September 22, 2007


The World Comes to Georgia, and an Old Church Adapts (WARREN ST. JOHN, 9/22/07, NY Times)

When the Rev. Phil Kitchin steps into the pulpit of the Clarkston International Bible Church on Sunday mornings, he stands eye to eye with the changing face of America. In the pews before him, alongside white-haired Southern women in their Sunday best, sit immigrants from the Philippines and Togo, refugees from war-scarred Liberia, Ethiopia and Sudan, even a convert from Afghanistan.

“Jesus said heaven is a place for people of all nations,” Mr. Kitchin likes to say. “So if you don’t like Clarkston, you won’t like heaven.”

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once noted that 11 a.m. on Sunday was the beginning of the most segregated hour of the week in America, and for the better part of 120 years, that certainly applied to this church. From 1883 until a few years ago, anyone on the pulpit would have gazed out at a congregation that was exclusively white. The church is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, a group that in 1995 renounced its racist past.

But an influx of immigrants and refugees transformed this town in a little over a decade, and in the process sparked a battle within this church over its identity and its faithfulness to the Bible, one that led it to change not just its name but its mission.

The Clarkston International Bible Church, which sits along an active freight rail line down the road from the former Ku Klux Klan bastion of Stone Mountain, is now home to parishioners from more than 15 countries. The church also houses congregations of Ethiopians, Sudanese, Liberians and French West Africans who worship separately, according to their own traditions. The church’s Sunday potluck lunch features African stews and Asian vegetable dishes alongside hot dogs, sweet tea and homemade cherry pie.

The transformation of what was long known as the Clarkston Baptist Church speaks to a broader change among other American churches. Many evangelical Christians who have long believed in spreading their religion in faraway lands have found that immigrants offer an opportunity for church work within one’s own community. And many immigrants and refugees are drawn by the warm welcome they get from the parishioners, which can stand in stark contrast to the more competitive and alienating nature of workaday America.

Indeed, evangelical churches have begun to stand out as rare centers of ethnic mixing in a country that researchers say has become more culturally fragmented, in part because of immigration.

Bush holds the record on Hispanic federal judges: Latino advocacy groups are pleased; DNC stays mum (KEN HERMAN, 9/21/07, Cox News Service)
President Bush has had more Hispanics confirmed for federal judgeships than any president in U.S. history, a record that earns him praise from Hispanic organizations but is downplayed by the Democratic National Committee.

Of the 282 Bush judicial appointees confirmed by the Senate, 27 — almost 10 percent — have been Hispanics. President Clinton held the previous record, having appointed 23 Hispanics (just over 6 percent of his 367 appointees) who won confirmation.

On New England's dairy farms, foreign workers find a home (Jenna Russell, September 22, 2007, Boston Globe)
It looks like the quintessential Vermont dairy farm, like a page out of a storybook, with its red barns, rolling green fields, and black-and-white cows. And this farm is also typical in another way: Inside the barns, the men milking cows are from Mexico and Guatemala.

Some have documents that allow them to work in this country. Others do not, said the farmer who employs them. Legal or not, he said, they have improved his life.

"Before, labor was the biggest headache we had," said the farmer, who spoke on the condition that his name and location not be published to protect the farm from investigation by immigration authorities. "Now our life is so much better."

The dairy farms that define the northern New England countryside have come to depend on foreign workers in the past five to 10 years. Farmers say they have faced a crippling shortage of Americans willing to do the physically demanding, round-the-clock job of milking cows and cleaning barns. To fill the burgeoning gap, many farms have hired workers from Mexico and Central America, who often speak little English and lack proper documents but show up on time, learn quickly, and work tirelessly, farmers say.

The nation that nativists are trying to "preserve" exists only in their heads. It's not America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2007 7:59 AM

Do you refer to that "...Nation of laws not of man?" It's the one I want preserved.

Posted by: Jim Burke at September 22, 2007 9:55 AM

No, they're trying to preserve a nation of certain men.

Posted by: oj at September 22, 2007 12:38 PM

Darn straight, Mr. Burke. This will be a wonderful country once we get rid of all the lawbreakers. Murder? no prison, exile! Speeding? no prison, exile! If you can't obey every law and regulation all the time, get out! People who aren't worried about Illegal Immigration are people who think it's ok to steal water to stop your house from burning down! They must be stopped! Laws are passed for reasons! Sometimes petty, racist, and down right evil reasons, but they must be followed blindly or it will be Chaos!

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at September 22, 2007 12:58 PM

Two of my illegal alien friends just helped me clear my fence line of blackberry bushes and overgrown shrubs. Then we set some new fence posts and tightened the fence. Finally we sat out back eating ice cream sandwiches while laughing at my beagles as they attempted to figure out a new method of escape. They're downright evil these lawbreakers. Save me Tom Tancredo before it's too late.

Posted by: Patrick H at September 22, 2007 6:14 PM

Yes, yes, exageration for effect, try not to get any of that mouth foam on your lapels. And by the way, go into battle and have the experience of reaching into a black man's thigh and pinch off the femoral artery. Then, come back and imply I'm a racist. Until then just keep frothing.

Oh yes, "some of my best friends are illegals." They're such hard working folks.

Isn't it nice you all love to have the first act these people make as Ameicans (north of the Rio Grand or past ports of entry)is to spit in the eye of the rest of us. Pat your selves on the backs and maybe laugh until the country is no more. After all, many nations are declared passe in the host's view so maybe it's the turn of USA.

Posted by: Jim Burke at September 22, 2007 6:25 PM

Mr. Burke, I don't think you are a racist, which is why I am so confused as to why you and other Republicans are so eager to act as Stormtroopers on this issue. Your complaint is that these people do not have their paperwork in order. That's it. In any ranking of policing duties it is the last thing on the list. I don't believe the country is so safe that the police should be wasting their time on so trivial a task. All your friends have broken the law. You haven't cut them off. So why is this such a sore point? Why do you hate these people more then murderers or drug dealers? I mean on a scale of 100(Charles Manson) to 1(newborn) these people are a 2 or 3 at best. Why are they even on your radar?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at September 22, 2007 7:50 PM

Here in the 9th best rural County in America, we have the greatest roofers in CA, who knows if they're "legal"?
You cannot believe the skill and artistry of the South of the Border stonemasons, are they "legal"?
Who cares?
Immigration laws, first for white Protestants only, then relaxed for white only, then relaxed for those fleeing Communism.
Let them all in, they don't want welfare, they want to work and build a better life for their progeny.
How many anti-American terrorists have "snuck" across our Southern border? A lot less than have come across from Canada or thru Dulles Airport I'd bet.
The whole NRO, Hugh Hewitt, Stupid Party Reps and Senators pack of idiots can go pack sand.

Posted by: Mike at September 22, 2007 8:55 PM

My next ancestor to obtain permission to come here from the natives will be the first. Good enough for the Judds, good enough for the Lopezs.

The nation died when we let those scummy Scots in during the 17th century. That's why America isn't one.

Posted by: oj at September 22, 2007 9:48 PM

Benjamin Franklin (1751):

And since Detachments of English from Britain sent to America, will have their Places at Home so soon supply'd and increase so largely here; why should the Palatine Boors [Germans] be suffered to swarm into our Settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to the Exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.
Which leads me to add one Remark: That the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably very small. All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased. And while we are, as I may call it, Scouring our Planet, by clearing America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a brighter Light to the Eyes of Inhabitants in mars or Venus, why should we in the Sight of Superior Beings, darken its People? why increase the Sons of Africa, by Planting them in America, where we have so fair an Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely White and Red? But perhaps I am partial to the complexion of my Country, for such Kind of Partiality is natural to Mankind.
It teaches are something about mankind that we are willing to keep making arguments that have been not only been wrong for 250 years, but which are, in each iteration, laughable within a generation. Posted by: Ibid at September 22, 2007 10:17 PM

You people are a riot. I am a registered Independent. Which means in Fla. I do not get to vote to choose the party's headliners. Judd, I'm so glad your progenitors were from from a generation without immigration controls. Both sets of my grandparents were sent through the government facilities in New York/New Jersey. Where, at least, the plague ridden were rejected. Now, they may pour across the border or through our ports and, with your aid, infect the nation. R. Mitchel please look at your rhetoric again. You say you're not calling me a racist in one breath and the very next I'm a Storm Trooper. Idiotic to say the least. I'm to take your position seriously? Perhaps you're unaware of the meaning of the phrase which was the name of the SA or Brown Shirts of the NAZI party who were the street thugs of that party of thugs. You're not getting on my good side with that sort of talk.

Posted by: Jim Burke at September 23, 2007 9:41 AM

Plague ridden Mr. Burke? It's upper class nitwits who have not gotten their children their shots.... Yes, Storm Trooper. Every totalitarian regime needs its thugs, to enforce the endless cruel, heartless laws such governments write. I don't get any sense that you would write such laws or desire them. But once they are "The Law", you and others like you in the Republican party put on your boots and start breaking down doors. That's what I am trying to understand. Why? Given the example of the Stormtroopers, who gave the answer that they were only following orders, and only enforcing the law, once they were brought to Justice, why would you choose that path? It was America who put people to death because Justice is not served by blindly following the Law. Do you think Nurenburg was a miscarriage of Justice? Please, explain it to me.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at September 23, 2007 11:11 AM

And it was people just like you who tried to keep your family out. Continuing a cycle of racial hatred is an odd way to honor those ancestors. The plague bit, which recycles Nazi-style racial hygiene arguments, is particularly repellent, though typical. And, of course, in reality nearly no one was turned away at Ellis Island. There was no plague then either.

Posted by: oj at September 23, 2007 11:57 AM

You people are a real class act. I am an American and my ancestors are dead and mean only so much to me as to have been the ones who propagated here. Plague as in TB or any of the myriad sicknesses that the folks you want here may bring, and I say may because there is no control of the influx, and they do so in all innocence.

I repeat, even though Judd and his minions keep throwing the mud, I am not racist. In addition, the criminals, e.g. M13 or whatever the moniker is, who gain access are the ones repellent to me. YOU may love them all but I don't. Just think how peaceful the nation would have been had we not had the Scotch-Irish (sarcasm on/ sarcasm off).

Mitchell junior, you're snapping in for a blown gasket. Try to read my foregoing and maybe you can ease yourself off the sauce of hyperbole. By the way, are you saying that the US was the locus of judgement at the war trials in Germany? I thought it was the United Nations. Are you going to submit to it's decisions as to what i is legal in defense of the nation? Or, will you do so only after trial by combat puts you captive to its power as befell the Germans? I'd think you should read the history of WWII to find out who was the power that conquered the Wehrmacht. I don't know if the Red Army has a successor today but I wouldn't want to meet it.

Posted by: Jim Burke at September 23, 2007 9:23 PM

Ah yes, Stalin defeated the Nazis. I think we may have a successor to the long departed Harry.

Stick around, Jim. (Though, if you want to hang out on a conservative site, maybe you should respect your ancestors a little more than simply having propogated you!)

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 24, 2007 12:07 AM

Your obsession with racial hygiene is a classic racist trope. You can demonstrate this to yourself with a rather simple thought experiment: would you be willing to admit the tens of millions of new immigrants through a new Ellis Island facility once they were checked for disease, criminal record and radical political affiliation, thus dealing with your supposed concerns?

We advocates of open immigration here support such checks, in no small part because so few would be barred by them.

Yes, the English viewed the Scots as an inferior race back in the day. Just as we see how silly that is now, so too will your grandchildren think your anti-Latino animus silly.

You already met the Red Army which is why it doesn't exist anymore, nor the Wall that held its members in.

Posted by: oj at September 24, 2007 6:05 AM

Judd, you continue to project the Nazi trope onto me. Maybe you need to examine your own conscience. Also, you’re of the opinion that only the Latin American is the focus of my concern. Not so, the Polish, Irish, Indian and ALL illegals are to be brought to book. To answer your question - yes let them in after your proposed inspection regime. If the laws are obeyed I'm satisfied.

The Red Army wasn't overcome in battle. The politicians are the only people who can loose a war without a defeat in the field.

Voth, since, as I pointed out, I'm an American, I don't have the drive to "respect" people for having provided my DNA. I respect them for their hard work, their dedication to family and all of the other attributes we admire in our fore fathers. But, Judd tries to trot them out to whip me into some sort of Japanese Shinto ancestor worship were the very invocation of the term "ancestor" is intended to send me into a kowtow to unrestricted immigration.

As a conservative, I have too much respect for the nation those progenitors bequeathed than to see it overwhelmed by a fifth column which has an agenda of active violation of law. If the law is too hard for you to obey cheerfully have it changed. But, do not suborn piracy of the protection of the law by invaders

Posted by: Jim Burke at September 24, 2007 8:03 AM

Again, Mr. Burke with the Law. If you are so upset about the Law being broken, why aren't you going after the INS? The immigration laws make it quite clear that becoming a U.S. citizen is to be timely and lacking in fees. Ten to Fifteen years to be "processed" and twenty thousand and more in "fees" is a big crime. Bust these guys and get people in there who will do the job they have sworn to do, and the little crime of bad papers will take care of itself. That's what I don't understand about you and people like you. Why do you go after this smallest of "crimes"? It doesn't show up on any moral code I can think of. What is your code that you are ok with sloth and bribery but people unwilling to wait a generation to get to work must be crushed? Not a word in your code about the vile racist quota system the immigration laws enforce?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at September 24, 2007 11:19 AM

Excellent! So we're agreed that the only problem is with a technicality that is rather easily remedied and with some grandfathering -- a la the Reagan amnesty -- there will be no illegals to fret about. Hardly worth your angst, was it?

Posted by: oj at September 24, 2007 11:25 AM

No amnesty for lawbreakers. Illegals go back and start over. I don't think of RR as the conservative deity. He was taken for a ride by the Dems on this and the Rep are happy providing cheap labor to the Chamber of Commerce.

Mitchell, going real slow try to keep up - the first act of the illegal alien in the US is to break the law. If your first act in this country is to break a law why should you be believed when you say that's the only one you'll break. As for the processing lag, well that's why we don't want socialist medicine right?

What’s your problem with the quota system? I thought we were to honor the ancestor here and that's what the quota system does.

You keep assuming the only illegals I am addressing are the Central Americans. You are not correct. I am addressing the total picture and the broad spectrum of illegals whether from Eastern Europe, the British Commmonwealth, or Asia. White, black, brown, yellow makes no difference to me wht your race and place of origin.

And, yes, again with the law. See first post.

Posted by: Jim Burke at September 24, 2007 12:45 PM

Mr. Burke, I don't understand why this is the line you draw. You are ok with the INS breaking the law? Why? The illegal alien is not breaking the law by acting. He is breaking the law only by his being here. If you dragged a sleeping man across the border, he is breaking the law. When the INS takes your money and doesn't do the job they are sworn to do, you blow it off. Lawbreaking is not the issue here for you. If it was, you would be gunning for the INS. So, what is your problem, really? Everyone who has gotten a speeding ticket has broken the law. I don't see you or anyone else marching to strip them of their license. That's what I don't understand. The lack of proportion when it comes to this issue. Speeders are committing an act that could kill someone. Illegal immigrants aren't hurting anyone when they cross the border. It's a harmless act. So why does this harmless act make so many people act like Judge Dredd? Yes, Yes, you are the Law. But why only for this issue?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at September 24, 2007 1:17 PM

Try to stay on target, Mitchell. You may drag as many re herrings as you wish across the trails of the illegals but it doesn't change a thing. I am for enforcing the law. You say other laws are broken as well? Gee, I'd a never thunk it. Burke out.

Posted by: Jim Burke at September 24, 2007 1:55 PM

Fortunately though, you've endorsed just getting rid of the law so they're not breaking it. A nice demonstration of how trivial the law was to begin with.

Posted by: oj at September 24, 2007 3:18 PM

Not honoring your ancestors, who were victims of a racist quota system, but those ancestors who felt being American too important to let asking for permission slow you down.

Posted by: oj at September 24, 2007 3:20 PM