The increasingly marginalized yet dogged minority who would restrict legal immigration to zero - or better yet, minus thirty million - will be the first to assure you they aren't racist.
Steve Krieser, third highest ranking official in Michigan's Department of Transportation, is no exception.
In a Facebook discussion over the "Illegal Alien hunting permit" pictured here, Krieser responded to Gordon Hintz, a Democrat in the Wisconsin State Assembly, who had posted it and who said he sees Jesus when he sees undocumented immigrants, Krieser responded,
“You may see Jesus when you look at them. I see Satan.”
And yet, Krieser's sentences right before that argued, however lamely, that calling immigrants "Satan" is not racist!
"The sticker is probably over the top, and while some people are undoubtedly motivated by racial animus, I think you err in insinuating that opposition to illegal immigration generally is driven primarily by racism…The illegals themselves have bred the animus that many American citizens feel toward them."
After Governor Walker fired him, (Governers have authority to fire and replace anyone in state government, including department heads), Kreiser said "I didn't mean any offense."
(See the August 9 story)
What is a "racist"? An accusation so easily leveled, so indignantly denied, yet so seldom defined.
I submit that it is not racist to make blanket assessments of a group of people which are factual. It may not even be racist to make unflattering blanket assessments of a population group which are not factual but which one has open mindedly tried to confirm and has just been fed bad information.
But it is racist to say or even think false accusations against a group which one has no interest in investigating, while one shouts down contrary evidence.
By this definition, it is not racist to say "Blacks have more melatonin (the substance whose quantity determines skin color) than whites." Allegations of differences beyond that are on shakier factual ground.
The Bible has a phrase for racists: "willingly ignorant". 1 Peter 3:5. In the Bible, the phrase is applied to evolutionists who deny Noah's Flood, but I think I may borrow it for "racists".
Racists all allege facts which, if true, really would justify their discrimination.
If all Jews really were the puppeteers of world leaders, pulling us all towards world tyranny through manipulating all money, then perhaps the pogroms of Hitler and Stalin were reasonable. But then why would God promise to avenge all wrongs done to Jews? Genesis 12:3, Galatians 3:8.
If Blacks really were as past American slave owners insisted, only three fifths human, and grateful to have their otherwise chaotic, meaningless lives so wonderfully managed by their white masters, then perhaps slavery was justified.
But then how could a black man write a book of the Bible? (Zedekiah 1:1 says the prophet was the son of "Cush", meaning "black", who was the son of the righteous king Hezekiah.) Why would another book of the Bible glorify interracial romance between a white man and a black woman? (Song of Solomon 1:6) When Moses' sister criticized him for marrying a black woman, why was it Moses' sister that God punished in a way that made whiteness the curse? (Numbers 12)
If unborn babies really do not have souls, or feel pain, or feel emotions, or respond to the call of God before they are born, then perhaps abortion is harmless. But Luke 1:41-44 insists unborn babies experience emotions, can recognize the voice of the righteous, and can choose to be glad at such a presence. Jeremiah 1:5 says God's call can come, and be received, at conception if not before.
If undocumented immigrants really do drag down our economy and take jobs from citizens, further restrictions might be justified. But the evidence is that they create at least as many jobs as they take, leaving better jobs for citizens, and massive new legal immigration is probably the only thing that can save us from our crushing national debt. Even the most restrictionist of trained economists complains only of diminished jobs for high school dropouts, no other group, and they allege only a slight reduction even for them.
If our unloved neighbors really did knowingly violate legitimate laws grounded in reality which are understandable enough that those under them can know what actions will eventually, years later when the USCIS finally process the forms, be counted as violations, then calling them "criminals" or "illegals" might be warranted. But that isn't the case.
I conclude that it isn't necessarily racist views which make one a "racist", but one's enthusiasm for them in preference to any challenge from reality. So before you accuse an immigration restrictionist of being a "racist", try to reason with him. See if he addresses evidence or just circles around it with a chain of other false accusations, none of which he will submit for vetting.
But be forgiving; no political group has a monopoly on racism, by this definition. In fact very few people, on either end of the political spectrum, appreciate being refuted. General resistance to the whispers of reality through the snoring of comfortable mental habits is part of being human. The human rights landscape across the planet proves it.
As for seeing "Satan" in immigrants, the Pharisees saw "Satan" in Jesus Himself. Matthew 12:24-32. So when Jesus told us to recognize Him in immigrants, Matthew 25:43, we should not be surprised if some modern Pharisee should instead see Satan, but verse 46 warns that those who do will end up in The Other Place.
Offended Atheist Alert: Since the impetus of this story is a disagreement between Michigan lawmakers and a Michigan bureaucrat over whether undocumented immigrants are recognizable as "Jesus" or as "Satan", both of whom are personalities known to us mostly through the Bible, it is irrational to imagine any writer can explore who is right without consulting the Bible.