Rethink, reach out
I have been a supporter of a big wall to keep everyone who is not born here out of this country and to ship off all illegal immigrants. This was perhaps because of my fear of terrorism and of losing our unique culture. However, Joel Belz made me rethink my position ("You used to be one," April 15). Although I do believe there should be better security at our borders and that we shouldn't be a doormat, as he said, I agree that as Christians we must reach out to everyone. I guess you could say his column convicted me.
-Kimberly Gray, Roscoe, Texas
I agree with Mr. Belz that as Christians we should be compassionate to everyone regardless of immigration status. I think the portion of the original immigration reform bill requiring felony charges was over the top in this area. However, I must disagree with his assertion that the ancestors of most U.S. residents were like today's illegal immigrants. Yes, they were immigrants, but most were legal immigrants. That is a key difference.
-Kevin J. Miller; Winchendon, Mass.
Notwithstanding the occasional virulent and racist anti-immigrant groups, such as the Know-nothings, that mar our history, we as a nation have always been open to newcomers who are willing to follow our laws. But it is neither heartless nor racist to insist that our borders and our laws be respected by those who want to enjoy the blessings of life in the United States.
-Kenneth W. Bridge; Oakton, Va.
Mr. Belz did an outstanding job of encouraging evangelical Christians to think theologically about immigration policy. Too often we evangelicals respond to issues by aligning ourselves with conservative politicians without thinking through what the Scriptures say about those issues.
-Barry M. Smith; Severna Park, Md.
I think Mr. Belz missed the point. In Leviticus God commands Israel to treat the sojourner as "one born among you." But the U.S. government can never meet such a command and American Christians already have been doing that very well on a personal basis, as I have witnessed myself for the past 11 years. My observation as a "sojourner" among you is that Americans either have resolved not to enforce their own laws or they do not have the ability to do so, so they try to rationalize their failure.
-Wei Peng; Charlottesville, Va.
Mr. Belz has it right. I'd like to migrate to the United States but, with some insignificant exceptions, the system itself says, "No Vacancies."
-Andrew McGill; Johannesburg, South Africa
I am all in favor of legal immigration, but we should not allow illegal immigrants to go ahead of those who have patiently waited their time, maybe even 5-10 years, to come to America. I do agree with Mr. Belz about learning English; our church has an ESL class available for those who desire to attend.
-Alma Robertson; San Jose, Calif.
The message we would send out by giving illegal aliens status is that our laws are meaningless. We are telling those who have gone through or are going through the proper process that they are foolish for having wasted their time by following the law.
-Chuck Hankinson; Eure, N.C.
How do we resolve the current situation? I don't think there is an easy answer. The failure of our government to enforce the existing laws has contributed as much to the problem as those immigrants who have broken those laws. I agree with Mr. Belz. Whatever is done needs to be done with compassion, but with wisdom as well.
-Tom Zinter; San Diego, Calif.
Powerful constituencies have aligned themselves with the immigration protesters. Some on the left support the illegal immigrants because they see a new voting block perpetually dependent on entitlements. Some on the right support them because they can pay lower wages. Both political groups are eager to ignore national sovereignty issues for immediate gains in power and money.
-Nolan Nelson; Eugene, Ore.
As an immigrant to the United States myself and now a full citizen, I empathize with Mr. Gonzales very much ("Illegal passage," April 15). Nevertheless, I feel that he is violating laws in place to protect this country both economically and physically.
-Vladimir Val Cymbal; Tarzana, Calif.
If the churches of our nation want to extend a helping hand to those suffering in Mexico, I'm all for it. But my government is responsible for protecting its citizens-not those who are illegally invading our nation.
-Ron De Jong; Chesapeake, Va.
I was shocked by WORLD's angle on the illegal immigration crisis. Illegal aliens reaping free services, such as health care and education, at the burden of hard-working taxpayers are a major problem.
-Dan Brady; Mesa, Ariz.
I was somewhat aggravated by your sidebar on Senate bill S. 1033 ("Legislation," April 15). It missed the enormous danger of amnesty programs, which is that they can lead to more amnesty programs and encourage even more illegal immigration. This might well magnify our immigration problems beyond fixing, and could put the Democratic Party in power while driving it even further to the left. What has been presented in the Senate is dangerous, irresponsible, and deceptive.
-Mike Scruggs; Hendersonville, N.C.
Thank you to Marvin Olasky for "San Francisco centennial" (April 15). It is astonishing that so many in our society of entitlement expect FEMA and other agencies to have unlimited funds to repair the damage of major disasters and make everything better overnight. One thing can be counted on to bring relief to those suffering through man-made and natural disasters: Christians from all over the country (and sometimes from other countries) who give of themselves and of their resources to help those in need.
-Paulette Buchanan; Colchester, Conn.
Leave it to Andrée Seu, once again, to lift up the rock under which I was hiding my excuses and pity parties ("Next Tuesday," April 15). Where will I hide now in order to avoid the promises of God and escape the joy in the journey?
-Joni Halpin; Allen, Texas
Regarding "Beyond 'regret'" (April 15): The problem is that American Episcopal Church leaders have not awakened to smell the smoke. The Windsor Report calls for repentance and a moratorium on ordaining practicing gays. The resolutions coming before General Convention provide neither (I have read the texts) and the report itself does not demand resignations or recantation of the already achieved consecrations. The American resolutions merely urge compliance with Windsor, something renegade ECUSA leaders will never agree to do. There are no sanctions and thus no teeth in the resolutions. This is a shell game that has been played before and all parties understand the rules.
-James Wilson; Redding, Calif.
That's a mission
As stewards of a once distinctly Christian and decidedly excellent university, the leadership of Baylor University has failed to remember those things for which it is accountable ("New tenor on tenure," April 15). The earliest hints of Baylor's secularistic slide were already evident before I graduated in 1979. Perhaps Baylor's current leaders should drop the charade and amend the seal of Baylor University to reflect a new focus on activist faculty and donors. Baylor should not aspire to be a first-tier research institution without a prior and higher focus on providing the finest undergraduate education that exposes students to a Christian worldview. Now that's a distinctive mission in today's higher-ed landscape.
-Sam V. Florance Jr.; Indianapolis, Ind.
Thank you for Timothy Lamer's story on the FairTax ("Tax and spend," April 15). This remarkable piece of legislation is just what the doctor ordered for our ailing job market and economy.
-Chad Sargent; Raleigh, N.C.
Your article on the so-called FairTax does not mention what the poor are supposed to do while waiting for their refund. Obviously most of the people in favor of this tax have never lived from paycheck to paycheck.
-Gretchen Fritz; Sun City, Calif.
In a nation chock-full of political and diplomatic wimps, Ambassador John Bolton puts courage on the line for all the world to see ("Who's laughing now?" April 8). I would that we had more Americans like him.
-Arthur Schmid; Marlow, N.H.
The General Accountability Office (GAO) is an auditing and investigative agency of the U.S. Congress ("Abstinence under attack," April 29, p. 26).