"The church aims to educate and encourage those who are in power to respect and protect the dignity of those who are vulnerable – to remain conscious of immigrants as people who have a right to migrate to improve their lives and to ensure that conditions for enforcing regulations and laws are humane and promote the common good."
To the Editor:
Religion has a place in politics. And immigrants have a place in society.
Hopefully, Judith Weller (“Church has lost its way on immigration issue,” Sept. 4) read Charles Haynes’ column (“We tire of faith-based politics,” Sept. 5), in which the senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C., acknowledges “the mixture of God and politics in America can be a volatile brew.” He continues: “But for most Christians and for many others, faith by definition requires political involvement of some kind. Contrary to the freedom-from-religion crowd, the First Amendment doesn’t bar religion from politics. It protects the right of houses of worship to speak out on the public-policy issues of the day.”
It’s a good response to Dr. Weller’s letter, in which she goes astray in her interpretation of the first amendment and in her (lack of) understanding of the purpose and place of faith and social action in society today – and in the past and future.
Regarding immigration, the Catholic Church doesn’t attempt to be involved in determining legal status or deciding what is best for the state, as Dr. Weller implies it does. The church urges the state to do what is best for everyone; and it is interested in protecting the dignity of immigrants and attending to their human needs.
In a piece titled “The Economics of Immigration,” the Maryland Catholic Conference states: “It is reasonable to ask what impact immigrants, including those who are undocumented, have on the economy, public benefits, and native-born workers. The answer is largely positive. Research shows that immigrants – documented and undocumented alike – work hard, pay taxes and help grow the economy.” The article cites such sources as the Council of Economic Advisers (established by the Employment Act of 1946 to provide objective economic analysis and advice to the President of the United States), the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (which studies the economic impact of entrepreneurship), the Social Security Advisory Board, the General Accounting Office and more.
Politics of managing who may enter the country or not and how; and legalities of deciding who is detained or deported and why, are up to the state. The church aims to educate and encourage those who are in power to respect and protect the dignity of those who are vulnerable – to remain conscious of immigrants as people who have a right to migrate to improve their lives and to ensure that conditions for enforcing regulations and laws are humane and promote the common good.
by Nancy E. Thoerig 09-09-08
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Religion, immigrants both have their place in U.S.
Published in Cumberland Times-News Letters on September 9, 2008