By Guest Reporter Dr. Lance King, TSaB
In a landmark report issued by a consortium of liberal churches and para-church organizations, Americans are being advised to eliminate hate speech directed towards bank customers who make "undocumented withdrawals" from local financial institutions.
According to the report, which was drafted by Christians for Comprehensive Withdrawal Reform (CCWR), the Christian community needs to do more to shield the most vulnerable classes of our society from hateful speech.
"We call upon people of faith to stand against the tide of hateful speech directed against those who seek the same opportunities we want in this great nation," said Arthur Winkler, pastor of First United Methodist in Milwaukee. "They need to know that though they might struggle financially, undocumented customers are still deserving of God's love and light sentencing guidelines."
Conservative critics of the report contend that making undocumented withdrawals from financial institutions deprives middle class Americans of their hard earned money, and creates security risks for those who live near the bank. They also argue that when undocumented customers are caught they should be forced to return the money they have taken. CCWR officials, however, think that a more loving approach is warranted.
"These undocumented customers are often at the end of their rope. They have limited financial means, families to feed, and often they are forced to make their withdrawals using disguises so they can slip through advanced security systems without being pursued by armed officers," lamented a particularly incredulous Rev. Joanie Bosley, who conducted research for the report. Bosley also pastors a nearby Unitarian Universalist congregation.
"It's as if these anti-undocumented customer advocates are saying that these poor people are less than human," she added, sipping on her mocha-flavored, extra frothy latte. "They deserve better. In the Old Testament, God required a tithe of 10 percent of everything one earned. Surely First National Bank can afford to redistribute wealth to God's needy children?"
Some suggestions provided in the CCWR report include the removal of alarms and other security features, in addition to providing unlocked safes containing government issued checks and/ or grocery vouchers. The report also recommends the elimination of messy dye-packs which have been used to deter undocumented customers in times past, as they could be injurious to undocumented customers' clothing. Ministry officials have proposed new legislation which would make it a felony to deter or otherwise assault an undocumented customer when they are making a hasty exit. And, of course, any funds withdrawn by the undocumented customers would remain their own.
Winkler said the last point is particularly important, as it would be unfair to recover cash from undocumented customers who have families to support. To do so, he argues, would be to punish not just the undocumented customer but also his or her children.
"Taking away their booty - I mean, their hard-earned money - would be grossly unjust to these brave souls who risk life and limb to support their families. Whatever he might do, Jesus wouldn't do that, and neither should we. We must stop the spiral of hatred and shame that defines their experience, and extend God's love to everybody."