Turning A Blind Eye, Christians and the Rhetoric of Hate
It is repeated ad infinitum that Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic and that the larger Catholic body of religious leaders were in collusion with the Nazi's in their brutal slaughter of the Jews. This conspiracy theory has been refuted by better scholarship (as far as the Catholic Church's approval of the Holocaust) but the principle remains, namely that Christians sometimes are found supporting ghastly protocols because they have not thought through the issues completely.
This is exactly what is occurring in Arizona concerning the undocumented workers. An atmosphere of hate and racism is being stirred under the guise of patriotic and American ideals. The rhetorical comparisons between Nazi Germany's labeling of the Jews and "Patriotic" American discourse is frightening. The de-humanization of the immigrants with labels such as "Illegal Alien" etc are obvious attempts to distance the spectator (in this case the American populace) from the object, (in this case the immigrant). The farther away the spectator is from the object in terms of linking a bond of fraternal humanity the easier it is to victimize the object. This is also what is seen in the war-games of the American forces oversees, literally playing video games at the cost of human lives. It is easier to kill or victimize a person who is a lot less like yourself than a person you have built connections and relationships with. The Nazi's were masters at this kind of psychological distancing and now the American patriots are not far behind.
You cannot label a human being as "illegal." You can label his actions, words or perhaps even in extreme cases his beliefs as "illegal" but a person cannot be labeled unlawful by the mere fact of his presence. That is to pronounce a human's very identity as illegitimate. From this it is but a short step away for lobbying for the elimination of these unlawful (others). Since they are not white, nor Protestant, nor wealthy, nor Anglo Saxon, nor well educated but are people of color, mostly Catholic, poor, mostly Latin American, un-educated. Surely we are told by white Protestant patriots, these downtrodden people are not one of us but rather belong to the so-called Third World.
How easily we have forgotten that this country was founded by immigrants. When this fact is pointed out the response is "well it was Manifest Destiny," God's design for a "Christian Nation." Was God's design to destroy the American Indian in the process? Were not the native indians also made in God's holy image? In point of fact the New Testament in general and Jesus in particular have much more in common with the poor, the un-educated and the marginalized than the reverse. Jesus would have no part in Corporate Christianity of today. He would have no part in institutionalizing people and families simply because they could not speak a certain dialect correctly or show a certain proof of citizenship. Luckily Egypt at the time did not enforce such draconian immigration laws or poor Joseph and Mary would have been turned away. He would rally against such tendencies for how would He cause harm to His very own Body? Have we forgotten that the war on illegal immigrants is largely a war on poor Catholic Christians?
Of all people Christians (including Protestants) should be the most vocal against racial politics and legislation. I highly recommend Alto Arizona a blog devoted to the struggle against racism in Arizona. Especially apropos is this video (which is found in the medio/video section of the blog) which chronicles a young girls campaign to free her incarcerated mother due to her legal status.
Christ said the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath.