"These people are not coming in with a good, Christian heart. Most of them are criminals anyway."
-- Thomas Rolland of Longview, TX at a tea party town hall meeting on Wednesday
One of the great ironies of modern American Christianity is how weaponized it is and how fiercely and diametrically opposed its adherents often are to the actual teachings of Jesus, as described in the Bible. There's no place better to witness an example of this little phenomenon than at a Tea Party rally, especially one focusing on immigration.
That's exactly what Republican Texas State Rep. David Simpson found out yesterday when he tried futilely to explain to his angry-old-white-people constituency that a certain amount of compassion was needed from them in the ongoing immigration debate. Simpson tried explaining to a roomful of Texas tea partiers that many of the thousands of children making a desperate bid for freedom in the U.S. by coming across the border were in fact running from lives of violence and exploitation. He even produced a slideshow of some of the faces of these kids in an attempt to elicit something approaching a human emotional response from his audience, like he was a Blade Runner running the VK on a Replicant.
Take one guess what he got for his efforts.
One person ranted about how immigrant children carry "leprosy, tuberculosis, polio” -- absolute crap given that most of them are actually better immunized than your average Texan kids -- while another bemoaned the burden to the school system the new arrivals represented and the even bigger problem with them, which is that they'd one day vote Democrat. But the guy who busted out the "unchristian-ness" of these supposed criminal children took the top prize for both absurdity and inhumanity.
Believe it or not, it's understandable when those who live close to the border argue that politicians in Washington and activists in places far removed throughout the United States don't understand the direct impact of illegal immigration. The thing is, there are rarely decent excuses for abandoning our core values as a nation. Undocumented immigration is a serious problem and what's happening right this second at the border is a legitimate crisis, both legal and humanitarian. But we don't turn away kids trying to escape violence. That's not who we are. And for the record, that's not who Jesus was either.
If you want to believe in the guy and follow his teachings, you need to follow all of them -- even the ones that would allow desperate people with nothing at all a place in your "home."
(h/t Raw Story)