Border Control sign in California

Border Control sign in California Public domain

Last week, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy gave the cold shoulder to the Obama administration’s request that he make the state’s residential facility at Southbury available for temporarily housing one to two thousand migrant children from Central America. Various technical reasons were provided to the feds by Patrick M. O’Brien, the assistant director of the Office of Policy and Management’s Bureau of Assets Management, but he let the cat out of the bag when he wrote, “Any new and significant activity at Southbury would be intensively scrutinized by a multitude of interest groups and organizations.”

Malloy, you see, is in a tough reelection fight this year, which means leaving no interest group behind.

“That was a pretty quick, ‘no,’ amigo,” wrote NPR talk show host Colin McEnroe in his normally humorous Sunday column in the Hartford Courant. After excoriating Malloy for not caring about kids as real as the children gunned down in Newtown, whom the governor has featured in a campaign ad touting his response, McEnroe turned to his readers.

Whom do you listen to, when it comes to moral choices? Jesus? If it’s Jesus, you’re sunk. There is nobody in history more unambiguously clear about our obligations to the poor and vulnerable…And if you’re any kind of spiritual person, you pretty much have to see these kids as a postcard from God.”

On Tuesday, the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, which includes the archdiocese of Hartford and an array of other religious organizations, protested the governor’s decision. On Wednesday, Malloy let it be known that he’d spent an hour on the phone with Obama Administration officials discussing the situation and was looking into another state-owned facility as potential housing for the migrants.

Could it be that religious considerations changed the political calculus in the governor’s office?

For my money, the outcry to care for the child migrants is the most hopeful development in spiritual politics in America in many a long year. It’s not a case of the usual suspects arrayed in the familiar adversarial positions. Here we’ve got Catholic and Jew, evangelical and mainline Protestant, left and right, all advocating as one on behalf of perhaps the least disputable of Judeo-Christian values.

Most impressive are leaders on the religious right, who (you might say) have turned their attention from the abomination in Leviticus 20:13 to the injunction in Leviticus 19:33-34: “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

It’s one thing for religious folks to join with Latino groups and the labor movement in a state like Connecticut to turn a Democratic governor around. The real question is whether the evangelical leaders have any clout with the Republicans in state houses and the U.S. House of Representatives. I have my doubts but hope springs eternal.

Categories: Politics

Beliefs:

Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

4 Comments

  1. Chaplain Martin

    Thank you for bringing this story to our attention. The scripture references not only were appropriate but are so overlooked by many Old Testament quoting fundamentalist and Republicans.
    Every time I have viewed the angry, sign carrying crowd, turning back the buses of the children who were sent to the United States in hope for a better life for them, my thoughts go back to the “Freedom Riders” being met with similar angry crowds in the 60’s.

  2. WAKE UP AMERICA!

    Since 2012 President Obama Gave ACORN Replacement $644,000,000—for Illegal Aliens!

    Read the rest at http://theconservativetreehouse.com, by Sundance.

    For the past two years Barack the First has given $644,000,000 of your money to one private organization for the purpose of being the nanny for young illegal aliens the Administration has imported into this nation. While the group uses a religion in its name, this group has turned over kids to sex traffic people, worked with cartels and MS13. As part of their work, they give foreign kids to people in the United States—many, themselves, illegal aliens, almost NO background check on those given children and almost no background check on their clients—given to them by the White House.

    “They are taxpayer funded corporations who exist almost exclusively on government grants. Despite the words “Baptist” and “Catholic”, these are NOT religious “faith based” groups. The name Baptist and Catholic is only to give the appearance of “religion” and add a dose of “charity” to the appearances. We recently stumbled upon Mr. Kevin Dinnin when we were looking around for the primary recipients’ of HHS Grants and we came upon the 2012 tax filings of BCFS, or more accurately BCFS EMD where Kevin Dinnin is the principal officer and CEO. Paid at an annual salary of $477,799+” You should sacrifice a few minutes to read the documents, evidence and facts, that this administration doesn’t want you to see?

    Enough is enough. President Obama thinks he is above the law, able to end-run anyone he wants and change our laws simply by signing another Executive Order. He promised “fundamental change” and what he did was fundamentally destroy everything from our economy and jobs to our health care to our immigration system that was never broken—just not enforced, and even our families who have suffered immensely under his dominant reign. Help us remove him from office then Support the National Tea Party.

    Have you had enough? Stop Big Brother and this Imperial President from controlling every aspect of our lives. No more spying, targeting conservatives, persecuting the innocent or rewarding those in the administration who commit criminal acts—like Luis Lerner, Eric Holder and Madam Clinton. We can put an end to it once and for all by showing your patriotism. You can be certain the tens of millions of TEA PARTY members that we will nail lawmakers to the wall until they do something about these continuing scandals. Will you support our efforts to save America from the most destructive force she’s ever known?

    We need to alert millions of people about his betrayal and deceit. Help us get the word out across America and expose America’s Fraud President! What is Congress waiting for? Why haven’t they impeached Obama? It’s up to us to increase the pressure and force their hand. Since Obama took office ‘We the People’ have been subjected to gross misconduct ranging from a consistent outpouring of lies of treason and extreme abuse of power and gross violations of our Constitution. Save our country—IMPEACH OBAMA!

    Our most at-risk populations—our parents and grandparents—all senior citizens, as well as cancer patients and the terminally ill—have lost their insurance plans and their doctors. Illegal Aliens should not get any benefits, but this is yet another lie. Obamacare is an unconstitutional disgrace with deadly consequences. Demand Congress stops the death sentence. Check this site that has the phone Numbers and Mailing Addresses of Members of Congress at: www.contactingthecongress/ to demand an end to illegal immigration and the dismantling of our military, which is our lifeblood against our enemies.

    We must Block amnesty for illegal aliens, which is entirely up to us—grassroots America—the little helpless citizens. You can also get alternative—NO SPIN– news about issues at One-America cable TV News http:/www.oann.com/ and TeaPartypatriots.org. You might also like to try (AliPac) http://www.alipac.us

  3. No, I’d say the “turnaround” was due to political pressure from the left. Dem candidates seem to think running away from issues like this and things like the ACA are good ideas. They’re finding out differently, but at the expense of losing, in the process, the respect of the voters they are so eager to court. Yes, I’ll still vote for the Dem over the Republican but to say I”m dissappointed with many of the Dem candidates is an understatement When and if he ever runs for an office where there is a true Progressive candidate opposing him he can feel secure in the knowledge that because of his actions, or should I say inactions as Govenor, that he has lost my vote for any future office. in many of these races. A good example of that is here in Co. where our supposedly Dem incumbent Govenor often sides with the Republicans on issues such as fracking. I’ll vote for him over the totally insane Republican candidate but it is with the full knowledge that it is only because he isn’t fully on board with destroying our state like the Republican candidate is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.