Saturday, March 21, 2009

Catholic church takes moral side on immigration, so the nativists are upset

We’re going to get a bizarre sight in Chicago on Saturday, and quite possibly one in Joliet as well.

Federal officials who are pushing for reform of the nation’s immigration laws to something more realistic and appreciative of the fact that these newcomers make a significant contribution to the nation have been holding rallies across the nation – billing it as a tour, of sorts, for immigration reform.

THAT TOUR IS now in Chicago. Catholic churches on the North Side and in Joliet will be the site of events in which people will speak out in favor of federal policies that do not deliberately split families up.

The event in Chicago proper will be at Our Lady of Mercy Church, and Cardinal Francis George himself will take it upon himself to speak out on the matter. His aides told the Chicago Tribune that the Cardinal will ask for “compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform.”

At Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Joliet, which lies just outside the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese, people will get the same rhetoric. Both churches are going to be filled with people who want to show compassion for fellow human beings.

They particularly want an end to deportations that have the potential to split families (some of whose members are U.S. citizens), at least until a more sensible federal policy on immigration is developed.

WHICH IS WHY the nativists are all upset.

They literally plan to picket the Our Lady of Mercy Church because Cardinal George’s vision of “morals” on this issue goes so counter to their own. For all I know, they may have people working the picket line outside the church in Joliet.

Considering that one of the city’s casinos was closed Friday due to a major fire, there may be little else for certain people to do with themselves on a Saturday night in Joliet.

I guess this means that to the social conservatives, immigration has become an issue just like the death penalty – one where they want to believe that their church leaders have run amok and are now touting an immoral policy.

AFTER ALL, THE Catholic church these days teaches that executions are immoral (the church believes that modern-day incarceration is secure enough that a life-prison term is an adequate substitute punishment for the most heinous of crimes).

Now, are they going to argue that people wanting to make a life in a new country are also somehow immoral? Or is it just people of certain ethnic backgrounds who they don’t think have much of a right to think of a new life in the United States?

Either way, the concept stinks.

It will be the ultimate of ironies to watch a batch of people whom I would guess think of themselves as being more religious than the norm of our nation taking on the head of the Catholic Church in Chicago on Saturday.

IT IS EVIDENCE of how pathetic the debate over immigration reform has become.

This is an issue where we as a nation may never reach a consensus. This is going to be something where somebody will have to develop the political will to address the issue and do what needs to be done, regardless of whose sensibilities get offended.

And for those people who think “what needs to be done” is an increase in the number of deportations, I have to say they’re absurd, as well as impractical.

We are going to have to accept the fact that these newcomers offer a significant labor force that this country can use, even though many people want to resort to stupid jokes about “foreigners” taking jobs from citizens.

HOW ELSE TO explain a comment one nitwit put on the Joliet Herald-News newspaper website, which said that one result of the 875 Empress Casinos employees being put out of work by the fire would be the return of 850 people to Mexico?

And for those people who want to think that these newcomers from non-European nations come from too different of cultures to fit into the “American Way,” I’d argue that the American Way is really about having our nation’s culture constantly adopt to include aspects of other ethnicities.

Trying to cut off the immigrant flow into this country is such an Un-American concept, it’s despicable.

That need for a political will to address immigration in ways that allow people already here and contributing to our society to have a way of legitimately (and openly) staying in this country has nothing to do with “amnesty” (the word the nativists are trying to make as foul as “liberal”).

SO IF PRESIDENT Barack Obama follows up his talk of earlier this week (the chance of an immigration reform proposal put forth and approved into federal law by year’s end) with action, it’s not a sign that he’s selling out our nation to a batch of foreigners who are committing a crime by their very existence in the United States.

It has everything to do with Obama recognizing the reality of our times.

And that also is how the stance taken by Cardinal George and the Catholic church ought to be perceived. To picket the Cardinal because he’s trying to show compassion for fellow human beings is about as immoral a stance as I can imagine.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Cardinal George will be taking a stance for, or against, morals when it ( comes to immigration, depending on how sensible or how ( twisted your sense of morals are.

Will Barack Obama follow up his positive rhetoric of earlier this week with ( political action?


Anonymous said...

The federal government should increase the raids. We have a nation of immigrants, but the immigrants should obey the laws. Congress should triple the fines, for employers, who hire illegal aliens. This would usually deter future violations. If any money is collected, from those fines, the money should be used to hire more border patrol agents and to build a brick wall, along the Mexican border.

All Americans, who think that our government should enforce the laws, should support the congressional campaign of Rosanna Pulido, the founder and director of the Illinois Minuteman Project. Please read her site,

Phil Collins

Pete Murphy said...

Rampant population growth threatens our economy and quality of life. Immigration, both legal and illegal, are fueling this growth.

I'm not talking just about the obvious problems that we see in the news - growing dependence on foreign oil, carbon emissions, soaring commodity prices, environmental degradation, etc. I'm talking about the effect upon rising unemployment and poverty in America.

I should introduce myself. I am the author of a book titled "Five Short Blasts: A New Economic Theory Exposes The Fatal Flaw in Globalization and Its Consequences for America." To make a long story short, my theory is that, as population density rises beyond some optimum level, per capita consumption of products begins to decline out of the need to conserve space. People who live in crowded conditions simply don’t have enough space to use and store many products. This declining per capita consumption, in the face of rising productivity (per capita output, which always rises), inevitably yields rising unemployment and poverty.

This theory has huge implications for U.S. policy toward population management, especially immigration policy. Our policies of encouraging high rates of immigration are rooted in the belief of economists that population growth is a good thing, fueling economic growth. Through most of human history, the interests of the common good and business (corporations) were both well-served by continuing population growth. For the common good, we needed more workers to man our factories, producing the goods needed for a high standard of living. This population growth translated into sales volume growth for corporations. Both were happy.

But, once an optimum population density is breached, their interests diverge. It is in the best interest of the common good to stabilize the population, avoiding an erosion of our quality of life through high unemployment and poverty. However, it is still in the interest of corporations to fuel population growth because, even though per capita consumption goes into decline, total consumption still increases. We now find ourselves in the position of having corporations and economists influencing public policy in a direction that is not in the best interest of the common good.

The U.N. ranks the U.S. with eight third world countries - India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia and China - as accounting for fully half of the world’s population growth by 2050. It's absolutely imperative that our population be stabilized, and that's impossible without dramatically reining in immigration, both legal and illegal.

If you’re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, I invite you to visit my web site at where you can read the preface, join in my blog discussion and, of course, purchase the book if you like. (It's also available at

Please forgive the somewhat spammish nature of the previous paragraph. I just don't know how else to inject this new perspective into the immigration debate without drawing attention to the book that explains the theory.

Pete Murphy
Author, "Five Short Blasts"

Anonymous said...

I support the LEGAL immigration of all ethnic backgrounds. Just because they are coming over the border doesn't make them welcome it makes them illegal. It's not inhumane or immoral to obey the law. It is immoral to not obey the law.