By Bob Allen
A gap between President Obama’s professed Christianity and the policies he supports raises questions about both his faith and his commitment to immigration reform, a Baptist ethicist said in an online commentary Sept. 24.
An EthicsDaily.com article by Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, cited a People of Faith for Obama website’s description of the president as “a committed Christian who knows that faith and values are more than a personal anchor — they are also a powerful force for the common good.”
Parham found those words hard to square with a Sept. 17 New York Times story revealing that after publicly announcing a new policy that hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children could remain in the country without fear of deportation, the Obama administration quietly declared that those young immigrants will not be eligible for health insurance coverage under the president’s health-care overhaul.
The Times article speculated that the limitation might help Obama avoid a heated political debate over whether the health law is benefitting illegal immigrants. Republican candidate Mitt Romney has said President Obama’s “Dream Act” to allow young immigrants to gain legal status would create a magnet for illegal immigration.
Parham accused Obama of “playing politics with immigration and faith.”
Parham noted that the People of Faith for Obama website came out “two weeks after Democrats booed the addition of the word ‘God’ into the party platform after the word ‘God’ had been inexplicably removed from the platform.”
Following that debacle, Parham said, “Democrats declared rightly that real faith was disclosed in deeds, not words only.”
“Indeed, the Bible teaches that faith without works is dead,” Parham wrote. “One wonders if Obama and the Democrats have a dead faith.”
“They have the words, lots of them declaring that they are people of faith,” he continued, but in light of the decision to deny health care to young undocumented immigrants, “one wonders where the works are.”
“One can’t claim to be the party of real faith and then be unfaithful to the moral teachings of what it means to welcome the stranger into our society,” Parham said.
Parham said the president has long pointed a finger at Republicans for blocking comprehensive immigration reform, but “in this case, Obama is the problem.”
“He is playing politics with faith and immigration, wanting a generous slice of the God-vote and an extra helping from Hispanics,” he said. “His actions raise questions about his faith and his commitment to the undocumented.”