Does A Immigration Enforcement Law Make It A Crime To Follow God’s Command To Be Good Samaritans?
Earlier this summer the state of Alabama enacted a new immigration enforcement law considered the toughest in the nation. Opposition has been vast and vocal, and legal challenges have flowed in from the ACLU, the Justice Department, and now four local religious leaders.
An Episcopal bishop, a Methodist bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop and bishop, all based in Alabama, sued on the basis that the new statute violated their right to free exercise of religion, arguing that it would “make it a crime to follow God’s command to be Good Samaritans.”
The law makes it a crime to transport, harbor or rent property to people who are known to be in the country illegally, and it renders any contracts with illegal immigrants null. To some church leaders — who say they will not be able to give people rides, invite them to worship services or perform marriages and baptisms — the law essentially criminalizes basic parts of Christian ministry.
Does this new law violate Alabama citizens’ religious freedom? Why or why not?
It is ever a dangerous thing for governments to draft and pass legislation that renders any social service illegal to some select minority. Humanity, legally in the country or not, demands a respectful and dignified treatment of their very real creature needs.