Open-borders Lutherans

Anyone who thinks that VFR and its readers have some special animus against the Catholic Church, based on the many critical things said here about Church, especially recently, needs to understand that VFR, without the slightest tincture of distinction or discrimination, views all proponents of open borders—whether Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or atheist—as enemies of our country and our civilization. For example, I certainly see the statements coming from the Lutheran Church’s immigration activists and refugee facilitators, quoted below by VFR reader David G., as indistinguishable from those of the late open-borders pope, the Catholic hierarchy and the treasonous Catholic intellectuals at First Things. They all speak the same creepy slogans unworthy of men and pursue the same evil ends of civilizational dissolution, and all in the name of (to use a memorable phrase from Saul Bellow’s Herzog) potato love, namely Christian potato love.

Oh, where is Nietzsche, where is that nonpareil psychologist of decadence, and particularly of Christian decadence, when we really need him? Imagine what he, who was so hostile to what he saw as the the weak shuffling Christian clerics of the 19th century—the 19th century! an age of moral giants compared to ours!—might have said about today’s nation-crushers for Christ.

After that introduction, here is David G. on the Lutherans:

The power of what you will read on the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) website is that it all ..seems… so…decent. The arguments in favor of unbounded immigration are compelling. Using quotations from the Bible, appeals to American tradition, and hard data to back up social activism, the LIRS appeals to our sense of compassion and fair play. And there are, of course, the obligatory photos of third world children with beaming, made-in-America smiles. It’s all there and here’s the message: You would have to be a person of low character to say no to refugees and to immigration. But consider the following excerpts from the LIRS Vision Statement.

We envision a world where all communities welcome refugees and migrants. Working in global partnerships and with faith-based communities, we welcome a transformation of our communities and ourselves when we receive the gifts of refugees and migrants, and draw strength and inspiration from diversity. We see ourselves as catalysts and conveners in the work of building welcoming communities, creating and sustaining opportunities for our partners to engage in ministries of service and justice.

Transformation of our communities, indeed. I doubt that the remainder of “all communities” will be held to much of a standard!

BALTIMORE, February 3, 2005—Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) opposes H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act, introduced by Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI05) on January 26.

“H.R. 418 will do nothing to secure America against terrorism,” said LIRS President Ralston H. Deffenbaugh Jr. “Current law already bars terrorists and others who present a security risk from getting asylum.

“Instead, H.R. 418 would have direct life and death consequences for genuine refugees. The bill places many refugees, including those fleeing religious and political persecution, at risk of being returned to their torturers or to death.”

Now this:

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Welcomes First Somali Bantu Refugee to Utica, N.Y. BALTIMORE, May 28, 2003—

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and its affiliate agency Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees happily welcomed the first Somali Bantu refugee to Utica, N.Y., last week. With nothing more than a small backpack of personal belongings, Mohamed Muktar arrived in Utica Friday afternoon after a long journey that began in Nairobi, Kenya, several days before. He is the first member of his long-oppressed people to be resettled by LIRS, with thousands to follow.

“This is an exciting group to help,” says LIRS President Ralston H. Deffenbaugh, Jr. “These vulnerable people are truly refugees for whom resettlement in a third country is the only durable solution. We are gratified to see our government working with the international community to make this happen

Here is Ralston Deffenbaugh, again, the LIRS President lamenting walls, all walls.

The wall that Israel is now building on the West Bank is meant to keep people out, justified as a security measure against terrorists. It is distinctive in that it is being built not on the Israel-West Bank border, but on the Palestinian side, without the Palestinians’ consent. The wall is dividing Palestinian communities and connecting Israeli settlements on the West Bank with Israel proper, creating “facts on the ground” for an Israeli annexation of large portions of the West Bank. This wall has been condemned by the International Court of Justice as violating international law.

The U.S.-Mexico wall is also meant to keep people out, justified by both immigration enforcement and national security concerns. However, it operates more as a filter than a total barrier—the United States still needs large numbers of people to cross back and forth. It has forced more of those who cross without authorization to try their luck in harsh desert regions, with deadly consequences. Hundreds die in the desert each year. The Vatican has condemned the wall as “inhumane.” It is also distinctive in that it is between two otherwise friendly neighbors who have a free trade agreement.

Physical barriers also result in the erection of invisible walls. By hindering human contact, people become less knowledgeable and more suspicious of each other. Those being walled in or walled out can feel trapped and inferior. The contact zone, the border area, becomes unpleasant, even dangerous, further accentuating divisions and fears. The powerful and rich can cross over the barriers more easily; the costs of separation weigh more heavily on those who are poorer and less powerful.

Borders have a positive role in the peaceful ordering of that part of God’s creation which is humanity. If borders are to serve that role, they should promote human rights and human dignity, not take dignity and rights away. A nation’s borders reflect its values.

From the most current Deffenbaugh paper:

The Iraqis. Following the 1991 Gulf War hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Kurds and Shiites fled to Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, there was no immediate mass exodus, but ongoing widespread violence in Iraq has prompted nearly 2 million Iraqis to seek refuge in neighboring countries, with thousands more leaving each day. The United States and UNHCR are just beginning to formulate a response to this humanitarian crisis, currently the world’s largest and fastest-growing refugee outflow. With our partners in the Refugee Council USA, LIRS is urging a generous response, beginning with family reunification for those with relatives in the United States. This is a chance for the world to ensure that Iraqi refugees don’t have to wait as long as the Burmese and Bhutanese—that the Iraqis won’t be “warehoused,” too.

The Burmese. In 2005 some 727,000 Burmese refugees lived in Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia and India. Burma’s oppressive military regime has persistently persecuted ethnic and religious minorities and pro-democracy activists. The current Burmese refugee population includes Christian Chin, Karen and Karenni ethnic groups, and Muslim Rohingyas. The majority of the Burmese refugees have been “warehoused” for 10 years or more. In 2004 UNHCR, the United States and Thailand agreed that large-scale resettlement of Burmese refugees should begin. Three U.S. “material support” waivers remove a significant resettlement barrier for more than 100,000 Burmese refugees in Thailand, Malaysia and India, and U.S. arrivals should ramp up significantly over the next four years. LIRS has been actively involved with Burmese since 2001 when we resettled a group of Chin refugees who had fled to Guam.

And this:

U.S. Immigration Detention System Gets Failing Grades
By Matt Wilch, LIRS Senior Counsel for Policy and Advocacy

Dominica is a Colombian asylum seeker detained with her two children at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas. Nelly is nine years old and Alice is three. At night they all sleep together in the bottom bunk of their jail cell because they are afraid. Nelly says, “If you are not good, they will take you away from your mom.”

Dominica is almost seven months pregnant. The doctor has told her for months that her baby is underweight. He has told her she needs to eat more. But she says she can’t. “The food doesn’t work here. I cannot eat it.”

Dominica requested parole over two months ago. She still has not received a response to her request. She is afraid that she will have her baby in jail.

This story, excerpted from the opening page of Locking Up Family Values: The Detention of Immigrant Families, is typical of countless tales of detained families.

What audacity. Yet here’s another excerpt from an LIRS paper:

Refugees and migrants have hope in America’s spirit of welcome, and over the decades LIRS and our partners and supporters have responded to that hope by advocating for fair immigration policies. We believe that two currently pending pieces of legislation are important steps toward achieving fairness for newcomers. Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) recently introduced legislation (H.R. 5918) that would help tens of thousands of refugees who are the unintended victims of our war on terrorism to rebuild their lives in dignity. And the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) would bring several million undocumented workers who meet very stringent legal and financial requirements out of the shadows of insecurity and place them on a path to legal status.

So there you have it. Here’s the sense I get from the Lutherans: America, the geographic locale including its wealth, its infrastructure and its power, is the repairer of the world.Too bad there are Americans in it!

- end of initial entry -

Maureen C. writes:

What a great and telling phrase: “nation-crushers for Christ.” It says it all. Keep using it! Pithy slogans help bore the message into the soft-headed.

It could also be: “Christian-nation crushers for Christ.”

LA writes:

Can you imagine a discussion like this taking place in any conservative magazine today? Yet these are exactly the kinds of discussions that are vitally needed.

Gary M. writes:

Anyone who is (or in my case, was) a member of any typical Lutheran congregation could have seen this coming 25 years ago. The church my family attended had started dabbling in social activism in the early 70s, and by the early 80s the church bulletin on a typical Sunday was full of hand wringing drivel and appeals to raise funds to “express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua suffering from American oppression.” No mention of the semi-communistic government that actually ran the place, of course.

It is laughable also that Mr. Deffenbaugh describes our relationship with Mexico as one between “otherwise friendly neighbors…”. Oh really? Anti-Americanism is still prevalent in Mexico (as is anti-Semitism) and its politicians do not hesitate to blame the country’s troubles on “the Yankees.” Instances of Mexican duplicity are too numerous to count; they are completely untrustworthy and should be treated as such. Yet we have a president who insists, like a battered wife, that Mexico is our friend and if only we’re nicer to them they’ll stop beating us, figuratively speaking. (It’s a good thing George Bush was not president 30 years ago…he probably would have thought Brezhnev was a swell guy.)

One more thing: All the open borders zealots blather about human “dignity;” in fact you seldom, if ever hear that word used by anyone who is not on the left end of the political spectrum. Look the word up – it’s defined as “the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed.” In other words, it’s like respect, something that in a rational world is earned, not handed to you for free. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

LA replies:

Indeed, “dignity” is defined in my handy Word Web dictionary as “The quality of being worthy of esteem or respect.” And this is why I was so bold as to describe as a neoconservative and as a liberal Robert Spencer, who wrote:

We are fighting for the values of Western civilization — values that have become universal outside the Islamic world, and which are rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Among those values that are challenged by jihadists today are the equality of dignity of all people…”

It’s one thing to say that all human beings have dignity in the sense that all people possess humanness, self-hood, and bodily integrity that no one has the right to violate. But to say that all people are equal in dignity, meaning equally worthy of esteem and respect, and that this belief in the equal dignity of all people defines Western civilization, and that the values of Western civilization are now co-extensive with the whole of humanity with the regrettable exception of Islam, virtually defines one as a liberal.

John B. writes:

Open hearts, open minds, wide open doors. I just returned from a Lenten service during which the visiting minister mentioned the thousands of Iranian suicide volunteers, the Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel, three Christians who died in Palestine and all of this had something to do with Jesus Christ dying on the cross. I did not get the connection but apparently he did. Maybe it had something to do with being willing to die for what you believe. Sure brought me down. I thought Jesus died to save me from my sins.

Read on Methodist doctrine here.

I could discuss some of these doctrines but why bother?

Have read your blog for a year or so now, enjoy your clarity very much.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 28, 2007 02:12 AM | Send

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