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September 14, 2009

After 'You lie!' Prayers to end 'hateful rhetoric'

A week after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress, faith leaders will gather in Washington on Tuesday to pray for an “end to hateful rhetoric that creates a toxic environment for immigrant families.”

Participating in the vigil outside the Capitol will be Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, who chairs the Committee on Immigration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Bishop Prince Singh of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, N.Y.; Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church and Dale Schwartz of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

They are to be joined by Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.).

From the release:

On September 15th and 16th, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – a designated Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – will be in Washington for their annual lobby day and “radio row,” where an estimated 47 extremist radio talk show hosts will broadcast live from DC. In response to the divisive rhetoric and extreme anti-immigrant agenda of FAIR, leading faith leaders will gather in prayer to recall the humanity and dignity of immigrants, and the need for policies that will uphold our nation’s best values, not its worst instincts.

While we’re on the subject: With his outburst, Wilson was challenging Obama’s assertion that “the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.” Was Wilson correct? According to the nonpartisan fact-checking operation Politifact, no.

When we look at all of this evidence, it seems that health reform leaves in place the status quo on illegal immigration, and certainly does not provide any new benefits particularly for illegal immigrants.

And finally, the Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, a liberal Catholic, had an interesting take on the Wilson affair in Monday’s newspaper:

Obama sandwiched [his assertion that the reforms wouldn’t apply to illegal immigrants] between his knockdowns of two other claims about his health reform plan: the ludicrous charge that it would create those death panels, and the accusation, also false, that it would promote abortions. In fact, the administration is negotiating very hard with pro-lifers to make the bill "neutral" on abortion.

The president included the line about illegal immigrants because he thought, probably correctly, that for many voters, it would be a deal-breaker if they learned that his health proposals would help those who broke the law to come to this country.

Yet it should bother us a lot more than it does that alleged plans to kill off seniors and promote abortion are spoken of in almost the same breath as the matter of delivering health care to fellow human beings, however they arrived on our shores.

Dionne concludes:

… I am not at all at peace with the fact that the one issue about which a member of Congress chose to rise up and accuse our president of being a liar related to the charge that our chief executive wasn't doing enough to build walls between illegal immigrants and health coverage.

How mean-spirited will we allow ourselves to become? How coarsened has our political culture made us? We like to see ourselves as a generous, caring and welcoming nation. Are we losing that part of our character?

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 11:30 AM | | Comments (33)


Rep. Joe Wilson conduct was inexcusable. That being said to say that illegals wouldn't benefit is a lie. Without any enforcement provisions there is no way the President can say that they won't. PolitiFact admits they would be able to participate in the public option. That option will be offering low rate coverage subsidized by the government. To pretend that pricing will cover the cost of coverage is another lie. Without enforcement provisions iillegals will receive coverage under the public option/. So while his outburst was wrong what Rep Wilson said was correct.

If these bishops and faith leaders had wanted an end to "hateful rhetoric" they should have spoken out in 2006, when illegals crammed into our streets, disrespected our flag and screamed rude, racist epithets at "pilgrims" i.e. European-Americans. Funny, "hateful rhetoric" didn't seem to bother them when it came from THEIR side of the debate. What goes around comes around.

Sad that the church would embrace and advocate for millions of law breaking illegal aliens. How bout preaching to them about following the immigration laws?

I am appalled that Catholic Bishops, Bishop the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, N.Y.; the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society have refused to enroll all illegal aliens onto their health insurance rolls at their expense. It is clear that they are "mean spirited" and hypocrites.

Good for religious leaders! It's time to draw a clear moral barrier against hate. While I have a different view from these religious leaders on immigration I was disgusted learn the following about the Federation for American Immigration Reform:

• FAIR sponsored advertising campaigns with John Vinson’s American Immigration Control Foundation (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Vinson is an advisor to the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens).

• FAIR solicited and received over $1.2 million from the white supremacist Pioneer Fund, a foundation that has a history of promoting the genetic superiority of white, European-Americans. The Pioneer Fund uses its financial largesse to fund groups who promote “race-betterment” – a controversial theory that claims there is a biologically-caused IQ difference between white and non-white people.

• In response to public concern and confusion about FAIR’s solicitation of funding from the Pioneer Fund, FAIR president Dan Stein has been quoted as saying, “I don’t give a shit what they do with their money, my job is to get every dime of Pioneer’s money,” according to an article published by The Progressive in 1993.

• Two of FAIR’s former staffers have been associated with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the reconstituted, segregationist White Citizens’ Councils. FAIR’s former western field representative, Rick Oltman, is also listed as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

• In 1997, FAIR (along with other extremist anti-immigrant groups) published an advertisement in the Citizens Informer, the flagship publication of Council of Conservative Citizens, to recruit supporters to attend its events.

• FAIR founder John Tanton works closely with Wayne Lutton to edit his publication, The Social Contract. Lutton is also a Board of Director for the Charles Martel Society, an anti-Semitic organization that publishes the Occidental Quarterly.

Shame on anyone who defends FAIR!



Darryl, tell us another one. I find it very difficult to believe you are against illegal immigration as you claim. Your "talking points" and smear of FAIR are straight from the open borders/La Raza playbook.

Immigrants =/= Illegal Immigrants...

Oh, here comes the Catholic church again. Joe Wilson was right! I would agree that he was a little out of place to prove his point, but he did say he was sorry. I believe him to be sincere, so let's move on!

Illegal aliens get FREE health care now! Imagine that! You are in this Country ILLEGALLY and you get FREE health care.

Illegal aliens have made America the dumping ground for all their illegal alien children, then we have to school them and give them free medical care.

I for one, am sick and tired of these ILLEGAL ALIENS snubbing their nose at our immigration laws and the many other laws of this Country. If our Federal Government can not ENFORCE our immigration laws, and get these ILLEGAL ALIENS out of this Country, then let the States do it! One way or another, an end has to come to this illegal immigration, and not with AMNESTY! Amnesty will only encourage more ILLEGAL ALIENS to invade our Country and reward those who broke our laws and raped the American taxpayer in many ways...depressing our wages, taking our jobs, overwhelming our schools with their ILLEGAL ALIEN children, driving without a license or car insurance, all the crime from stolen identities to rape, drugs and everything else.

It's time for ZERO TOLERENCE with these ILLEGAL ALIENS. It's time for them get out of this Country and back in their own Country where they belong. When we get rid of the ILLEGAL ALIENS, we will get rid of all the problems that go with them. THAT IS A FACT!

I suggest the Catholic Church pray for a safe return home for these ILLEGAL ALIENS!

Mary J. Like the majority of FAIR supporters you attempt to ignore the issue at hand. Regardless of the where the facts originate are the true or false?

Regardless of one's stand on immigration (and no you obviously don't know my stance) do you believe an organization like this should be associated with us?

This is not about me. But the next time I decide to hold a gathering in D.C. you are welcome to question my views more closely.


Of all the Immigration enforcements laws that really works E-Verify has settled in to removing illegal immigrants from the workplace. But there is a "Sunset Provision" that could determine its future, since it’s specially working for the millions of jobless Americans? Supposedly E-Verification expires on September 30, only days after a Federal judge turned down a desperate delay from the despicable Special interest lobbyists led by the US Chamber of Commerce. On September 8 E-Verify, a contingency of the SAVE ACT was fully implemented mandating that all federal contractors and sub-contractors--MUST--use this computerized identification system.
The American people must understand their is tremendous pressure on anemic members of both political parties to dismantle, store or hinder the E-Verify process as they are the puppets of rich business enterprises. Then Rep. JOE WILSON R-NC) opened the proverbial humongous can of worms in the full house chamber.

We must endeavor to continue on raising our voices against the powerful forces that think nothing more than to destroy this valuable commodity called E-Verify. Overtime it will rid from every workplaces of millions of illegal workers, who think they are safe from government intervention. It will save billions of dollars being exported to other lands and sever the tolerant welfare programs, health care, education accessed by illegal low wage earners. E-Verify could introduced in all medical facilities, to check a persons national identity. The expedited message will spread and these lawbreakers will realize that it's fruitless to keep on applying for jobs. Eventually families will start to pack-up and depart for every corner of the earth. But it's up to the American voter to keep relentlessly calling the Washington switchboard 202-224-3121contacting their politicians.

Evaluate each lawmaker at NUMBERSUSA or JUDICIAL WATCH and command them to enforce E-Verify permanently. Not Voluntary for every business, but a mandatory addition for each employer. Fulfill their obligation to build the fence according to Rep. Duncan Hunter R-CA. Keep training the regular police according to the Federal 287 G directive,. Not to Rescind the No Match letter or desist ICE raids or weaken any other enforcement law, such as the 1986 Immigration Control & Reform Act. Fed's should restrict SANCTUARY CITY & STATE policies. NOW IT'S UP TO YOU? STARTLING WEBSITE! GOOGLE---IMMIGRATIONCOUNTERS.

MaryJ - that makes too much sense. I'm sorry, you need to be censored.

Why shouldnt the Catholic church support more rights for immigrants? More Hispanics in the country means more Catholics in the country. Maybe the church can pay for their health care.

Clay if you really are the Christian you claim to be then why make such an obvious rude mean spirited comment? Unlike you I’m not going to make generalizations about Baptists. I will repeat a question you asked me. Are you trying to help or hurt God's kingdom?

It’s posts like the one you just made that make one question if you really are the Christian you claim to be, or a fraud looking to stir the pot.

I think its important to create a path for people to become legalized. Whether we appreciate it or not, undocumented labor has kept food prices low. We have in effect taken advantage of them to improve our lifestyles.

On health care, its important for all people to have access to health care.

I think its important for hospitals to be reimbursed for the care they provide to the uninsured, whether unemployed or undocumented.

The economic policies promoted by the U.S. have wreaked havoc on Mexico. Government subsidized corn grown in the U.S. has been sold in Mexico at low prices undermining the price of corn grown by Mexican farmers. This policy alone has displaced over a million Mexican farmers. We need to realize we played a part in undermining their ability to earn a living wage in their homeland.

I think its ashame that people simply seeking to earn a living, resort to crossing the border in the desert, rather than be allowed the dignity of applying for a visa to enter safely through an official border crossing.

There seems to be a shortage of visas for the unskilled laborers and too long a wait for those seeking to reunite with family through the legal means of immigration.

As a devout Catholic, I am ashamed to see that a Catholic bishop is involved. How ludicrous!!! Instead of supporting illegal aliens they should be spending time/money on attracting moral men to the priesthood.
What about the hateful/lying comments by Democrats??? Where were these "religious" leaders before?

I personally think he should have said "You sir dissemble with out even realizing it., and here is why..." He should have been more professional and stated it in an appropriate forum. This is just politics, saying it is horrible and racist is like saying your ignorant, trite and have an agenda that includes labeling people as racist who clearly are not. Anyone who says this is a racist comment should summarily ignored to oblivion. Don't hate the man, hate the policies and the agenda. Believe me there is enough reason to be incensed at most politicians without bringing race into it. Obama is a very intelligent confused President. Hopefully he will start bringing his polices down to earth and start realizing you can't spend your way out of a crisis. I didn't vote for him, but fully support him since he is the President and represents the will of the people. I just don't support his policies. There is a difference and that is what makes this country great. I would show him all the respect he has earned as President and still tell him to his face very politely that I don't agree with him. Racism has absolutely nothing to do with it. I felt the same way about President Clinton. Again anyone who thinks this was a racist remark needs to do some serious reflection and stop using the race card. If that is the only argument you can present, you automatically have lost the argument, because it is not an argument, rather it is a cop out, a plea for attention, a last ditch cry to the ignorant that you want to win but have no valid platform to stand upon, for only the ignorant would fall for such a call. Try adding instead to the discourse with information that is as factual as you can make it. Only reason, logic, and sanity belong in our political discourse, perhaps a dash of humor and humility do as well.

It is a sad fact that Mr Wilson had the audacity to disrepect the President of the US.This disrespect is also an insult to all citizens and noncitizens who appreciciate what our President is doing as the chief executive of our great nation.Let us pray for our president that he will continue to use godly wisdom to rule our nation.

Paul's letter to the Romans 13 states:
1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

Why do these church leaders continue to encourage breaking the law? For economic gain --

Mr. wilson, I think you should be considerig going back to school to learn on how to respect the president, because you need it so bad.

I agree with Mary Kuenning Gross. Allowing immigrant documented or otherwise, to pay into our health system and have access to health care is the humane thing to do. It's also the safest and most cost effective. by allowing everyone to pay their fair share in and then receive preventative health care, our whole community's health benefits and, with each added enrolee, our system becomes cheaper for all.

I agree it was not the correct place or time, but he has a right to say what he feels. We all do. Free speech is part of what makes our country great. And why is everyone so up in arms? Someone threw a shoe at Bush and a certain group of people had a party, but you don't dare mess with the first half African -American president. How many steps are there between the House's "rebuke" and re-education? Should the government tell us how to look at things or define right and wrong? And what is the church doing getting in on this mess?

If there is a God I hope he or she has taken refuge in constellation Capricornus numerous light years away from these prayers. Let Joe Wilson hurl invectives. In the British Parliament members do it all the time. President Obama is no wilting flower. The man is a class A politician--he can take it--he needs no Catholic prayers and Joe Wilson needs no absolution. As for the illegals they are hard working men and women who do the jobs no one is prepared to do in high faluting America. The folks already here are resting on their laurels, taking their freedoms for granted, registering to vote but regretting they registered when they are called to jury duty, looking for disability, looking for early retirement, looking for entitlements, looking for prozac, Adderall, zoloft, pot, meth, oxycontin--joy riding at 180 miles per hour across state highways without helmets on two wheelers, drunk while driving, on the loose like panthers--holding up banks, invading homes, prowling with concealed weapons, driving by and shooting--just because someone is legal does not mean someone is bearable or productive or lovable or likable--does mean the person is contributing a dome's worth to the country and just because someone is illegal doesn't mean the person has not contributed. Many of the guys fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are Hispanics who are non citizens some legal and others illegal--the army recruits foreign mercenaries because enough US citizens don't enlist to serve--but apparently they do blog to vilify illegals and protect their own tiny green turfs from competition.

I pray all the illegal aliens will go home and make their countries better. Our government is broke. Quit asking for handouts.

From September 16, 12.06 Anonymous--when I wrote "does mean the person is contributing a dime's worth..." I meant "does not mean the person is contributing a dime's worth" and that is true--legal does not mean useful citizen to America.

n8whit, you should call yourself n1twit or simply twit will do.

Wilson was correct: Obama lied. Obama is a lawyer and knows how to carefully choose his words so that, technically, it may appear he is correct, but in effect, he is not. The bill effectively does nothing to stop illegals from getting health care handouts. The Dems (before the "Wilson incident") refused to explicitly put items in the bill ensuring illegals would not get covered at taxpayer expense.

The same is true about abortion: the Dems refused and voted down measures that would ensure abortion was not covered by the reform. So, in effect, abortion would be covered.

The same is true about the government option removing all private competition. Obama loves to say that the gov't option would not replace your existing health plan. However, he full well knows that by requiring everyone to be covered, the cheapest option (gov't option) would be selected, effectively putting out of business, eventually, all excellent private coverage.

Obama knows the truth. Obama is deliberately misrepresenting the truth by omitting to state the full picture. You can lie by commission or omission (by leaving facts out of what you say).

Obama is guilty of lying by omissions. But the end result is the same as lying by commission: he has misled the people. He is, in fact, a liar.

Obama wants health care for all the people that he feels that he represents the most, the poor and the lower working class. How about allowing those who he resents the most to choose what health care they want or already have and pay for? Like I said in another blog, the churches could take care of the poor if everyone gave enough to the churches. With this president, I cant see that one happening either. Thanks.

Truth haters are the people who call a lie the truth. They call good bad, and bad good. This is the diabolical nature of evil. Selfishness can appear to be good works except the motivation is clear to people who love the truth and are willing to embrace it.

Truth haters are driven by feelings, not objective truth. The feeling they are most driven by is fear. America was founded by people who were motivated by faith, not fear.

"Truth haters are the people who call a lie the truth"

Since both sides have lied in this debate I guess they all qualify as truth haters.

Clay you are ignorant--Obama, much to my chagrin, has continued the Bush faith based initiative. Go look it up.

No, Obama has grudgingly continued the Faith Based Initiative after looking around the corner to see if anyone was looking. I guess he somehow figured it would help Muslims.

"Obama, much to my chagrin, has continued the Bush faith based initiative"

What a travesty we certainly don't want those fanatical religious groups helping people by proving social services. We should have the government do it all at a higher cost.

Crying Racism is always the last refuge of a scoundrel when the facts cannot be refuted. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Report released on September 4, 2009:

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations – Unemployment Rate = 15.6%
Construction and extraction occupations – Unemployment Rate = 17.0%
Production occupations – Unemployment Rate = 15.1%
Transportation, material moving occupations – Unemployment Rate = 11.8%
Service occupations – Unemployment Rate = 10.0%

Total Unemployed Citizens and Legal Residents of the USA = 14,928,000

In addition:

Persons who currently want a job but are not included in the unemployment figures because they have not looked for a job in the last month = 5,609,000

Estimated number of Illegal Immigrants working in the USA = 7,500,000


Management, professional, and related occupations – Unemployment Rate = 5.4%

Those who claim that Illegal Immigrants are “just doing jobs that Citizens and Legal Residents will not do” cannot justify such claims in the face of the real statistics. So instead of accepting the fact the Americans are being severely hurt by people breaking the law, they try to make it all about race. Can those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of others really have the requisite moral authority to judge the motives of anyone?

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About Matthew Hay Brown
Matthew Hay Brown writes and blogs about faith and values in public and private life for The Baltimore Sun. A former Washington correspondent for the newspaper, he has long written about the intersection of religion and politics. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, traveling most recently to Syria and Jordan to write about the Iraqi refugee crisis.

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