Friday, April 23, 2010

Then they came for me...

In Germany the first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me--and by that time no one was left to speak up.

(attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller, c. 1959)

Immigration is certainly a hot topic in our nation these days and maybe especially today. The rhetoric has gotten especially heated today in light of Arizona passing its new and very stringent immigration law. Those who are in favor of it have valid points; that is, people being here illegally is a problem and the governor's comments regarding Washington D.C.'s seeming inability to act on the question of how best to reform immigration policy has merit.

Of course, those aren't the only voices speaking to this pressing issue. There are members of the religious community who are quoting Jesus' commands to love one another and care for the least among us. There are also voices on the secular left calling attention to how by granting law enforcement broad latitude of basing their reasons for pulling people over or detaining them based solely on suspicion goes against the due process and right to privacy standards of our society.

Granted, I know in so brief an outline of the positions of either side I'm leaving myself open to criticism from both sides but it seems important to me to lay out where there is validity to both sides in this pressing issue. I say that because most of what is available online, even at this early hour, is hardening on the left and the right, which serves no one.

So what do I think? Well, my first thought was to look up the poem at the top of this blog. And beyond these words from generations prior to ours, I hope and pray that Washington D.C. will move forward quickly and act on real immigration reform before things get ugly in Arizona. All it will take is law enforcement officers pulling over or detaining people who have been here legally for generations and there will be violence. Can't you feel it? I don't mean to be reactionary, but even if this new law is a good idea and even if it were supported by an overwhelming percentage of the electorate of Arizona, don't you think it has the potential to anger (to say the least) a large number of people?

Regardless of where you stand on Arizona's solution to the immigration problem/issue, pray. Pray for level heads among those charged with enforcing the new law and pray for restrain among those whom it most impacts.

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