I think that immigration may be the sleeper issue of the year for the Christian community in the United States. I have been amazed at teh harsh and uncompassionate views on the issue that are taken by many professing Christians. Don't get me wrong, I agree that the United States needs to protect our borders, but we also need to take into account compassion in dealing with the tweleve million or so undocumented immigrants living among us--many of them for years.
The Pope spoke out on this issue this past week and was immediately denounced by the likes of Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs for doing so. I thought that the response of the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board was just about perfect:
It's not everyday that a backbencher in Congress draws international attention by insulting the spiritual leader of one in four Americans. But Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo, the anti-immigrant obsessive, wasn't about to miss his moment.
Pope Benedict XVI called on U.S. bishops last week to "continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrows and trials and to help them flourish in their new home." Mr. Tancredo's response was to accuse the pontiff of "faith-based marketing" and claim that "the pope's immigration comments may have less to do with spreading the gospel than they do about recruiting new members of the church."
. . .
To Lou Dobbs, another Tancredo-like compulsive, all of this amounted to the pope "insulting our country." The CNN anchor said, "I really don't appreciate the bad manners of a guest telling me in this country and my fellow citizens what to do." You know the restrictionists have gone head-first into the fever swamps when they denounce a Christian religious leader for sounding like a Christian.
The pope welcomes immigrants because he's Catholic, not because they are. He isn't "marketing" his faith. He's practicing it.
Read it all here.