Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Paging Steven Spielberg

The self-described America's Newspaper, otherwise known around these parts as the Moonie paper, and D.C.'s reigning "pro-life" organ to boot, took a gander at yesterday's immigrant rally and opined:

More Than a Million Rally for Aliens

Aliens? Is this the War of the Worlds?

Elsewhere, an Arizona state rep had this to say:

The question is, when do we stop this activity of illegal immigration?" he said into a battery of cameras. "Right now, it's like Groundhog Day. You wake up every day and there's more of them. It will be this way until we have a closed border."

Them. The brown folks. From there.

And not to be outdone:

Brit Hume, the news anchor on Fox News, described the marchers, particularly those carrying Mexican flags, as "a repellent spectacle."

Repellent. A spectacle.


Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, described the protests with marchers carrying foreign flags as "ominous" in "their hint of a large, unassimilated population existing outside America's laws and exhibiting absolutely no sheepishness about it."

Ominous. A large, unassimilated population existing outside America's laws...

A few weeks ago, when the anti-immigrant forces were feeling their oats, Republicans in Congress and the media felt free to let loose on Roger Mahony, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, and an ally on the abortion debate, for rising above his station to oppose them and the Republican leadership on immigration. Mahony stated that if H.R. 4437 passed, he would call on his priests and staff to ignore the law's draconian threats to imprison anyone found to be aiding and abetting illegal immigrants, even if the form of aid consisted of providing food and shelter. But for the Republican Party, the Roman Catholic church should "not call--we'll call you. When we need you. If we don't need you, just shut up. "

In February, Representative Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican who opposes illegal immigration, took issue with Catholic bishops, among other religious leaders, ''for invoking God when arguing for a blanket amnesty'' for illegal immigrants. This month, two powerful Republican representatives, Peter King of New York and F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the co-sponsors of the border security bill, criticized the church leadership on ''The O'Reilly Factor'' on Fox News Channel, particularly Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, who has said he would instruct his priests and parishioners to defy the legislation if it ever became law.

Meanwhile, cable news commentators Tucker Carlson and Lou Dobbs have questioned whether the church should maintain its tax-exempt status, given its political activism on immigration. And in an interview, Mr. King accused church leaders of ''committing the sin of hypocrisy'' in their campaign to sway Congress and Catholic voters.

''This is the left wing of the Catholic Church -- these are the frustrated social workers,'' said Mr. King, who described himself as a practicing Catholic. ''They're giving an incentive for more illegals to come here. I don't think it's right.''

So, members and leaders of the Catholic church who disagree with Rep. King on immigration can be dismissed, even when they're the archbishops of L.A. and Washington, respectively, and even though they oppose abortion, because they're really just "the left wing of the Catholic church" and are "frustrated social workers"? And these bishops are moreover "committing the sin of hypocrisy"?

Man, that's good stuff. Bet these bishops will just LOVE you guys when you come around next time asking for their support on some other issue or during the next election.

It occurs to me that I don't think I've ever heard any pro-choice Democrat speak as disrespectfully of the Catholic hierarchy or its teachings (consider the rather gentile statement signed by 55 of the House Democrats earlier this year) as the Republican members are doing now. That may tell you something about the character of the respective parties in Congress.

But back to our story:

"...some analysts warn that Republicans need to tread carefully when they criticize the church and illegal immigrants. ''The danger of this situation politically is that you'll have an entire season in which Republican politicians are saying critical things about the Catholic hierarchy,'' said Deal Hudson, the Republican architect of the effort to court Catholic voters in 2004. ''That's not going to be helpful in terms of keeping the coalition together.''

Leo Anchondo, who directs the immigrant campaign on behalf of the Catholic Conference of Bishops, said the cardinals and bishops were not surprised there was a backlash against such efforts.

''Immigration has unfortunately become a very controversial topic,'' he said.

But Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington said he and other leaders decided they could not stay silent after witnessing the hardships endured by illegal immigrants, particularly as the wave from Latin America has surged. ''This is a justice issue,'' he said. ''We feel you have to take care of people.''

And just because the church sides with the GOP on abortion doesn't mean its vote is "in the bank":

Mahony seemed to agree when, in the interview, he married the church's position on immigrant rights to its antiabortion stance.

"People unfortunately always want to place the pro-life agenda in two boxes: abortion and euthanasia," he said, speaking of two issues opposed by most Republicans. "But our pro-life agenda encompasses a broad spectrum of issues, and [immigration] is one of them." Another aspect of that agenda is the church's opposition to capital punishment. In March 2005, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for the first time in 25 years, launched a campaign against the death penalty -- another issue where it and many Republicans diverge.

Referring to a segment of society critical for maintaining your majority, Hispanics, as "aliens" and "them", calling their marches a "repellent spectacle" and "ominous", and attacking the Roman Catholic church, another seemingly important ally, guys, way to go. Real smart. And oh yeah, behind the electoral stupidity of it, you're on the wrong side of decency and keeping families together. Unless of course, you don't care about that.

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