Monday, August 30, 2010

Immigration and the class divide/war
Fisking a mainliner who happens to be the Episcopalians’ presiding bishop. First disclaimer: the writer is random; this appeared on my desk today in the newsroom, where I happen to be, among other things, the religion editor (an empty honour today compared to a decade ago as fewer people either buy newspapers or go to/care about church so that page is just ads from the few Protestant churches willing to pay to bother with advertising; to save ourselves we’re slowly switching over to being a news-video website... I don’t know what the churches will do). This blog doesn’t exist to badmouth the Episcopal Church. I understand the root difference with Catholicism — that’s right, infallibility vs Erastianism — so I don’t spaz over topical/surface issues (sex!), and I defend all faiths’ rights to self-governance and their properties. Second disclaimer: I’m an open-borders libertarian because individual liberty trumps the other issues.
Most Episcopalians are aware of, and probably invested in, the current public debates about immigration in the United States.
I can’t resist. ‘Good help is hard to find.’
Our biblical tradition speaks loudly and prophetically about God’s intent for a healed society in which distinctions based on nationality or ethnicity are transcended.
Ultimately but with a lot of tribal warfare along the way, the Chosen kicking ass and vice versa.
The Hebrew Bible speaks more often (38 times) and more vociferously about welcome for the alien and the sojourner...

The great prophetic vision of Zion is as a light to the nations, where all will worship God and do justice together (Isaiah 42:6-7; Isaiah 60:3), where people from every language, family and nation gather before the throne of God to build a city of peace and justice (Revelation 5:9- 10; 21:22-26). That overarching dream of differing peoples gathered to worship and build a just society also underlies the founding vision of the United States. Those American forebears claimed that vision of a “city built on a hill” to which the nations shall stream.

The Episcopal Church long has claimed a particular place in seeking to build those divine visions into reality through engagement with our political, economic and social structures – and not only in the United States.

...the local people are threatened by changes represented by newly arriving groups.
Partly true — see me above on liberty — but I’m getting thurible-smoke-sized whiffs of WASP American exceptionalism and implied class war. Like Seth MacFarlane on Republicans shipping other people’s kids to get killed in Iraq for no good reason:


These people and their 1.8 planned children aren’t competing with immigrants for low-level jobs or worrying about their jobs being outsourced. (Indeed the more self-consciously liberal they get, the whiter and snootier they get.)

So using immigrant minorities as pawns they get to simultaneously tell the Wrong Class of Whites they’re better than them (I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like that Nascar fan, who probably voted for Bush and McCain and clings to his gun and fundamentalist literalism and is too dumb to get his family away from the ghetto with a good-paying white-collar job. Loser.) and literally replace such with what they hope will be grateful peons who like Desmond Tutu (I’ll say it: one of their tokens) will hang on every word of their betters and have fun ‘vibrant’ cultures to loot.
Uncontrolled migration across the U.S.-Mexico border, for instance, actually has decreased by two-thirds over the last decade, and the total number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has declined about 10 percent. Violent crime in the border states has decreased significantly over the same time period. Yet most American citizens still believe that more people are coming and that violence continues to increase.
Good to know. Thank you!
Those fears, whether substantiated by declining employment opportunities or baseless prejudice, are contributing to increased tribalism across the globe.
So family and ethnic identity are bad, imply these cosmopolitans. Not only do Cletus and Brandine have to watch out but so do José, Ivan (‘Bomb Serbia on their Easter!’) et al. The English Calvinists have spoken. You will be assimilated. You will drive a Prius. You will shop at Whole Foods. You will have gay weddings. Resistance is futile.
We all agree that American immigration law is broken. Human beings have packed up and moved for millennia, in search of food, shelter, safety, better climate, economic opportunity and freedom.
Here the good doctor and I are singing from the same hymnal. I said I’d be fair.

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