Saturday, March 19, 2011

Translation of Immigration Satire

Apparently some actually thought I was expressing my actual opinions in my immigration satire the other day.  I chose satire because it has an effect that argument does not.  It was meant to be funny--although I also understand that sometimes humor hits a little too close to home.  I have no doubt but that Mike Delph and his supporters are not idiots like I portrayed in this piece.  If Hoosiers are really illiterate and small minded, then I am too--I was born here and have worked here for the last 14 years.

The satire meant to expose--potentially, if the shoe fit--the hidden motivations and inconsistencies of the heart.  Often what we say are our reasons, are not our real reasons, and we don't always even realize it.  The other nice thing about humorous satire is that it does not require accuracy.  For example, I recognize that illegal immigration is a problem that should be addressed.  If you were to stereotype my actual positions as the opposite extreme to the satire, for example, you would be wrong.

So let me be more literal.  Let me translate the satire for those who actually believed I was expressing my real opinions.

First, Jesus is my Christ, my Lord, my king.  The last point was meant to show precisely how unChrist-like I think the current trend toward foreigners in America is, a xenophobia aggravated by 9-11 and typical of wartime periods.  This paragraph was absolutely not my feeling--it was exactly the opposite of my feeling.  Why do it, you say?  Why say such vile things?  Because I wanted to express in stark terms exactly what these attitudes represent in relation to Christ and the Bible.  They are as un-Christian as the attitudes in the satire, a slap in the face to Christ and the Bible.  Sometimes Christians adopt such positions without even realizing it and this paragraph was meant to be a wake-up call.

The "rule of law" argument will bear some weight.  There is no point in having laws against coming into the country illegally if they are meaningless.  However, we make the laws.  The rule of law is not some Platonic ideal.  And Delph wants to make more.  To oppose Delph's laws is not to oppose the rule of law, for they are not the rule of law now. He is wanting to add laws.  And was Reagan going against the rule of law when he made a path for citizenship in the 80s?  Apparently not, since it was done legally.

Even more to the point, why now, why this motivation to kick people out unceremoniously?  I don't think anyone could give me a good reason other than majority fear.  I strongly suspect that most of the nice sounding words here is nothing but smokescreen, hiding darkness.  Let's be honest.  This is not about Hungarians.  It's about people from Mexico.  They're not terrorists.  They're not here to break into our houses.  Again, it's all smokescreen.

I've never quite understood the fervor of the "speak our language" argument.  Maybe it's because I like to learn the languages of other people.  Maybe it's because I like to travel to other places and learn their way of life.  Sure, visitors are going to have to learn some English to do well here.  Probably someone should have to speak a fair amount of English to be a US citizen.  But I have yet to hear a convincing argument that the kind of legislation we're talking about here is anything other than "sticking it to them."

So there you have it.  Schenck in translation.  Should I apologize for writing a piece of rhetoric that was so effective that it really ticked some people off?  No, I should not.  Should I apologize for standing up for a people group that is currently oppressed in America, like Jesus did 2000 years ago?  Absolutely not--in no uncertain terms! 

I will apologize if anyone felt hated by what I posted.  And I will apologize to those don't get satire and actually thought I was serious.  That's why there was a smiley face at the beginning. ;-)  Those who actually know me, know that I was laughing the whole time I wrote the piece.  I'm sorry if some of you only saw a scowl.


::athada:: said...

Perfect love drives out fear. Bravo for exposing our paranoia.

FrGregACCA said...

For at least thirty years, as American productivity has soared, the income of at least 90% of us has stagnated or even fallen while the income - and wealth - of the top 10%, and especially the top 2%, has increased dramatically.

Those responsible for this, however, are not immigrants, legal or illegal, nor are they Welfare recipients or poor people in general. We are being conditioned to blame the wrong people.

Mike Gantt said...

My favorite line in your post:

"First, Jesus is my Christ, my Lord, my king."

(Maybe there's no need to go to whatever's second.)

FrGregACCA said...

Mike: embracing Jesus as one's Christ, one's Lord, and one's King must have practical, existential implications or it is meaningless. See, for example, Matthew 7:21-23 or James 1:27 and all of James Chapter 2, especially 2:14-16.

Ken Schenck said...

I didn't take Mike's comment negatively, Greg. Whether positive or negative, certainly he is right about the most important thing.

JRS said...

A word fitly spoken!

FrGregACCA said...

I didn't take it negatively either, Ken. Just sayin.

(In the First Century, proclaiming that "Jesus is Lord" and that "there is one Lord" had distinct political implications: "Jesus is Lord; there is one Lord; therefore, Caesar is not."

Today, that same message, which is good news to the poor, the oppressed, the prisoners still has political implications, but they are not nearly as clear in each and every instance as they were c. 65 CE.)

JohnM said...


First of all let me say I'm amazed when people don't get obvious satire.

I understood the point and mostly I didn't find that much to disagree with. I hope I'm not missing something about the immigration issue that should concern me more.

However, I note with some puzzelment your comment - "Sure, visitors are going to have to learn some English to do well here." Well, for one thing we're not talking about visitors, so I'm not sure what you meant. If you mean permanent immigrants, the thing is we're kind of making it so they DON'T have to learn English to do well here. The degree to which we accomodate Spanish speaking immigrants is unlike anything we've done for any other immigrant group. The reasons of course have to do with money and politics. I'm afraid the result may well be a country divided between a Spanish speaking population and everybody else. Such a division wouldn't be a good thing for anyone. I hope I'm wrong and it doesn't happen that way.

FrGregACCA said...

Actually, JohnM, you may wish to recheck your information regarding languages. The United States has always been a multi-lingual nation even while English has also been the dominant language.

One specific example: in Butte, Montana, in the early 20th Century, safety signs in the big cooper mine there were printed in 13 different languages!

JohnM said...


Yes the United States has always had an immigrant population and I hope always will have. However, it's a pretty good guess that none of the descendants of those miners are still speaking their great-grandparents language soley or primarily. No one expected they would or should.

FrGregACCA said...

And, JohnM, regardless of the influx of other Spanish-speaking immigrants, studies consistently demonstrate that the same thing happens with Spanish-speakers, generally beginning with the second generation.

JohnM said...


".. with the second generation."
I hope so, and I hope we do nothing that makes it less likely to continue to be that way. That's all I'm saying.