In this morning's Moline Dispatch newspaper columnist Scott Reeder opines that the National Association of Latino Elected Officials must not know the Bible as well as he does. The group is trying to encourage immigrants to participate in the 2010 census and are distributing posters to evangelical churches serving immigrants that say
Joseph and Mary Participated in the Census, Don't be afraid.Mr. Reeder feels that only someone with knowledge of the Bible inferior to his own would suggest such a thing.
Let's recap the Bible story.
Joseph took a very pregnant Mary on a 120-mile journey to Bethlehem to register for the census because an evil emperor named Caesar Augustus didn't give his subjects a choice. He wanted to count them so he could tax them.
His underling, King Herod, was so angry about Christ's birth that he ordered all the boys under the age of 2 in Bethlehem murdered. Mary and Joesph along with the baby Jesus were forced to flee across the border to Egypt and hide.
And this Bible story is supposed to encourage new immigrants to trust their government and participate in the Census?
Someone needs to brush up on their Bible.
Mr. Reeder seems to think that the only lesson this story offers is that immigrants should fear the government and that participating in the census will put them in danger. But in this story the immigrant child whose parents were participating in the census was kept safe by the forces of good in the world. Most likely almost all the children killed in the Slaughter of the Innocents were not new immigrants but were natives of Bethlehem whose families had been there for generations.
Just who has either not understood this story or twisted its meaning to support political goals -- the group of Latino politicians or Mr. Reeder?