No this isn’t the beginning to another run of the mill religious joke. Instead it is an update regarding religious leaders in Alabama joining together to stand up for what they believe in.
“An Episcopal bishop, a Methodist bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop and bishop, all based in Alabama, sued on the basis that the new statute violated their right to free exercise of religion, arguing that it would “make it a crime to follow God’s command to be Good Samaritans.”
“The law,” said Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, “attacks our core understanding of what it means to be a church.”
While church leaders have spoken out against similar laws elsewhere, Alabama is the only state where senior church leaders have gone so far in formal, organized opposition. But the law in Alabama, a state with an estimated 120,000 illegal immigrants, according to thePew Hispanic Center, goes further than any other. (NY Times)”
So here is the Parable of the Good Samaritan according to the King James Bible
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’[a] and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”[b]
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him,and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.
34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 On the next day, when he departed,[c] he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’
36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
The question then becomes does Alabama’s new law jeopardize one’s ability to exercise their religion and practice what they preach. For example are you harboring an undocumented immigrant by letting him attend services? What about different churches which offer different types of aid and support to their congregation? Does the extra support which is offered to all people regardless of citizenship cross the line of aiding the immigrants? People need to really start paying attention to laws before they are passed so that you don’t find yourself going to jail for being a “Good Samaritan”.