Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Radical Hospitality, SB 1070, & Kris Kobach

The Kansas City Star published the following letter to the editor in their Wednesday, July 28th paper.

Kobach cover-up

Kris Kobach isn’t the first politician to employ racially neutral laws that violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. He reminds me of former Mississippi governor J.P. Coleman.

Coleman, like Kobach, was a bright legal technician who drafted his policies in racially-neutral terms in hopes of thwarting the civil rights of African-Americans. Jim Crow laws were often written in racially-neutral terms. Despite Kobach’s protestations, I doubt S.B. 1070 will survive legal challenges based on either the supremacy clause or the equal protection clause.

My chief complaint against Kobach’s legislation is not based on constitutional theory. It violates a spiritual value known as “radical hospitality,” which calls for extending welcome beyond the boundaries, beyond places of worship, into every corner of society.

I am reminded that but for the grace of God, any of us could be in the place of economic refugees. American citizens of Hispanic descent should not be burdened by Kobach’s law. Kansas can do better than electing Kris Kobach.

Michael Box
For reference purposes, I wrote that letter, J.P. Coleman was a Federal Judge and Mississippi Governor, and Kris Kobach is running for Kansas' Secretary of State.  Michigan's Democratic Representative to Congress once referred to Coleman as the "thinking man's segregationist."  Here's what these folks look like.

J.P. Coleman

John Conyers

Kris Kobach

Those who support Arizona's SB 1070 claim that it mirrors America's immigration law.  While the Arizona statute parrots federal immigration law, it is significantly different in that the stated purpose of the Arizona statute is attrition through enforcement.

Kris Kobach's statute makes an attempt to usurp authority granted to the Congress by the Constitution.  What Kobach didn't think of, or fails to mention, is that the Congress has the authority to enact laws to enforce federal power.  Immigration is a federal power.

U.S. Constitution Article I §8 cl. 18

The Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Kobach would have the States exercise the elastic nature of the Necessary and Proper Clause in contravention of the Constitution of the United States.

Much has been written and much is being practiced when it comes to Radical Hospitality.  A fine distillation of this core spiritual value is found in a short poem by Edwin Markham.


He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

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