Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Turning A Blind Eye, Christians and the Rhetoric of Hate.


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.

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2 comments:

scotju said...

This post is complete nonsense. An illegal immigrant is "illegal" because he has chosen to violate the laws that determine legal residency in the country that he migrated to. I don't give a hoot what religion or ethnic group the illegal belongs to. He's a criminal and needs to be treated as one.

R. E. Aguirre. said...

"Scotju" You are not responding to the points I made in the article but simply repeating the failed mantra "if it's the law I'm for it, wrong or right."

The points I made in the short article are that the political rhetoric that is heard in the southwest of America and Nazi Germany is the same in that it uses a certain type of terminology to de-humanize a target group of people in order to make the persecution of said group easier to swallow by the public. Secondly you cannot make a person "Illegal" simply because of documented work status. You can make a person's actions illegal but not the very identity of a person, that would be another tactic of de-humanization.

Laws are made to aid humans but are never to be enacted to de-humanize entire groups of people with the consequence of hurting them. Humanity is greater in this respect than governmental laws as I quoted Jesus as saying in the Gospels. The Catholic Church in particular has been a modern champion in exclaiming this great maxim fighting for the rights of humanity first and foremost over the rights of a certain citizenship of a secular state. The Church is right in defending human right above and beyond "border rights."

R. E. Aguirre