This Week in God

THIS WEEK IN GOD…. First up from the God Machine this week are reactions from faith communities to the outrageous new anti-immigrant law in Arizona. As widespread as the national disappointment has been, some of the strongest criticism has come from religious leaders.

As Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signs into law today the most extreme anti-immigrant legislation in the country (SB-1070), the national and Arizona faith community are condemning it as an affront to moral conscience that will divide families and communities. The inhumane legislation demonstrates the urgent need for national political leadership to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Arizona Senate Bill 1070 tasks law enforcement with checking papers for anyone they suspect as undocumented and penalizes those who provide aid to illegal immigrants.

Below are statements on Arizona’s anti-immigrant bill from a dozen evangelical, mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders representing millions of Americans.

In Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony called the law “mean-spirited” and compared it to Nazi repression. Jim Wallis described the Arizona measure as “a social and racial sin,” a “policy of deliberate political cruelty,” and part of an effort to “wage war on the body of Christ.”

As Democrats take steps to challenge the Arizona law, it would appear they can count on support from large and influential religious institutions.

Also from the God Machine this week:

* On Capitol Hill, the Congressional Prayer Caucus (yes, there’s a Congressional Prayer Caucus) launched a new House resolution to argue that the federal government’s recognition of an official National Day of Prayer is constitutional, despite a recent federal court ruling to the contrary. The measure, H. RES. 1273, is up to 70 co-sponsors as of yesterday.

* Unhinged media personality Glenn Beck will deliver the commencement address next month at the Falwell-founded Liberty University in Virginia. Beck is a Mormon, which makes the selection a little odd, but he’s also a political radical, so he’ll probably fit right in.

* And Comedy Central’s “South Park” ignored warnings and aired an episode this week that included a representation of the Prophet Muhammad as an animated character. After an Islamic extremist site posted apparent threats to Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the NYPD stepped up security at the network’s headquarters.