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Chuck
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I have to confess that such issues irritate me to no end. It seems that many in our society have taken our Law's original intent and broadened it well beyond. Bottom line, Congress may not pass a law respecting the establishment of a religion (ex. state religion)...period. I wholeheartedly support this concept. But what does this have to do with a public school graduation being held in a church building? Absolutely nothing.
"I value the good that civil rights laws have accomplished for the whole of our society enough to believe that discrimination in public places exceeds the cost of removing certain personal rights of owners." John, I agree with your above statement concerning our civil rights law. My concern however is that these kinds of laws tend over time to grow and take on a life of their own (ex. the ever expanding list of protected classes, hate crime laws, etc.); becoming almost oppressive. What was at one time designed to protect those who offend eventually morphs into a tool to protect certain people or groups from being offended. I am fearful of bigotry and discrimination, but I am equally fearful of political correctness run amok. Blessings.
I like how you separate ecumenism from liberalism. I think many evangelicals consider the two terms to be one in the same. Not so. Peace.
There is encouraging signs in some corners of the mainline church. The AMiA (Anglican) churches are popping up all around us here in the south and seem to be built on a solid foundation. There is even some signs of renewal within Orthodoxy here in the US. By the same token, we could and are likely already seeing a decline in many evangelical circles. Some of this is no doubt due to the last 30 years of the circus that has become evangelicalism, and it will surely run it's course and die out. What we will end up with is anyone's guess. Having said all of that, thank you for the gracious last two statements in your piece. True indeed.
Dr. Armstrong, If I understand your piece you are advocating essentially two things. First, that border security be tightened in order to stem the flow into the US. And second, that a proper "pathway to citizenship" (not amnesty in the strict sense) be established whereby those who are already here may be able to "earn" the right to stay. I agree with you on both points. The "throw them out and build the fence" group is wrong on too many points to cite. But those who see this as purely a humanitarian issue with little or no regard for the profound legal and societal repercussions are equally wrong. I would also add one other huge issue that must be addressed as a part of this package - it is way to easy for folks to remain here for many years and live fairly normal lives all the while never becoming legal. They can buy homes, start a business, enroll their children in school, attend college (in Texas you even get in-state tuition...while here illegally), get a drivers license, utilize all manner of social services, etc., and never obtain legal status. This is unfair to both the US taxpayer (tax burden, jobs, etc.) as well as the immigrants who are cut off only after we have allowed them to set deep roots in our society. For those who would choose to come here there must be a strong incentive for them to become citizens as a first order of business. But all of this is for naught if our federal government doesn't grow the courage to do it's job and enforce the law. This is the weakest of the links. Americans should insist that our President and lawmakers do what they have sworn to do.
Dr. Armstrong, Thank you for your thoughts on the immigration issue. As a Texan this issue is especially pertinent to me and my family. It's a complex problem and I have appreciated your challenging perspective. With all due respect however I see your perspective as being noticeably slanted toward the "left", or maybe I should say, "against the "right". Fair enough. If the debate on this issue is to be balanced however, we must expose the culpability of both the left and right and their own unique contribution to this problem. I assure you Dr. Armstrong, there is plenty of blame to share on both sides. To accuse those on the "political and social right" of commonly offering nothing but "sub-Christian answers" is a bold statement. I wonder, would you make the same statement about the political and social left? I believe such a statement should be made, because it is at least as true for them as it is for the other. A case could be made that we would have no need for a DREAM Act if those, primarily on the political and social left, had not spent so many years aiding and abetting those here without legal status, and basically subverting our immigration laws, much of it in the name of compassion. Don't get me wrong. I'll not defend the sins of the "right", but I think it equally proper to acknowledge the sins of the "left" as well. You and I are in full agreement that this is indeed a complex problem begging for sensible solutions, but those solutions must grow out of a balanced debate.
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May 20, 2010