Strange Bedfellows on Immigration, Cocaine, and Campaign Finance
Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about the past week.
Social conservatives often find themselves at odds with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This week, however, many conservative political groups found themselves fighting alongside the group on immigration, campaign finance, and even sentencing for possessing crack cocaine.
On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down the most important pieces of Arizona's controversial immigration law. The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and the National Association of Evangelicals—both of which support comprehensive immigration reform—did not respond immediately to the ruling. In an interview with Fox News last week, ERLC president Richard Land called the Arizona law "a symptom" that indicated the need for reform.
"The Arizona law is a cry for help from a state that has been let down by the federal government under both Democratic and Republican administrations that has not done its job. The best way to solve the issue of the Arizona law is to pass comprehensive federal legislation that makes the Arizona legislation irrelevant," said Land.
Rod Parsley, president of the Center for Moral Clarity, said arguments in favor of the law "betray a selfish, arrogant and, at times, racist attitude that is incompatible with the Christian's command to love one's fellow man and to serve the poor among us." Still, Parsley said, "It's difficult for us to muster any outrage for the Arizona officials that wrote and passed a law that attempts to control illegal immigration (emphasis added), particularly since it complies with the federal statutes already on the books."
Faith in Public Life's Dan Nejfelt pointed to the role of evangelicals and other faith groups in Arizona. "The faith community's moral witness against this anti-immigrant bill and for comprehensive immigration reform has been consistent and powerful," said Nejfelt.
Other Christian groups supported the Arizona law.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) called the ruling "extremely disappointing." The ACLJ had filed a brief supporting Arizona, arguing that its law was constitutional because Congress gave states the right to enforce federal immigration laws.
The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer called the ruling "a monstrous display of judicial activism, arrogance, and tyranny." He warned of impending anarchy and vigilantism: "The only hope we have left for representative government to shield us against a total social meltdown is state government. Our elected representatives at the state level have the 10th Amendment right to exercise every power that is not expressly granted to the federal government in the Constitution."
"I sympathize with Arizona," said Staver. "However, Arizona cannot enter the immigration regulation business. I agree with the judge's ruling because immigration is a federal, not a state issue. The rule of law expressly set forth in the U.S. Constitution regarding immigration compels me to conclude that the Arizona law is unconstitutional."
What color is your drug law?
President Obama signed a new law that changes the sentencing for possession of crack cocaine. The punishment for possessing crack had been stronger than for possession of powder cocaine. The law has been criticized for being racist—intentionally or not—as African Americans are more likely to be arrested with crack cocaine and whites are more likely to have the powder form of the same drug.