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We Are Robbing the Collection Box at the A.M.E. Church

By | September 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

          Poor box

Suppose I drove to the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, located in the section of Los Angeles that was predominately black but now is slowly becoming Latino. Suppose I pulled out a screwdriver and pried open the collection box. Suppose I scooped the money into a shopping bag.

Then suppose I drove to a Latino area with many immigrants, legal and illegal. Suppose I began handing out the money to anyone who would take it. Suppose I loudly praised myself as a charitable, compassionate humanitarian. Suppose I let the recipients believe I was handing out my own money. What would you think of me?

Most churches and synagogues have a collection box, also called a poor box, where worshippers can leave contributions to charity. Occasionally thieves will jimmy the lock and steal the contents. Such thieves are viewed with deep contempt. How low must a person be to steal money that was meant for the needy, especially needy minorities? I’ll tell you how low: As low as we are, because that is exactly what we are doing.

To illustrate my point, let me give you reports from around the city:

The construction zone.

Some time ago, the house next door was being renovated. Trucks frequently blocked our driveway. I walked across the street to take a photo of the blocked driveway to show the police. But I realized that the hammering had ceased. The workers had disappeared into the building. I went back inside my house, and the hammering resumed.

Apparently the workers feared not that I would call the police about parking violations, but that I would call immigration about undocumented workers. I noticed that the contractor arrived every Friday afternoon and paid the foreman, who then paid the workers – in cash. The workers were all Latino. Black construction workers are quite rare. I don’t know whether the contractor was withholding federal and state income tax, Social Security and Medicare tax, or state disability insurance, or paying unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation premiums. But I wouldn’t bet a penny that he was.

The hospital zone.

I spent most of my professional life at Los Angeles County–USC Medical Center. The waiting rooms are more crowded than ever, but instead of a majority of African Americans, they now contain mainly Latinos. Does this mean that most blacks are now doing well and do not need county care? Or does it mean that many still need it but have been crowded out, and waiting times are intolerably long?

President Obama claimed that illegal immigrants will not be eligible for ObamaCare. This might mean (1) what it says, or (2) that he will legalize the illegals. That (2) is correct is shown by the fact that he has already legalized those who arrived as young people. There are at least 10 to 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States. No one knows the true total. If you think the lines are already long at public hospitals and clinics, wait until even more immigrants “jump the line.”

Many patients’ charts contain incorrect addresses and phone numbers. Patients move frequently, and they may give phony ID because they are illegal, or because they are using someone else’s Medicare or Medicaid card. If an abnormal test result comes back, we can’t contact the patient. Practicing good medicine becomes problematic.

The vehicular zone.

Some time ago my car was rear-ended while stopped in traffic – hard enough to dent the gas tank. If it were hit a little harder, my only choice would be regular or extra-crispy. The other driver spoke no English and had no insurance. I copied the information from his driver’s license, as well as the plate number and description of his car. I sent the required report to DMV.

I paid the $500 deductible, but my insurance company reported that the man’s driver’s license was counterfeit. The plates were from a wrecked car, so the owner could not be identified. Since the driver could not be identified, I couldn’t prove he was uninsured, so the uninsured-motorist coverage didn’t apply.

If the police issued the man a citation, he could throw it away. If he were arrested, he would be booked under the false name, and he could bail out and thumb his nose at our legal system. He could get on an airliner, and the TSA would have no idea who he was. He could vote – here in California, no ID is required. And where it is required, the phony license would serve nicely.

But now illegal immigrants need not pay for counterfeit driver’s licenses. California is issuing them genuine licenses. Thus far over 200,000 have been issued. It is becoming painfully obvious that only fools obey the law. Is this the lesson we wish to teach young people?

The school zone and the jail zone.

These zones report severe, worsening overcrowding and chronic shortages of personnel, equipment, and funding.

The university zone.

In California as in many states, illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition. But if students apply from neighboring Arizona, they must pay higher out-of-state tuition. Cross the border from Mexico, sí. Cross the state line from Arizona, no. Go figure. Of course, it helps if you are from a favored ethnic group. When an excellent student I know applied for the Ph.D. psychology program at UCLA, she was told her chances were slim unless she was a Pacific islander. She replied that she had spent her honeymoon in Hawaii, but the admissions officer was not amused.

The twilight zone.

This zone is inhabited by politicians and academics. It must be a really nice place.

● There, illegal immigrants don’t “jump the line” and push ahead of people who have fulfilled all the requirements and then have to wait years for their turn to immigrate. Like Jorge Ramos at the Trump press conference, they feel entitled to shoulder aside those who have been waiting patiently for their turn.

● There, illegal immigrants don’t drive down wages or displace citizens from jobs. They have nothing to do with unemployment or lack of wage increases in construction or other industries.

● There, public hospitals and clinics aren’t flooded with immigrants, legal and illegal, who increase costs, while crowding out citizens who are down on their luck. There, nobody is concerned with the care of a 50-year-old black man who was laid off, lost his health insurance, and may have served his country in the military. But he must “wait his turn” at the clinic, behind people who arrived recently – and perhaps illegally – then pushed to the front of the line.

● There, drivers don’t have to worry about uninsured, unidentifiable motorists who force up the cost of auto insurance and make accident reporting a sham. They don’t have to worry about phony licenses, which serve as identification for getting on airliners or voting. There, schools and jails aren’t overtaxed to the point of collapse.

● Residents of the twilight zone aren’t construction workers, so they never worry about lost jobs or weakened unions.

● They go to private doctors and hospitals, so what happens at public hospitals doesn’t affect them – or so they believe.

● They can afford collision repairs and are unconcerned with counterfeit identity documents.

● They send their children to private schools or public schools in affluent areas, so what happens at inner-city public schools doesn’t interest them.

● Their children don’t need minimum-wage jobs as the first rung on the economic ladder. So when these jobs are taken by immigrants, they don’t realize that they are stealing that rung from poor Americans, especially minorities.

● They live and work in low-crime areas, so their chief concern with law enforcement is traffic tickets, not violent criminals who vanish across the border.

Residents of the twilight zone actually think they are humanitarians for giving away money, jobs, school desks, and places in clinic waiting rooms that don’t belong to them, but belong to people less fortunate than themselves. Residents of the twilight zone should recall the old saying:

Who gives away what isn’t his’n
Must give it back or go to prison.

Perhaps exporting skilled jobs and importing unskilled workers is not an economic masterstroke. Yes, in the short term, some businesses get cheap labor, and Democrats get more voters. But in the long term, what then?

The slaves were freed in 1865. Since then, African Americans have been waiting in line for their turn. They waited through the time of lynching, through the time of segregation, and recently through the time of the soft bigotry of low expectations. And now, when they finally get near the front of the line, their liberal “friends” bring in tens of millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, and push them ahead to the front of the line.

No wonder the collection box at the A.M.E. church is empty. We robbed it. First we must take care of our own people. Then we can give charity to strangers.

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