Sunday, April 4, 2010


"America, a land of immigrants"? The answer is a yes and a no! Those who came here before World War II were a different breed. First of all, there were quotas that rightly favored Europeans and Western nation immigrants. The reason was partly because of the Reformation. Immigration favored those from Anglo-Saxon origins because of religious beliefs, though this was certainly not the total story.

   Religion or origin played a role because Americans realized what would happen if this component was destroyed. This would be a land that would become a melting pot of beliefs that would destroy America. When our forefathers spoke of "pagan" beliefs they were speaking about all other religions other than Christianity.

   Those who passed through Ellis Island came to work, not simply to be takers of the American wealth. You had to come to make it on your own. "They built skyscrapers. They built America!" "This became their spiritual home, America!" In the 1830s a large number of immigrants came from Northern and Western Europe, especially Britain, Germany, and Ireland. Beginning in the 1880s they came from Greece, Poland, Russia, and Hungry. They came by the shipload in order to "work." "Officials wanted them to come ready and able to work." But there was no free ride, and few sneaked in across the borders. They were asked: Who is meeting you? Who paid your passage? Have you been in prison?

   They were checked for diseases or for a criminal background. If they had no job skills they were probably not allowed to stay. One of the first things they had to do was to be able to write their name in English. And after they got here, most were required to take classes to learn English. The country did not acquiesce to their language—they had to learn English.

   President John F. Kennedy broke the quota system down. America would no longer favor Protestantism and Reformation countries. Christianity or religion was no longer a test. This would become a secular nation whereby Christianity would be put to the back of the bus, and would play no role in how immigration would go.

   "Good bye, America. You are now a different nation!"     -- Dr. Mal Couch (April., 10)