It was pointed out to me that a certain scripture set forth the biblical reason why Christians should not be supportive of the government’s attempts to control immigration into the US. The scripture referenced was: Leviticus 19:34 Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.
Another close sister scripture would be:
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
We are all familiar with the use of scriptural references when seeking to strengthen a position or policy but I do have concerns about such activities. Often the verse pulled is done so because it bolsters the position being discussed, or aids in making a point that strengthens our side of the discussion. I used the word pulled because if read in full context the meaning might be much different. One such issue today, right now, real time is the immigration debate we are having in our country. I am prejudice toward the law and the fair and equitable application of it. The Pew does not have a law library and I don’t have a law degree but I do have a dictionary that goes with me everywhere in this digital world we live in. The subject of today’s blog is The relation of the Gospel to the law and politics of the day. We need to know what it is we are writing or speaking about and Merriam Webster is a good place to start.
Definition of immigrant: one that immigrates: such as a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence. I believe we can all agree that we have a flood of immigrants coming into our country every day. Now there are many ways to enter the USA , here is another group that contributes to these numbers.
Definition of refugee
: one that flees; especially: a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution; someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons.There is one other classification and I will list it after the next paragraph.
Definition of illegal alien/immigrant
: a foreign person who is living in a country without having official permission to live there.
Ok, see the difference here? One group comes by choice which might be any number of reasons; economic, educational, religious, there are a host of reasons I am sure. Now that other group, they are fleeing because they have no other choice. So, not everyone is an emigrant some of these folks are refugees. The third groups status is not debatable due to the definition of the first two. BUT, by law there are certain requirements expected of all people who come to the United States. This is a very simplistic view of a very simple person, that being me. So is it reasonable for me to ask just what is the problem here? I’ll answer my own question, of course it is! Keeping this simple, here are the three things that I see are causing the problem. Government, Law and Politics. Government is necessary but messy. Law is complicated and is contrary to what we have been told, not blind. The last one, Politics, is the reason Law is not blind and Government is messy.
: a person who goes from one place to another especially to find work.
These folks have been with us for a long time. They supply much of the
labor needed to harvest produce. We have seen at times in the past a great
deal of controversy regarding these people.
Now the last part to this situation. We are a nation in a debate, not always peaceful, that has seen some ridiculous mind boggling statements that are void of any reason other than a “my way or no way” mentality. The disturbing thing about this is that it is not about any individual’s intelligence, it is about a position that has gained a “political agenda” status which is devoid of individual reasoning and has become a “you’re with us thing”. We are a nation of laws and pride ourselves on being fair and compassionate in judging others by law and not agendas. There is no reasonable retort to the fact that our laws regarding immigration are not being enforced or carried out fairly. There is also the fact that law for the sake of law is not always compassionate. What about the gospel, what about “christian charity”? Let’s go back to Leviticus 19:34 and take a closer look at this verse.
34 Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.
I turn to Matthew Henry’s commentary concerning this verse. God had dignified Israel above any other people but that did not give them the right to do others wrong or insult them. It is thought that the stranger referred to here is not an idolater, but a worshiper of the God of Israel. So I think that perhaps just as many of us today cite the law of the land being pushed aside for what I believe to be a partisan agenda,the scripture here alludes to the possibility that the strangers may also worship the God of Israel and require such courtesy. As we read on we are reminded that “Strangers are God’s particular care, as the widow and the fatherless are, because it is his honor to help the helpless, Ps. 146:9.
The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
God also reminds them (the Jews) that they too were also strangers in the land of Egypt at one time. It is important to point out here that the Jews were welcomed into the land of Egypt to escape a famine in their homeland. God reminds them that although the strangers may have many issues, they (the Jews) have no way of knowing how they might turn out and perhaps it was not right or fair to despise them. I asked the question sometime ago what is the problem here?
Here is the view from the pew. Government is responsible for a big part of this mess because of its irresponsibility in enforcing the law as written or at least offering a plan that would allow some discretion within the law. Second and quite honestly even or close to overtaking the Government’s part would have to be Politics and the many different agendas, populated by people whose only goal is to secure their agenda through partisan political action groups. Thirdly, for which I will be roundly criticized is “The Church” in general. The Church should never be in the business of advocating the disobeying of legally established law or participate in helping people who would do that for political reasons. I will also say that the government of Mexico has not done a good job of taking care of it own people, at least the less fortunate among them.
So to the Government and various Political organizations, get out of the way. Both of you have shown an inability to do for the people, rather working only to serve your own interests. I appreciate a strong and stable government and the things that come with it. I do not appreciate an agenda driven political solution to a people problem that is devoid of common sense compassion. To the “Church” get off your high horse of religious indignation and discounting those who disagree with you as prejudice or uninformed. Instead just simply love and care for those that are among you and accept your responsibility to foster harmony and unity among God’s people. The final verdict of this mess is really before us every day. It is Us, We, you and me. The birth, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ brought about the reconciliation between God and his people. It also was the adoption of all people into the family of God. We are all God’s children. We need to do better for our brothers and sisters.
References: Matthew Henry Commentaires, Merriam Webster