“Houston’s Clergy”?

The New York Times publishes what amounts to a TMO press release: “Houston’s Clergy Unites to Urge Support for Immigration Reform.” First we can criticize the grammar–clergy, in this case, is plural–these members could “unite,” but members of such a group don’t “unites.” Second, these are not “Houston’s clergy,” but members of a particular advocacy organization, The Metropolitan Organization. TMO  “is a part of a larger network of organizations known as the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). The Industrial Areas Foundation is a nationwide organizing institute with a fifty year history.” That umbrella organization was founded in 1940 by Saul Alinsky, whose first “rule for radicals” is, “Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.”

This press release/news article makes it seem as if all of Houston’s clergy were involved. Well, no. Those Catholic clergy who chose to follow DiNardo’s advice and preach on this instead of the appointed lessons would have participated. And those liberal United Methodists, Episcopalians, and ELCA Lutherans who are affiliated with TMO (and not all are). But do these represent “Houston’s Clergy”? Not by a long shot. I doubt any Southern Baptists were involved. I’m sure Joel Osteen wasn’t. Frankly, I don’t think any conservative evangelicals would have participated.

The NYT targets the people in the pews for lack of support on this issue.

Many clergy members say they face an uphill battle with their congregations, some of which tend to be conservative on social issues and regard immigrants without visas as lawbreakers.

Well, yes, immigrants who do not have visas are lawbreakers. Conservative Christians find this attitude to be contrary to the counsel of Scripture in Romans 13.

And contrary to the article, the issue is most decidedly not immigration. All our churches in Houston are filled with immigrants–from all corners of the globe. The thing is, most followed the law, and sacrificed time and effort to get here legally, and to get their families here legally. These immigrants are most certainly not in favor for illegal immigration.

Contrary to a friend who is quoted in that article, “current immigration policy encourages its very violation”–no, it encourages people to obey. What encourages people to violate it? Greed. Impatience. Selfishness. Lawlessness. And frustration with the rules.

We don’t need clergy in this country to encourage disregard for legitimate laws–we need clergy in other countries to remind their citizens of the responsibilities of faithful citizenship. We also need to respond with compassion as pastors and churches to all who are here–but compassion can include encouraging those who are here illegally to do the right thing.

Another group of clergy–more representative of Houston–is having a press conference on Wednesday; they also have  a statement, which may be seen here. The signers are Baptist, Assembly of God–even Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist. They outline three priorities to achieve “a solid balance between justice (the rule of law) and compassion (treating all people with dignity and respect)”

  1. Secure our national borders first
  2. Reform the immigration system
  3. Implement a just process to legal status for specified illegal immigrants

It remains to be seen whether this group of clergy will be recognized by the secular media as even a part of “Houston’s clergy.”

2 thoughts on ““Houston’s Clergy”?

  1. My eyes rolled at the facetious remark about the original colonies! There is no justice in lawbreakers consuming resources paid for by law abiding citizens and legal immigrants. Not being a US citizen myself I wont say any more but I fully endorse what you say!

    • Another association of clergy will be having a press conference on Wednesday. I just got this press release from the Houston Area Pastors Council:

      Pastors of some of greater Houston ’s most influential churches representing many denominations and essentially every major ethnic identity in the region have determined to forge and present a statement of principles that we collectively believe is a critical balance in the vital and inseparable issues of border security and immigration reform. Among the drafting committee and initial signers, from the nearly 200 pastors signed on to date, include:

      Pastor Rickie Bradshaw, First Southwest Baptist Church, Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, Windsor Village United Methodist, Pastor Hernan Castano , Iglesia Rios de Aceite, Pastor Willie Davis, MacGregor Palm Comm. Baptist, Pastor David Fannin, Nassau Bay Baptist Church, Pastor Sonny Foraker, First Baptist Church Pearland, Pastor David Fleming, Champion Forest Baptist Church, Pastor Jay Gross, West Conroe Baptist Church, Pastor Mark Hartman , Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Pastor Juan Carlos Heredia, Sugar Creek Baptist Church (Spanish Ministry)Pastor Khan Huynh, Vietnamese Baptist Church, Pastor Robert Jefferson, Cullen Baptist Church, Pastor Elmo Johnson, Rose of Sharon Baptist, Pastor Jesus Lemus, Casa De Restauracion, Pastor Lloyd Maddoux, First Assembly of God, Pastor Jerry Martin, Light of the World Fellowship, Pastor Ismael Martinez, Iglesias Cristo Viene, Pastor Gregg Matte, Houston’s First Baptist Church, Pastor Ramon Medina, Champion Forest Baptist Church (Spanish Ministry), Pastor John Morgan, Sagemont Church, Pastor Joshua Ong , Church of the Living God, Pastor Dario Parish, Comunidad de Gracia, Pastor Dave Peterson, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Rev. Doug Richnow , St. John the Divine Episcopal, Pastor Steve Riggle, Grace Community Church, Doug Stringer, Somebody Cares America, Pastors Rene and Amelia Villafranca, Comunidad de Amor

      (Partial list only)

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