March 24, 2017

Letters to the Editor

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As Christians, we are called to be activists for the witness of truth

I am disappointed in the editorial choice to publish the letter in the March 10 issue of The Criterion whose headline read: “Reader says newspaper must print both sides in immigration debate,” specifically as it applies to the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a wife and mother of citizens of the United States though she herself is of illegal immigrant status.

You are a Catholic newspaper. You are obliged to print the Gospel message side of the news, not “both sides.” I found the letter to be the antithesis of the Gospel message: narrow-minded, self-centered, in short, unchristian.

It is not the mission of a Catholic newspaper to publish such opinions, at least not without editorial comment as to the Gospel, the pope and the bishops’ stance on the same issues. I am surprised that the March 17 issue was not flooded with responses from our Church members.

Yes, following the law is admirable, as the letter writer states, but at some point justice must be tempered with mercy.

Separating a family without recourse to correcting the situation is wrong. Her family of U.S. citizens also has rights. The mother had complied with Immigration and Customs Enforcement check-in policy. To suggest, as this letter did, that her family should relocate to another country in spite of legitimate citizenship in this country is to deny their rights.

“She came into our wonderful country, and broke many laws and took all the free stuff.” Really? Multiple laws? Or only the requirement to have a Social Security number to work? Who allowed that catch‑22 in the system? To work, one needs a number. To not work and support oneself is wrong. But we will look the other way and allow it—at least for now while convenient to us.

“… took tax dollars that all of us earned for our citizens. The U.S. gives to illegal immigrants free education, medical, housing and food.” Again, really? Where is this vast expenditure on these programs?

Illegal aliens are not eligible for government benefits, but we collect their taxes and Social Security contributions anyway. Her children are entitled to the same education as all children, and they are citizens. It looks to be a win for the U.S. government to refuse benefits to illegal people, but collect their money anyway. Of course, as citizens her family was eligible for any benefits for which they qualified, but large expenditures and automatic free “stuff”? Not in the experience of most hard-working immigrants, legal or not.

Our beliefs put us firmly into looking out for one another in the human family. If a fair system for entering legally into our country existed following deportation, as the author suggests, I am sure many would avail themselves of it. Otherwise, we have exploited workers by ignoring their status for our own benefit of cheap labor for years, and then throwing them into a criminal status and deportation by a sudden surge of strict enforcement of laws. Justice? Mercy? Where is the immigration reform promised for decades to solve this?

We are in this life together. That is a sum of our social beliefs as Catholic Christians.

- Fay Obergfell | Lexington, Ind.

Criterion has jumped on bandwagon as adversary of president, reader says

In the March 10 issue of The Criterion, the front page featured a story about the immigration ban and all the opposition and protests going on against it. We already get enough of that every day from the mainstream media. Do we also have to be bombarded with it from our Catholic newspaper, too? The ban is for 120 days—not forever!

The first responsibility of the government is the protection of its citizens. President Donald J. Trump is attempting to fulfill his campaign promises, and I thank God for that.

I resent the fact that The Criterion is jumping on the bandwagon of his adversaries. Why can’t we just give him a chance? I also point out that if Mr. Obama was still president, there would be no protests of any kind. We need to get to the “why” of that.

The immigration ban of 120 days and other immigration-related stories made the front page, and pages two and three of this issue. My challenge to the editor is this: Why was the article about President Trump visiting a Catholic school in support of school choice on page 10 instead of the front page? Could it be that The Criterion has become just another mainstream newspaper that only gives one side of the issue—the side they want us to see?

I believe it is time those who lost the election step aside and let the winner who loves America make it great again. He needs our support.

- Mary Badinghaus | Lawrenceburg

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