts of the bill, quickly pulled it from the floor and moved on to other business, leaving its future uncertain.

He insisted that the bill was not dead, but a crowded Senate calendar complicates its prospects.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsImmigration

9 Comments
Posted June 8, 2007 at 8:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some critics of the [currently proposed immigration] legislation are already arguing that inviting millions of immigrants to stay permanently in the U.S. and become citizens will hasten the fading of a cohesive nation. They say that immigrants may become more interwoven into the fabric of the United States, but the ethnic patches to which they bind their identities will remain all too distinguishable from the rest of the American quilt.

How immigrants and their descendants see themselves will change over time, and they will simultaneously transform many aspects of what it means to be an American. This is undoubtedly an uncomfortable process, fraught with tension between newcomers and established Americans that can occasionally become explosive. But the real issue is whether the United States can provide opportunities for upward mobility so that immigrants can, in turn, fortify what is most essential to our nation's identity.

History is instructive on whether immigrants will create a messy patchwork of ethnicities in the U.S. About a century ago, a tide of Southern and Eastern European immigrants arriving on our shores raised fears similar to those we hear today. Then, as now, Americans worried that the newcomers were destroying American identity. Many were certain that Catholic immigrants would help the pope rule the United States from Rome, and that immigrant anarchists would destroy American democracy. Some eugenicists thought that the dark-skinned immigrants from Southern Europe would contaminate the American gene pool.

None of this came to pass, of course. The pope has no political say in American affairs, the United States is still a capitalist democracy, and there is nothing wrong with the American gene pool. The fact that these fears never materialized is often cited as proof that European-origin immigrants and their descendants successfully assimilated into an American societal monolith.

However, as sociologists Richard Alba and Victor Nee point out, much of the American identity as we know it today was shaped by previous waves of immigrants. For instance, they note that the Christian tradition of the Christmas tree and the leisure Sunday made their way into the American mainstream because German immigrants and their descendants brought these traditions with them. Where religion was concerned, Protestantism was the clear marker of the nonsecular mainstream. But because of the assimilation of millions of Jews and Catholics, we today commonly refer to an American "Judeo-Christian tradition," a far more encompassing notion of American religious identity than the one envisioned in the past.

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Filed under: * Culture-Watch* Economics, PoliticsImmigration

13 Comments
Posted May 27, 2007 at 2:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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