Sunday, June 03, 2007

It's like defying your bishop's call to charity; it must be right!

I still don't know what the correct immigration policy should be, but the arguments from those who want to stress enforcement continue to have the opposite of their intended effect, espicially from a Christian perspective.

I pointed out one such argument last week, now Maximos at What's Wrong With the World compares the immigration debate that had rented its facilities to another congregation, and then was told by its bishop that it could not break from the agreement even when the other congregation became belligerent because it was compelled to welcome the wayward Chirstians in charity. You should probably read the original, as my paraphrase is likely not doing justice to the original.

When confronted with an argument like this, the first temptation is to challenge how close a parallel the analogy is to the real-world situation, and then the discussion centers on the accuracy of the analogy, with suggestions that might make the analogy more appropriate, and not much gets learned about the original problem.

But the problem here is more fundamental than that.

Maximos makes the case that accommodating the other congregation would entail some hardship. He also makes the case that those in charge have acted arrogantly and with a lack of pastoral skill.

If Maximos were merely attempting to have others gain understanding of how this issue looks in the trenches, then fine. But it won't do as the perspective through which we ought to consider this issue, because that this is our Savior:



We are called to perhaps great sacrifices for charity and obedience. The woman who becomes pregnant after being raped is called to carry the baby of that rapist to term. The person with same sex attraction is called to live an entirely abstinent life. And so on.

Whether either the analogy or the immigration crisis is a legitimate case for charity is not in my competence to judge, but was not the point of the analogy anyway.

The call to obedience to our bishop, however, does apply. The Fourth Commandment calls us to obedience.

It's probably not a good sign that Maximos believes that his readers would find defiance of a bishop more palatable than defiance of the president and the federal government, but I guess that's where we are.


I should not that the analogy centers on a "Catholic or Orthodox" parish. I am unsure whether Maximos comes from an orthodox or Catholic background, and if the Orthodox tradition has the same stress on obedience that the Catholic tradition does, as one commenter pointed out.
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