Arizona Immigration Law Dividing Christians

This weekend will usher in a new chapter in the growing national date under Arizona’s strict new immigration law.

In the unlikely event you haven’t heard of the controversy, Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill last week which gave police the right to ask for proof of citizenship from anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. This has divided camps of the general public into camps hailing the law as a needed crackdown to others saying it is opens the door to egregious racial profiling.

These divides are also appearing among Christians.

Churches, faith groups and ministries across the country are planning rallies this weekend to protest the law, including a mach to the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. Progressive Christian groups such as Sojourners – whose founder Jim Wallis has been engaged in a verbal tug-of-war with Fox News host Glenn Beck over social activism in faith communities – are calling for national immigration reform to blunt the impact of the Arizona law.

On the flip side, groups such as the Institute on Religious and Democracy said opponents of the law are taking too narrow of a view. “Instead of thoughtfully critiquing the law, these religious elites instead disparage the law’s supporters,” wrote IRD President Mark Tooley. “If they bothered to survey members of their own churches, religious officials would discover a wide spectrum of belief about immigration policy with many thoughtful and legitimate concerns. Instead, some church elites would rather condescendingly lecture down to those they caricature as advocating ‘fear and hatred’.”

A Gallup poll released Tuesday showed Americans on the whole favor the law by a healthy 51-39 percent margin.

Where do you stand?

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  1. red raider said:

    Please do not commit the same errors that so many have either willfully, or ignorantly, committed by misstating what this law says. You say, “…Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill last week which gave police the right to ask for proof of citizenship from anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.” This is not true. Police may only ask for proof of citizenship if they have already made a lawful contact with the person in question. And today the term “lawful contact” has been changed by the Arizona legislature–and signed by Gov. Brewer–to a stricter wording. The AP reports, “Another change states that immigration-status questions would follow a law enforcement officer’s stopping, detaining or arresting a person while enforcing another law.” You are correct in saying that the new law has become divisive. But I believe it would be far less so if those commenting on it would comment on the facts of the law and not the fiction of it.

    May 1, 2010
  2. Every country has the right to protect it’s borders. It is not fair to every legal immigrant who has gone through the very difficult process (one that needs to change) of becoming a citizen to watch others slip by in the middle of the night. It is also not fair to illegal immigrants who are participating in a modern day slavery by working for much less than they should be paid. Protect our borders, make the process of becoming a legal citizen easier, reject any who have criminal backgrounds from coming into our country and the problem is solved. I don’t understand why there protests against something that is meant to protect citizens. How many more innocent people have to die in Arizona before we give them more concern than those who are doing the wrong thing by entering illegaly?

    May 7, 2010

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