Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Pope, Politics and Immigration

The Pope's visit highlighted how different the secular and sacred are. The media seemed honestly perplexed at how to cover the event, most seemed to relegate the visit to the political (because the assertion of the self is always a will-to- power, right?). Some articles contrasted his dogmatic positions with his personal humility (as if piety and orthodoxy are inherently antithetical). Most of the news stories just didn't understand what to think of someone taking their faith seriously.

Of the offenders, none were worse than Lou Dobbs and Congressman Tancredo. An opinioned response in the Wall Street Journal, today, brilliantly illuminated and allayed the controversy:

That 'Insulting' Pope'
It's not everyday that a backbencher in Congress draws international attention by insulting the spiritual leader of one in four Americans. But Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo, the anti-immigrant obsessive, wasn't about to miss his moment.

Pope Benedict XVI called on U.S. bishops last week to "continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hope, to support them in their sorrows and trials and to help them flourish in their new home."

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." Mr. Tancredo - who sports T-shirt that read "America Is Full" - also cited a March 1 Wall Street Journal editorial to support this argument. The editorial concerned a new Pew servery on religion in the U.S. and noted that in recent decades the Catholic Church has been losing members among the native born but gaining them among the foreign born. "We'd encourage our friends on the right who want to limit immigration to consider the health of the Church," we wrote.

Our point, evidently missed by the Congressman, was that the U.S. Catholic Church has traditionally been an immigrant church, helping to settle and assimilated generations of Irish, Polish and Italian newcomers. The pope made a similar argument during his visit last week in separate remarks to U.S. educators. "Countless dedicated religious sisters, brothers, and priest together with selfless parents have, through Catholic schools, helped generations of immigrants to rise from poverty and take their place in mainstream society," he said.

To Lou Dobbs, another Tancredo-like compulsive, all of this amounted to the pope, "insulting our country." The CNN anchor said, "I really don't appreciate the bad manners of a guest to tell me in this country and my fellow citizens what to do." You know the restrictionists have gone head-first into the fever swamps when they denounce a Christian religious leaders for sounding like a Christian.
The pope welcomes immigrants because he's Catholic, not because they are. He isn't "marketing" his faith. He practicing it.

1 comment:

Hellernot said...

I was somewhat shocked that the MSM didnt do a whole lot of "right wing religous extremist" and kind of left him alone.
I wonder why?