Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Are the Bishops Asking?

Last Sunday at Mass the priest announced there were square little cards in the pews and he asked that everyone sign a card and turn them back in to the ushers.  Nothing like a little pressure from the pulpit!  I would have preferred he said, "Please take one, after reading it if you agree with what is said, please sign it, put a stamp on it and mail it to our representative."  (Card was already pre-addressed on the reverse side).  Below is what the card says:

Dear Representative:

I agree with the U.S. Catholic bishops that now is the time to pass just and compassionate immigration reform.  I ask that in the 113th Congress you support immigration reform that:

* Provides a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the country;
* Preserves family unity as a corner-stone of our national immigration system;
* Provides legal paths for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the United States;
* Restores due process protections to our immigration enforcement policies;
* Addresses the root causes (puch factors) of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity.

I look forward to monitoring your public position on this vital issue to our nation.
Our nation can no longer wait.

Sincerely,  ____________________________________


Let me take these points one at a time.  Immigration reform should:

* Provide a path to citizenship for those illegally in the country now, so long as they get in line behind those who have been working for citizenship legally.

* Where families have illegally migrated and had children who are legal citizens, parents should not be deported but given direction and put in line for legal status, again, behind those who have been legally participating in the immigration process.

* The United States already has a legal path for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in this country, thank you.

* Make sure due process is in place for those who have been legally seeking citizenship and those who are here illegally should not be given preference over them.

* Whereas the U.S. Catholic bishops have asked for you to address "root causes (push factors) of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity," I do not see how you could possibly affect said "root causes" as they are out of your per view.

I do look forward to watching this process unfold with reason and even compassion - but I do not want to see those who have been here illegally take precedence over those who have been working (often for years, if not decades) to immigrate legally.  If we're going to speed things up, start with those who are here legally first, THEN look at the illegal aliens (and let's stop calling them "undocumented" - they are here in violation of our laws - they are "illegals").

So, I cannot sign the card as it is written, I hope other share my sentiment and will pass THIS sentiment on to our representatives.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Savage Response to Freedom of Speech

In most cases I tend to agree with Dr. Savage!  I even agree with his sentiment on the issue I'm about to discuss - but, since he (in my humble opinion) has unjustifiably attacked the Catholic Church, as a Catholic apologist I must speak out.

On August 22, 2013, I was listening to Dr. Savage on the radio and the subject of the involvement of the Catholic Church in supporting amnesty came up.  Now, on the point of amnesty, I agree with Dr. Savage!  The Church should not be publicly supporting those who have willfully broken the laws of the United States.  That being said, is it really "the Church" taking this stand, or a few rouge bishops and/or priests?  I would like to see Dr. Savage's documentation on this.

Now, to the point which motivated this response.  Dr. Savage related that the Church's involvement in this subject was "against the law."  He compared this to the "separation of church and state," and this is where the "buffoonery" comes into play.  Normally, Dr. Savage speaks quite intelligently on such matters, but in this case he is simply wrong.  The United States Constitution makes absolutely NO reference to ANY church's RIGHT to FREE SPEECH!  The ONLY mention of "church and state" in the Constitution protects the churches, NOT the state!  The "establishment clause," as it is known by, is found in the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Note, it speaks to CONGRESS, and NOT to any church/religion!  The "free exercise thereof" includes the "freedom of speech" (in the same sentence!) of any churchman, whether from the pulpit or in a public forum, to speak out on ANY matter, even political/state matters!  In fact, if the Catholic Church would actually take a united stand in supporting certain politicians - half the "schmucks" (to use another part of Dr. Savage's vocabulary) in elected office would never have made it there and we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today!

So, while I politically disagree with anyone promoting amnesty among illegal aliens, I respect the RIGHT of anyone to SPEAK FREELY on these subjects.  Personally, I would prefer that priests stick to the Gospel and/or Epistle of the day when they preach their sermons - unless what they are preaching can be related to the readings of the day - they should refrain from such topics.  But again, there is no "law" in the Church or the Constitution or the Amendments to the Constitution which prohibits a priest (or other churchman) from preaching on ANY subject they would so desire (unless, of course, they are preaching against defined Church doctrine, but that will get them in hot water elsewhere).  The point is, a bishop or priest is quite free to speak out on matters of politics and such speaking is NOT a violation of the "establishment clause."  I was quite disappointed to hear Dr. Savage ignorantly using this argumentation typically invoked by liberals who feel threatened by any religious person speaking out in a public forum against what they believe.

As I said up front, I actually agree with Dr. Savage's position on this matter!  Amnesty for illegal aliens should NOT be considered by US lawmakers precisely because these aliens are US lawbreakers!  On this matter, I would agree with those who take the position of allowing the illegals to legitimize themselves, but not ahead of those who have been "doing it right."  If those who are in our country illegally wish to gain citizenship and/or other legal means of being in the United States, then they must get in line BEHIND those who have been OBEYING our laws.

So, while I agree that amnesty is a bad idea - I do not believe it is against the rights of ANYONE to speak out to support their own views on such matters.  We should not ignorantly, or even in bigoted fashion, attempt to dissuade individuals or even churches from THEIR exercise of freedom of speech.  Right or wrong, it is their right to speak out.  I hope this message reaches Dr. Savage, and I hope he publicly retracts his ignorant statement regarding the alleged separation of church and state matter here.

#separationofchurchandstate, @ASavageNation, #SavageNation, @SavageNation

Monday, August 12, 2013

Inland Border Patrol Checkpoints

Is it "legal" to have inland Border Patrol checkpoints?  According to the Arizona ACLU, yes - they are "legal."


Does anyone have the "right to remain silent" when stopped at a BP checkpoint?  In the video (below) we see a driver giving the "silent treatment."  Did the BP agent(s) overreact?  Skip forward to about the 11 minute mark (to save 11 minutes of just hearing the air conditioning running).

In the opinion of this writer, no, they did not.  The fact of the matter is that there are laws now which permit the BP to conduct these checkpoints.  Someone I was dialoging with on Facebook said, "It's still wrong, as wrong as Dred Scott."  Well, in the Dred Scott case, the laws were eventually changed.  That's the way the Constitution works - if there is a bad law, it gets changed.  Breaking a bad law is still breaking the law - and there are consequences, legal consequences.  

That being said, to compare this situation to Dred Scott is quite the overreaction, in my humble opinion.  Why?  Because the Scotts were deprived of virtually ALL freedom.  A BP agent merely asking, "Are you a United States citizen?" does not impinge upon your rights or freedom.  One might claim they have the "right" to not answer them - well, again, in not answering you have now given them probable cause to suspect you might be doing something illegal.  At that point, all bets are off.  Once you have gone to the "secondary interview" - it is now the BP agents who have the "right" to further inspection and/or interrogation.  Further refusal to cooperate can lead to you being legally and constitutionally detained.  I would add, your refusal to answer a simple question is actually the cause of your lack of freedom of movement.  

The Right To Remain Silent
To simply "remain silent" does not really apply here either.  I'm sure those who would like to invoke this are thinking of the Arizona v. Miranda case where an arresting officer must inform the arrestee of their "right to remain silent" and that "anything you say can and will be used against you."  When the officers are simply trying to assess "just cause" the Miranda rights have not even come into play yet.  In fact, until you are read/given your Miranda rights, anything you say prior to that cannot be used against you!  Those arguing for "the right to remain silent" have it exactly backwards here!  You can say anything you want, yes or no, and that cannot be used against you until you've been read your Miranda rights!  Now, if you answer "no" to the question about United States citizenship, well, you've just given them "probable cause" to detain you.  If you answer "yes," then unless they have MORE reasonable cause to suspect you, you will likely be on your way with very little delay.

The following video is also a bit on the silly side, watch and then read my comments:

So, by expressing their 1) knowledge of the United States Constitution, they are giving evidence of United States citizenship!  Hence, in most cases after the protestor has sufficiently spoken, he has provided enough evidence to be allowed to proceed.  2) In speaking in clear English, without a foreign accent, they are, again, providing evidence that they really do belong in the United States.  This is likely why, after the person/protestor has willfully delayed him/herself - the BP agents just let them go without further incident.  After you've talked enough, you've provided enough evidence to warrant either letting you go - or detaining you further.  

Note also the comparison to "Nazi Germany," wherein this driver (and family) are well within the 100 mile range of the Border Patrol, which according to United States law, the Border Patrol is within their "rights."  Someone driving on a roadway in proximity to the border, in the opinion of this writer, has already consented to such an interview, just as if one actually leaves the country, they are subject to interview and even inspection of personal property.  

Why Do We Have Border Patrol Checkpoints?
Well, the reason is two-fold, at least.  1) In a post-911 era, where terrorists could easily be attempting to slip across the border and have avoided actual border checkpoints - putting these further inland gives them the opportunity to observe the behavior of those driving up - and if someone quickly turns around, they've just given "probable cause" to be pursued and detained.   2) With the ever increasing problem of illegal aliens coming across putting extra burdens upon the legal citizens of this country, well, the country has a right and even responsibility to protect herself from this illegal invasion.

The Bottom Line
Just answer the question!  Especially if you ARE a United States citizen!  If you're not - you deserve to be detained.  And, if you don't like the law - work to get it changed - THAT is how our country's Constitution is supposed to work!