The immigration debate often brings out the worst in people, but it still is disappointing to see the sad display by a number of bishops and other religious leaders yesterday outside the Capitol. They used their prayer vigil to spew hatred at their fellow Christians and other Americans working to reduce immigration in order to help the most vulnerable members of our society. The United Methodist, Episcopal and Catholic bishops held the prayer vigil/publicity event to call for “an end to hateful rhetoric in the immigration debate”.

But as far as I can see most of the hateful rhetoric this week has come from organizations campaigning for amnesty and higher immigration. All the mud-slinging and name-calling has come from America’s Voice, the National Council of La Raza, their close allies in Congress and now from these religious leaders.

I’m not hearing the leaders on our side call immigrants names or demonize them. What I hear from our side is a request for a rational public policy debate about how to set a reasonable number for immigration and how to enforce that law.

I have tried for years to meet with the national religious leaders to discuss the principles involved in the immigration debate — and maybe even to find some common ground. But I have been continually rebuffed. Most of these national religious bodies have now passed resolutions supporting “comprehensive immigration reform” (amnesty and green card increases) without ever allowing themselves to hear our side of the issue.

And now they have decided to accept the hateful rhetoric and smears of the Southern Poverty Law Center as gospel truth. It is clear that these religious leaders regard all of us immigration-reductionists as their enemy. But while Jesus taught that people should love their enemies, these religious leaders have decided to bear false witness against us.

(I should note that most years I do hours upon hours of guest appearances on the radio shows at the Hold Their Feet to the Fire. I am missing it this year because I am doing business throughout California this week.)

(The references to the FAIR organization, and the reports behind them, are full of distortions. If you ever see anything from the SPLC about NumbersUSA or any other immigration-reduction leader that causes you concern, please contact us before you make any assumptions.)