Wedowee UMC hosted a discussion on House Bill 56 (Alabama’s Immigration Bill)
on September 1, 2011, at 6:00 PM
Rev. Steve Baccus writes his impression and interpretation of the meeting:
A big “thank you” goes to Rev. Russell Hestley and the congregation of First United Methodist Church in Wedowee for hosting this discussion. Rev. Hestley was intentional about setting the discussion within the context of worship with hymns and prayers to begin the session. Approximately 100 persons were in attendance. The ministers present were myself, Rev. Hestley, Rev. Malinda Jowers Weaver and her husband, Disney, and Dr. Randy Kelly. Some of those in attendance were Ken and Sarah Corson of SIFAT, as well as some other SIFAT staff members. There were a few Hispanic persons present. Attorney, Greg Varner, was present to explain the main tenants of the 150-page bill.
After hymns and prayers were offered, Mr. Varner spent about forty-five minutes explaining the bill. He informed us that this bill appears to be a “copy-cat” of Arizona’s Immigration law. The difference, in his words, is that the Alabama bill is “Arizona’s law on crack.” He stressed that this is not a conservative-liberal issue, as some media implies, but it is an issue of unconstitutionality, human rights, and the impossibility of enforcement. He told us that “self-deportation” of illegal aliens is the stated goal of the bill. Using the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan, Mr. Varner said that all the actions the Good Samaritan took in helping his beaten neighbor would be illegal in our state if this bill becomes law. As a matter of fact, the bill would make “The Good Samaritan Act” non-applicable to illegal aliens.
Many other aspects of the bill were discussed. A question and answer time followed, with many questions asked. The general feeling from all present was that this bill is out-of-touch with reality, cruel towards Hispanic persons, and hostile to the ministry of Christ and the Church.