I wrote earlier today about a new DOJ petition in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the Alabama anti-immigration statute, the third lawsuit filed so far. Or so I thought. Within minutes of my post several tweets and blog posts were referring to the DOJ complaint as the fourth one filed.
I stand corrected. In addition to the DOJ petition, another petition was filed today by church leaders:
Leaders of the Episcopal, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches in Alabama filed a federal lawsuit this morning to stop enforcement of the state’s new immigration law, which they say could strike at the core of their ability to worship.
The lawsuit was filed by: the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley Jr., bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama; Rev. William H. Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church; and the Most Rev. Thomas J. Rodi, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mobile; and the Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham.
According to the lawsuit, “the bishops have reason to fear that administering of religious sacraments, which are central to the Christian faith, to known undocumented persons may be criminalized under this law.”
Throughout the months since its passage, church leaders took the lead in vocal opposition to this bill (for example, see here, here, here, here, here, here.) It is good for the church not to let the government dictate to whom and how it will minister the gospel. I am glad these church leaders have joined publicly and now officially in opposition to this law.