The Role of Religion in the Immigration Debate

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(Washington, D.C.) On this Sunday’s “State of Belief,” The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, the Reverend Welton Gaddy welcomes Pat Buchanan, the outspoken conservative pundit and former presidential candidate, and legal expert John Pomeranz. Dr. Gaddy asks Buchanan about the role of religion in the current debate over immigration reform and Pomeranz warns houses of worship against falling prey to ambitious politicians. 

Buchanan chides religious leaders who favor a more lenient immigration policy based on a reading of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. “It seems to me, in my understanding of Christian doctrine, the first obligation of the father is to defend his family and the home, and protect it against invaders,” said Buchanan.  “And the fact that invaders might be poor does not justify bringing them into the house and claim the rights of the first born.”

Buchanan is also the author of a new book on immigration called State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.  In it, he argues against viewing the debate on immigration from an economic perspective, saying that too many Americans worship “at the Church of the GDP.” 

Instead, Buchanan argues that the foundation of American values should be based on Christianity.  “The United States of America has an ethno-cultural core.  It was a Western country, a European country, a Christian country.  This is one of the things that held it together,” he said.  

Also, Dr. Gaddy also examines the ongoing controversy over political messages from the pulpit with legal expert John Pomeranz.  In 2004, two-days before the Presidential election, the congregation of All Saints Episcopal Church heard a sermon delivered by George Regas, a former rector at All Saints.  The sermon was called, “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush,” and included hypothetical questions and answers from Jesus to the two Presidential candidates.  All Saints is currently under investigation by the IRS and is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status.

Pomeranz noted that other houses of worship across the country could face similar problems. “Political campaigns have every incentive into misleading churches and other tax exempt organizations into violating law.  “They’re not the ones at risk.  The only danger is to the church, and the political organization gets what it needs from the church and it’s the churches that are left to take the consequences.”