John Paul Brammer tries to manipulate Christians to oppose amnesty.
“When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.” – Stephen Jay Gould
Americans have become a people accustomed to sound-bites. Perhaps relying on Twitter as a news source has had an ill effect, or maybe believing The Daily Show to be a sufficient source for political news has caused us to view important issues through a reductionist lens, or it could be that we are simply becoming less, and less willing to read beyond the headlines. Regardless of the why, the issue remains: we don’t bother to look beyond the scope of our own–often intentionally minute–understanding in order to fully explore the pertinent issues facing us as a nation. This downsizing of our intellectual vigor has led us to conflate emotional arguments with reasoned ones. Case in point: amnesty.
John Paul Brammer of Blue State Review recently penned a column with the title: “Who Would Jesus Deport?” In his pretentious column (see: screed), he questions the Christianity of those who oppose amnesty because it doesn’t seem like something Jesus would do.
“How can the majority of the GOP claim to be Christian when they support tearing families like this apart? It begs the question: Who would Jesus deport? There’s a reason immigrants take shelter in churches. There, they are given what they need, and they are protected from authorities that typically will not pursue enforcement actions in a place of worship. Sounds like something Jesus would do for people, doesn’t it? Christianity, in my view, is about giving. It’s about selflessness. It’s about protecting the weak and a willingness to sacrifice what you have to better the lives of others, even if they can’t give anything in return.”
In his column, Brammer commits a cardinal sin of argumentation: conflating emotions with logic, and reason. His basic argument is as follows:
A: Deporting illegal immigrants could lead to some families being separated.
B: Separating families is cruel, and not Christlike.
C: Therefore, opponents of amnesty cannot call themselves Christians.
In his argument, Brammer fails to mention the numerous other legitimate issues that might cause one to oppose amnesty, not the least of which is that in coming here, illegal immigrants broke the law of the United States. Brammer uses his own, personal version of Christ to redirect the amnesty argument, and send it off the rails. His implication is that one cannot be Christlike if one is also opposed to amnesty, which he hopes will cause people to eject the baby with the bathwater. “Well, if opposing amnesty means tearing a mother away from her child, we must be wrong on all fronts!” I say as I aggressively pet my rabbit. It’s an effort to reduce a complex issue–one with many legal, criminal, and social facets–down to a single point.
Brammer took a contentious issue, sprinkled in some tears to tug at our heart strings, wagged his finger a bit, and made himself a nice little straw man. His intention with this straw man—as with all straw men—is to change the argument to suit his own needs. Liberals don’t want to grapple with conservatives over amnesty because they know they cannot win the argument with logic, and reason. And that is the only way arguments like these can be won: with reason, and a logical through-line.
Don’t ever be manipulated by these tactics. Whenever a liberal is losing a debate, they will do whatever it takes to change the conversation—and emotional argumentation is one of their most common maneuvers. It takes what should be a debate, and changes it into an argument. Once an argument has been initiated, it is only a matter of time before your opponent becomes indignant, and shuts the conversation down. We are programmed to fear offending others, so when this happens, we usually just give up. Don’t do it. When your opponent’s passions flare, keep the argument focused on the issue at hand. They will squirm and they will rant, but they cannot escape reason.
John Paul Brammer wants you to believe that opponents of Obama’s amnesty are cruel, un-Christian ogres, and that supporters of amnesty by executive fiat are kind, compassionate souls, because they don’t want to “tear families apart.” It’s a crudely drawn straw man that is intended to stir emotions, and make you question yourself. Don’t. You have reason on your side, and reason beats tears.