Faith Leaders Target Alabama's Immigration Bill With Ad

By Matt Hildreth 04-04-2012

Yesterday, a diverse group of faith leaders in Alabama released a television ad targeting Alabama's HB 56 -- the worst anti-immigrant law in the country.

The 30-second ad features Rev. Steve Jones, senior pastor at Southside Baptist Church in Birmingham.

''We believe in reaching out and ministering to our community. Yet under Alabama's immigration law, we could be prosecuted for following God's call to be good Samaritans,” Jones says in the ad.


Almost immediately, state senator and strong supporter of the law Scott Beason (R-17th District) shot back saying that he thinks Jones and some members of the Faith Leaders group ''are clearly confused" about what's in the law.

''There's nothing that keeps them from ministering to anybody. They just can't simply be helping someone remain in the state illegally, which is already against federal law,'' he said. 

As it's written, under HB 56, it is a crime to "conceal or harbor an illegal immigrant.”  To lawmakers like Beason, that means it is illegal to provide rent or transportation for an undocumented immigrants.

But clearly the confusion is with Beason’s understanding of ministry. So much for Biblical teachings like Zechariah 7:9-10:

 “This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor.”

Matt Hildreth, a former Sojourners staff member and intern, works as an online organizer with America's Voice.

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