Bordering On Crazy

Essays, Featured — By on April 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

SB 1070, the immigration reform bill Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed into law last week, is awful.

Feel free to read it yourself (it’s not an overly difficult law to understand), but here are some important excerpts:

“Requires a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status of a person during any legitimate contact made by an official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or political subdivision (political subdivision) if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.”

“Requires the person’s immigration status to be verified with the federal government pursuant to federal law.”

“Allows a law enforcement officer, without a warrant, to arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the U.S.”

“Disallows officials or agencies of the state or political subdivisions from adopting or implementing policies that limit immigration enforcement to less than the full extent permitted by federal law, and allows a person to bring an action in superior court to challenge an official or agency that does so.”

“Specifies that, in addition to any violation of federal law, a person is guilty of trespassing if the person is:

a)      present on any public or private land in the state and

b)      is not carrying his or her alien registration card or has willfully failed to register.”

There are a number of things that make the United States great, but maybe the largest is that an individual’s rights takes precedence over the public as a whole.  That’s the balance of the Fourth Amendment: protect the liberty of the law-abiding individual, even if that sometimes means we end up protecting some of the guilty as well.  This means we value our right to free speech, to assemble, to our individual pursuits, even in the face of death.  It means an organization like Revolution Muslim, which recently made news by vaguely threatening Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is allowed to operate relatively freely.  It’s one of the things that separates us from a nation like China, where illegal immigrants and Muslim extremists alike could be swept up by police and imprisoned under unfair pretense.

Predictably, many of my Arizonan friends were angry and took to the streets!

(Okay, they took to their Twitter and Facebook accounts.)

“WTF, Arizona?”

“Heil Brewer!”

“‘Vere are your papers,’ they ask here in Arizona. ‘Vee must zee your papers!’”

That last one was mine. As I said before, this was an awful law.  I mean, it’s not awful for me.  Police aren’t going to storm into the public library and demand to see my citizenship status because I’m middle class, white, and I speak English in a bland Pacific Northwestern accent.

Now hold on, you may be saying.  This law might be bad, but conducting immigrant round-ups in a public library?  It’ll never come to that.

Except that already happened before this law passed.

So yes, I’m opposed to SB 1070.  Now that’s established, I’d like to provide some perspective.

Immigration reform has to happen at some point.

As Governor Brewer mentioned a number of times in her speech, something had to be done.

There is no higher priority than protecting the citizens of Arizona. We cannot sacrifice our safety to the murderous greed of drug cartels. We cannot stand idly by as drop houses, kidnappings and violence compromise our quality of life.

We cannot delay while the destruction happening south of our international border creeps its way north.

We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act.

But decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation.

All of these things are true.  Phoenix has the second highest number of kidnappings in the world outside of Mexico City.  Arizona is a hotbed for human trafficking and the most frequently-traveled path between drug cartels and their American clientele.  The impetus for this particular bill was the murder of a southern Arizonan rancher at the hands of an illegal immigrant, which is certainly upsetting.  And the federal government has done very little in pursuing immigration reform, presumably because it primarily affects four states, but also because they’ve had a number of other hotbed issues to deal with.

SB 1070 is not the most effective way to combat the narcotics trade and human smuggling, but it’s something.  When you combine that with a Republican-dominated state legislature (and generally Republicans who have more in common with Sean Hannity than Mitt Romney), a Republican governor eager to make a name for herself after being assigned to office when Janet Napolitano became head of Homeland Security, and a conservative voting base reacting crazily to a Democratic federal government, you might just get a bill like SB 1070, a law that would’ve been shot out of the water in more level-headed times.

Again, though, it’s something.

The shoe is on the other foot.

The opposition to SB 1070 almost uniformly came from my left-leaning friends.

They see this law as an egregious attack on civil liberties, one more example of an extremist political faction chipping away at the fabric of what makes our nation great.  Regardless of what the law actually states, they are assuming the worst.  They believe that removing the constitutional handcuffs from law enforcement officials like thuggish Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is comparable to letting an angry Rottweiler off-leash.

Live in the Phoenix area for long and any reassurance that racial profiling won’t be part of the process will be swept away.  Are there raids of local European restaurants looking for illegal immigrants who have fled various Balkan nations?  Not that I’ve heard of, but every few weeks, Sheriff Arpaio is shaking down food cart operators in largely Hispanic parts of town, day laborers, or the staff of supermarkets with Spanish language names.

Regardless of what Governor Brewer says (“My signature today represents my steadfast support for enforcing the law — both AGAINST illegal immigration AND against racial profiling.”), opponents of SB 1070 don’t believe it.  And why should they?  Does anyone really believe this law applies outside the Hispanic community, or the Native American community with similarly brown skin?

To recap, many of those liberals fear the federal government has achieved unprecedented power, power that will be used to control the populace and infringe on our rights as Americans.  They believe this power will be taken to its extremes, casting allusions to Nazism (“Heil Brewer!”, “Vere are you papers?”), despite assurances it won’t.

Now read that last paragraph again.  Replace the word “liberals” with “conservatives”.  Replace “Nazism” with “Communism” or “Socialism”, and you’ve got the popular stance of Tea-Partiers, a group almost all those same left-leaning Facebook friends of mine have dismissed as right-wing nutjobs.

My point here is not that opposing SB 1070 is a bad thing, or the anger and rhetoric at Tea Party gatherings is a good thing.  There’s some legitimate philosophical ground on both sides.  It’s not crazy to believe government is good at supplying some services, and bad at supplying others.

But it strikes me as hypocritical to claim indignation when the growth of government doesn’t work in your favor.  Liberals railed against the unprecedented secrecy and expansion of executive power during the Bush years, then expand the influence of the government as soon as they regain control.  Conservatives rail against higher taxes and welfare, then applaud when law enforcement is granted leeway and defense spending goes up.  Both sides may quote 1984, but I’m beginning to think such Orwell’s dystopia was more likely the result of opposing sides escalating until such an environment was possible.

Anymore, it seems the default response to any problem, on either political side, is “fix it with the government!”  That’s why groups like the Tea Party are gaining traction, and that’s why it bothers me when they are dismissed as wackos.  Insane posterboards have played well for news cameras, but a NY Times poll of the movement showed the Tea Partiers aren’t all the uneducated rubes they’ve been depicted as.  If they coupled their self-serving criticism of “Obamunism” with equal attacks on laws that don’t affect their income, but promote government intrusion all the same (like SB 1070), maybe they’d gain some legitimacy.  Same goes for Republicans and conservatives who claim they oppose big government.

If we’re willing to point out the pitfalls of linking American Christianity to conservative politics, we have to be willing to do the same when the pendulum swings the other way.  Mostly, we need to find a new perspective.  More and more, I find that perspective leaning toward Christian anarchism, or at least non-participation in government.  Or if not that, then at least our first approach to any problem should be how to solve it without government assistance.

It’s not that government is necessarily evil anymore than a corporation is evil, it’s just that it is not truly controllable or ideally effective.  We cannot expand government’s influence in one sense and stare in shock when it turns Frankenstein’s monster against us.

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  • JamesW says:

    First, thanks for not joining in the chorus denouncing Tea Partiers as crazies. I haven’t seen a smear campaign this shameless in my life. (Note: I am not a Tea Party person, and have no intentions on attending any rallies).

    But back to the new AZ law. I think the key is the phrase “probable cause”. Many of those opposed to the law think it’s a vague phrase and gives any police officer unlimited powers. But the police don’t decide what probable cause is: the courts do. I’ve seen many a case (I was an MP in my Army days, plus I have many police friends) where criminal charges were dismissed when the suspect was clearly guilty, because the court determined that the officer had no probable cause.

    I think if people understood how much that two-word phrase limits officers, they’d calm down. But then again, the pot-stirrers won’t let that happen.

    • Jordan Green says:


      After four years on an extremely good high school mock trial team (I know that sounds hilarious, but we genuinely knew the law pretty well), I’m well aware of what probable cause is, and it hardly dismisses this law or its detractors as alarmist.

      I mean, by that law, an officer could easily find probable cause for trespassing, especially since “trespassing” now constitutes:

      “a) present on any public or private land in the state and

      b) is not carrying his or her alien registration card or has willfully failed to register.”

      You really think this law is just?

    • Jordan Green says:

      But, you know, if a bunch of innocent Americans have to go to jail for a few days and prove there was no probably cause, no big deal, right? I’d love to put up with that…

    • JamesW says:

      I’m not saying I like the law, Jordan. Sorry I wasn’t clear. I’m saying that many of the objections I have heard to it are really out there, and consist of scenarios not likely to occur, because of a misunderstanding of what probable cause means.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Okay, that makes more sense, but I’d say ‘probable cause’ is one of the most basic legalese phrases, and one that’s pretty widely known.

      Of course, since it’s a standard level for arrest, you may be pointing out that the line…

      “Allows a law enforcement officer, without a warrant, to arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the U.S.”

      …isn’t all that crazy, and you’d be right.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Just curious: you said “I’m not saying I like the law, Jordan.”

      Do you like the law?

    • JamesW says:

      I just saw this question, sorry.
      No, I don’t like this law, but I do feel that existing laws regarding illegal entry into the country need to be enforced.
      As for your probable cause definition, I know that it’s cut and dried what that phrase means, and any cop or judge will know what it means. But the rhetoric I have seen from some of the loudest opposers indicates to me that they don’t have a clue what it means, and they are forming their misunderstanding into misinformation, and rallying the troops with it.

  • aaron says:

    i don’t fully agree… i think it’s a little weird to claim that you can’t support the government helping people if you don’t also support the government oppressing people. it seems to be there’s a pretty obvious difference between providing health care for people who can’t afford it and institutionalized racism.

    • Jordan Green says:


      I see what you’re saying, but I think the flaw to that thinking is based on two points:

      1. Expanding government is not a one-way street, which was one of the points of the article.

      2. To many people, that “institutionalized racism” IS helping people because it is fighting human trafficking and cutting down on the drug trade. You can call it what you want, but your opponents will do the same, and that feeds back into point #1.

  • aaron says:

    by that logic, you may as well say “you can’t be for one law and against another. how can you be against a law that says mexicans can be arrested for no reason but for a law saying that people can’t murder other people?” or “how can you believe that crack should be illegal, but tylenol should be readily available?”
    i don’t disagree that the law could help fight human trafficking or cut down on the drug trade, but so would nuking arizona. why isn’t anyone proposing this as a solution?

    • Jordan Green says:

      Well, while the way you put it is taking the argument to extremes, I think within the tenets of Christian anarchism, that’s exactly the point. Jacques Ellul could put it much better than I, but I assure you it’s a philosophy far less ridiculous than you make it sound.

  • annie says:

    I’m confused, sincerely. My reading and understand of this law is that it pretty much just makes the existing federal law state law. In other words, the state has empowered themselves to enforce the existing federal laws.

    If that is the case, then why the sudden outrage? I mean, if virtually nothing has changed, except more enforcement of laws already in place, why are people who didn’t seem up in arms before, all of a sudden making Nazi jokes?

    Even the invocation of the fourth amendment…nothing’s changed. Those same things have always constituted trespassing, right?

    • Jordan Green says:

      I think you’ll need to read the law again.

      By SB 1070′s definition of trespassing, it would be illegal to stand on public or private land (this means anywhere in the United States, as far as I can tell), without proof of your citizenship.

      Let me give you a hypothetical:

      Possession of marijuana is illegal in this country. The police are suddenly given the right to pull over any person that looks to them like a user of marijuana.

      You possess a card that proves your last drug test was clean. If you don’t have that card, the police are obligate to arrest you. Maybe you don’t have that card because your last drug test wasn’t clean, or maybe you don’t have the card because you left it at home. Either way, you’re busted.

      The thing is, all you have to do is LOOK like you smoke marijuana, and cops can pull you over. That’s just one of the problems with SB 1070 — all you have to do is look like an illegal immigrant — but it’s probably the biggest and most frightening.

    • annie says:

      It means that you are trespassing if you are on any land that you don’t own, if you cannot produce proof of who you are and your permission to be there. That may sound outrageous, but it isn’t new. I don’t know of any place in the U.S. where that is not the definition of trespassing.

      Technically, according to the law, they cannot pull you over for looking like an illegal. You can argue that police will do this, but then the outrage is misapplication of a law that strictly forbids such a thing. They can, after engaging in lawful contact, ask you to produce identification. That has always been federal law, and almost any state can do it. The only major difference, that I can see, is that the state Arizona will act as the governmental body that handles it, instead of handing them over to the federal government.

      Again, I’m confused how this law differs greatly from federal laws already in place. Is this law really so drastically new and different, or is it simply that people weren’t aware that these things were already the case?

      Also, while I agree with your stance against the hypocrisy against both sides of such debates, traditional American conservatism would not see support of this law as a contradiction. One of the tenants of that position is that one of the sole purposes of government is defense, including border maintenance, and the fact that such a thing is being addressed on a state, rather than national level, would only add to its validity.

    • Jordan Green says:


      “Again, I’m confused how this law differs greatly from federal laws already in place. Is this law really so drastically new and different, or is it simply that people weren’t aware that these things were already the case?”

      I think you may be confused because you’re not reading the same law I wrote about. Here’s a link to SB 1070, which is the bill I’m talking about.

      The biggest concern — the thing that caused the sheriff of Pima County to yesterday say he would not enforce the bill because it was racist — is the question of how law enforcement defines who is or is not a suspected illegal immigrant. If that were standard law already, I’m with you in wondering what the big deal is, but it’s not…which is why the law was written.

      How would you like to be arrested because you “looked Christian” or “looked Jewish”? Would you have a problem with it then?

    • aaron says:

      and it doesn’t say any land you don’t own, it says “present on any public or private land in the state.” meaning if an illegal immigrant buys land in arizona, they are still trespassing just by being within the state borders. and ask jordan said elsewhere, if they’re guilty of trespassing the police have a legal excuse to ask for their papers, and arrest them if they don’t have papers with them.

    • annie says:

      I’m reading the same law. I’ve read it several times.

      The phrase “legal contact” means that they have to be suspected of some other crime. Once they are stopped for some other infraction, they can be asked to show proof of who they are. This is true all the time, though. This is a federal law, and the way it works in many states.

      The major difference that this law makes, as far as I can tell, is that instead of handing people over to the federal government when it is proved they are illegal immigrants, the state of Arizona has empowered itself to deport. The reason that the law was written was to bypass the step of having them federally deported – they can now be deported by the state – because the state felt like national officials were not enforcing the existing laws. (I’m not saying that I agree with all of that, but that is my understanding.)

      Even right now, in my state, if I am found or suspected of breaking a law, I am required to prove my identity, and can be held until I have done so. Probable cause is already at play everywhere.

      Within SB1070 is the provision that all people are granted the same protections that are afforded to them by the federal government.

      And, I know the law doesn’t say “land that you own”, but that is the way that it works nation-wide. It works the same way if I were to buy land overseas. I can buy land oversees, but am still required to enter the country in which that land is situated legally, according to the laws of that land. Again, this is the standard definition of trespassing nation-wide. You can be asked to leave or prohibited from entering any land that you do not own, and asked to prove your identity.

      I think the thing that confuses me is that if a law enforcement officer or agency was intent on discriminating the way you describe, it is already in their power to do so. What part of this law, besides the state’s ability to enforce it, is different from federal law? And, if no part is different, then is the outrage over the content of the law, or the expectation that it will not be fairly enforced? If it’s the content, why is their not equal outrage at the federal government?

    • annie says:

      And, in as much as I am unclear about the visceral response, people are not able to be detained, according to this law, for “looking” like an illegal immigrant. The law, strictly defined, demands that there must be reasonable cause for suspicion, and precedent (along with the wording toward federal protection) dictates that not be racial. The phrase “lawful contact” means that the officers involved would have to show evidence for initiating the contact, such a speeding, running a light, shoplifting, etc. You cannot be asked, as you walk down the street, to prove yourself unless it is being asked of everyone or unless there is sufficient reason to believe, aside from federally protected distinctions, that you are breaking a law.

      The marijuana example doesn’t exactly line up because you’re comparing requiring people to prove that they haven’t broken the law (which, with field sobriety, they can actually do, if there is reasonable cause for suspicion) to requiring people to comply with laws already in place. Not only that, but the police are not allowed, by the strict definition of this law, to pull someone over for looking “Mexican”. They are allowed to pursue that once they have made lawful contact, the same way that they are allowed to pursue field sobriety once they have made lawful contact.

      My point is SB 1070 has not changed the definition of trespassing. That was already the definition. You can be detained and/or charged if you do not possess identification, but you cannot be convicted if you can produce identification or verification.

      I don’t even totally understand the Pima County sheriff’s position, because the law is only as racist as the people enforcing it, which is always the case. If he’s not racist and not planning on discriminating, he should have no problem enforcing the law in a way that is just.

    • Greg J says:

      You did a great job of going thru some of the issues. I appreciate your care of detail. I not only think Arizona has a right to pass this law (after all it does mirror the federal law). This has ZERO to do with racism, but as usual some of you relish throwing that around instead of dealing with the core issues of why Arizona passed the law in the first place. That is the way many of you try to shut of dialog, just yell “rasist, rasist” and then you shut down argument. A different take on the old “Have you quite beating your wife” question. Any one who disagree’s is OBVIOUSLY a racist. I did my undergraduate work in Arizona, and have friends in there, and illegal immigrants have completly taxed the system. The people of Arizona are doing something that “Mr. Hope and Change” should have done, and that Bush failed to do. I have always found it interesting that people who do not live in the middle of the situation find it so easy to evaluate the motives a hearts of someone else. As usual I find myself disagreeing with about 2/3rd’s of the people who write in Burnside.
      This weekend I was looking for some items, and three different sales people, all married and in their late twenties, are now concidering moving to Arizona. And never mind that the bulk of the country applaud their efforts, the lame streem media never covers that, only the protests. You can look to California as the poster child for the mess an open immigration policy has had.Let me give you another example. We have to use contractor for much of our work, and they must be licienced, most have come from Mexico, are hard workers and good people. Ask them what makes them angry, and the will tell you that the illegals are killing their business. You see, in California, a contractor not only has to get a state and county licens, but a license from every city he wants to work in (and their are alot around here). Illegals come in and undercut them, and refuse to abide by the LAW.
      I noticed that even the Gov. of NY got in on decrying the Arizona law. The part that puzzles me is, and I am honestly not saying this flipantly. If it troubles him and you so much, why is NY and other areas are not sending buses to the border to bring people to a place that they can be cared for, because obviously Arizona’s are racists who could care less about the welfare of people. Talk for is pretty damn cheap.

    • Jordan Green says:


      Here’s your chance to ask questions of Greg J, since he obviously represents a dissenting opinion.

    • annie says:

      to quote myself (can I do that?) “traditional American conservatism would not see support of this law as a contradiction. One of the tenants of that position is that one of the sole purposes of government is defense, including border maintenance, and the fact that such a thing is being addressed on a state, rather than national level, would only add to its validity.”

      What does give Arizona the right to pass this law? I mean, I lean toward state sovereignty, but even fundamental consservatism acknowledges that border control, as part of defense, is a role of the federal government. And, if the problem is with federal policy and taking place on the national level, why is it not being addressed in that arena? If it is motivated purely by a taxing of the system and not racism at all, why isn’t it more focused on prevention of enticement and entry, as opposed to policing people who are already here, and collecting monies from them for their offenses?

    • Jordan Green says:

      Not the points I would’ve argued, but that’ll work.

    • annie says:

      Jordan, we’ve gone back and forth for almost a week, and you expected me to share your perspective now?

      I asked the question I was curious about, because the goal was not debate.

  • Steve says:

    You’ve been on fire lately. Just keep going and write a book. But I’m afraid I can’t accept what seems to be your central point.

    We absolutely get to advocate for our government to be involved in certain things and not others. The big government vs. small government argument is a false dichotomy (which you allude to somewhat). A lot of us want different things from our government, and I think that’s fine. That’s where the debate is.

    Personally, this law represents something I absolutely do NOT want government doing. It’s far too much power. The fact that Arizona used to be Mexico makes the whole thing that much more nauseating. White folks came to North America, uninvited, and took over. I don’t think that means we shouldn’t be here, necessarily, but I’m pretty shocked by the hubris we demonstrate when it comes to “our” country. It all belongs to God anyway.

    • Jordan Green says:

      I definitely see the false dichotomy in terms of an individual’s belief. I don’t think it’s hypocritical of a person to want, say, health care, and to not want a strong military.

      But what the individual wants and what happens are two different things. The prevailing mindset of “government as solution” has grown to permeate both conservatives and liberals, and it turns into this steadily building process, where conservatives want to increase government influence of marriage and immigration, liberals want to increase it in welfare and health care, and the end result is government just gets larger, and we become more and more dependent on the state for our services.

  • Levi Rogers says:

    Great article. Yes for Christian Anarchism!

    We don’t need the government to tell us how to treat immigrants, we’ll read Leviticus. In fact true Christianity puts an end to government (Tolstoy) for Christians can exist without it and exist for a different kingdom–which sometimes means disobeying and protesting laws that are unjust, but otherwise the government and its laws do not have the last word for how Christians are called to treat the least of these.

  • @ Levi:

    Man, I’m sympathetic to Christian Anarchism, and I agree that the “government and its laws do not have the last word for how Christians are called to treat the least of these,” but the statement “we don’t need the government to tell us how to treat immigrants” is just asking for trouble.

    @ Everyone else

    I heard somebody on talk radio the other day say, in support of the Arizona law, “This country was founded on…” – and he said “laws”, but I was trying to finish his sentence with “illegal immigration.” This country was founded on illegal immigration. The way the loudest voices on the far right demonize Hispanic/Latino immigrants is borderline bigotry, and it shows an unsurprisingly myopic understanding of American history. What hypocrisy.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Our country was founded in part on bloodshed and rebellion, too…does that mean we maintain that status quo? I mean, at some point, we can’t allow everyone to just cross into the US, right? Otherwise, Mexico would be screwed.

    • Levi Rogers says:

      Maybe true, good point, but I kinda like some holy mischief myself.

  • Dylan says:

    Yeah, I’m so tired of hearing about “what this country was founded on” like it’s something to brag about. (Don’t forget to throw puritanical repression in there too.)

  • John Pattison says:


    What I’m saying is that persecution of entire groups of immigrants IS the historical status quo, in addition to the persecution of indigenous peoples by folks not many generations removed from the immigrant experience.

    Also, in all the discussion about the Arizona, I’ve never heard anybody else defend it as what’s best for Mexico. That seems like a stretch.


  • John Pattison says:


    You are one of my favorite writers and I respect your opinions. You are smart and insightful and incisive. You made your case about the AZ law and showed the hypocrisy on both sides of the political debate.

    But what I would love to read from you are your thoughts on how this law stacks up ethically and morally, and how followers of Jesus should respond to it in light of their faith.

    I’m serious. You should write it.


  • Edward says:

    Christian anarchism! Please no!! Personally, it seems like an offshoot of some type of wack ass libertarian philosophy. The overuse of the term “individualism” is an American phenomenon, but it should be discarded. The truth is that government should be able to create conditions which allow for the flourishing of human life and relationships. Catholic Social thought, which stresses the state as the last promoter of human flourishing, when the family, community, or market etc cannot provide it, I think provides unique insight into this issue. It should never be about the “size” of government vs the “rights of individuals”, but rather, what the law does to relationships, how it effects the quality of life for people no matter their nationality or illegal status, and how it contributes to the social order.

    • Levi Rogers says:

      Christian Anarchism is not some type of whack ass libertarian theology. It is somethng entirely separate, apolitical even. Essentially the Christian anarchist is indifferent to the rules of government, because it is hard to say whether the government is good or bad, and so we don’t overthrow it into chaos but we don’t simply stand by and let injustice happen.

      The state can never be a flourishing center for humanity for it has its own interests in mind. The systems of power, greed, and control ove rule humanity. Therefore it is up to Christians to love others, regardless of whether the government says its legal.


    • Jordan Green says:


      I’d also point out Christian anarchy’s roots in Scripture, and I suggest you read Jacques Ellul’s “Anarchy and Christianity”. As Levi pointed out, it’s not a wack-ass libertarian philosophy. Reading the book won’t make you a Christian anarchist…there are points I’m not convinced by, but I think it makes sense scripturally, as well as what I know about Jesus’ life and the political process.

      Of course, my knowledge of all of those things is extremely limited, which is why I’m simply offering Christian anarchy up as an option.

  • Andrew B says:

    Good NYTIMEs article by someone who helped draft the law.

    Good material for a judicious application of law and some decent thought for the media backlash.

  • EmilyTimbol says:

    I don’t understand how people can not see how blatantly racist and offensive the language of this bill is. It gives the police the right to stop you if you “look” illegal, which is racial profiling and encourages an attitude of: “Hey! A brown skinned person! Stop him!” It is not right to make assumptions about people based solely on the color of their skin, clothing, or appearance. Even if they resemble people who may or may not be criminals.

    Which, to pull a Jordan, means I should not make assumptions about people who wear clothing with the confederate flag on it either, because that would be the same thing. Damn.

    • aaron says:

      except that people have a lot more choice what they wear than what color their skin is…

    • annie says:

      I’m sincerely curious what language makes you think it gives officials that right. I’ve read it several times, and federally protected statuses are still protected, as far as I can tell. There has to be legal contact and reasonable suspicion (which is the case everywhere, already). Is it possible that it’s less what the law contains, and more the anticipation of abuse that is upsetting?

    • annie says:

      I suppose the better question is, are you (generic “you”) equally upset about currect federal laws? If not, what are the specific differences from existing laws in place, both federally and in other states, aside from the post-arrest differences?

    • EmilyTimbol says:

      I’m not going to debate you Annie. I’ve done it several times before and it’s pointless, we just argue back and forth and I get angry because no matter what I say you don’t seem to hear me. The answers to the questions you posed me are clearly written in Jordan’s post and his responses to you above. If you can’t understand my objections from that information than I don’t know what else can be said.

    • annie says:

      I’m sorry that you feel that way. Jordan mostly told me I hadn’t read it. In fact, he doesn’t address the related federal immigration laws at all in either the post or the comments. I’m frustrated because so many people are upset, yet I haven’t been able to find anyone who will actually talk in specifics to help me understand.

      I did hear someone from that area suggest yesterday that maybe it was a device to bring the issue to the forefront, which makes a lot of sense.

    • annie says:

      And, to be clear, I haven’t totally decided how I feel about this law. I’m certainly not supporting or denouncing it wholeheartedly.

      I do think that any efforts to truly reform it are going to have to come on a national level (since much of it is virtually copied), which is why I’d like to understand the difference in reactions to many things which are legal/law in both venues.

    • Jordan Green says:


      All I could think to reply was to agree, that if this law was really the same as the federal law, then it’s completely stupid and redundant, and I’m stunned anyone would make a big deal about it.

      I didn’t feel like arguing a point with you when you were clearly reading the law so inaccurately. You were outright rejecting what the law actually said in almost all of your main points, so how can I argue with you on it? That’s why I ignored your post, because it’s really not worth my time debating.

      I’m glad you’re still up in the air about the law, I suppose.

  • So here’s my question for everyone:

    Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Doesn’t the Arizona law compel its citizens and its police officers to side AGAINST their neighbors by violating civil rights and the rights of basic human decency? And if that is the case, doesn’t scripture compel the Christian to oppose the law?

  • annie says:

    Here’s a link to the updates/clarifications, passed Thursday and signed Friday.

    • Jordan Green says:

      Yes, I’ve liked the clarifications, which only go to show how flawed the law was in the first place.

    • Jordan Green says:

      But it’s the same as the federal law, right, Annie? So, you know, it’s perfectly fine.

    • annie says:

      I didn’t say it was perfectly fine. I never claimed the federal law was perfectly fine. I have tried to understand the disparity in outrage, since I am frequently being told that “as a Christian” I must feel one way or another about it, even though those ways are often extreme and in opposition to one another.

      Also, this action, should it stand, provides enormous precedent for state control of area previously governed almost solely at a national level. I would think more people would have opinions on that, but it is rarely mentioned.

      SB 1070 states, “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution,” and SB 2162 eliminates the world “solely”. The assertion that it allows suspicion on the basis of someone look Mexican is inferred rather than explicit. That doesn’t speak to its accuracy, but does speak to the need for some back-up to shore up its validity.

      You assert that the wording is vague enough to be dangerous, yet reject that it is vague enough to be interpreted differently by different people. Instead of employing any specificity, you just call me innaccurate, in equally vague ways, which doesn’t help me understand your position at all. Your mocking tone and sarcasm, however, provide great clarity.

      It seems like, as I’ve read all the legalese and opinions, most people are upset, not so much because the wording of this law is so outlandish (because its wording used repeatedly in precedent), but because they were either completely unaware of federal law, or were comfortable with such things being laws, as long as there was no intention of practicality to enforcing them, or simply anticipate the law being incorrectly enforced in discriminatory ways.

      I’ve talked to people in Texas who are extremely nervous about how this law affects churches, but I’ve seen no mention of that either. And, in terms of asylum, I’m ambivalent on the church’s role (not in terms of aid, mind you, just asylum and how these precedents will impact other realms of necessary refuge such as abuse victims, addiction treatment, homelessness, etc).

      Your mocking tone and sarcasm, however, provide great clarity.

    • annie says:

      And, I can’t say how I feel about all of the revisions as I am still trying to understand some of the eliminations, and whether those make things more or less specific and whether that is more or less helpful.

    • Jordan Green says:


      “I have tried to understand the disparity in outrage, since I am frequently being told that ‘as a Christian’ I must feel one way or another about it.”

      Well, if we take all the constitutional stuff out, how do you think you, as a Christian, should treat illegal aliens?

      “I must feel one way or another about it, even though those ways are often extreme and in opposition to one another.”

      What’s extreme and contradictory about Jesus saying “love your neighbor”? What’s the opposition to this? Is there Scripture saying we have to keep everyone out of our country?

      “SB 1070 states, ‘A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution,’ and SB 2162 eliminates the world ‘solely’.”

      Yes, and everyone who lives here in Arizona knows this is complete bullshit.

      “The assertion that it allows suspicion on the basis of someone look Mexican is inferred rather than explicit.”

      Yes, and that’s the problem. That is why people are upset.

      “You assert that the wording is vague enough to be dangerous, yet reject that it is vague enough to be interpreted differently by different people.”

      I don’t reject that. In fact, I agree. To me, it’s the same exact thing. If the law is vague enough to be interpreted differently by different people, then it’s vague enough to be dangerous.

      “Instead of employing any specificity, you just call me innaccurate, in equally vague ways, which doesn’t help me understand your position at all.”

      - Because you claim SB 1070 is the same as federal law, which is not true.

      - Because you claim SB 1070 requires “legal contact”, when the law actually refers to it as “legitimate contact”, and creates a reason for “legitimate contact” if the law enforcement officer believes a person to be illegal.

      - Because you seem to think the main issue addressed in SB 1070 is states versus federal rights, which is not remotely what opponents are against.

      - Because your history of commenting here on Burnside includes completely ignoring statements you’ve already made, poorly communicating your points, and just generally being extremely frustrating to converse with.

      “It seems like, as I’ve read all the legalese and opinions, most people are upset, not so much because the wording of this law is so outlandish (because its wording used repeatedly in precedent)…”

      Who said the wording was outlandish? Did someone really have a problem with this bill because it was written in complete gibberish?

      “…but because they were either completely unaware of federal law…”

      No. Even if they aren’t intimately familiar with the federal law, they still understand SB 1070 is different.

      “…or were comfortable with such things being laws, as long as there was no intention of practicality to enforcing them…”

      Maybe complete morons believe this.

      “…or simply anticipate the law being incorrectly enforced in discriminatory ways.”


      “I’ve talked to people in Texas who are extremely nervous about how this law affects churches, but I’ve seen no mention of that either.”

      Good! I’m glad they’re worried about this, because if this law is determined to be constitutional, it turns “reasonable suspicion” into “this person looks like an immigrant.” It doesn’t matter if you’ve “seen mention” of that…that’s the entire point of legal precedence.

      “And, in terms of asylum, I’m ambivalent on the church’s role (not in terms of aid, mind you, just asylum and how these precedents will impact other realms of necessary refuge such as abuse victims, addiction treatment, homelessness, etc).”

      What is your point here? That providing asylum will somehow keep abuse victims and addicts from receiving help from the church? Is that your point?

      “Your mocking tone and sarcasm, however, provide great clarity.”

      Alright, you said that twice…so what’s the “great clarity”?

      My question:

      Would you support a law that required everyone to carry ID around with them at all times, and not carrying your ID could be punishable with up to six months in prison?

    • annie says:

      I’m tempted not to respond, since you seem so angry, and seem to assume that I am trying to attack you or trip you up rather than understand. I am not.

      1 & 2 There are a lot of conflicting ideas (not here, within Christianity) about what loving your neighbor looks like, especially when the neighbor is in violation of law, whether that law be just or not. In this case, I don’t always know exactly where the line is, and I don’t pretend to know what is best for each person. When are we helping, when are we enabling, when are we setting the system (which they are part of) up for disaster? To say that it is awful and racist and evil (which I’ve heard) is as extreme as saying that it’s wonderful and constitutional and that the church should support it (which I’ve heard).

      3 I know people in Arizona who feel differently. They are, as I believe you are, people who care deeply.

      4 & 5 To say that it is so vague as to be unclear and dangerous is not the same as to say that if I don’t interpret the way you do I have denied the obvious content (or read the wrong document).

      6 The phrase is actually “lawful contact”. I don’t think that’s the main point. I think it could potentially be an important one. Many portions of the law are almost directly copied from other laws.

      7 I am not ignoring my own statements. I do wish you would read what I actually said, instead of assuming what you think I believe and who I am, along with my motives, and then responding in kind. You respond in sarcasm when I post a link, which was purely informational and not even an additional opinion, virtually without comment. You tell me my position on federal law, how I feel about it, and then demand that I agree with your false assessment.

      8 I never claimed to be quoting anyone. I never said this was the only place I get opinions or information. You have now called people I have discussed it with complete morons. And, if what you were upset about was official corruption, that’s another (but still related) problem, and when I asked why so upset, would have been a splendid answer. It calls for a different, although not exclusive, response in the vein of “what do we do next”.

      9 I meant “seen mention” of it in peoples’ reasons for being upset (not limited to this website), not in legal precedence.

      10 My concern related to this law and asylum is: If the law (either this one or federal) disallows churches from concealing anyone who could potentially be here illegally, which can only be enforced by governmental/police presence, what stops churches who shelter people from becoming checkpoints? And, if they do, what stops them from becoming drugs checkpoints? Checkpoints for anything else? Part of me is inclined to say that neither of those are so bad, but then what happens to the church’s traditional role as a place of asylum as it applies to recovering addicts, gang members, homeless, hungry, women & children and abuse victims? I wouldn’t want someone to see the church as a place they go to conceal their criminality, but I do want it to be seen as a safe place for a meal or prayer or to ask for help, sometimes beyond the type of asylum that any government can provide. If a checkpoint scenario became the case, the church wouldn’t even have to actively and knowingly conceal crime, such as illegal status or drug use, in order for people begin to see it as an extension of the government, where they may be less likely to see it as a place to go for a meal or shelter, even if they’ve committed no crime. I do not think that providing asylum prevents abuse victims getting help, but I do think that government presence in churches can eliminate it as a place of asylum.

      12 No, I would not support that law as you state it. You already have to carry ID in my state (they are rarely checked, but it is law), if you’re over 21, although the penalties are not so harsh (and you are allowed retrieval after arrest for lesser penalty), and we should always allow for humanity.

      11 I don’t know why it appeared twice, but it gave me clarity about the type of unity that is sought here. I’m sorry that you find me so frustrating. I find it frustrating as well, but that is why people in general, and the church specifically, are so splintered, right? It is easier to misunderstand and label each other, and then filter each response through that label, than to do the work of understanding. I’m aware that I don’t have the same emotive and visceral responses as most people. I would change that if I could, but it is, in fact, pathological, and I’m sorry that it makes me too disparate to be worth your time or effort. I truly am.

      I have tried to bridge the gaps in perspective and understanding the only way I really know how, by asking questions. Even if I say that I’m confused and trying to figure things out, you seem to assume that is some kind of rhetorical device. I am sorry that you’re so upset, and since it seems like I cannot say a right thing, I’m at a loss.

    • Jordan Green says:

      At the end of your post, you said this:

      “I have tried to bridge the gaps in perspective and understanding the only way I really know how, by asking questions. Even if I say that I’m confused and trying to figure things out, you seem to assume that is some kind of rhetorical device.”

      I think you’re right about this. I do think, at times, you’re using your questions to actually get a point across. I think this primarily because you don’t seem to ask questions directed toward the other side of the conversation. I have to take your word for it that you’re asking the questions elsewhere. So I guess I’ll do that, and I apologize for seeing this as some sort of debate, when you’ve just been trying to get to the bottom of the discussion.

      Except now as I look over your points, I don’t see many questions. I’ll try and address each anyway.

      1 & 2. I could see how the church would see helping illegal immigrants as enabling, but it’s not as if passing a law freeing up law enforcement spawns any sort of personal contact or individual love, so how exactly this bill could be seen as loving your neighbor seems ridiculous. Nor could I see how Christians could use a word like “wonderful” in describing SB 1070, except to utilize a word commonly associated with spirituality and loosely, and foolishly, tie this law into something holy.

      To sum that up, it’s debatable that the church should be adamantly opposed to SB 1070 (though I don’t see it that way), but reaching the perspective that SB 1070 is somehow divinely-inspired is, to put it bluntly, crazy.

      3. The Arizonans you know disagree that race will be an issue in implementing SB 1070? Then, sorry, they are wrong, and they have no way of knowing, because they wouldn’t know how each law enforcement individual will implement this law. Most cops won’t use race, color or national origin in implementation. But some will, and for them to argue that no one will is ludicrous. It’s like saying, “Everyone in the state of California likes avocados.”

      4 & 5: If it is vague, then we can reasonably assume law enforcement will interpret the law in different ways. For the record, I don’t think it’s all that vague, and I definitely think it will be implemented in a biased manner.

      6: From the first line of SB 1070 under “Enforcement”:

      “1. Requires a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status of a person during any legitimate contact made by an official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or political subdivision (political subdivision) if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.”

      This is why discussing this with you can be frustrating, and why I might be teetering over into sarcasm, because you keep making claims that aren’t true. The phrase “legal contact” does not appear ANYWHERE in SB 1070. You can do a word search if you like.

      (And here I will take a break so my browser doesn’t crash and I lose what I’ve written so far.

    • annie says:

      Just so you know, Article 8, Section B says, “For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official…”

      And, I meant that most of my earlier comments were questions, sometimes followed by explanations of the asking.

    • Jordan Green says:

      7. In the past (and here) you’ve frequently used the argument that we can’t know what you’re thinking. You’re right about this, which is why it’s up to you to communicate your opinions and points through these comments. If you consistently question and pick apart our points, and we never see you question an opposing viewpoint, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to assume you have a certain perspective on the issue, and you are arguing that point. That’s not to say we are correct in our assumption — you claim this is how you communicate — but admitting our points from time to time, or addressing questions to the other side of a debate could go a long way in showing you’re communicating with an open mind.

      8. I called people morons if they think a law should be created, but not enforced. Because honestly, what would be the point of that? I stand by my assertion that those people are morons.

      As for “official corruption”: Opponents of SB 1070 are worried this law will be implemented in an unjust manner.

      9. Now I’m confused. First, you say:

      “I’ve talked to people in Texas who are extremely nervous about how this law affects churches, but I’ve seen no mention of that either.”

      Then, you say:

      “I meant ‘seen mention’ of it in peoples’ reasons for being upset (not limited to this website), not in legal precedence.”

      This is an example of completely changing what you said previously. In your first statement, you say some people in Texas are worried about how this law will affect churches. Then you say you’ve seen no mention of “that”. I assumed “that” meant “in the law”.

      But then, to clarify, you say “I meant ‘seen mention’ of it (completely removing the word no, completely changing the meaning) in peoples’ reasons for being upset, not in legal precedence.”

      Can you see how I might be confused here? Can you see how your changing the meaning of that sentence makes it frustrating to have these discussions?

      10. Many of your concerns about the law and asylum also could’ve pertained to Christian participants in the underground railroad leading escaped slaves to Canada, or in helping Jews escape the path of Nazis during World War II. I’m not saying illegal immigration is the same issue, but if asylum is a questionable church practice, then was the church’s actions in those instances debatable?

      12. “No, I would not support that law as you state it.”

      That’s good to hear…I wouldn’t either. The problem is SB 1070 implements exactly that sort of law for American citizens of Hispanic descent. They could, even as American citizens, be detained and even imprisoned for up to 6 months for not carrying proof of their citizenship, regardless of whether or not they committed a crime.

      11. I apologize for fostering a hostile environment for discussion, and for being sarcastic. I assure you I’m not as emotive or angry as I might seem in my posts.

    • Jordan Green says:

      “Just so you know, Article 8, Section B says, ‘For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official…’”

      Oh, you’re talking about the revision, which I said I was much more okay with? Actually, the phrase “lawful contact” doesn’t even appear there. The word “contact” has been striked through and replaced with “stop, detention, or arrest”, which make it far less vague, and make the law much more constitutional.

    • annie says:

      1 &2. Good, then we agree. Those views are both extreme.

      3. I have friends in Arizona that would disagree that the section of the bill I posted are complete b.s. They would not, “…disagree that race will be an issue in implementing SB 1070?” but that is not what you originally said.

      4 & 5. I’m not sure it’s that vague either, and it seems that if there is that much expectation for the police and law enforcement of an entire state to be racist and corrupt, then that is a huge and connected issue that I would hope there is some way to address apart from blaming this law. If they are so corrupt, changing or eliminating this bill isn’t enough.

      6. I was not talking about the revision. I am talking about page ii, Sec. 2. Title 11, chapter 7, Article 8, Section B.

      The link you provided was not to the actual bill. It was the fact sheet.

      7. It is not unreasonable to try to discern my position. It is unreasonable to tell me what they are. I said that sb1070 was the same as existing laws. I didn’t express any agreement with existing laws or say that they were “perfectly fine”. I did ask why the outrage is so sudden, when so many of these things are already in place in this country. To assert that the two things are the same, insist on it, and then berate me for trying to correct you perception is unreasonable.

      8. I did not say that people thought that they SHOULD be laws. I said that they were comfortable with it, as long as it was not being enforced. Meaning, if it didn’t effect them, they took little notice. (Like I said, in my state, you must carry ID. I have taken little notice, because it is rarely checked.)

      9. “Seen mention” was a quote from you. (“It doesn’t matter if you’ve ‘seen mention’ of that…that’s the entire point of legal precedence.”) I was attempting to clarify that I wasn’t referring to mention of it in the bill or precendence, but in people’s concerns. It’s original use, along with the use of the word either, was a reference to earlier in the same comment where it was used – “I would think more people would have opinions on that, but it is rarely mentioned.” The echoing of the word mention was, in fact, a rhetorical advice linking back to opinions.

      10. In regards to asylum, the church harbored Nazi war criminals and helped them get safe passage to South America. Yes, it has sometimes been questionable, and the traditional application of asylum is to turn no one away. That said, I believe the church should be a place of asylum in general, and I am concerned that this law might hinder the church’s acting as a place of asylum. The language in this law seems to threaten that. If we are worried that this law will infringe on the 4th amendment, can we not be equally worried that it could infringe on the first?

      11. I rarely see truly opposing viewpoints presented here. I have questioned them when I’ve encountered them. In both areas of questioning, the primary goal is to understand. I’m sorry if it seems otherwise. It seems logical to me that I would not question you about opinions you do not hold any more than I would question you about perspectives I already understand.

      12. I don’t support it here, but it has help up and I understand the concerns of the other side of the situation also, so I wonder what we should do.

      I was not talking about the revision. I am talking about page ii, Sec. 2. Title 11, chapter 7, Article 8, Section B.

      The link you provided was not to the actual bill. It was the fact sheet (which I think might be what you have been referencing, rather than the bill). Perhaps that can provide clarity.

    • annie says:

      And, I’m sorry I didn’t check the link you provided earlier. I already had a copy, and I checked my copy, but I didn’t think to check the link.

    • EmilyTimbol says:

      In regards to your response to Jordan’s #11, (man this is getting confusing) there are definitley opposing viewpoints on this site. James W and Greg J immediatley come to mind, but there have definitley been more, and I have never seen you “seek to understand” their viewpoints they way you “seek to understand” Jordan’s and the other people here. Actually, I’ve never seen you say anything but “agrred.” or “Way to go” to either of them.

      I don’t understand the game, if you’re more conservative fine, own it, just don’t hide behind your beliefs with unneccessary questions you use as an attempt to trip up other people. And please don’t get offended that I think you’re “conservative”, everything you’ve ever said on this site points to that, so it would make no sense if you were anything but. Which, again, is fine, opposing viewpoints are good, but please, be genuine.

    • Jordan Green says:

      1 & 2: I didn’t say both views are extreme. I said one was up for debate, and the other (that SB 1070 is “wonderful”) is crazy.

      3: Here’s what I meant when I said that section is bullshit: the law is very clearly directed at Hispanics. Hispanics comprise over 30% of the population. The law can say that race and country of origin can’t be used in implementing the law, but that’s just not reasonable. It’d be like saying anyone who buys gefilte fish and matzo will be arrested, but this law is not directed at people who are Jewish.

      4 & 5: I don’t think the entire police force is racist, though Joe Arpaio’s sheriff department comes the closest I’ve ever seen. It’s impossible to eliminate all corruption, but I’m definitely opposed to freeing up law enforcement to become more corrupt. Seriously, the Maricopa County sheriff’s department is bad.

      6: So, just to be clear, we’ve established that phrase does not appear. It appeared at one point, but was stricken out and replaced because it opened the bill up to lawsuits, which was my point in the first place.

      7: “I said that sb1070 was the same as existing laws.”

      And I have said, repeatedly, that this is not true. SB 1070 is not the same as existing laws, and would be completely pointless if it were. Since it’s a new law, it seems like the burden of proof would be on you to prove that it’s a law that previously existed. You haven’t done so.

      8: “I did not say that people thought that they SHOULD be laws. I said that they were comfortable with it, as long as it was not being enforced.”

      That’s like saying, “I’d be comfortable with a law saying I couldn’t be arrested for being Christian as long as it wasn’t being enforced.” Which, again, I claim is moronic.

      9: “I’ve talked to people in Texas who are extremely nervous about how this law affects churches, but I’ve seen no mention of that either.”

      Here’s where that phrase first appeared. I quoted you as saying “seen mentioned”, which may have been a misquote, but still established the point.

      You said, “…I’ve seen no mention…”

      I said, “It doesn’t matter if you’ve ‘seen mention’…”, which was easier than typing “It doesn’t matter if you’ve ‘seen mention’ or ‘seen no mention’…”

      The rest of your point didn’t really clear up the issue in my mind, but I’m not sure where we’d go from here. My point is this is one of the frustrating things about communicating with you, and you haven’t really given me cause to change that opinion.

      10: I guess we agree here, since I think the church should be a place of asylum, and I see no reason why this law would affect that in a negative way. Even if that asylum were being used in a negative way, I would still advocate for the rights of the church.

      Though a friend of mine brought up an important point about this law I hadn’t realized before. If any contact with police could cause an immigrant to be forced to show citizenship, this would cause an entire section of the populace to completely avoid the police for fear of expulsion. In other words, if you’re an immigrant and you are assaulted, you would not report this to authorities. This would have dangerous ramifications in a city with the 2nd highest kidnapping rate in the world.

      11. First, I’d echo Emily’s point above, in that I think you’re being disingenuous about where you stand.

      Second, I’d say Burnside quite deliberately attempts to provide a voice not often heard in American Christian media. Since the vast majority of American Christians are on the right side of the political spectrum, Burnside is generally going to lean away from that, if only to provide a different perspective.

      Third, I wrote this article with the primary purpose of explaining to those on the left why, even though this is a bad law, it came about in the first place. In other words, I was trying to show different view points, from the hypocrisy of people who claim to want smaller government, yet support this bill, to those who want government to provide for all sorts of other things, yet act surprised when government works against them. I also think the points I made toward the end landed in the general vicinity of libertarianism, a believe that is generally regarded as highly conservative.

      Mainly, though, as an avid proponent of civil rights and individual freedoms, I was adamantly opposed to this bill’s original incarnation (the revisions make it more palatable, but I wouldn’t say I’m completely on board). Therefore, while I feel comfortable pointing out why the other side may believe this law is just, I’m not in the same camp.

      In conclusion, I want to sincerely apologize again for being sarcastic or otherwise jerky in my arguments here. Reading through your points one-by-one, I really appreciated your articulation and the arguments (or questions) you raised. After years of mock trial and college forensics, I feel pretty good at recognizing the difference between adversarial debate and devil’s advocate, let’s-try-and-figure-this-out-together discussion. You may claim to be the latter, but I think Emily is right in that my reading of many of your comments on Burnside is that you claim the latter as a cover for the former.

      My reading, of course, may be wrong, but it’s an attempt to explain why I might be adversarial in these proceedings.

  • Arizona lawmakers have approved changes to the state’s controversial law cracking down on illegal immigrants. The changes were designed to answer charges made by protesters that it will lead to racial profiling by police. The original law stated police can conduct an immigration status check during any quote “lawful contact,” if they have reasonable suspicion a person is an illegal immigrant. It replaces “lawful contact” with “lawful stop, detention or arrest,” clarifying police may not stop people without cause. The revised law also removes the word “solely” from the phrase “The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.” Read the new Arizona Immigration Law

  • Edward says:

    This is really a great discussion, and I think its important. Jordan I’ll have to check that book. Here’s an interesting take on the issue (although im not sure i buy it)

  • annie says:

    1&2. I was tired and desperately looking for common ground. Can we pretend we sort of maybe agree a little that the answer is somewhere in the middle?

    6. Just to be clear, you were quoting an entirely different document and calling it SB1070, while accusing me of not having read it and using the wrong document as a basis for calling me frustrating. I’m assuming it was an honest mistake and that it was not malicious, while it was frustrating. Perhaps both sides are frustrating, but not malicious?

    9. I’m over arguing semantics and having the whole thing used as a justification for rejecting me personally. Emily has expressed her distaste for me before. You don’t like me. I get it.

    10. I think your second paragraph is true, is already happening among the homeless population, and has the power to have people take the same stance toward the church if the church becomes seen as an extension or checkpoint of the government (which is where I think this bill threatens asylum).

    11. You acknowledge that Burnside leans liberal and that conservatism is all over American Christian media, yet don’t see why I might not seek out more of the latter and try to gain more understanding and perspective of the former? Or, why I would come here for a thoughtful expression of the former and find my source for the latter elsewhere?

    The trouble with sarcasm in this venue is that, especially absent of tone, it makes it nearly impossible to know when you are sincere. I understand why you might be adversarial, and I appreciate the explanation.

    You say you appreciate my comments, and then basically call me a liar.

    There are myriad Christian venues, forums and group where I can be ostracized for my differences, and villified for failing to align sufficiently with the predominant franchise. I am not in the market for another.

    • Jordan Green says:

      I’ll try and wrap this up on my end.

      1 & 2: Yes, the answer is definitely somewhere in between “this law is wonderful” and “this law is evil”. I hope I explored some of that in my article.

      6. You are right…I was linking to the fact sheet, and not the law itself. That was foolish on my part, and I happened to be saved by the fact that the law’s writers recognized the need to change the wording.

      9. If the semantics changes the meaning of what you’ve written, I’m not really sure it’s simply a matter of semantics, but I’m fine dropping it. You don’t have to make this personal, though…I have plenty of friends who are far more conservative and less intelligent in their beliefs, so I have no reason to think I wouldn’t like you personally. I mean, you take the time to read my site, and I’m vain enough to like anyone who’s willing to do that.

      10. I think I’m with you along these lines, but I’m still a little confused on how asylum plays in.

      11. Interesting take. Obviously, you can go where you want for your media, though I’m fairly certain we won’t always meet your expectations

      As for “calling you a liar”, which is a pretty strong way to put it, I’m not sure what to say. Even in the questions you asked of Greg J above, the argument was largely one of conservative versus different conservative, as if the real discussion over SB 1070 is one of states rights v. federal, and keeping the immigrants out v. punishing them once they’re already here.

      I think you have a perspective on SB 1070. Yes, that’s an assumption, but it’s based on your behavior, what you write and say. Since I wrote the article, I don’t have the luxury of backing out every time someone disagrees with me…my stance is on the screen.

      So, in other words, I think I’ve got pretty good cause to be annoyed when what looks, smells and acts like a debate turns out to be “I’m just asking questions! How dare you assume things about me!” If you’re being villified and ostracized everywhere you go, maybe the problem isn’t everyone else.

    • annie says:

      You assert that I say one thing that isn’t true, to conceal something different that is. What am I supposed to take from that? You say it right after you say that you appreciate my questions, but also call me disengenuous. Adding subtext may be expected and even justifiable, but refusing to accept someone’s correction of a subtext you have projected and then questioning their character if they refuse accept your label, while repeatedly commenting on the negative emotional effect they have on you, does make it personal.

      I didn’t say I was being villified and ostracized everywhere I go. But, good job at throwing in one last dig.

    • Jordan Green says:

      It’s not just my label…ask Greg J. You seem to be the only one in here who believes you’re not arguing a conservative point.

      I do appreciate your comments…I’d just like it if you owned up to your stances. That’s why I think you’re being disingenuous. If you want to call it lying, then I guess I won’t argue, though disingenuous and liar mean two different things. I’m sure you’re an enigma, and your opinions are different than everyone else’s, but if you’re not going to state what they are, then all anyone has to go on is what you actually say. Dan Gibson, Greg J, Emily Timbol, and everyone else you’ve argued/agreed with seems to realize that.

      I do realize you didn’t say you were vilified and ostracized everywhere else, but if you’re going to leave with a cheap shot about how our site does those things, don’t act surprised when that’s exactly the response you get.

  • annie says:

    I’ve apologized for the fact that I know my communication is different. I’ve tried to explain. I’ve flat out told you it’s pathological. I think and work differently, and I sort of hate it. My saying I don’t know yet about this bill isn’t good enough. My saying I’m confused, and still trying to take it all in, and thinking there might be other, bigger issues, or the same issues but on a larger scale or different platform, that have to be addressed first isn’t good enough. The truth is, I don’t know. I’m not totally for it or against it, and I’m not sure what the right steps are to fix the errors while still addressing the issues. I’m not sure where the lines are or should be. I feel like I have a better understanding of why people are upset, beyond the wording of this bill, after hearing what people have to say. I have stated some pretty direct and unpopular opinions here, and taken what I consider to be an inordinate amount of heat for it, so I have no reason to equivocate now.

    Jordan, I am sorry if it seemed like cheap shot. I can see why it did, and I didn’t mean for it to be. I should have said it differently. I hope you can forgive me.

    If one must have an agenda, come from a perfectly impartial background or be playing a game (which it seems you are – I was relieved to see that we weren’t talking about the same document rather that being from different planets, and you seemed relieved that there was an addendum that “saved” you) in which the worst will always be assumed no matter how imperfect and impersonal the means of communication happens to be, then I’m not sure I want to play.

    • Jordan Green says:


      Thanks for that last post. I’m sorry I’ve slipped into the rudeness of internet conversation…I’m definitely guilty of that. I’m also frequently guilty of making debate a game (I think of politics the same way I think of sports, and of nearly the same consequence).

      Honestly, I really do appreciate your comments on here (which I can’t say for everyone), and the dozens of excellent points you made. I can certainly empathize with seeking questions and being labeled one political stance or another for doing so. I hope I’m more civil from now on. We really do aspire to listen and display different voices on Burnside, and I fear I didn’t accomplish that this week. I’m sorry.

  • Jo says:

    Hi all. Remember me? Interesting how I found myself here last night. I wrote something up on “Points of View” not too long ago because in my travels I see this as a consistent issue and it seemed to be emphasized here again. Something I tried to communicate in the past here, though not sure how well I was heard. Not looking to get into the “whys” and tossing blame, just saying.

    No worries.

    Jordan, when I wrote it you did come to mind. I hope you don’t read into that. I’m not saying this is a problem one person solely possesses. I see it as a consistent problem in my travels and I feel all can benefit. Even if all don’t agree with everything I wrote, I don’t doubt everyone can find something in it that is beneficial.

    I did want to send you a copy via email “because you being editor at Burnside” I thought the information my come in handy with what is shared here. But I put it on the backburner…now I think it may be best to share for everyone.

    Anyway, I still do long so I am just going to post the links as my longs weren’t appreciated in the past. Again, not judging. People have their preferences but do know this is the reason why I chose to post the links instead. Hard for me to cover ground I am looking to cover and keep it short.

    Some advocate storytelling over teaching. Some may prefer the latter. I find benefit in all and Jesus did both. I also am not into advocating on surface way over another, even when the pressure to join one side over another comes in, and it can often do that. I prefer to keep digging into the deep where God’s heart is found.

    And again, I’m not tossing out how working on surface details may be of some benefit to some for a season or whatever, whatever. I just find that God can make the surface look really strange in order to get us to connect with the deep things of his heart.

    Do know the first link entitled “Points of View” is a teaching with some examples. The second is a short story that ties in some of the teachings details, for those that prefer that route (storytelling and short).

    Somethings for prayerful consideration.

    Hope it is some benefit to all, even if you may not agree with it all.

    1. The teaching

    2. The storytelling

    And my last comments before checking out again will be on somethings I saw. I don’t know all the details regarding immigration laws but did want to say that I commend you Jordan for seeing the monster of self-interest on both sides of the fence. I see it often too. One of the reasons I advocate that higher ground in Jesus-God’s heart in the flesh. I don’t believe the law or our personal rights are the answers, yet to quote you, “But it is something.”

    Even God gives us liberty, yet He says it isn’t to be abused, thus He has left the law in place…where we can find ourselves bound again. The law not to lead us but to continue to show us the ugly monster of self-interest and remind us to remain crucified with Christ so that we may soar in his Spirit and bear His fruits, reflecting his heart.

    Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look to make adjustments to laws, just giving that perspective as I know it.

    Annie, I don’t know your history here but I did want to say I thought you handled yourself admirably and was impressed how you did not succumb to making assumptions about where others were coming from at heart. God bless your heart dear sis.

    Anyway, no worries. Will be off again now but wanted to contribute to what I felt was an important element. I did my part and will be off again.

    Forgive me if I didn’t go into the details of the “law” presented here. I’m not real familiar with it. Even so, I offered what I saw were some things presented.

    Thank you for your time.

    Until next time, whenever that may be. God bless you all.
    Love in Him,

  • Greg J says:

    As if your not arguing a “liberal” point, spare me. Even your article, as far and balanced as you think it was came of smarmy. And Jordon, I think it is so “neet” that you think it is “neet” that radical Muslims can mingle in the land without fear of problems. I am sure the many of the families who have been killed by “radical” muslims share your warm and fuzzy view.

    • annie says:

      I don’t mind sincere encouragement, but I hope this wasn’t supposed to somehow defend me. It doesn’t. It’s one of the reasons I get so frustrated with being grouped and labelled.

      You haven’t shared a coherent view on immigration, haven’t asked a question, haven’t sought perspective or shared concern, but you have attacked someone on the grounds of something he didn’t say. Again, this level of sarcasm isn’t helpful; it is unproductive and disrespectful.

    • Greg J says:

      I dont presume to defend you, just appreciated your perspective. There is not a “coherent” or biblical view of imigration. Just points of view. On the one hand you have the possibility of abuse, on the other hand you get citizens of the US being murdered, and Pheonix with the highest kidnapping rate in the US, with hospitals and medical offices (not to mention the people) bearing the brunt of a border situation that several presidents have chosen to ignore. I have found that the articles that relate to God and our relationship with him wonderful, but I find another element that relate to articles to contain a certian “smugness” that is interesting. And by the way, I use a certian level of “sarcasm” because in the past Jordon has chosen to use that as his form of communicating with me. It is always easy to take potshots at situations you are not in, at people you dont agree with. I have done that at times, and am truely sorry for some of those times. But I am not going to shy away from sharing something because I get hammered when I come in with a different view.

    • Greg J says:

      Oh, by the way. I have had some wonderful give and takes with Larry and others who write things I disagree with, but to be honest I think Jordan likes to function at this level. The real irony to me is, that if Jordan and I sat down and talked about God, we would not only find we probably agree on most everything, he would actually enjoy the time. But he see’s things from a different perspective politically and practically than I do, and we are both passionate about it.

  • Greg J says:

    And by the way Jordan, maybe some of us see our views as “common sence” as apposed to political. And on those rare occasions, see some concepts as actually being “biblical”.

    • Dan Gibson says:

      Greg, I’m relatively sure everyone believes their political views are “common sense” and that nearly every Christian would describe their ethical positions as being “biblical”. Both terms are so widely and poorly applied that they’ve lost their meaning.

    • Greg J says:

      Your point?

    • Dan Gibson says:

      This wasn’t my point originally, but now that you asked: The point is that you have little to no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Greg J says:

      I bow to your infinite wisdom.

    • Dan Gibson says:

      Not necessary, but I appreciate it.

    • Greg J says:

      Ah, ego is such a terrible thing to waste. Might as well waste it on others.

    • Holly D. says:

      To be fair, you are the one who said he’d bow to Dan Gibson’s infinite wisdom, and Dan Gibson humbly declined, so I’m not sure you can nail him for his ego this time around.

    • aaron says:

      based on his other comments, i assumed he was talking about his own ego…

  • Ryan says:

    Great, just what I was looking for Here is a great and clean joke:

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