Blessed is the Law—Up to a Point

A gentle challenge—and invitation—to the critics of our recent immigration editorial.

We expected a fair amount of criticism for portraying sympathetically the plight of immigrants in "Blessed are the Courageous." We did not expect one complaint to be repeated in nearly every email:

Your article "Blessed Are the Courageous" misses the point. People, regardless of their beliefs, nationality, good or bad are illegal if they do not follow the law to enter the country. If we are a nation where the rule of law is supreme, then it is wrong to only obey the laws we believe in, and disobey those we don't.

Since nearly every critic expressed this exact sentiment, we thought some clarifications were in order, as well as a challenge for our law-and-order brothers and sisters. While legislation has been temporarily scuttled, we nonetheless want to encourage conversation about issues surrounding immigration.

On the one hand, as the editorial noted, "respect for law is non-negotiable." We do not admire Maria and others for breaking the law, but for the courage, fortitude, and faith they evidence as they make their way into the U.S. We admire them in the same way nearly everyone admires Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Even if some might repudiate his participation in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, even if they believe he was deeply mistaken and unethical to do so, they still admire his willingness to courageously risk his life to stop great evil.

Undocumented workers are here illegally. It may not be politically correct to call them "illegal aliens," but in fact, they are. It is deeply regrettable that they have broken the laws of our land. We recognize that a society cannot enjoy justice or freedom if laws are regularly flouted. But this does not take away from the fact that it takes courage, perseverance, and faith to get here. ...

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