Sunday, October 18, 2009

Call for All Christians to Protest the Harsh Application of our Laws:

Suspended Licenses Used to Separate Families and Hurt Innocent Children

Now is the time for all true Christians to rise up and protest the Indiana government’s harsh treatment of thousands of our brothers and sisters in Christ. While government officials may be following the letter of the law, their actions today are hurting thousands of innocent children and their families! As Christians, we are instructed by our Lord to support our government and obey the laws of the land, except when higher Kingdom principles and values are violated. Today this is the case, and it is time for all citizens of our Lord’s Kingdom to rise up in defense of our brothers and sisters in Christ that are suffering. (For more on the Bible’s teaching on this matter, see links to the right of position statements by The Wesleyan Church, the National Association of Evangelicals, and other Christian organizations.)

Beginning in early 2008, up to 120,000 driver’s licenses in Indiana were suspended, by targeting those who did not have a social security number. As a result, now hundreds of families have been separated and thousands of innocent children are hurting, and the number of victims continues to grow each day!

Many of these victims are immigrants that first came here on work visas and have lived in our state for years. For more than twenty years, we welcomed them, issued them valid driver’s licenses based upon documents that included tax ID numbers and rent receipts, allowed them to build our homes and serve us in our restaurants, and employed them to work in our businesses. They have faithfully paid state and federal taxes, are buying homes, and have children in our schools. For years we offered them Hoosier Hospitality, saying with our actions, “Welcome, we are glad that you have come to live among us.” Now this Hoosier Hospitality has turned into Hoosier Hostility and persecution.

How, you ask? Last year our government made an about face and began to pressure these immigrants to leave our state, issuing traffic tickets for driving without a “valid driver’s license” and levying harsh fines and jail sentences. I personally have learned of various cases that strongly suggest racial profiling by the police. As a result, today thousands are trapped in their adoptive homeland with nowhere to go. Years ago most of them left everything behind in their land of birth to come to our country. Now their car insurance payments have skyrocketed and their homes are in danger of foreclosure. If these traffic laws would have been implemented years ago, the current practices by our police may have been more appropriate. Now it is too late to take such a harsh approach!

The church that I attend with my wife welcomes these persecuted foreigners. Every week visitors come to our services and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We are honored to embrace them as our brothers and sisters in Christ. Tragically, many in our church are being victimized by our government’s cruel about face and harsh persecution based upon their invalidated driver’s licenses. Most are hard working responsible people. But today, they are being criminalized through our government’s pernicious scheme.

This past month, Carlos, my fellow believer, spent two weeks in jail for driving without a valid driver’s license in Carmel, while his wife and two children were left to fend for themselves. Two weeks ago, Rodolfo, my brother in Christ, was stopped in Fishers, given a traffic ticket, and summoned to appear in court. Last night, José was pulled over in Westfield by a police officer who matched the license plate with Jose’s invalidated license. Each of my brothers in Christ has a wife and children that depend upon them for food, clothing, love, and care. Each one is faithful in their church attendance and in tithing. Every family in our church has been touched by our government’s harsh persecution through this tactic.

Now is the time to pass the word, by forwarding the address of this blog to all serious followers of Jesus Christ. No longer can true believers remain silent. Please join me, as together we rise up in defense of our marginalized and persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. Your words of support and protest are desperately needed right now, to encourage God’s people and to let our government leaders know that their actions are not pleasing in God’s sight. (Also, please join me in praying for these leaders and police officers. Some of them are fellow believers, caught between enforcing the laws of our land and obeying our Lord’s commands.) Thank you in advance for standing firm with us, as together pray and yearn for God’s kingdom to come to pass on this earth as it is in heaven, with justice, compassion, mercy and love for all.


::athada:: said...

Thanks for your clear and impassioned stand on this issue Norm. However, I was looking for a specific way to follow this call to action (who to call, write, or e-mail, what particular bill, etc).


Norman Wilson said...

Thanks for asking for specific ways to respond. I have several in mind as next steps and would welcome other ideas. They include (1) Calling upon our pastors and church leaders to enlarge the conversation among God's people, and (2) writing and calling Governor Daniels and other key government officials.

My plan is set forth a challenge for bold action in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, I'm open to suggestions regarding effective concerted steps.

stephencady said...

Norm, I'm also interested in specific ways to respond. I'll be traveling for several weeks, but when I get back or on a weekend when I'm in town I would like to get lunch or coffee and talk more about this.

Norman Wilson said...

Hi Stephen,

I'd love to get together, so let me know when you're back in town. I'm encouraged by the reactions I've received, including various ones via responses on Facebook.

In Christ,