Alabama immigration law un-Christian, say church leaders

The Takeaway

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In June Alabama passed one of the toughest immigration laws in the country, and it’s set to go into effect on September 1. Among other things, the law makes it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride in a vehicle, and to hire undocumented workers.

The law has already been met with opposition from farmers and contractors, and now church leaders are vocally expressing their opposition. A group of 150 of these leaders signed an open letter saying they intend to break the law, saying it interferes with their mission as Christians.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, bishops from several churches have filed a lawsuit, arguing the law would, “make it a crime to follow God’s command to be Good Samaritans.”

Rev. Matt Lacey is a pastor at Woodlawn Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He explained on The Takeaway how the law violates the concept of the good Samaritan and impedes him from operating programs such as a food pantry.

“There’s a really consistent theme in the gospels, and throughout the Bible, and that’s welcoming a stranger, offering a stranger hospitality,” Rev. Lacey said. “And we feel that this law is just far too harsh to accomplish anything around the issue of illegal immigration and goes against the gospel.”

State Senator Bill Holtzclaw, who supports the law, says he wants churches and pastors to help elected officials “refine” the immigration process.


“The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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