In true Orwellian style, the Religious Left, guided by an ACORN ally, is campaigning to suppress the “I-Word,” i.e. the “illegal” in “illegal immigration.” Essentially, much of the Religious Left does not believe any immigration should be “illegal,” hence the naughtiness of even saying the word.
The Capitol Hill-based United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race (GCRR) is one leading enthusiast for the “Drop the I-Word” campaign. It does not want anyone referred to as illegal. And it surmises that anyone who does use the “I” word, or is seriously concerned about illegal immigration, is likely racist. After all, what other motive could there be for not supporting complete open borders and all of the anarchy that would ensue?
In its “tool kit” for the “Drop the I-Word” struggle, GCRR explains that it wants to “denounce and oppose the rise of xenophobic, racist, and violent reactions against migrants in the United States, and to support all efforts to build relationships between people, instead of building walls, between diverse ethnicities and cultures.” Key to this crusade is the demand to “eliminate the racially derogatory term, ‘illegal’ as part of the conversation on immigration reform within the church and public discourse and stop using the term ‘illegals’ and its derivatives.”
Revealingly, the GCRR “tool kit” does not specifically emphasize any acceptable alternative language for “illegal” because in fact it does not want any immigration to be illegal. The mere whisper of border guards, or visas, or regulation of who may enter the country is motivated by hate and must be banished. Essentially, the “I-Word” is becoming part of unacceptable “hate speech.” But a question and answer section of the GCRR website does reluctantly suggest that “undocumented” might be acceptable for persons euphemistically “out of status,” though surely even this more benign term would eventually become politically incorrect. Maybe “special guests” would be more welcoming.
Graciously, the GCRR is inviting repentant sinners to sign a pledge of no more “I-Word,” much as remorseful drunks once signed temperance pledge cards. This modern pledge solemnly warns that the forbidden word “creates an environment of hate by exploiting racial fear and economic anxiety, creating an easy scapegoat for complex issues, and OK-ing violence against those labeled with the word.” So, malefactors who still mouth this profanity are even facilitating “violence” against immigrants. Pledge makers commit to “eliminate the racially derogatory term, ‘illegals,’ from use within the church, popular usage and public discourse and for choosing instead to use language that affirms the inherent worth of all people in the eyes of God.”
The GCRR anti-“I-Word” tool kit includes Bible studies as polemical tools for liberalized immigration polemics. Sophomorically, these studies make no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants and liken them all to biblical “sojourners” and “strangers,” to whom the ancient Hebrews were admonished to offer justice and hospitality. Of course, there’s no biblical evidence that God commanded the Hebrews to maintain an open borders policy, or that all “sojourners” were the equivalent of today’s illegal immigrants. One Bible study insists: “We are no longer divided by our race or sex, our education or immigration status. We are united by faith in Christ.” Yes, that is true for the voluntary community of faith known as The Church. The Religious Left often likes to conflate The Church with the civil state, since for the Religious Left, which exchanges theology for politics, there really is no special distinction. But more traditional believers understand that The Church, as a spiritual body, offers its ministry to all persons who seek it, while the civil state is divinely ordained to protect its people and borders, and to punish lawbreakers. The Church is universal. Nation states decidedly are not. But the Religious Left wishes otherwise, of course.
On board with the GCRR anti-“I-Word” campaign is the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, the denomination’s official lobby office on Capitol Hill. In a recent commentary, a spokesman likens opposition to illegal immigration to the Pharisees who wanted to stone the adulteress in the Gospel story. The hard-hearted are committed to defining people based on “one act they committed,” he bemoans. Aren’t we all sinners, he implores. Reluctantly he grants that perhaps illegals should be called “undocumented.” But he prefers the term “beloved.”
Yes, all persons are loved by God, according to Christianity. But Christianity has never taught that governments stop enforcing the law based on this principle. Civil law, when just, is understood to be an extension of divine love and grace. Anarchy does not exemplify love. And a United States with no immigration restrictions, offering all benefits and rights of citizenship automatically to all who desire them, would eventually cease to be a place where immigrants would want to come. The United States already accepts 1 million legal immigrants annually; surely the world’s, and history’s, most generous immigration policy. But the Religious Left, with its own usual absence of grace, and conviction that America is chronically a Scrooge, insists that all skeptics of illegal immigration are bigots.
Unsurprisingly, the seeming mastermind behind the “Drop the I-Word” campaign, as GCRR cites, is the far-left, New York-based Applied Research Center, which is an ally of the now-discredited and largely defunct far-left ACORN. This Applied Research Center, which backs open borders and environmental extremism among other causes, recently hosted a conference featuring Van Jones, former green jobs advisor to President Obama, who was fired after exposure of his links to 9-11 “truthers,” along with his once having boasted of being a “communist.” Jones now works for the liberal Center for American Progress. So the “Drop the I-Word” drive did not originate with a church, but with a secular, hard-left ACORN style pressure group interested not in the Gospel but in political power. As GCRR helpfully explained, “ARC’s national outreach offers an opportunity to connect the United Methodist Church to new audiences.” New indeed.
The “Drop the I-Word” campaign is the perfect initiative for the hard-left. In totalitarian fashion, it shuns clarity and instead seeks to manipulate language to silence dissent and exclusively to privilege one controlling political perspective. Church members who are funding lobby groups like the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, rather than dropping the “I-Word,” might instead drop their support for morally empty church agencies.