The widely reported story of an illegal immigrant LDS missionary being detained has caused quite a ruckus among Mormons (though some coverage is probably sensationalistic hyperbole). What’s not exaggerated, however, is how polarizing this one event seems to be. It’s drawing stark differences out of the woodwork: apparently, either you’re seeing this as an opportunity to justify an open-borders agenda, or you’re a jingoistic bigot who wonders why the Church is going astray.
In a post on the subject last week, I left a comment that summarized my stand:
My conservative political principles dictate that I should be anti-illegal immigration, and I basically am–it has numerous negative consequences, and the twelfth Article of Faith has something to say about the rule of law.
That being said, if I’m going to expect my faithful, liberal friends to reject the socially immoral aspects that are attached to the left as they pursue their vision for how government should work, I certainly also need to be willing to modify my hardline stances when the Church is going in a different direction. As linked above, that seems to be the case here. So, since loyalty to the Church is a higher priority than political positions, I’m open to ideas for immigration reform.
Besides, as I showed on my own blog recently, the mass infusion of good Hispanic people into the United States may well be in fulfillment of Book of Mormon prophecy. If so, it would seem to be a good trend to get behind.
In another thread, though, one commenter actually called out the First Presidency for apostasy:
They have done so, in an underhanded and deceptive way no less. They have, AFTER THE FACT, had Sen Bennett change the law AFTER they got caught in Elberta hiring illegal aliens. Even the supervisor was an illegal! They have gone to state legislators with requests to kill bills regarding illegal immigration – while at the same time publicly, loudly, proclaiming that they don’t get involved in politics.
What concerns me most of all is that we are being asked to sustain these leaders when we KNOW they are in need of serious repentance in their own lives. Why we continue to do so is what baffles me.
That’s just ridiculous. If the Church is true, then it’s true. It’s all true. Even the stuff that might seem hard to swallow at first. Yes, I wish those whose politics differ from mine would address more seriously the security need to have a solid, enforced border, but the Church’s fairly hands-off policy on this issue is hardly a ringing endorsement for either side. I think we can still reasonably prefer and even work for a more secure border and still be within the bounds of the Church’s apparent desire for “compassion” towards the illegal immigrants.
But make no mistake about it: hypothetically, if the Church were to announce tomorrow that we are now all expected to be tax-and-spend, bleeding heart, big government liberal activists, I’d go out and change my party registration by the end of the day. If it’s true, it’s all true, and everything else falls into place.
In 2008, many church members had their loyalty tested by our position on gay marriage and Proposition 8 in California. In 2009, will the other side of the political aisle be required to pass this test of priorities, and affirm the Church’s right not to actively take action against illegal immigrants?