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US bishops call for open borders: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 15, 2010 p 6. October 15, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, House of Bishops, Immigration.
First published in The Church of England Newspaper.


The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops has called for a halt to the enforcement of US immigration laws, calling upon Episcopalians to join with other members of the religious left in “actively protesting” racial stereotyping and demand a halt to “practices that treat undocumented workers as criminals.”

In a pastoral letter and discussion paper released at the close of their Sept 16-21 meeting in Phoenix, the bishops said the starting point for a debate on illegal immigration begins with “an obligation to advocate for every undocumented worker as already being a citizen of God’s reign on earth and one for whom Christ died.”

Episcopalians should offer “material and spiritual support to undocumented workers and their families, wherever possible, and should expect that they will continue to receive medical attention and police protection as needed,” the bishops said.

“This is simply a matter of respecting basic human dignity, and we have every moral warrant for calling the nation to account, whether we appeal simply to human rights, divine law, natural law, the law of nations, our national covenant, or to the Bible that grounds them all.”

The 17-page pastoral letter entitled “The Nation and the Common Good: Reflections on Immigration Reform” conceded that nation states had the right to secure their borders, and acknowledged there were some who were concerned about “the danger uncontrolled immigration poses to our safety and economic well-being.”

However, these concerns should “be approached within the broader context of a national commitment and covenant to inclusion and fellowship across all lines for the sake of the common good.”

The bishops stated the enforcement of “inhumane policies directed against undocumented persons (raids, separation of families, denial of health services)” was “intolerable,” and also offered an apology for having been “complicit” in “sinfulness as people who benefit from the labor of undocumented workers without recognizing our responsibility to them.”

They promised henceforth to “take seriously our commitment to and responsibility for our fellow citizens, as we strive to face the spiritual, moral and economic challenges of life.”

Before the start of the bishops’ Fall meeting, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took a group of 30 bishops and their spouses to the Arizona-Mexico border, and staged a march to protest the deaths of illegal aliens who had died in the desert while attempting to cross into the United States.  The desert sojourn helped the bishops “to reduce both our own caricatures and prejudices” about illegal immigration “and maybe do the same for others,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said.

The bishops’ letter is likely to carry little weight among US political circles, as a majority of voters oppose the relaxation of immigration laws.  Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy offered a harsh critique of the bishops’ pastoral, writing in the American Spectator “like most on the Religious Left, the Episcopal Bishops seem uncomfortable with national sovereignty in the political sphere, just as the Religious Left is often theologically uncomfortable with Christianity’s exclusivist truth claims, or the expectation of monogamy in traditional marriage, and the loyalties inherent to traditional families.”

The US bishops had confused trendy politics with Christian virtues, Mr. Tooley argued, noting “these Episcopal bishops, busy with desert photo ops and polemical news releases, are anxious to make sweeping utopian claims, without a clear constituency or audience.”


1. Peter Clark - October 15, 2010

Sounds typical of the ECUSA establishment. It’s all very well loving your neighbour, but you don’t really have to let him move into your home and crowd you out. No wonder they’re losing their more energetic congregations to the ACNA.

2. Anglican Samizdat , Archive » US Bishops march for open borders – but not for Anglicans - October 15, 2010

[…] here: The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops has called for a halt to the enforcement of US […]

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