When Pope Benedict visited the US, he called on Americans to continue our great tradition of welcoming immigrants to our shores: “to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrows and trials and to help them flourish in their new home.”
Unfortunately, some Republicans have let their zeal for enforcement of the rule of law, including in the area of immigration with which I agree, become an unjust, un-Christian, and downright un-American animus against immigrants. Period. To wit, one Rep, Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, who took the occasion of the Pope’s remarks on hospitality to attack the Church.
The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial, quotes Tancredo’s foolish remark:
Mr. Tancredo’s response was to accuse the pontiff of “faith-based marketing” and claim that “the pope’s immigration comments may have less to do with spreading the gospel than they do about recruiting new members of the church.”
Tancredo is no doubt referring to the Pew Forum study that found that the Catholic Church in the US is growing only because Catholic immigrants are flooding our shores. CNN anchor Lou Dobb’s shares Tancredo’s impulses and also attacked the Pope for “insulting” Americans: “I really don’t appreciate the bad manners of a guest telling me in this country and my fellow citizens what to do.”
The Pope simply lives up to the Gospel message that we are to be welcoming to the stranger in our midst and extols our American credo and history of welcoming the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and that’s bad manners and an insult? No, the bad manners comes from those who let themselves be blinded by ideology, insult a welcomed and honored guest, and twist an American value into something it is not.
To repeat: I agree we need to enforce the immigrations laws to secure our borders, to elevate the rule of law, and to end the exploitation of illegal aliens by criminals and unscrupulous employers that results. But a blanket anti-immigrant ideology harboring a deep well of anti-Catholicism is just unacceptable.