Fr. Jose Poch

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This morning I received news of a California Appellate Court decision in the case of an illegal immigrant who alleges discrimination in the workplace by the employer. Although I will not take the time to research the particulars of this case, especially when I am not a lawyer but a Christian pastor, I was alarmed by the decision.

Here is the decision:
 In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., the California Court of Appeal held that an employee not authorized to work in the United States could not pursue discrimination and retaliation employment claims.  The court reasoned that the undocumented worker had no recourse for alleged losses tied to an employment position for which he is not lawfully qualified.  In addition, the court found that it would be inequitable to provide the plaintiff with any relief in light of his misconduct in the form of misrepresenting to his employer his ability to lawfully work in the United States.

I am not in favor of illegal immigration. I myself am an immigrant but I entered this country legally and in accordance with the laws of this country. I am now an American citizen. I am not going to discuss the multiple reasons, and there are many, too many to number, why people find the necessity to leave their countries of origin and go and live in a different country. I am also not going to discuss here why some people enter this country in an illegal fashion. It is enough to say that not all illegal immigrants are criminals or drug dealers.

I repeat what I said at the beginning of the above paragraph, I am not in favor of illegal immigration. I believe all nations in this world need to protect their borders, especially when illegal immigration threatens the stability of that country. However, if I interpret the above decision correctly, the Court has just opened the doors to abuses of all kinds (no fair pay, no pay at all, no vacation time) against men and women by their employers. Perhaps they should not have been employed in the first place; perhaps these employers should be heavily penalized for breaking the law themselves, but once employed these workers should be protected against abuses on the simple basis of them being human beings.

As a Bible believing Christian who accepts the entire Bible as the Word of God, I find that God calls us to treat all people with kindness and the same respect we would want ourselves to receive from others and this includes the immigrants whether here legally or illegally. I know there is much to be said about this subject but I would like to hear from you on the Court's decision only. How do you read it? How would you like to be treated by your employer? Should not others deserve the same protection under the law once hired?  

 Let’s blog!


Or is it here already, at least in some places?

Florida school suspends 'Teacher of Year' over his support for natural    
marriage - August 22, 2011
This kind of flagrant, unconstitutional and  unconscionable anti-                    Christian bigotry must not be allowed to stand.

 A Florida teacher has been suspended and removed from the classroom in Mount Dora, Florida, for comments made on his Facebook page against homosexual "marriage." Liberty Counsel will be representing the teacher in court. 
 In response to New York's passage of a same-sex marriage bill, Jerry Buell criticized the new law in a pair of Facebook posts. He wrote, "If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don't insult a man and woman's marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?" Just minutes later, he added, "I will never accept it because God will never accept it. Romans chapter one."

This reference to Scripture and man-woman marriage has now  been labeled as a "code ethics violation" by school officials. Mr. Buell is currently subject to an Inquisition-type investigation. The school will not let him back into the classroom, says a school official, "until we do all the interviews and do a thorough job of looking at everything - past or previous writings." 

Says Mr. Buell, "It was my own personal comment on my own personal time on my own personal computer in my own personal house, exercising what I believed as a social studies teacher to be my First Amendment rights.”  It's worth noting that Florida's constitution prohibits recognition of same-sex marriage, the exact view Mr. Buell supports. In essence, he is now being accused of hate speech for expressing a view enshrined in the state constitution.

 When will it become the law of the land? When will it be prohibited to preach, publish on the Internet, speak on the radio or television against protected groups and issues? What happened to the Bill of Rights so defended by the left (ACLU and the like)? Inclusivity is only being inclusive when it is one sided, theirs. 

Let's blog.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I have been following in prayer the famine situation in the Horn of Africa. The pictures and the news interviews are horrifying. The number of dead children is beyond sad, to just completely devastating and discouraging. How do people go through this situation in the 21st Century? And yet they do. I can only imagine what it would be like for our family if in that same situation and yet I know that we can’t even come close to imagining what these people - fathers and mothers and children are going through. We, prayerfully, will never be in their shoes. 

May God have mercy! They deserve all the help we can give them. This must be breaking the heart of God. I want to encourage all of you who read my blog to help in whatever way you can. 

You can imagine the shock that I received and how angry I became when I read the news item below:

“MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Thousands of sacks of food aid meant for Somalia's famine victims have been stolen and are being sold at markets in the same neighborhoods where skeletal children in filthy refugee camps can't find enough to eat, an Associated Press investigation has found.  The U.N.'s World Food Program for the first time acknowledged it has been investigating food theft in Somalia for two months. The WFP said that the 'scale and intensity' of the famine crisis does not allow for a suspension of assistance, saying that doing so would lead to 'many unnecessary deaths.' And the aid is not even safe once it has been distributed to families huddled in the makeshift camps popping up around the capital. Families at the large, government-run Badbado camp, where several aid groups have been distributing food, said they were often forced to hand back aid after journalists had taken photos of them with it. Ali Said Nur said he received two sacks of maize twice, but each time was forced to give one to the camp leader. 'You don't have a choice. You have to simply give without an argument to be able to stay here,' he said."

This is amazing to me. I will not, nor do I want to, discourage any of you from giving or from praying in order to see this situation changed for good and to save as many people as possible. But it is another example of how evil human nature without the love and the instruction of God can be. We become selfish, abusive, and manipulative. God knows how many abuses are being perpetrated by those with power over these men, women and children in need and powerless. The world needs to help, must help, there is no excuse for not helping the Somali people, but we expect the Somalis to help their own people also. God have mercy!

            Let's Blog!

Monday, August 1, 2011


            This past Sunday in church we ‘saw’ Jesus in the general vicinity of Bethsaida, in the northeast side of the Lake of Galilee, looking for a time of rest and retreat with His disciples. Perhaps even getting away from the reach of Herod Antipas who had just beheaded John the Baptist and possibly wondering if Jesus was John resurrected. Upon arriving in the area where He planned to get away for a while, Jesus found a multitude of over 5,000 people (the Gospel of John tells us that the Jewish Feast of Passover was near; this may account for the large multitude). After teaching them and healing the sick among them, Jesus multiplies five loaves of bread (more like five pita bread) and two fish and feeds the large crowd.
            There are three things in this account of the ministry of Jesus (found in all four Gospels) that are worth our attention and our dialogue: First, for Jesus, ministry was the person in front of Him. Jesus abandoned His need for retreat, for rest and for private prayer and time with His disciples so that He could minister to those in need right there before Him. Second, the word compassion (compound word for “With- Passion”) It was Jesus’ compassion for the multitude and their numerous needs, that placed the healing of the sick and the feeding of the hungry over His comfort. And Third, Jesus did not ask His disciples nor does he ask us today for what they and we don't have; He did not ask for that which they didn’t have, but for what they did haveAll Jesus asks is that we surrender to Him what we do have, our time, our talents, our treasure, ourselves and everything else we sometimes hold on to. It is in this surrender that miracles and multiplication of these things take place, if not always in amount, in effectiveness for ministry.
            Are these three things visible in your life? What can we learn from this passage besides the above three things? Are you known for your service to others, as a compassionate person and as a generous person with what you do have?           
            Let’s Blog!