Bishop Parsley joins suit against Alabama immigration law

Episcopal News Service reports:

Diocese of Alabama Bishop Henry N. Parsley Jr. has joined his Methodist and Roman Catholic counterparts in a federal lawsuit Aug. 1 aimed at stopping enforcement of the state's new immigration law.

Parsley; the Rev. William H. Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Most Rev. Thomas J. Rodi, Roman Catholic archbishop of Mobile, and the Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Roman Catholic bishop of Birmingham, said in their suit that they "have reason to fear that administering of religious sacraments, which are central to the Christian faith, to known undocumented persons may be criminalized under this law," according to a Birmingham News report.

The new law is set to go into effect Sept. 1.

Like Arizona's controversial SB1070, the Alabama measure aims to identify, prosecute and deport undocumented persons. It empowers law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of people they lawfully stop and whom they suspect are in the country illegally and mandates that prospective employers use E-verify, the U.S. government's electronic verification system for employers to check the legal status of potential workers.

But the Alabama law goes further. It is unique in requiring schools to determine, either through a review of birth certificates or sworn affidavit, the legal residency status of students.

Comments (6)

There are two Episcopal dioceses within Alabama. Any word from my friend the Bishop of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast?

See here for Bp Duncan's response

Thanks Ann - I just noted it on ENS.

NPR had a very good story today about religious responses to the Alabama law (I'll try to get a link later, if no one else has)

JC Fisher

NPR had a very good story today about religious responses to the Alabama law (I'll try to get a link later, if no one else has)

JC Fisher

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/02/138935775/justice-department-sues-alabama-over-immigration-law

Pertinent bit from the above:

"A group of religious leaders has also filed suit, claiming the law inhibits free exercise of religion. They cite one provision that makes it a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — to transport undocumented immigrants.

Bishop Will Willimon of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church says he's talked to one church that uses its van to take Hispanic children to Sunday school.

"The person driving the van and in charge of this ministry has no idea whether they're documented or not. They just show up on the roadside and they pick them up," Willimon says. "They said they've got to prayerfully decide, should they continue this practice. That really is repugnant for that conversation to even be undertaken in our country."

Constitutional law expert William Ross of Birmingham's Samford University says church leaders may have a case."

JC Fisher

Add your comments

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Reminder: At Episcopal Café, we hope to establish an ethic of transparency by requiring all contributors and commentators to make submissions under their real names. For more details see our Feedback Policy.

Advertising Space