Tim Pawlenty's pastor opposes Arizona's anti-immigration law


The Rev. Leith Anderson, pastor at Wooddale Church in Edina -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty's church -- and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, is part of a growing movement among Christian conservatives criticizing Arizona's new and controversial anti-immigration law.

He tells MPR's Bob Collins that the law is "not pro family and we're interested in what we can do to have intact and healthy families."

Where's T-Paw on Arizona's law? It's not clear. He's sympathizing with Arizonans who backed the bill, but he's backed away from saying he'd sign a similar measure in Minnesota.

"It's OK for states to take reasonable and appropriate measures to enforce the laws, and I think that's what Arizona is trying to do," he told The Daily Caller. "I think what you're seeing here is a frustration by Arizona, an understandable frustration, that their concerns haven't been addressed by the federal government."

But when he was asked recently on ABC's Top Line whether he would sig a similar bill in Minnesota, he hedged.

Well we need to be a nation that values legal immigration," Pawlenty said. "It needs to be legal and reasonable and orderly. Our current system is none of that. It is chaotic. It is disorderly and much of it is illegal and so our country has to do a much better job at enforcing."

Pressed for a direct answer, he fell back again on the "better enforcement" line. Here's that clip:

Since it's a pretty sure bet that a Minnesota clone of the Arizona law introduced by GOP state Rep. Steve Drazkowski is going nowhere, T-Paw won't be forced into a position either way as long as he's governor.

The Republican who wants to succeed Pawlenty in the governor's mansion, Tom Emmer, calls the law a "wonderful first step."

The DFL-endorsed candidate, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, opposes the law.

The mayors and chiefs of police in both Minneapolis and St. Paul have also come out strongly against the measure. Congressman Keith Ellison of Minneapolis calls it a "fascist, racist" measure.

The NAE has purchased a full-page ad set to run in tomorrow's edition of Roll Call that declares a need for federal legislation providing "dignity for each person, unity of families, respect of the rule of law, secure borders, and the establishment of a path to legal status for those who wish to become legal residents."

Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and Mathew Staver of Liberty University School of Law, part of the institution founded by Jerry Falwell, are among those leaders who have signed onto the ad.

The news continues a trend. In 2009, the NAE released a position paper promoting comprehensive immigration reform that said, in part, "Discussion of immigration and government immigration policy must begin with the truth that every human being is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). Immigrants are made in the image of God and have supreme value with the potential to contribute greatly to society. Jesus exemplifies respect toward others who are different in his treatment of the Samaritans (Luke 10:30-37; John 4:1-42)."

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