Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Words mean things. I don’t like it when people abuse words in order to deceive or obfuscate. I especially don’t like it when Christians do it. I really, really don’t like it when Christians do it in the name of being Christian.
As a Catholic, I firmly believe in the inherent God-given dignity of all men. Many in Christian circles, in an effort to foster respect for the dignity of the illegal immigrant, have taken to disrespecting my dignity or, at the very least, my intelligence.
But I do not view it as an offense against the dignity of man to call an illegal immigrant an illegal immigrant. If someone has immigrated here without the consent of this sovereign nation, they are an illegal immigrant. Not a plain immigrant. Not an undocumented worker or some such silly thing. They are an illegal immigrant. Period.
Before anyone jumps down my throat, I don’t think that illegal immigrants forfeit their human rights by virtue of being here illegally. I support some aspects of immigration reform. But this is also a credibility question.
When I hear prominent Christian leaders purposely obfuscate the plain truth of the matter through obvious and deceitful word choices, they lose me. When I hear these same prominent Christian leaders disingenuously characterize the enforcement of long-standing immigration law as draconian or worse, I get annoyed. When I hear prominent Christian leaders, using a combination of the aforementioned obfuscating word choice and fascism-invoking hyperbole, state that these laws will ‘expel the immigrant’ I have to call it what it is—a lie.
As a Christian, I am concerned to see that illegal immigrants are treated fairly and I also recognize the shared culpability of our society in aiding and abetting the crime. So I would characterize myself as a potential supporter of Christian immigration reform. But…
But when prominent Christian leaders resort to methodical obfuscation, when they criticize and characterize those with legitimate concerns over illegal immigration as fascists, and when they resort to out-and-out lying to bolster their position, they disrespect the dignity of men and they forfeit their ability to lead.
If you, prominent Christian leaders, wish for Christians to follow you as you try to foster a culture of compassion over immigration issues, here is a crazy idea. Tell the truth. I think it is what Jesus would do. Comprende?