Pastors, senators debate illegal immigration
April 19th, 2011
Lincoln, NE – The debate over illegal immigration continues in Lincoln.
Senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont continues to defend his proposal to have local law enforcement officials enforce federal immigration laws. The proposal is stuck in the Legislatureâ€™s Judiciary Committee, but it was a prominent topic in a forum sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society and the University of Nebraska Lincolnâ€™s College of Journalism and Mass Communications this week.
Dave Lux, pastor of the Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln and a critic of Janssenâ€™s proposal, invoked the Christian principle of treating your neighbor, including illegal immigrants, as you would want to be treated. Lux was asked how he would respond to those who say people ought to obey the law.
â€œPeople ought to obey the law,â€ he said, â€œbut weâ€™re talking about human law here, and obviously itâ€™s not perfect. We have a lot of bad laws. And so we consider the laws from a moral perspective. In our church, in our faith, we value humans first… humans above the law.â€
Janssen said dealing with illegal immigration is not simply a moral question.
Iâ€™m Catholic. If I were to commit a crime I could go and confess that sin and make amends with my church in that case but doesnâ€™t make amends to society. Although I would be okay in the eyes of God, I would not be okay in the eyes of Lancaster County or the state of Nebraska or wherever I committed whatever type of crime.
Janssen said the Legislature wonâ€™t deal with his proposal this year, but he vowed to keep working on the issue.