The Common Good

Hundreds Protest Alabama Immigration Law

Hundreds of Alabamians gathered at the state Capitol grounds after their legislators passed HB 658, a harsher version of now infamous anti-immigrant HB56.

HB658 calls for the creation of an online public database to expose individuals’ identities. The database would list the names of all undocumented immigrants who have appeared in court. In addition, the law targets innocent children by requiring schools to check the immigration status of students. It is both reckless and morally indefensible.

The Montgomery Advisor reports:

“The fight isn’t about just immigration, Benard Simelton, president of the NAACP Alabama State Conference stated in a news release… ‘it’s about judging people on the color of their skin instead of the content of their heart. This is not the kind of law we want in Alabama, this is not who we are. We are one family, one Alabama marching together for justice.’”

Rev. Tommy Morgan, pastor of Grace Christian Church in Helena, Ala., and friend of Sojourners, gave these remarks:

  It is an honor to walk with the children of God.

  Today, I speak as a Christian with love and respect to people of all faiths.

As people of faith, we are called to each other; to feel with them; to care for them; to touch them and be touched by them. God calls us together as one creation, one family. To our faiths, hospitality is commanded; hospitality not just to those we know, rather to all those the Creator would have us know. We gather today accepting this to be a divine truth.

To you, my family, take heart and be encouraged, not because God is on our side, but because we seek always to be on the side of God. When we honor His word and commandments we live in obedience. And in that obedience lives hope, patience and love. Hope is our ally, patience our virtue and love for one another our mark of obedience to God.

If you grow weary in your struggle against the injustices of HB56 and HB658, rest peacefully for a while. Know that your family will continue the struggle for one Alabama while you rest. Today, we marched from the Capitol to the Governor’s house. And with your help in the days ahead, we will gather 56,000 signatures in opposition to HB56 and HB658.

To Governor Bentley and the men and women of the legislature I pray you hear this:

When power clouds the hearts and minds of men and women of God, they may create laws out of fear and loathing for the stranger among them, and in so doing, deny the God they profess with their tongues. HB56 and HB658, signed into law by you, Governor Bentley, are laws created in fear and loathing. These laws make criminals of children, deny dignity and humane treatment to the strangers among us, and call on people of faith to turn their backs on the word and commandments of God.

To the descendants of Jacob, God said, “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, because you do not fear me.”

Governor Bentley, we love the Lord and honor His word and commandments. We are one family, one Alabama. And it shall not be said of us that we did not give food to the hungry; that we did not give water to the thirsty; or that we did not invite the stranger in! As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!

May the love of God the Father and the peace of Jesus the Son be with each of you. Amen.

James Colten is Campaigns Assistant at Sojourners. Follow James on Twitter @JamesColten.

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