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Churches push back against President

Churches push back against President

Two church groups spoke out this week against the President and his policies.

The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church spoke on the appointments, especially Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions; the attacks on the ACA and other health programs, climate change denial, the wall between Mexico and the U.S., and the “Muslim ban.”

We ask that every member of this denomination, and people who are committed to justice and righteousness, equality and truth, will join with us to thwart what are clearly demonic acts. Indeed, the words of the Apostle Paul to the believers at Ephesus apply today, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against…the rulers of the darkness of this present age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

President Trump has demonstrated that his word is not to be trusted or believed.  On election night, he said it was time to unify the nation and committed to doing his part to bring about this unity. Yet his actions have caused bitter divisions and fear among many. He has appointed Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart Publishing which has spoken and written racist rants against minorities and Jews, as his Chief Strategist and nominated Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the U S Attorney General. Sen. Sessions has a history of racial indifference and as US Attorney for Alabama had a controversial record as it related to decisions regarding racial matters. The Council of Bishops calls upon President Trump to remove Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist and opposes confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

Conservative Evangelicals, including Max Lucado, took out a full page ad in the Washington Post denouncing the refugee ban:

In a highly unusual move, several conservative evangelical leaders took out a full-page advertisement in Wednesday’s Washington Post to denounce President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees, saying they are “deeply concerned.” The ad includes the signatures of evangelicals considered to be more conservative and represent large churches and institutions, including New York City Pastor Tim Keller and his wife, Kathy Keller, Southern Baptists Ed Stetzer and Daniel Akin and popular author Max Lucado.

The ad shows how the issue of refugees, which was once not considered divisive in evangelical circles, has become polarizing in recent years. The evangelical ministry World Relief, which is behind the ad that lists 100 evangelical leaders, said that more than 500 evangelical pastors and ministry leaders have added their signatures to the letter that will be delivered to Trump.




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David Allen

January 20, 2016

This summer, when Donald Trump wildly overstated the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, it turned out that he was even more wrong than the fact-checkers said he was. According to a new report from the Center for Migration Studies, a New York think tank, the total number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has fallen to 10.9 million, the lowest it’s been since 2004. What’s more, the decline in numbers seems to have accelerated since 2010.

– New York Magazine

Prof Christopher Seitz

I am 100% in favor of anything that helps people be in the USA *legally.*

I have lived legally in Germany, France, UK and Canada. The work to open bank accounts, have a massive dossier at the ready, get health coverage, and do all the governments require is all part of the drill.

We should not be encouraging a system where people enter our country and live in it for years illegally. It makes no sense and other countries do not do that.

The deportations that Jorge Ramos is calling for don’t entail crossing the street illegally. No one is contemplating 700K plus deportations. But there should not be 11M in the USA to begin with. Hence the very strong speeches of Clinton and Obama. And now instead of 4M there are 11M.

Ann Fontaine

Businesses, agriculture and the government have colluded in this system for years. They all look the other way until it is politically expedient not to. (Like now). We had a great opportunity with Ted Kennedy’s immigration bill – to make a good system. Bernie Sanders was the key vote that blocked that legislation.

Prof Christopher Seitz

You are likely more than 50% correct. The Clinton and Obama fury against illegal aliens translated into zero action. It was politics.

Certain republicans liked the idea of cheap labor.

The reason Merkel, e.g., wants immigration–apart from moral clean-up after WWII and decent motives–is to try to offset the terrible problem of low birth rates and an aging population — death knell for social security for the aged in next decades to come. Legally integrated new populations can be a real asset.

I fear the US just doesn’t want to think of itself as a nation with laws. It is a sort of dream land. Law is just an idea. Obama droned on about “the rule of law” as sacrosanct in respect of immigration. But it takes a lot of work to see to follow through.

Ann Fontaine

The parties are pretty much the same on this– and please – I don’t need your approval of my statements – 50% — oh how nice of you.

Prof> Christopher Seitz

The thing just seems so oddly premised. Clinton’s and Obama’s speeches against illegal aliens (their terms) are ferocious. Out they must go!

There are now at least 4 times as many. The present ICE work the agents themselves indicate was Obama-period in origin.

I have a legal permit to work in Canada. How many undocumented people are there in Canada? Why if they somehow got in would they pay taxes? This would flag them and they’d be deported. But are there even 100,000? Compare 11 Million.

Same is true in France where I live. There are ‘undocumented people’ here. Do they pay taxes or expect benefits? Of course not. They don’t have the ability or legal right to a health card. If they show up at a hospital they may receive treatment out of kindness. But not for years. The system does that allow that.

Even Jorge Ramos believes all undocumented people with criminal records should be deported.

Marshall Scott

I would also note that there have been calls for legal work permits for agricultural migrants and others that would allow them to be in the United States during the season(s), and return home out of season, without fear they couldn’t come to work again. We have had that in the past. Those efforts (again, notably during the George W. Bush administration) were shot down for lack of political support.

Marshall Scott

As noted, the place people argue about (well, at least people like me, who aren’t really in a position to lose anything) is what “criminal record” means. At one extreme are those who feel being present is crime enough, and each day is a new violation; and for those persons that presence is sufficient prima facie “record” of criminal activity. I’m not sure how I would describe the “other extreme,” as I have not heard anyone argue that no person should be deported, no matter the circumstances. So, folks wrestle with whether a traffic or other misdemeanor citation should suffice; or, should it require a conviction; or a nonviolent felony conviction; or a series of nonviolent convictions; or a allegations without conviction. I haven’t heard anyone argue against deporting a person convicted of a violent crime in the United States, or one convicted of participation in a criminal enterprise like a criminal gang.

So, we discuss how “criminal” and how “recorded” a “criminal record” needs to be; and what circumstances, if any, might be mitigating. And, still, most of the arguing is done by folks who don’t face the risk, me included.

Ann Fontaine

Numbers of undocumented workers have stayed about the same – immigration from Mexico has decreased. People pay taxes, etc. because they have social security numbers (not theirs) — the government knows this and willingly accepts their money. Many current states do not support picking up people or checking their status unless they commit a crime.

Ann Fontaine

Most of the so-called criminal records are things that white people don’t even get picked up for. Or crossing the border to see one’s dying mother and getting caught coming back to family here.

Prof. Christopher Seitz

What percentage of all undocumented workers in the USA file and pay income taxes, not to mention make FICA contributions? 1%?

David Allen

As you have told others, “You could do your own homework,” but I’ve done it for you.

Released February 24th, 2016 –

“The 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States collectively paid $11.64 billion in state and local taxes.”

– Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

David Allen

There are thousands of US citizens living in Mexico on 6 month tourist Visas who work illegally. Usually retired folks who are supplementing their US Social Security. Some are paid under the table ( bajo el agua) but many work with false Mexican Social Security numbers and pay into a system from which they don’t claim benefits.

You are not as all-knowing as you wish us to believe, I suspect that it may be tolerated in many countries, but I can only speak with experience about my own.

Prof> Christopher Seitz

See my comment below. A system in which some percentage of people illegally in this country pay taxes makes no legal sense. Certainly the 700,000 with criminal convictions don’t pay…or maybe they do…

This would be tolerated in no other nation, and I suspect that includes Mexico.

Ann Fontaine

You do not know what you are talking about Prof Christopher Seitz.

Lisa Ann Mauro

I can’t believe what I have read in the last few months about Pres. Trump from Episcopalians – “demon, etc.” He is a brilliant business leader who can bring up out of the 47 trillion dollar debt Obama got us into. Does the Church realize that many of us voted and still support our POTUS. We sit in the pews and support our local churches. What about Kate Steinle’s murder by a felon who murdered before and under Obama was out prison, not deported and in San Francisco – sanctuary city. Look up the statistics on murder and rape by illegal immigrants who bring nothing to the US but trying to get free stuff. I am becoming ashamed to belong to this Church. Watch out or you will be sorry. Do you think these illegals will become Church members and tithe the money to support the Church? Anyone who seems to speak out against the policies the EC supports are deemed unChristian – what happened to separation of Church and State. I think the Church has gone way overboard with involvement in politics.

Mike Kozak

Lisa Ann Mauro since you are “becoming ashamed to belong to this Church.” Well you have feet, I assume, by all means leave, believe me with that attitude nobody will try to stop you.

David Allen

What’s embarrasing is folks who call themselves Christians and purvey mostly untruth as fact.

1) It would be impossible for President Obama to have run the US debt to $47 trillion, since the US debt is only $19.947 trillion. If you add up the cost of the programs/initiatives of President Obama during his two terms, he added $983 billion to the US’s national debt. However, for reasons other than his policies, the US’s national debt increased by a little over $9 trillion during his two terms.

2) Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the man facing trial for 2nd degree murder in the Steinle death has never been accused of a prior murder. He has been convicted and jailed 5 times for re-entry after being deported from the US. And he has been convicted for drug possesion. The only balistics expert involved in the case has stated that her death was the result of an accidental firing and a ricochet. As to why Lopez-Sanchez was released from jail after the City of San Francisco dropped the marijuana charge against him, the SF Sherrif didn’t find any active warrents against him and so they let him go. President Obama had nothing to do with his release.

3) In seeking information regarding “murder and rape by illegal immigrants” I find that a majority of studies in the U.S. have found lower crime rates among immigrants than among non-immigrants, and that higher concentrations of immigrants are associated with lower crime rates!

4) As to undocumented immigrants coming to the US “to get free stuff,” I know firsthand that is a vicious, slanderous lie, the same as the vicious, slanderous lies Trump told about Mexicans being, thieves, rapists & murderers.* Millions of Mexican undocumented immigrants have left the US, because things became better back home or they were afraid all of the time when they were in the US. Just yesterday there were articles in online periodicals about the crops rotting in the fields and orchards in Alabama & Georgia because there is no one to pick them. Who do you think used to pick them? Undocumented immigrants in the US have been sending about $2 billion dollars a month to Mexico from their US wages. They work hard for that money and often are underpaid or not paid at all for work that they do.

5) Ask the Roman Catholic Church in the US who is paying the bills to keep the lights on? Immigrants. Many Latin American immigrants. They are the only reason that the RCs show any growth in the US.

* Full disclosure, I’m Mexican.

David Allen

Plus income tax, which I believe the US government figures into the federal budget as income it receives and assumes no income tax returns will be filed.

Also, workers comp taxes in many states.

Ann Fontaine

A man I know was injured on his job– but since he was undocumented he could not claim workmen’s comp — he is recovering but no wages for the family at this time.

Ann Fontaine

And most pay social security etc on their wages – but will never get to see one dime.

Ann Fontaine

Thanks for your comment Lisa Ann — neither of the stories are from Episcopalians. One is from the bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church– one of their churches was where a white man – Dylann Roof- shot people at a Bible study. The other is from leaders of evangelical churches. The Constitution does not mandate separation of church and state. It states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

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