Immigration reform on the fringe

August 7, 2013
Cathie Adams (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)
Cathie Adams (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

How our nation of immigrants humanely recognizes and empowers its current immigrants  will define our generation. But what does biblical prophecy have to do with immigration reform?

Apparently, for some people, everything. According to reports from Right Wing Watch and the Huffington Post, Cathie Adams, former chairman of the Texas Republican Party, said one feature of the Senate’s immigration bill is a signpost of the end times. A biometric scanning measure, Adams said, will lead to the mark of the beast. The Huffington Post reports:

“And, of course, we know in biblical prophecy that that is the End Times,” Adams said of the initiative. “That is going to be the brand either on our foreheads or on the back of our hands. That is demonic through and through. That is End Times prophecy. There is no question about that.”

Putting immigration aside for a moment, Adams’ word usage reflects a growing population who view national policy and events through biblical prophecy and wide-reaching conspiracies in politics, science and environmental issues. They may not agree on a specific subject, in this case, Adams was discussing immigration reform, but they pepper their viewpoint with apocalyptic themes. Some of them are famous biblical prophecy teachers like Chuck Missler, Irvin Baxter, Jr. and Perry Stone, who would run circles around people who couldn’t find “mark,” let alone “beast” in the Bible.

Then there are others who delve into these areas across racial and religious groups, and geographic and political lines. They aren’t only conservative-minded Sunday School attendees who fear a post-Christian America: They may hold centrist or liberal views, they may be gay or straight, they may be politicians and business leaders or stay-at-home moms and dads, but they view the world on a fast course toward an ominous end.

Push their buttons and they can rant about Area 51, the Illuminati, and Jay-Z’s allegedly occult-inspired T-Shirt featuring Jesus and Satan, and everything in between. You can hear them on popular programs such as Coast to Coast AM and Red Ice Creations. They serve up all kinds of paranormal weirdness that would make the television character Walter Bishop from J.J. Abrams’ “Fringe,” convulsively happy.

One of the respected broadcasters in this area is Art Bell, a former Coast to Coast AM host. He’s legendary for his quirky and provocative interviews that have included conspiracy theorists to mainstream scientists like Dr. Michio Kaku.

It’s easy to relegate Adams and others into the realm of the periphery. Ridicule basically says it’s unnecessary to understand the way people believe as they do. A dismissive, snarky smile, however, will never bind a republic together. On the other hand, it’s also culturally brainless and inhumane to insert racial and political hatreds into the serious business of immigration reform.

The ultimate challenge is accepting that we live in a complicated world, a forest of emerging and conflicting ideas. When we carelessly navigate through the forest, in the end, we do more harm than good.

Judy Howard Ellis is an editor at Daybreak Lit. A former Denver Post features editor, Judy is writing a sequel to her fantasy novel, “Fall of the Savior King,” a story inspired by the Book of Genesis. Follow her on Twitter @JudyHowardEllis.

 

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Keli Goff | August 7, 2013