Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, December 30, 2005


Catholic Charities is distressed by the new immigration bill:

A tough new illegal immigration bill that just cleared the U.S. House of Representatives this month has outraged advocate groups and church relief agencies who fear their work with new immigrants could become illegal if the measure passes the Senate and becomes law.

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), proposes erecting a 698-mile wall across one-third of the U.S.-Mexico border, turning illegal immigrants into felons and making it a felony to shield or offer support to undocumented immigrants.

That provision is unnerving organizations such as Catholic Charities immigrant services in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

"We are one of two departments mandated by the church to help the stranger," said the agency's head, Carmen Maquilon, adding that the mandate also comes from Bible passages such as Matthew 25. "It comes from Rome. It's almost the essence of what our department stands for."

Not for the first time, it's the laws of God vs. the laws of men. Christians, remember the Prophet Daniel, Biblical model of righteous civil disobedience. If he disdained to fear the lion's den, why should you fear prison for the sake of what is right? Hire these people, persecuted by the wicked, in your businesses. If it becomes necessary, open your homes to them.

Of course, many Christians already are giving charity to illegal immigrants, or providing work for them. He Who seeth what is done in secret will reward you openly.


  • Laws of God? Since when did you become a Catholic? It's not like any of the other sects are clamboring over themselves to help immigrants. If anything, the religious right is in opposition to your stance on immigration and open borders. And that, my friend, is what we call irony.

    Face it Nathanael, your biggest supporters on this issue are crazy atheistic Libertarians like Nato and me, not religious fundamentalists. There is a rational case to be made for our position. Religious appeals are unnecessary.

    By Blogger Thomas Reasoner, at 10:21 PM  

  • Thomas, I'd have to disagree with you. At least in Canada, a lot of support for immigrants in distress (often illegal) comes from church groups - and by no means necessarily Catholic. Right-wing evangelical churches may get the press, but they are by no means the only churches around.

    By Anonymous Tom West, at 5:17 AM  

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    By Blogger darrelkline93712144, at 7:33 AM  

  • Tom (Reasoner that is) slightly misses the point. My claim is not that welcoming the immigrant is widely believed to be in keeping with the laws of God by American Christians, but that it really is the law of God, whether most Christians believe that or not. To say that the "religious right" is in opposition to immigration is somewhat question-begging: religious people who disagree as sharply as I do with the "right-wing" view on immigration (to the extent that views on immigration can be classified this way) would be less likely to self-identify as "religious right," perhaps considering themselves as "religious left," or just saying that they have a variety of religiously motivated political views, one of which is support for immigration.

    If an atheist like Tom can't accept that particular argument, still less can I accept Tom's dichotomy between a "rational case" and "religious appeals." For me, religion IS rational; there is a rational case for religion, and a religious case for reason, and irreligion is, in my view, ultimately irrational. I could argue about this in some other space. My case for immigration is simultaneously rational and religious/ethical, and I could not separate the two.

    Of course, I'm perfectly happy to form a coalition with atheistic Libertarians, crazy or not, if that will help to increase America's hospitality to immigrants. But those are not the ones I'm trying to persuade with this particular post.

    By Blogger Lancelot, at 3:11 PM  

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