09 October 2016

Sermon From the Glades

[9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?]
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

Matthew 7:10 (KJV)

The people of Florida should this Sunday give thanks for Matthew 7.10.2016, that He bloweth not their residences down.

And the rest of us should ponder the serpent we have been given by the Heffalump Party, he who shall pollute the athletic center of my undergraduate institution this evening. Hopefully, he will not be grabbing his opponent where he says he usually grabs women... at least, not on camera.

Or I could just go a little Old Testament:

8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Job 4:8 (KJV)

and refrain from blaming every single registered Heffalump for the harvest of Nixon's "Southern Strategy" sown half a century past, and carefully nurtured by Reagan and his cronies. I can't really say every single registered Heffalump, because some of them — like a panel of three such appointees (two Ronald I, one George III) earlier this week — quite properly recognize problems with that snake's running mate's racial attitudes.

[Governor Pence's] brief asserts “the State’s compelling interest in protecting its residents from the well-documented threat of terrorists posing as refugees to gain entry into Western countries.” But the brief provides no evidence that Syrian terrorists are posing as refugees or that Syrian refugees have ever committed acts of terrorism in the United States. Indeed, as far as can be determined from public sources, no Syrian refugees have been arrested or prosecuted for terrorist acts or attempts in the United States. And if Syrian refugees do pose a terrorist threat, implementation of the governor’s policy would simply increase the risk of terrorism in whatever states Syrian refugees were shunted to. Federal law does not allow a governor to deport to other states immigrants he deems dangerous; rather he should communicate his fears to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

He argues that his policy of excluding Syrian refugees is based not on nationality and thus is not discriminatory, but is based solely on the threat he thinks they pose to the safety of residents of Indiana. But that’s the equivalent of his saying (not that he does say) that he wants to forbid black people to settle in Indiana not because they’re black but because he’s afraid of them, and since race is therefore not his motive he isn’t discriminating. But that of course would be racial discrimination, just as his targeting Syrian refugees is discrimination on the basis of nationality.

Exodus Refugee Immigration (Indiana) v. Michael Pence, Governor, No. [20]16–1509 (7th Cir. 03 Oct 2016) (PDF), slip op. at 5. The moderator at the VP debate on Tuesday blew it by not pressing Gov Pence on this. It came out the day before, so there was plenty of prep time for some "nightmare speculation" for which "[n]o evidence of this belief has been presented" (id., slip op. at 3). I, however, will not be forgetting about it in three years, when I expect Gov Pence will be somehow wedging himself into national politics again.

If what Judge Posner described (with acquiescence of Judges Easterbrook and Sykes, and affirming Judge Pratt) represents the mainstream of American Christianity (as Governor Pence has repeatedly proclaimed he does, and the Heffalump Party incessantly proclaims that it does), I'm glad I'm not one. And I suggest that y'all — as advocates and beneficiaries of the Southern Strategy, I'm gonna y'all you as you deserve — consider that Saul had to go to Syria before he could become a Christian. After which he arguably fit the definition of "Syrian" at issue today in this case...