Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Demonizing Those Who Believe in Enforcing the Law

A few years back, I read something about the Unitarian Univeralist "church." Since I was raised in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, the last home of English scientist and discoverer of oxygen Joseph Priestley, himself an Unitarian (I drove past the church just this weekend on a visit), I became curious about the church and its tenets, so I "googled" the term. Came up with a few sites, too.

But when I finally hit the button "What we believe," I couldn't get the page to load. Maybe it was a glitch, but the more I learned about this "church," the more I became convinced that it wouldn't load because this "church" has no standards.

When I got home after the Great Grandparent Tour of Ought-Five, I had a pile of newspapers to read. Opened Sunday's Potomac News, and read this gem:

Unworthy of print

I picked up my paper this morning and found on the editorial page a letter labeled "It's still not right," by Sandi Teets.

In that piece, Ms. Teets writes that "putting all the illegal Hispanics in internment camps" is "not a bad idea."

I am mortified that a responsible newspaper would find it appropriate to print such a hopelessly hateful and irresponsible comment. The editorial page is not designed for hate mongering. It is designed for responsible public discourse, and a call for the internment of human beings, even one meant in some twisted sense of jest, is quite far from a contribution to responsible discourse.

There are boundaries, even on the editorial page, and the printing of that comment crossed them. Throughout modern history, powerful nations have sought to answer the question of the "other" by rounding them up, denying them basic human rights, and forgetting even the most foundational of moral and religious responsibilities, the responsibility to love your neighbor as yourself. How could it possibly be appropriate to make light of that?

Ms. Teets joke, if it was intended as such, is not funny. If it was an offhand comment, it was also horribly insensitive, and in either case it should never have been printed.

Let's not drag our public discourse down this far in the future.

Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd

Bull Run Unitarian Universalist Church, Manassas

Of course, the Rev. Teets wasn't only in the Potomac News on Sunday. Seems she was also written about in Sunday's Washington Post. It was a very interesting article about how she was to perform the service "marrying" two men.

Now, never mind the biblical teachings on homosexuality, which the Rev. Ladd chooses to ignore. And never mind that this practitioner of religious liberty --- liberated even from religious teachings --- apparently likes censorship of ideas with which she disagrees. But what's her complaint? That a citizen dares to express the notion that interning lawbreakers is a "good idea."

Either the Rev. Ladd is an idiot, or she just doesn't understand. Given both her letter and the Post's stories, probably both.

There is, of course, the alternative to interning illegal aliens, i.e., jailing them for violating the law. One can only imagine the condemnation of the writer whom the Rev. Ladd savages had she suggested that very reasonable alternative. It's hardly "hate-mongering" to suggest a course less severe than imprisonment to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. Of course, it's not like the Rev. Ladd actually makes an argument explaining why "internment" is "hate mongering" or "denying them basic human rights." She just wields the word like a club, without recognizing that internment is a far less onerous --- perhaps far less appropriate, too --- approach to dealing with these lawbreakers.

It's an interesting juxtaposition, given today's news about the fatwa issued by Pat Robertson against Hugo Chavez. I wonder how many guardians of the "wall of separation" will be leaping to Sandi Teets' defense against the Rev. Ladd.


Steven said...

Good post.

I've been called the 'devil-dog' due to the Blue Dog Tale illegal immigrant columns.

No doubt, it's those 'free speech' radicals again.

~ the blue dog

Anyone home, McFly? said...

"discoverer of oxygen Joseph Priestley" -- two things wrong with this statement:

Wasn't the first human to take a breath the "discoverer" of oxygen?

Didn't Joseph Priestley play Brandon Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210?

James Young said...

Funny, McFly.

And wasn't that Jason Priestley?