"Perhaps these bishops' moral case would be stronger if they explained what legal efforts against illegal immigration are acceptable." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President
WASHINGTON, August 22, 2011 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Four Alabama bishops are litigating against the state's new law against facilitating illegal immigration. In the only lawsuit of its kind from religious officials, bishops from the Episcopal, United Methodist and Roman Catholic churches are aligning themselves with similar lawsuits from the Obama Administration and the American Civil Liberties Union. The groups dispute the rights of states to act against illegal immigration, asserting that it is exclusively the purview of federal authorities.
Alabama is the only state where church prelates have gone to court against enforcement of immigration law. The New York Times noted the politics in Alabama are "unusual, with those opposed to the law, mostly coming from the left, arguing that the statute falls short of biblical principles, and the law's supporters, mostly from the right, arguing that secular laws and biblical law cannot always run on the same track."
Alabama's new law, which the Times described as "popular," allows police to ask about immigration status during traffic violations. It also prohibits transporting, harboring, making contracts with, or renting property to illegals.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
"Just as the Religious Left demands an unlimited federal Welfare and Entitlement State with a cornucopia of benefits for all U.S. persons, so they largely insist these fathomless benefits also must be open to any global person who can reach U.S. shores.
"The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops, along with the United Methodist Church's Council of Bishops, has virtually called for unrestricted immigration as a Christian mandate.
"Perhaps these bishops' moral case would be stronger if they explained what legal efforts against illegal immigration are acceptable.
"Anxious for a pretext to oppose, the litigating church officials and their allies protest that the law will criminalize their ministry of offering meals, counseling or rides to all. As the Times fairly noted, the law's defenders say it aims at human traffickers and employers, not at church soup kitchens, or Sunday school teachers driving to the doctor's office."
The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church's biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.