Current Affairs

Sweet Home, Alabama?

Last August, I wrote a post “What’s Happening in Alabama?” In that post I drew attention to proposed legislation that would make every citizen and every police officer in Alabama an immigration official. In short, it would make it illegal to do business with someone who is undocumented. (Pay them, drive them somewhere, rent a house to them, sell them groceries, etc.)

I ended this post with this statement:

Please tell me I’m misunderstanding what this law is about? It seems to me that this is segregation all over again.

And I heard predictable pushback. I was educated that Alabama was not the state it was in the 1960s. And I was told that Alabama is a democracy and the people have a right to pass laws which the people support. And I was told that illegal immigrants were stealing jobs from Alabamans who were unemployed. And that there was an exploding population of illegals from Mexico and something had to be done.

Most importantly, I was told that I was blowing this out of proportion. Those things would never really happen.

My favorite comments were from people who told me– a guy who lives 10 miles from Mexico and in a neighborhood where 70% of my neighbors are of Hispanic origin– that more illegal Mexicans in Alabama are dangerous to the people of Alabama and Alabama needs to protect itself. (4% of Alabama residents are Hispanic, by the way.)

So the law passed and went into effect in October. (Alabama HB 56And the unintended consequences began. 

You need to listen to this week’s episode of This American Life, You Reap What You Sow. I actually think it should be mandated that every Alabama resident listen to the impact this law has had on their state in just a few months. Some examples:

  • Grocery stores asking for ID prior to serving people who “look Hispanic.”
  • Employers not paying employees for work completed.
  • Landlords indiscriminately changing lease agreements, because they can.
  • Law enforcement arresting Mercedes Benz executives from Germany.
  • Companies refusing to do business with Alabama, pulling contracts and going to other states.

How about this? Still proud of this law?

School kids told me they’re fighting off comments like, I’m glad you’re all moving, we don’t want you here, you take our jobs. At a pep rally, where Latinos were all sitting up front, kids started shouting, Mexicans move to the back. And most of them did.

The law is intended so that people who are illegal will leave the state. I get it. For people who don’t take the time to understand the issues it seems OK to make life a living hell for someone else, terrorizing them to the point where they flee.

After all, they aren’t here legally. They shouldn’t have any rights at all– except the right to leave. 

But this isn’t the America we can all be proud of. This really is creating an environment of us vs. them that is strikingly similar to the 1960’s in Alabama. A place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was jailed for his protests. A place where people were murdered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A place where people of one color used one bathroom while people of another color used another one.

People are being discriminated against because they look like they might be illegal. 

We need to be reminded that “legal” doesn’t equal “moral.” And the majority might rule but they don’t always represent the will of the people.

Gabriella said that the new attitude has permeated every aspect of her life, every aspect.


Even in the church.

Jack Hitt



Yes, because even in the church, you find people that say, well, we are in God’s house. And then they don’t want to talk at you. And they don’t want to give the peace to you. That is so sad.

Jack Hitt

So in your church, you have the passing of the peace, that part of the service? And so in your church, when they do that, what normally happens? You turn and shake hands with people?


Yes. They shake hands and everything. But now I found some people that say, I don’t want to do peace with you.

Read the full transcript here.

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Social Action

What is Happening in Alabama?

This video is shocking. It makes me wonder, “Have the people of Alabama learned anything from the civil rights movement?

Here’s the full content of the law.

Listen carefully to the statement. They have taken the Arizona law and added to it more stringent requirements. Essentially, you have to provide a state issued ID proving your immigration status for any and all business transactions in the state of Alabama. Further, they put strict penalties on businesses which sell things to, rent to, or even provide transportation for, people who do not have legal status in the country.

Let’s get practical. Do you think that the grocery store is going to ID a white woman and her children at the checkout counter? Do you think a landlord is really going to look up the immigration status of a black family? Do you really think that a bus driver will ask for ID from a retired white male? Or the car dealer down the block, will he e-verify the identity of Mr. Johnson whom he has sold cars to in the past?

The law would also penalize people who knowingly harbor or give transport to illegal immigrants, a provision that many religious officials say would criminalize churches that heed what they believe is the Biblical obligation to feed, clothe and shelter the needy.

Read the rest here

Please tell me I’m misunderstanding what this law is about? It seems to me that this is segregation all over again.

And how is this constitutional? 


Romeo News

Mike Harding was in the house

Yesterday Mike Harding filled the pulpit at Romeo. It was fun to see Mike again and hear about his new ministry, 831 House. Here’s a little video about their ministry in Gulf Shores. 

Mike was the guy who convinced Kristen and I to relocate to Romeo just over five years ago. Shortly thereafter he felt strongly like he needed to leave the church and go back to help the family business. As he said yesterday, even when he did that he wasn’t entirely sure what God was up to. None of us were.

Here’s a little video about what Mike and Cynthia do. Video