Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Immigration List, Continued

An investigation into the now infamous immigration list has revealed that two state workers compiled the information illegally from state databases.  I wrote a little about it a few days ago here.  This entire episode has ratcheted up the level of intensity surrounding the immigration issue here in Utah and also nationwide.  Amidst all of this the Church's position is to approach immigration with a spirit of compassion, "careful reflection and civil discourse," and "the strongest desire to do what is best for all of God's children."

After skimming the Deseret News comment sections to some relevant articles and doing a little "web surfing" I'm finding that a lot of politically conservative members of the church aren't so thrilled with the vibe they are getting from the church on this issue.  They find themselves in a somewhat unfamiliar position of not being exactly on-board with a political issue into which the church has inserted itself.  The word you are looking for is: schadenfreude.

The go-to authority for most of these people is the Twelfth Article of Faith, which of course states that "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."  This says it all for them, that the law says deport illegals so we have to support it.  Let's set aside for now that these same people have done anything but honor and sustain laws with which they disagree, such as health care reform, and would gladly accept the government failing to enforce that one.  We all have convenient little mental gymnastics we can perform to bend logic to fit our preconceived ideas.

Setting that argument aside, what many of these politically conservative outspoken members fail to remember, also from the scriptures, are stories such as these:
1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea 
11 ¶ And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
It was illegal for Christ to do these things on the sabbath, and yet He did anyway.  So, what is more important, a Christlike compassion and willingness to serve and strengthen those in need, or obeying, honoring, and sustaining the letter of the law?  What is more important, Matthew 22:36-40 or the Twelfth Article of Faith?

I don't think we should simply ignore the 12th, but let's at least put it in perspective.  It doesn't trump the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  These illegal immigrants are our neighbors, they are good people, and the fact that they are here illegally doesn't allow us to just blindly demand that the full weight of the law be executed.  Instead, it actually gives us a chance to exercise some charity and do something might be uncomfortable doing: forgiving and reaching out in compassion to illegal immigrants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

State workers behaving badly. This is not an isolated case.