The United States Senate voted on two significant bills today. As a Christian, I am dissapointed in both to some degree.
The first bill was the so-called DREAM act. This legislation would have allowed illegal immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children to become citizens. Lest anyone confuse this with some kind of blanket amnesty, there were strict conditions applied to qualify for legal status. The children who would qualify would be ones who were brought here by parents when they were under sixteen. They would have had to live in the U.S. for at least five years and have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Those meeting this requirement would then have six years to undergo a criminal background check, and either graduate from college or serve two years in the military. The bill failed on a procedural motion by a 55-41 vote. 60 votes were needed in order to ensure a filibuster by most Republicans and some Democrats could be defeated.
I am saddened for several reasons. First, how many 15 year olds (or younger) can actively defy their parents on an issue such as moving? If the parents say it is time to move, a child cannot stay behind. Those brought to this country at such a young age cannot be held accountable for the sins of their parents. For children in this situation, I would be more than happy for them to simply obtain a social security number and pay taxes like any other American. But to think, 41 senators did not think children brought here unwillingly, growing up in this culture, serving our country domestically or in the military, were unworthy to be called Americans is dissapointing to say the least.
I think our immigration laws should be enforced. Something ought to be done with those parents who willingly broke the laws; (perhaps this means a change in current law to allow them to stay here after meeting certain conditions or something else)there should be some penalty for breaking the law. But it's un-Christian and un-American to say those who have grown up here aren't Americans because of their parents.
While slightly off the subject, our immigration policy is a bit funny in light of the fact that European settlers emmigrated to this country without passports and displaced those whom we call Native Americans. I'm not arguing for large-scale amnesty. I am arguing for historical perspective. But even if you subscribe to a "round 'em up and send them home" philosophy, I cannot understand how denying American children the right to be Americans is sound policy.
The Senate also repealed the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy of the military, which will now allow gays to serve openly in the military. I do believe that sexually active homosexuals are living in grave sin. That is the historical Christian view. Thus, even though I believe strongly in civil liberties, I can't support this bill. As I have said a thousand times before, I have no animosity toward homosexuals. But I can't call their sins or my sins good, just because their/my will is inclined a certain way. I know this not necessarily a question of whether homosexuality is right or wrong, but support for the bill would be a tacit endoresement of a lifestyle choice with which I disagree.
As always, your thoughts are welcome.