Last Week's Other Cheap Political Stunt

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on September 21, 2009

The big political dust-up last week was the Congressional Black Caucus's resolution directed at Rep. Joe Wilson, who called President Obama on his inaccuracy during his recent speech before a joint session of Congress. The precipitating event served to spark scrutiny and public discussion of loopholes in health legislation relating to coverage of illegal aliens. But a less prominent political stunt also went on in the nation's capital.

This other stunt got less ink in the press. But the open-borders religious lobby was at it again. At a news conference outside the Capitol, several pro-amnesty clerics inveighed for "an end to hateful rhetoric in the immigration debate." What rage prompted this spectacle? Had the Klan burned a cross before cowering immigrants in some barrio? No.

Rather, the Federation for American Immigration Reform held its annual "Feet to the Fire" grassroots lobbying campaign. FAIR facilitated average, concerned Americans' taking time to come to the Capitol and use their democratic prerogative. They visited congressional offices and expressed their opposition to amnesty and support for getting control over immigration. No swear words or disruption of the routine business of congressional offices. They merely exercised their rights as Americans in an effort to take back their country from out-of-control immigration, the new administration's rollback of modest gains in the enforcement of immigration laws on the books, and a nascent amnesty drive.

Immigration controllers of faith are certainly concerned about "hateful rhetoric." They don't wish it to be part of the immigration debate. But the object of these clerics is usage of terms like "illegal immigrant," "alien," and "amnesty." Using their clerical garb to advance their own campaign, the religious lobbyists embrace some pretty questionable tactics in their effort. That side slings epithets and ugly names like "xenophobe" and "racist" without hesitation or discretion. These people, who are a lot like the Pharisees who tried to silence the Savior, use tactics intended to shut down honest public debate, demonize their opponents, and intimidate anyone who might share legitimate opposing concerns. They blur the bright lines differentiating the vast mainstream of legitimate concern over mass immigration and legalization schemes, and the tiny fringe element that accompanies any social movement.

Jesus, whom Christians believe to be God's Son and to have never sinned, called the Pharisees "whitewashed tombs" and a "brood of vipers." So, using impolite terms doesn't necessarily constitute sin. And certainly actual "hate" qualifies as sin -- like tarring opponents through ad hominem attacks and below-the-belt tactics. Instead of cloaking an open-borders political agenda in faith terms, perhaps these clerics should remove the log from their own eyes instead of the speck in their opposition's eye.