Once upon a time, a group of oppressed, mostly European settlers managed to cross a vast ocean in wooden sailing vessels, emigrating to a strange and exciting new continent. Though many of them were deists, men and women who believed in an ethical god, with no official religion, they all agreed that they would generally abide by precepts in a "book" called the "Bible," most likely a version named after "King James." The book was divided into two "testaments", the first or "old" testament authored and dedicated by a people called "Jews" or "Israelites." The second or "new" testament was dedicated to a later prophet called "Jesus," whom many followers considered a "messiah," or literally "the anointed one" and eventually a form of god. In Greek, "messiah" is "Christ" and so most of Jesus' "followers" were eventually called "Christians."
Initially, as with all new religions, early "believers" in "Christianity" had to convert from their previous religion to the new one. Inherent in the "conversion" to the new religion were various words and vows, essentially agreeing to accept certain miraculous or hard-to-believe principles as facts. In addition, a looser contract was supposed to be executed, one in which the "believer" was to follow the moral precepts detailed in the two testaments, deferring to the newer one if there were any disagreements. In this sense, the new religion was not that different from many other religions. Most people eagerly accepted and participated in the new or borrowed rituals while the leaders of the "faith" polished and embellished the religious facade to an extent never before achieved. Unfortunately, as with most religions, converts found it extremely difficult to follow the precepts of a "perfect" man or god and successive generations began to fail even more miserably to do so.
Thus our European immigrants, despite their best efforts to include the moral precepts of the two testaments, encountered serious disagreements within both texts. Issues such as possession of slaves, murder by the state, feeding and tending to the poor, imperialism, giving succor and shelter to those fleeing affliction, soon became a major headache to these "patriots" in their attempt to create the perfect democratic republic. In time, despite their admirable attempts at a "perfect union," their efforts resulted, instead, in what was probably the most perfect union possibly attainable by imperfect, however well-meaning, people.
In a way, nothing has changed. Today, Vice President Mike Pence, a truly gentle soul and a practicing Christian, asked his audience to pray ostensibly for the success of his administration and the ultimate good of the country. He would have us pray that his locally empowered immigration enforcers would be able to separate as many illegally working mothers as possible from their children and to prevent as many of their fathers as possible from supporting them. I can guarantee that Mr. Pence, like so many otherwise sincere Christians, has had to constantly train himself to ignore his religious teachings and substitute rituals and tithes for Jesus' compassion. How long do Republican stalwarts really think it would take Jesus to solve this monumental, "fake" problem of illegal immigrants currently in this country?
I do not believe it would take the Christian Messiah long to peruse the poorly detailed and biased statistics pro and con regarding the overall impact of illegal aliens on our economy. Conservative think tanks downplay the need in so many states for unskilled workers who perform tasks that would not be filled by legal workers. They also ignore taxes collected by government agencies, including Medicare and Social Security payments that these people will never collect. They point to welfare checks that so many "so-called" recipients don't really receive and to Medicaid that so many do not actually receive unless they are pregnant. Liberals ignore the fact that if the majority of illegals are automatically made "legal," all of a sudden they would be eligible for billions of dollars in welfare. They ignore the billions of dollars sent by workers out of the country to Mexico. They ignore the fact that so many illegals use our emergency rooms for their primary physician, though by a lower percentage than our legal citizens. What neither side can effectively calculate is how much these illegal, but mostly working inhabitants, contribute to the gross national product. I would guess that the figure runs into the multiple hundreds of billions of dollars.
No, I don't think it would take Jesus very long, with compassion and superior intelligence, to suggest some standing for some ten or eleven million people to be able to stay in this country if their records are relatively clean, to give them some sort of intermediate status, fines and applications for citizenship. The country won't collapse because of a bunch of hard-working family-oriented inhabitants. As usual, the problem with Congress is not something new. Both parties are abjectly ignorant, bordering on stupid at times, and unable to write coherent laws. And, Mr. Pence, do I need to remind you, who profess to be a devout Christian, that the families your party is proudly destroying are almost all your own Christian brethren?
Al Finkelstein, 2/23/17