Skip to comments.Alabama church leaders filed lawsuit to stop new immigration law (Claim Law will stop Communion)
Posted on 08/10/2011 7:51:09 PM PDT by xzins
Alabama church leaders,..., Episcopal Bishop Henry N. Parsley, Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Baker and United Methodist Bishop William H. Willimon filed suit Monday, Aug. 1,2011, to stop enforcement of Alabama's immigration law.
Leaders of the Episcopal, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches in Alabama filed a federal lawsuit this morning to stop enforcement of the state's new immigration law, which they say could strike at the core of their ability to worship.
The lawsuit was filed by: the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley Jr., bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama; Rev. William H. Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church; and the Most Rev. Thomas J. Rodi, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mobile; and the Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham.
According to the lawsuit, "the bishops 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."
The new law is set to go into effect Sept. 1.
The lawsuit names Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and Madison County District Attorney Robert L. Broussard as defendants in the civil lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for northern Alabama.
"Motivated by God's mandate that the faithful are humbly bound to welcome and care for all people, the leaders of the Episcopal, Methodist and Roman Catholic Churches of Alabama respectfully request this Court to stop the enforcement of Alabama's Anti-Immigration Law," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states that it seeks to prevent "irreparable harm" to the 338,000 members of the three churches in Alabama. It calls Alabama's new law "the nation's most merciless anti-immigration legislation."
"If enforced, Alabama's Anti-Immigration Law will make it a crime to follow God's command to be Good Samaritans," according to the lawsuit.
The law, if enforced, will place Alabama church members in the "untenable position of verifying individuals' immigration documentation" before being able to provide things such as food clothing, shelter and transportation to those in need, according to the lawsuit.
Among the lawsuit's other claims are that the new law violates:
- The First Amendment rights of its members.
- Rights of Alabama residents to freely assemble "and welcome all people to the altar."
- The ability of the chuches to freely contract through the management of denominational thrift stores and church day cares and the performance of marriages, baptisms, and counseling services.
In a meeting of the Alabama Liars Club, Bishops of the Episcopal, Methodist, and Catholic churches claimed:
“According to the lawsuit, “the bishops 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.”
Strikes me as a bald-faced lie. Anyone have the details?
religious exemption does not allow a citizen serving jail time to leave for communion or other religious purposes.
Currently the First says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof".
If you read that to say that this means "No prayer in school" you might forget that "establishment of religion" extends WAY WAY WAY beyond the idea of "church". It gets into the issues of doctrine, revelation, dogma, church organization (ecclesiastical questions) and so on.
Since Congress has no authority, and the state legislatures have no authority to regulate the order of worship in a church, nor to dictate the Sacraments (or the taking of Communion), seems to me these church guys have no complaint.
Bet they agree with the "No prayer in school" definition though.
Bunch of politically correct garbage. I live in Alabama. God, through the Apostle Paul, let us know in Romans that he expects us to obey the civil governments.
We are NOT to be lawbreakers. If you are a lawbreaker, God tells us to repent, which means stop breaking the law.
Hey, illegal aliens, stop breaking the law.
Separation of church and state doesn’t apply when pursuing Marxist objectives I guess.
Here’s an idea for revenue enhancement. All of these churches that get involved in politics should lose their tax-exempt status.
16 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,
I'm sure all these pastors (in addition to being haughty looking bald faced liars) support abortion on demand and gay marriage.
Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesars, and unto God the things that are Gods (Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ) (Matthew 22:21).
It is disingenuous at best for these supporters of law-breakers to suggest that upholding the law in any way breaks faith.
I simply do not believe some pastor will be indicted or church punished for giving communion to an illegal. It’s an outrageous lie.
Since you’re from Alabama, have you heard any of this garbage? I got this info in the mail today from my denominational newsletter, (I’m UMC, same as Willimon, the Methodist bishop cited here), and I want ammunition.
Where could they be getting this out of the new Alabama law?
>> According to the lawsuit, “the bishops 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.”
So, when was the last time you had to show a passport to receive the Host?
Good Lord, how low the Episcopal church (which I have so dearly loved for most all my life) has sunk. Et tu, Bishop, et tu?
This is so blatantly contrived and so clearly a lie.
How could any honest bishop claim that he is in danger of the law if he gives communion to an illegal...even knowing it’s an illegal?
The last I checked, the government is not in charge of who is eligible for communion.
When are these freeloading “churches” going to start paying taxes? If they want to play politics and have “some skin in the game”, they need to put their money where their big mouths are!!!!
Stupid beyond belief. Thanks for showing your slavish devotion to Marxism, you apostate sons of hell.
Rev. Parsley’s not being very sage this thyme.
Actually, as worded, yes the Alabama bill would infringe upon the sacrament of confession as well as the sacrament of the eucharist.
It’s not the first time that a law has been passed restricting confession and the eucharist.
This is a massive overreach by the state into areas which it has no jurisdiction.
This bill changes that. The state of Alabama is saying that they, and not the priests decide.
I’m rather disappointed that a crappy bill is the best that can be done. There’s absolutely no need for this unconstitutional bill.
What is needed is actual enforcement by the party that the constitution charges with the office of immigration, which is the federal government.
They need to get their ducks in a row. This bill won’t change anything except to deprive people of their liberties.
>> The last I checked, the government is not in charge of who is eligible for communion.
Yes, and the last time I checked, Episcopal churches had red doors. For a reason.
I need a copy of the offending text in the bill.
The link above goes to the text of Alabama House Bill 56.
I can find no provision in it that applies to the religious practices of churches at all.
Nor can I find one that could be stretched to apply to the religious practices of churches.
The bishops might say that they are "business entities" because they have articles of incorporation, but none of the sections of the law would apply to religious practices such as communion. Communion and worship would have nothing to do with hiring, traffic stops, public education, testifying in court, etc.
Oh, yeah, take them OFF the bench ROUGHLY!
Odds are good you can't get a US Marshall or a County Sheriff out there to bust heads over Communion. Just not going to happen!
The reason why is that Robert Baker, the Catholic bishop of Birmingham, is generally considered to be a pretty good bishop. I can't speak to the Methodist or Episcopal ones, one way or the other.
Contrary to P-Marlowe's allegation, I'm sure all these pastors (in addition to being haughty looking bald faced liars) support abortion on demand and gay marriage, I know for a fact that Bishop Baker is not a supporter of either.
Having said the above, it would be a radical interpretation of the law to interpret it in such a way as is alleged in this blog entry:
The blog entry says: "the bishops 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."
After repeatedly reading the law (linked above), the only section that I could see that would have any applicability to the ability to administer the sacraments would be this paragraph:
Section 13. (a) It shall be unlawful for a person to do any of the following:
(1) Conceal, harbor, or shield or attempt to conceal, harbor, or shield or conspire to conceal, harbor, or shield an alien from detection in any place in this state, including any building or any means of transportation, if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien has come to, has entered, or remains in the United States in violation of federal law.
Of course, to harbor means to give shelter or refuge to.
The area that is of concern may be the recklessly disregards verbiage. That is a squishy term that could be up to interpretation. For example, is a Presbyterian pastor recklessly disregards the possibility that the parishioner may be illegal (as opposed to "knows"), if this parishioner only speaks Korean? (there are a lot of Korean Presbyterian churches around here, that's why I use this example)
In theory, I guess it might be possible to hypothesize that a person could go to confession, identify that he/she was an illegal, and then, if the priest did not immediately physically remove the person from the premises, the priest could be charged.
Likewise, the blog says about the lawsuit: "If enforced, Alabama's Anti-Immigration Law will make it a crime to follow God's command to be Good Samaritans."
Considering the above paragraph, I guess it is possible that if a person showed up in a church-run homeless shelter and happened to mention that he/she was an illegal, if the shelter did not immediately kick the person out onto the street, the employee of the shelter could be charged.
Both are pretty wild and (imho) unrealistic interpretations...but I guess they are theoretically possible.
As for providing other "good Samaritan" benefits, section 7 of the above-linked law states:
(e) Verification of lawful presence in the United States shall not be required for any of the following
(2) For obtaining health care items and services that are necessary for the treatment of an emergency medical condition of the person involved and are not related to an organ transplant procedure.
(3) For short term, noncash, in kind emergency disaster relief.
(5) For programs, services, or assistance, such as soup kitchens, crisis counseling and intervention, and short-term shelter specified by federal law or regulation that satisfy all of the following:
a. Deliver in-kind services at the community level, including services through public or private nonprofit agencies.
b. Do not condition the provision of assistance, the amount of assistance provided, or the cost of assistance provided on the income or resources of the individual recipient.
c. Are necessary for the protection of life or safety.
(6) For prenatal care.
(7) For child protective services and adult protective services and domestic violence services workers.
The key is if those services receive public funding in any way (as is the case, at least with most modern Catholic -- can't speak to Episcopal or Methodist --services)
So, with the exception of a shelter that provides emergency housing to the poor (income verification needed), I don't see Good Samaritan issues being impacted all that much.
Now as far as the obligation to obey the civil authorities, we all remember Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God rather than men. Civil law cannot be used as a justification to disobey the moral law. Matthew 25 is pretty explicit on our responsibilities to the poor (as individuals, not used as justification for government policy).
Bottom line is that I would think it would be smart of Alabama to amend Law 2011-535 to include text along the following lines:
Bona-fide religious organizations are exempt from the provisions of the law regarding services rendered, provided:
The service rendered receives no funding, whether by way of contract or grant, from state or local governments
In other words, the Catholic, Episcopal, and Methodist churches would be best advised to turn back any government funding they receive for their services. They would have a whole lot stronger case to make if they did so.
Using the church to help drive government policy is fascistic. If they want to be in the world and also of the world then let them render unto Ceaser. I’ve not seen a judge yet that has interfered with legitimate church worship - maybe you have some examples that don’t involve the use of illegal drugs, etc. but I’m not aware that’s an issue.
Good job, thanks.
That paragraph has the same wording as the Federal Immigration law (which is not being enforced).
“Bona-fide religious organizations are exempt from the provisions of the law regarding services rendered, provided:
The service rendered receives no funding, whether by way of contract or grant, from state or local governments”
Yeah, but it’s not there, which is a problem. The legislation as is overreaches, and will get stomped on by the courts.
Rather then passing a limited bill that would not only pass, and hold up in the courts, they’d rather pass this nonsense which prevents better bills from actually succeeding.
So why then have a bill that includes these things? Just complete nonsense and absolutely not needed.
Besides, this is a federal matter. Only the feds can and should police immigration, because otherwise there would be 50 different standards and CA could issue immigration waivers.
Just not there.
Frankly only religious professionals who imagine their places of worship to be BUSINESS first might imagine that this law applies to them.
It has not ordinarily been the practice of the state to consider Communion a regular meal ~ (I can hear even the Jewish judges tittering at that one) ~ there really isn't anything in this Alabama law that targets things that the federal laws don't.
All Immigrants are lawfully present and have an immigration visa. Any person who is not lawfully present cannot be here as an immigrant.
If you carefully read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution it does not restrict the states from regulating the conduct of those who are not here lawfully.
When it comes to citizens, who are all here lawfully, the 14th requires that they be treated identically to the way a state's own citizens are treated and, in fact, declares that an American citizen is a citizen of the state where he is a resident.
The second protected class consists of "the people" and a state is required to provide equal treatment.
Which means, of course, that the immigration authority derives from some other part of the Constitution ~ the 14th just doesn't do the job (other than that questionable "birth" thing.)
The Constitution does require Congress to provide uniform regulation regarding NATURALIZATION.
Note that closely ~ NATURALIZATION ~ and that does not say admittance to the nation, nor even to a state, nor even to the District of Columbia. The Congress is given power to restrict the "importation of such people"...... and that's right in the heart of one of those sections making slavery and the slave trade lawful in the states where practiced at the time.
So, where does the federal authority over illegal aliens come from? Or is that a state power that's simply been usurped in violation of the 10th Amendment?
Recalling that up to 1865 "The United States" was used in the plural sense, not the singular, one of the reasons for the strange/strained language about "uniform regulation" had to do with the fact that the nation itself had no boundaries apart from the boundaries of the sovereign states.
It still doesn't ~ sure, there's a Boundary Lines Commission ~ but that's just one of those "treaty deals" ~ we need one because "they" (other countries) want us to have one, but I doubt anybody would claim that a state boundary is subject to federal jurisdiction! Disputes over boundaries between states can be dealt with in the Supreme Court but there's no Executive or Congressional authority over those boundaries once a state is admitted.
Try as you might there's nothing whatsoever in the Constitution that excludes a state from dealing with persons not here lawfully!
“If you carefully read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution it does not restrict the states from regulating the conduct of those who are not here lawfully.”
Actually the original constitution states that naturalization is a ‘federal’ matter. The federal government issues the visa to anyone here legitimately, and thus has the authority to enforce the visas issued by deporting anyone found in this country without one.
States have no say whatsoever as to who is issued a visa. This is an important principle.
“When it comes to citizens, who are all here lawfully, the 14th requires that they be treated identically to the way a state’s own citizens are treated and, in fact, declares that an American citizen is a citizen of the state where he is a resident.”
Yes, this is central to equal protection, which is why states can’t pass legislation restricting the natural rights of citizens (though they often do).
As for naturalization, that’s been part of Federal authority since the Constitution was enacted, even before the Bill of Rights, and the 10th amendment. The 10th specifies powers not otherwise enumerated, but immigration and naturalization is an enumerated power of the federal government.
The Constitution does not throw its hands up completely and leave the states without authority of any kind ~ it did, in fact, leave "importation of such persons" to the states AND then only restricted that with a TAX.
Hmm ~ yup ~ there's a darned good question concerning the federales authority to set immigration quotas ~ if that's not also linked to the issue of uniformity of process which is certainly imposed by the constitution.
Some of the things you imagine to be sanctioned directly by the Constitution, or through the doctrine of necessary implication ARE NOT, in fact, sanctioned, nor does that doctrine apply.
You'll find, instead, that the Supreme Court will refer to the IMPLIED POWERS and for that they'll turn to the predecessor standards ~ in this case those of the King of Spain, Philippe II/III as stated in the Treaty of London 1604 (that's our "founding founding document". I was just reading it last evening and the King of Spain dictated equal treatment of foreign and domestic merchants in the market place! He also dictated who was to be allowed in ~ and named the countries.
Mexico claims status as a successor entity to Spain in America. They have some treaties that suggest that to be a fact ~ where Spain agrees to recognize Mexico as an independent state.
Their history is a bit shorter than ours ~ they start out as Spain (in that 1604 treaty), then flip over to Mexico with the same rights and obligations with independence ~ even making the same land claims as Spain.
So, let's say 90% of the illegals are Mexicans. The Treaty of London of 1604 STATES that they will obey the civil and criminal laws of the countries where they enter.
I fail to see where any Mexican is exempt from the rules set forth in that treaty!
They simply can't come and go from the USA without adhering to the same laws we impose on our own citizens ~ you gotta' have a passport to get back in; they gotta' have a visa to get in. Without a visa they're not really here are they ~
I’m not arguing with you that there needs to be enforcement. So long as the state turns over those found to be here illegally to the ICE, then I have no issues with this.
The state, however, cannot violate citizen rights in order to investigate those who are here illegally. Fr’nstance, can’t pull someone over randomly without having some indication of illegal status.
Nor do they have the authority to deport those here illegally. The federal government issues the visas and so the enforcement of the visas and their issuance falls on them.
As for quotas, I don’t believe that there’s any requirement, for or against quotas. There’s nothing constitutionally that requires quotas, and in fact for the majority of the time of the republic, the nation had no quotas whatsoever.
Certain countries, Canada, fr’nstance, permits the provinces themselves to have some control over their own immigration. The same is not true of the states.
Going too far:
And he’s going to pepper me with sermons about what state of sin ah’m in?
The real issue is the "judgment" of what constitutes a visa ~ and the idea is that since the federales create the visas they can read them ~ hence the use of the e-verify system for employment questions.
What we have going on today regarding those not lawfully here is a "customary practice" where a state hands them over to ICE and you will soon discover, I think, that a "customary practice" without clear cut constitutional backing an be dealt with by a state independent of federal authority. After all, think about it a second ~ if you need a visa to be an immigrant and you don't have a visa, then you are what? Are you a tourist? Where's your visa for that. Are you a student? Where's your visa for that. Are you a diplomat? Let's see your visa.
With no visa just what do you think you are doing?
Where is “here”. The visa issued is for the entire United States of America. They do not issue visas to a specific state.
So yes, a state does not have the authority to evict someone from their state. They do have the authority to turn the person over to the federal jurisdiction, where they will be either deported or their immigration sorted out.
“and the idea is that since the federales create the visas they can read them ~ hence the use of the e-verify system for employment questions.”
Rather then actually expend dollars enforcing illegal entry, the feds want the business owners to shoulder the cost wrt scrutiny.
You cannot get across the borders without consultation with a federal agent. The Federal government needs to control illegal entry, because if they are already in America, then the system has failed. That’s like guarding the barn door after the horse has been stolen.
The US regularly issues VISAS to UN delegates and staff for specific states, parts of states, even right down to their travel routes. They do that with various foreign legations right here in the DC area.
Aside from foreign delegations?
You gots’ to be a foreigner to need a visa!
Yeah but the point is aside from delegations, they don’t assign visas to a state.
Look, just because something isn't done doesn't mean it will always be that way, or that it never was that way.
Lots of things can be done. We might even be able to IMPORT SUCH PERSONS ~ I don't see that the 13/14/15 th Amendments eliminated that particular clause.
The necessary implication is that we would be able to EXPORT SUCH PERSONS as well.!
You're probably right - sounds like an attempt to throw another lawsuit out there and hope one of them sticks
Ludicrous. Does it require the priest to say "Say 10 Hail Mary's and 5 Our Father's and show me your birth certificate"?
I was at mass a while back and during the sermon the visiting priest asked us all to support amnesty. I asked my (ex) lady at the time what the hell this speech has to do with a Mass service? She agreed (one of the few times I was "right" about something in her eyes, lol).
Our bishops need to learn quickly that social justice and democrat politics damage the church far more than anything else has done. Save the social justice for charity and volunteer work (as I do), not liberal legislation.
Illegal aliens is a criminal matter and should have 50 different State standards throughout the U.S.A. - that is the intent and purpose of having 50 different States - so that different things can be tried.
When one State makes it hard for illegal aliens to find work, drive, or otherwise reside within one State - they will flock to another State - and we will all see which State benefits and which State goes further down the tube.
The utter failure of the Federal government to live up to their obligation doesn’t mean that the States need to also not live up to their obligations.
The question isn’t what, “the state can do”, but rather, “what is the constitutional role of the state with respect to immigration and naturalization”.
This is a federal matter, so ultimately deportation and incarceration rests with the feds. That’s constitutionally, their jurisdiction.
Having 50 state standards destroys the entire purpose of a visa, and that’s why I’m arguing it’s the worst argument possible. Now, you’ve given CA a blank check to hand out legal immigration vouchers for all who want them. Vouchers that would be good anywhere in the Union.
The Feds need to step up and enforce the law as it stands, otherwise, it’s worse than no law at all.
Prior to 1917 and the great conservative Woodrow Wilson, there were no immigration restrictions.
There also wasn’t any welfare. Why are conservatives arguing in favor of quotas and against the elimination of welfare benefits?
As for Amnesty, I agree with you that it would be the wrong thing to do without serious overhaul of the entitlement structure. If the spending were cut completely, and the only people who came were capable of supporting themselves and working, then I wouldn’t have a problem with them coming to America.
The problem is that too many ride the gravy train.
I am not saying the State can say who can immigrate by themselves or that they can naturalize citizens by themselves - that is clearly a Federal role.
But they can and should enforce standards for checking eligibility for employment - drivers licenses - law breaking - housing - etc, etc.
CA is ignoring both State and Federal law already. They are a “sanctuary” State. That is their path. Let Arizona and Alabama find a their own path.
That is what having State governments is all about. And that sort of thing IS their jurisdiction.
The failure of the Federal government to live up to their obligations doesn’t mean that the States should fail to live up to their own.