Thursday, April 27, 2006

Immigration Division in the Religious Right?

Don't you get the sense that the media is LOVING the fact that the "Religious Right" is divded on this issue? Anyway, here's the intro to an article from the USA Today on this topic.

With bishops speaking out, clergy marching in the streets and parishes frequently acting as local organizing headquarters, the immigrant rights movement appears to have the full support of the USA's Christian communities.

But appearances can be deceiving. And in this case, they are.

Although Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant leaders are voicing strong support for undocumented immigrants, recent survey data suggest that their flocks are increasingly uneasy about immigration trends. And evangelicals are proving to be divided along ethnic lines.

"That Bush coalition of religious conservatives has some qualms" about establishing pathways to citizenship because they want stiff punishments for lawbreakers, says Luis Lugo, director of the non-partisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in Washington, D.C. "But these folks are also being cross-pressured. There is in all of these religious traditions strong emphasis on care of the immigrant. ... That's why people are conflicted."

In a March survey by Pew:

• 64% of white evangelicals agreed with the statement "Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care." That's up from 49% in December 2004.

• 56% of white Catholics agreed with the same statement, up from 44% in December 2004.

• 51% of white mainline Protestants agreed that "The growing number of newcomers from other countries threatens traditional American customs and values." In December 2004, 41% agreed.

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