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A letter to Kentucky legislators concerning SB6

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was welcomed to Louisville with open arms when we relocated our national offices. Since that time the church has become an important part of the business and faith communities. The recent immigration legislation passed by Kentucky’s Senate and set to be introduced in House of Representatives would negatively impact our worshipping communities and the people they serve. Because of this, Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, and Linda Valentine, Executive Director of the General Assembly Mission Council, released a letter to Kentucky legislators.

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  1. I certainly endorse "a community that sees past a person's immigration status to see the face of God;" and am certainly opposed to legislation that "is counter to the Gospel of Jesus Christ." However, I fear that this letter also runs a bit counter to the Gospel by using it as an economic threat.

    by Gregg

    April 7, 2011

  2. after reading this letter and seeing that they might be threatening the Kentucky legislature, i not question rather or not i want to be a part of this church again. The people at my church DO NOT AGREE with the problem of illegal immigration and while we know the leaders of the church and others think its a federal issue, and in most respects it is, the states also have state constitutions that say they must protect the people of the state, and if enforcing laws regarding illegal immigrants then that is the states rights to do so.. i seem to remember there is a passage in the good book that says all God's people must obey the laws of the land. illegal immigration is not a law of the land. its a crime. and it does not care the color of ones skin, where they came from or anything else.

    by james

    March 8, 2011

  3. As I read this letter, the PCUSA is not advocating the disobedience of a law, but asking the state of Kentucky to not pass a law that cannot be obeyed by people of conscience.

    by Charles Clauss, Elder, Harundale PC

    March 6, 2011

  4. I would add three more comments to my earlier post: 1. Did the authors consider the "chilling effect" that would be caused by the loss of jobs and incomes in these communities resulting from their threatened action? 2. The letter identifies the purpose of the church as "the hands and body of Christ, called to minister to, and be a house of worship for all God's people." The purpose of the church is to minister to individuals and communities. The purpose of government is to uphold the laws. State governments are being forced to deal with the ineffectiveness of the federal government, though sometimes in imperfect ways. The Presbyterian leadership appears to think threatening the Kentucky Legislature is the most productive means of expressing their opinion. If the legislature threatened the church in an effort to change one of their policies, I imagine we would hear howls of moral indignation. 3. How arrogant is the leadership to believe they have the credibility to influence the legislature when they do not have their house in order. They pay great attention to political matters, but cannot impact the declining membership and support within their own organization.

    by Nominal Member

    February 22, 2011

  5. PCUSA leadership wants the Kentucky legislature to ignore Federal law. In applying this kind of pressure to the legislature, they are overstepping the bounds of "separation of church and state". I doubt they'll really move. Consider the cost to the cash-strapped Church (cost of finding a new site, cost of moving, changing all the stationery, &c.) - such a move would break their bank, and would push even more local churches over the brink, past the point of exasperation, and into the arms of other, more rational, bodies. Mr Parsons and Ms Valentine would be well advised to render a little more unto Caesar, and pay more attention to the motes in their eyes.

    by Mike Zorn

    February 20, 2011

  6. One of the main reasons I have stopped attending the Presbyterian Church and supporting it financially is the focus on political activism. I agree there is an important place for social conscience and action in the reformed church. However, every time you turn around the leadership is releasing a statement on political issues, threatening to take property that has been paid for by members and now they find it is necessary for a proper reformed christian church to threaten state legislatures. I think you can tell a great deal more by the methods used by the leadership than through the content of their statements and letters. I actually agree with some, but certainly not all of the positions taken by "the church." On the current subject, I have even knowingly hired illegal immigrants (though I am not one of those "wealthy employers" mentioned in an earlier post), and helped them get established in a community I lived in some years ago. So, I am not anti-immigrant. But if I wanted to support a political action committee, the Presbyterian Church would not be the first place I'd look. My time and treasure for this? I think not.

    by Nominal Member

    February 16, 2011

  7. Bruce, why presume that the letter was really on behalf of the PCUSA membership? Maybe from the HQ office, but not from the membership's view, with few exceptions I believe. But I respect your view. Thank you for your courage? What takes real courage, Bruce, is not writing a letter and (at least appearing to) pontificate from Louisville to Frankfort's legislature in a directly threatening tone. That's not a dialogue or courageous. Anyone can do that. Real courage means preaching the gospel and that we're all LOST without hope unless God saves us from our sinful condition. And, God does not love and accept our sinful lifestyles. Why continue to continue fuzzy statements implying the church can / shouldn't agree on much? More squishy dialogue trying to prevent the inevitable, that the PCUSA still represents two views on God and the church that eventually can by definition NOT walk together, regardless of our earnest desire toward polite interaction? The people in the elitist camp continue to feed one another's egos about their super-importance and further encourage a culture of belief among themselves that somehow they're "protecting" all the lost causes and so much more enlightened than more-conservative Christians. It's arrogance, pure and simple, that drives such folks to make a living by focusing more on denominational machinery than being ministers of the Gospel. Ron Central Illinois

    by Ron

    February 16, 2011

  8. Wow. Yet another example of why the PCUSA continues to lose members, attendees, and respect in our community. Rather than focus on the gospel and obeying the rule of civil laws which do not conflict with excercising one's faith, the leftist agenda continues to hail from the banks of the Ohio River. How sad that a once great, and diverse within Christian orthodoxy, denomination continues its sad decline. How many phone calls were made? Did anyone go to Frankfort from the PCUSA? Was a discussion performed, with pros / cons? Also, preaching the gospel doesn't appear high on the ruling minority's list. The arrogance of the "Christian" left and belittlement of those "backwoods" believers that still believe Jesus and the Bible continue toward winning converts in spite of such tactics. The PCUSA can evaporate and no one other than the caring people left in the pews will notice.

    by Ron

    February 14, 2011

  9. We Americans always have welcomed immigrants. It is not asking too much, however, to expect that those who enter our borders do so legally as others before them have done. No one has given a reasonable explanation as to why those who are here illegally now should be an exception. If Latinos are not required to obey our laws, why should Africans, Asians, Indians, or others be required to obey them? No nation can long survive when its people obey its laws only when they like them. Any nation is healthier to the degree that an ever growing number of its people live as law abiding citizens. I welcome immigrants. My forebears were immigrants. It is not asking too much, however, to insist that today's immigrants also enter our country legally!

    by G. Daniel McCall ( Rev. Dr., PC(USA) Minister )

    February 13, 2011

  10. Thanks you to Linda and Gradye for having the courage to write this letter on our behalf. There will ALWAYS be folks who disagree, so we each mush walk in the ways that Christ calls us. While I am not sure that there is is much that the ENTIRE church should or can agree on, our commitment to be faithful to God's calling on our lives is one of them. Peace, Bruce

    by Bruce Reyes-Chow

    February 8, 2011

  11. Stunning amount of bad theology and misrepresentation of the facts by the anti-immigrant posters here. The "violation of the law" we are talking about is a misdemeanor, its a fact, you can look it up. Using a violation of a misdemeanor, especially when the wealth employers are given a pass in our culture, as an excuse to destroy their families, punish their childern, and justify racist treatment of non-whites, reflects no Christian teaching I can find. Apparently the repeated and unambiguous call by Jesus for justice, isn't very important to some people. Christians are to follow Christ not the law.

    by Grumpy Elder

    February 7, 2011

  12. Another example of why people are leaving the PCUSA in droves. It does NOT speak for the majority of its members.

    by Thomas R. Mooney

    January 24, 2011

  13. Respectfully, in my humble opinion the Reformed Tradition encourages involvement in every aspect of life, including political (as in government) advocacy. Certainly Calvin did. The church serves as a conscience for society. The church got involved in politics in Nazi Germany, Apartheid South Africa, Jim Crow U.S. south and other places where injustices toward a certain group of people because of their race or status were "legalized" by oppressive governments. Just because a law exists does not mean it is moral or congruent with the gospel. Plus our polity is representative and the church leadership has the right to speak out especially when our highest body, the General Assembly, has given their approval or blessing through statements or policy. I appreciate this conversation. It is not right to see God's people singled out for wanting to get a better job and feed their family and secure a future for their children...just like probably our ancestors did way back when there was no need for "papers" to enter this country... ;-) Blessings.

    by Rev. Tony Aja

    January 24, 2011

  14. I don't believe it is appropriate for our denomination to take this stance. I strongly agree with Judy, in that the letter is not supportive of obeying our laws. We can, and should, work to change laws through the process, but we should also live in subjection to our authorities (Rom 13.1). Let's be an example of God's love, and not one of controversy.

    by John

    January 21, 2011

  15. I agree completely with Judy's comment. The PCUSA's letter misses the significant distinction between welcoming all to worship and share in the word of God and advocating and assisting with the violation of the immigration laws of the country. Many Presbyterians have views regarding how to improve the system, and our political system provides for advocacy and representation as individuals. A "correct" view on the part of the PCUSA seems to be devisive and takes away from what, I would think, should be our mission: to spread the Word of God and reverse our declining membership.

    by Mike

    January 20, 2011

  16. I agree with Judy(1/17/11). The permissiveness and lack of accountability perpetrated by some leaders in our church is not supported by many members setting in the pews. Unfortunately many are expressing themselves by leaving the church. Must I follow?

    by Robert

    January 20, 2011

  17. The action taken by the PCUSA in the letter to Kentucky (2011) is one of the most important statement to come from the PCUSA in recent years. I personally want to thank Rev. Gradye Parsons (Stated Clerk) and Linda Valentine, (Ex. Director, GA Mission Council) for their leadership and wisdom in taking a stand against the legislation now being considered in Kentucky. The GA's decision is based, as it should be, on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. May the grace and peace of Christ be with you. Respectively, Robert Moore (Retired Mission Co-Worker).

    by robert moore

    January 18, 2011

  18. I have grown up in the Presbyterian church, married in the church and raised my children there. I always felt that the church was part of the founding of America. Now, however, I am not sure. We are a nation of laws. We should have sympathy for those who do wrong but we should not encourage them to do so or encourage them to continue in that path. It is found nowhere in the bible to do so. I am so sorry that my church is following that path. I do not support it and am not sure I can sit in a church that does.

    by Judy

    January 17, 2011

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