Monday, April 24, 2006

Immigration and Divided Baptists?

Southern Baptists are divided over immigration. That is a breathless announcement in today's The Tennessean.

The evidence presented of said Baptist division involves comments made by the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Richard Land that the denomination's members are "offended" at the Bush administration's failure to enforce immigration laws at about the same time that the denomination's North American Mission Board was giving an award to a minister starting churches in the United States reaching out to Hispanics, including illegal immigrants. The article seemingly overreaches, as it would be likely that Land would not consider his remarks to be inconsistent with the notion that those who are here should be ministered to.

Nonetheless, it is not surprising that Baptists would be divided over immigration (they manage to divide over nearly everything), as the issue divides nearly every other group in the country that considers it. While a hard line on immigration is widely thought of as a Republican position, it is shared by numerous on the left, particularly those connected with the labor movement. Republican disagreement has been more pronounced due to the fact that it has the duty to govern, and Democrats in the minority have shown no inclination to prove that they would be capable of fulfilling that duty.

Nonetheless, one wonders if Land should be claiming to speak for an entire denomination on a complex and multi-faceted issue.

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