Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Evangelicals and Immigration: Times are achangin’

posted by Scot McKnight

Saguaro.jpgThere’s an excellent NYTimes report about evangelicals and immigration, though I wish they had mentioned M. Daniel Carroll R., whose book is one of the best I’ve seen: Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible

“My message to Republican leaders,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and one of the leaders who engaged his non-Hispanic peers, “is if you’re anti-immigration reform, you’re anti-Latino, and if you’re anti-Latino, you are anti-Christian church in America, and you are anti-evangelical.”…

Evangelicals at the grass-roots level are divided on immigration, just as the nation is. But among the leaders, recent interviews suggest that those in favor of an immigration overhaul are far more vocal and more organized than those who oppose it.

Each side draws on Scripture for support. Those who oppose comprehensive immigration overhaul cite Romans 13, which says to submit to the government’s laws. Supporters cite Leviticus 19: treat the stranger as you would yourself.

Both sides agree that security at the nation’s borders needs to be strengthened. The biggest point of contention is what to do about the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country….

Advocates of a comprehensive new immigration law want to establish a path to citizenship that would allow illegal immigrants to register with the government, pay a fine, undergo a background check, prove they can speak English and only then get in line to apply for permanent legal residency. Those not interested in permanent residency could become legal temporary workers….


Perhaps this is the most interesting comment, by Richard Land of the SBC:

“I’ve had some older conservative leaders say: ‘Richard, stop this. You’re going to split the conservative coalition,’ ” Dr. Land continued. “I say it might split the old conservative coalition, but it won’t split the new one. And if the new one is going to be a governing coalition, it’s going to have to have a lot of Hispanics in it. And you don’t get a lot of Hispanics in your coalition by engaging in anti-Hispanic anti-immigration rhetoric.”


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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm


I am heartened that Christians who are persuaded by Leviticus type arguments are standing up for their beliefs.
I am discouraged that some people appear to be jumping on this bandwagon in order to increase their political clout.
This passage is most certainly false:
“Advocates of a comprehensive new immigration law want to establish a path to citizenship that would allow illegal immigrants to register with the government, pay a fine, undergo a background check, prove they can speak English and only then get in line to apply for permanent legal residency.”
Every politician that has pushed for an English language requirement has been almost universally derided as a racist. Most people that support comprehensive reform are also not in favor of the fine, or in favor of putting current immigrants in line behind people who have been waiting in line.
This is an issue where we can admit depending on how you weight certain passages sincere Christians can have honest disagreements, or we can just start calling each other racists and liberals.



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Jason Lee

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm


there’s no need for the english language requirement anyway. studies show that today’s immigrant communities are losing their mother tongue ability just as fast as previous waves of immigrants to the US did.



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Andy D

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm


@Jason Lee – Have you spent time in immigrant communities? That’s simply not true. Older immigrants especially don’t lose the language they connect to their identity. Most times they actually resist assimilation.
Obviously something has to be done about the illegals in our country. I don’t understand this though: “if you’re anti-immigration reform, you’re anti-Latino.” Really? Can someone help me understand this logic please.



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Nick L.

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm


@Andy D, it is true. The newer, mostly Spanish-speaking immigrants of the last twenty years of the 20th century learned English at a significantly faster rate than the “old” immigrants of the early 20th century, which has been well documented in various studies. You can read about it in “Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years.”
http://www.amazon.com/Century-Difference-America-Changed-Hundred/dp/0871543680



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Randy G.

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm


I recently traveled from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo Michigan with a group of folk from of a poor urban, mainly African American church of 30-50 members. The larger gathering invited candidates for state and federal office to attend and to answer “Yes” or “No” as to whether they would commit themselves to comprehensive immigration reform. The movement is organized around churches, and in Michigan it is conservative churches.
The remarkable aspect of this event, is that 1/3 – 2/3 of the attendees of this poor African American church. This was a pastor (I attended his church 10 years ago) who was convicted and led his congregation in something that for them was very new.
What a wonder to hear people who most of society has forgotten, as they spoke out for immigration justice, not for themselves, but for their Hispanic friends neighbors and colleagues. They were very articulate and clearly had researched the issues at hand.
“See, the former things have taken place,/and new things I declare; before they spring into being/ I announce them to you.” (IS 42:9) …”See, I am doing a new thing!/Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Is 45:19).
Peace,
Randy G.



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Rick

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm


“Both sides agree that security at the nation’s borders needs to be strengthened.”
That fact is huge. Some involved in the issue don’t see that as foundational (part of the reason Arizona went ahead and took steps of its own).
Since the 2 sides agree on that point, eventual agreement is more likely.



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Fish

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm


Am I the only one who finds the term “illegals” offensive?
First, it assumes that the rest of us haven’t ever done anything illegal. Am I now an “illegal” for breaking the speed limit this morning?
Secondly, what did we legals do that was so moral and ethical? We were born here. Compared to crossing deserts and rivers to find a better life, how do we merit lauding ourselves as better people?
Thirdly, being in the country without papers isn’t a crime per se; There’s no trial, no prosecution, no defense, no imprisonment or release. It is a status offense for which the penalty is deportation.
I grew up in a place where n****** was a common everyday word, and hearing “illegal” takes me right back. It’s a nasty word applied to a group of people in order to stereotype them in a negative light and differentiate them from us better people. IMHO.



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Randy G.

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm


(See clarification in 2nd paragraph).
I recently traveled from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo Michigan with a group of folk from of a poor urban, mainly African American church of 30-50 members. The larger gathering invited candidates for state and federal office to attend and to answer “Yes” or “No” as to whether they would commit themselves to comprehensive immigration reform. The movement is organized around churches, and in Michigan it is conservative churches.
The remarkable aspect of this event, is that 1/3 – 2/3 of the attendees from Grand Rapids were from this very urban very African American church. This was a pastor (I attended his church 10 years ago) who was convicted and led his congregation in something that for them was very new.
What a wonder to hear people who most of society has forgotten, as they spoke out for immigration justice, not for themselves, but for their Hispanic friends neighbors and colleagues. They were very articulate and clearly had researched the issues at hand.
“See, the former things have taken place,/and new things I declare; before they spring into being/ I announce them to you.” (IS 42:9) …”See, I am doing a new thing!/Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Is 45:19).
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/2010/07/evangelicals-and-immigration-t.html#preview#ixzz0uRF8DemN



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Nick L.

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm


@Fish Thank you for saying that. Yes, there is power in how we choose to name others. Language matters.



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Jay Hawes

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm


I am a student at Denver Seminary, where Dr. Carroll teaches. It was my privilege to be in one of his classes last semester and hear him lecture on immigration. He brings such a passion and love to this topic that I have seen from no other.



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Ann F-R

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm


@Fish re the term, “illegal immigrants”: Danny Carroll uses “undocumented” when he refers to immigrants who haven’t completed the US government paperwork & procedures.



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Andy D

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm


@Fish – you’re absolutely right, I can see how that term can be offensive. Is illegal immigrants better? Unnaturalized immigrants? (honest inquiry) We can’t just talk about ‘immigration’ as the title suggests because we are not referring to those who have become naturalized citizens or residents according to the due process of law. No one is lauding themselves about being better people- when we talk about policy it isn’t necessarily from a standpoint of self-righteousness.
America is not ancient Israel, and I don’t think one can compare the immigration patterns and complexities of the ancient world to that of our modern world. Also, let’s remember that Latinos aren’t the only peoples in this predicament. Finally, if most immigrants today are picking up the language naturally then what is the harm in a test?



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm


I guess what I am about to say is a bit racist, but I think of it more as an observation about the way the world goes.
The right wingers have absolutely no idea what they are doing. These right wing people are afraid that the country is going to be overrun with Mexicans and their way of life as the majority is going to be ruined by these people. But they are exactly what would benefit this country in general, and the religious right in specific the most!
The Mexicans are largely Christian! Who do you want to come instead? I am not saying that we want to discriminate against other non-Christian countries and immigrants, but lets get real here. These people are basically like you! except they are willing to work hard.
Economically, we are in a real problem right now as is many of the Western countries and places like Japan because the educated population is not having enough children to drive the economy. The Mexican’s are Catholic! They think they should have children! It is in their religion! It will help the economy more than anything.
So, the right wing is against hard working Catholic people who will have children and help drive this economy forward because….why? The old right wingers should be paying these people to come in. Look at what is happening in the UK! Do you want that immigration “problem”?



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Dave

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm


We are a sovereign nation and therefore have a right to decide who enters our country. If we were to adopt an “open borders” policy and allow anyone and everyone to cross the border without question then we could be invaded by an enemy overnight. Yet, there is a hypocrisy among those who do propose “open borders.” I bet not one of them would give out their home address and allow anyone to come into their house without restriction. As it is, they discriminate who comes into their house and yet think that a country such as the United States should not be allowed to guard its own borders. After all, borders are one of the factors that distinguish one country from another.



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm


At the end of my street we have a new church going up, it is a Slavik Evangelical Church. I was the only non-member in the county to go to their ground breaking last year and I continue to go there and cheer them on. They are all Russians who are going to have their worship service in Russian and said they will give me an earpiece and a translator when I go to their church. They are great people.
These people had to secretly get together at 3 am to worship together because they would have been persecuted by the government. Their story is beautiful, and they cook food like my relatives did (I am polish and slovak ancestry).
Again, these people are proud of their language. They don’t want to lose their language. The young crowd has cars with big wheels and lots of chrome, but they still hold to the language. Why are people fearful of different languages? …I think I know but that is not a good reason.
captcha – Goodwill did.



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Rick

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm


DRT #13-
That was a sweeping generalization of what “right wingers” want. I hear many right wingers support immigration, just not the illegal (oops, I mean undocumented) kind.



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Fish

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm


Who here is advocating opening our borders and allowing anyone and everyone to enter?
I think that might be Christian perfection – Jesus came and went without regard to man’s lines on God’s ground – but it is no way practical nor have I ever seen it seriously proposed. It’s a strawman argument to distract people from the real issues.
From a Christian perspective, when sovereign nations draw their boundaries to divide cultures then those people didn’t cross the border — the border crossed them. We took the Southwest by force from another country, dividing a group of people, and we are living with the fruit of that sin.
When Hitler conquered all those countries in Europe, did the sovereign nation of Germany suddenly become right in enforcing their nice new borders? Are we equating military might with God’s law?
How would Texans feel if suddenly they were part of the sovereign nation of Mexico? Would we close our borders to them? Would we like it if Mexico prevented us from seeing our relatives who got crossed by the border? Do onto others, etc.



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sonja

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm


@Fish #7 … Thanks for calling out the underlying racism on both sides of this debate. There is a big difference between being “illegal” and “undocumented” despite what many would like to think. It’s very easy to point fingers and call undocumented immigrants all sorts of names, but when you think of what many of them have gone through in order to get here and the kind of jobs they work in … well … one does have to wonder and eventually admire the perseverance and tenacity that many of them have no matter what their status. I don’t think I would have what it takes to go to another country, learn the language enough to get a job, then get a very menial job or three, support my family, work those brutal hours, and all while avoiding law enforcement. That takes some serious stones.



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm


Rick, sorry for being hyperbolic, point made.
captcha – of swayze?



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm


Love it sonja. Almost makes you think we should set up a keyboard on top of the fence to make sure they can type too.
Seriously now, these people are what we want here!



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like a child

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm


Thank you for this post. I’m a scientist and normally follow RJS’s post, but I’m glad you raised this issue, because I’m a US born child of Cuban immigrants, so I guess I feel attacked from the both the evolution side and the immigration side. As a side note, I think some of the issues extend to education as well. In the wealthy university town I live in, most of the Christians choose against public schools, but the Christian schools are not very diverse at all…and this all seems exclusive and anti-Christian.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm


For anyone in the Kansas City metro area, there will be seminar on immigration led by Danny Carrol this Saturday, July 24th, at 9:00 am, at Grandview Park Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, KS. The morning is a theological seminar. There is a 1.5 hour policy discussion after lunch. Cost is $20. You can learn more at Adelante Missions Institute Presents: A Seminar on Immigration.
I’m signed up for the event. I haven’t read Carrol but I going to learn more.



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kevin s.

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm


And, we got to Hitler in 17 comments. Good work, everyone.
To the term “illegal immigrant”, it simply refers to the fact that they have immigrated illegally. Calling them “illegals” is a shorthand for a relatively long term.
It is racially offensive only insofar as people decide to be offended by it, and those who are offended by the term have a horse in this race, which makes the whole semantic debate seem opportunistic.
If illegal immigration is an offensive term, “undocumented workers” is a euphemism, as though the debate is really about whether or not people have their papers in order.



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kevin s.

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm


“The right wingers have absolutely no idea what they are doing.”
Is that so?
“These right wing people are afraid that the country is going to be overrun with Mexicans and their way of life as the majority is going to be ruined by these people.”
Nope. We just believe the borders exist for valid reasons, and we should enforce the laws we have. That you feel compelled to create a caricature does not persuade me that you have any idea what you are doing.
“The Mexicans are largely Christian! Who do you want to come instead?”
People who apply for citizenship through the established process for doing so.
“I am not saying that we want to discriminate against other non-Christian countries and immigrants,”
Yes you are.
“These people are basically like you! except they are willing to work hard.”
There are plenty of people out of work who are willing to work hard. They should not be asked to compete with a class of people who is willing to work illegally, and for less than the minimum wage. That is a reasonable argument to make, and it has nothing to do with Hitler.
“The Mexican’s are Catholic! They think they should have children! It is in their religion! It will help the economy more than anything.”
Introducing low-skilled employees into the economy has been demonstrated to be harmful. That’s why we have immigration policies.
I would add that one of the reasons the Democratic party is thrilled about the idea of amnesty is because the majority of immigrants are likely to vote for their party. You don’t see nearly this much passion about those who come here from Cuba.
“So, the right wing is against hard working Catholic people who will have children and help drive this economy forward because….why?”
Because those arguments are an utter fabrication.
“The old right wingers should be paying these people to come in. Look at what is happening in the UK! Do you want that immigration “problem”?”
How about we have neither problem?
The notion that we should invite people to come here illegally, simply because they will breed is absurd and bizarre, but then so are most of the arguments coming from the pro-reform crowd.



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Naum

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm


@kevin s., #23
*illegal* is indeed offensive, as it is a dehumanizing term, if one considers that it’s possible for a human being to be “illegal”. And the people use this term to denote undocumented residents / workers, but not “illegal” speeders, tax fudgers, etc.? is quite illustrative of the matter.
Simply put, it’s eliminationist rhetoric ? classifying a set of people as less than human, demonizing them, evoking metaphors of vermin and rats (lest you think that is stated in jest, just read some articles and comments on anti-immigration sites?).
While it’s many steps removed from Hitler comparisons and obligatory Godwin reference, it in fact, is a step in that direction — to cast children of God as sub-human infestations, worthy only of scorn and disdain.



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Michelle Van Loon

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm


When our daughter married our son-in-law, he was an undocumented Mexican. It took nearly five years, lots of $$ and a great immigration lawyer for their paperwork to wend its way through our backwards system. He came here for economic reasons, and though they lived below the poverty level for that entire time, our son-in-law said it was still better here than where he came from in Mexico. He is an honest, hard-working man, and we are glad he’s a part of our family. Though the debate rages on in policy think tanks and on conservative talk radio stations, the church should be exercising its ministry of hospitality (in the dictionary sense of the word) and be at the forefront of compassionate ministry to undocumented immigrants without allowing ideology to shut down our care, concern and outreach.]
captcha: on Kattowitz (an immigrant name?)



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Michael W. Kruse

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm


As to borders … As humans, we don’t just exist as individuals and as a mass human collective. We exist in various types and sizes of communities. We have nuclear families, extended families, neighborhoods, towns, cities, states/provinces, and nations, to name but a few. These are necessary and good. Boundaries (social and physical) for these are also good. Note that the Jubilee ensured that each family had land from which they could not be permanently alienated … land which they held in stewardship for God. Stewardship requires property rights and boundaries. God did not ordain a massive collective for Israel. In fact, David Baker points out that an Israelite from, say, the tribe of Reuben living in the region of Judah was a resident alien because they did not have an inheritance in that place. Care for the resident alien did not entail disregard for boundaries.
My point here is that those who are rightly concerned about justice for the undocumented worker keep trivializing the legitimate concern that others have about observing boundaries. Property and community boundaries should have a degree of permeability but they are necessary.
So what is the balance between these competing justice claims? That seems to me to be the question.



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Fish

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm


If you don’t like the Hitler example, how about WW2 Japan? Attila the Hun? Colonial Great Britain? The Mayans? Use any conquering nation you like… just address the point rather than stretching Godwin’s law.
What horse do I have in this race, to make me opportunistic? The only horses I can see I have are I’m 1) an American and 2) a Christian. If calling out racism is opportunistic, I have no choice as an American and a Christian than to be opportunistic. The term “Illegal” as it is used in the immigration debate is contrary to the ideals of both.



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kevin s.

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm


“*illegal* is indeed offensive, as it is a dehumanizing term, if one considers that it’s possible for a human being to be “illegal”.”
But the term doesn’t refer to a human being. It refers to their immigration status. If I am speeding, and someone wants to call me illegal, I don’t see how that dehumanizes me. However, if you called me illegal when I wasn’t speeding, that would be incorrect.
I fail to see how “undocumented” affords any extra humanity. Doesn’t that reduce a person to a piece of paper?
“evoking metaphors of vermin and rats (lest you think that is stated in jest, just read some articles and comments on anti-immigration sites?).”
Well, I’ve been labelled a Nazi, and I’d frankly rather be a rat.
“While it’s many steps removed from Hitler comparisons and obligatory Godwin reference, it in fact, is a step in that direction — to cast children of God as sub-human infestations, worthy only of scorn and disdain.”
I disagree. Simply because some people who use the term illegal also use the term rats does not make the two terms equivalent.
I just think this semantic debate is an excuse to label opponents of your position as racist, which, incidentally, is a form of demonizing that has been awfully popular of late.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/2010/07/evangelicals-and-immigration-t_comments.html#ixzz0uRrRnu7D



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adriandrews

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm


Let’s look at the logic: If you’re anti-immigration reform, you’re anti-Latino; if you’re anti-Latino, you’re anti…..
Is that a plausible argument? I don’t really buy it any more than “if you criticize Obama, you are a racist.” The conclusion does not follow from the premise.
The use of Romans 13 is valid. “Let everyone submit himself to … See Morethe governing authorities…he who rebels against the governing authorities rebels against what God has established.” The key term in the phrase “Illegal immigration” is “illegal.” A little deeper research would reveal the high rate of crime–from violent things as murder through human trafficking and drug smuggling–associated with illegal immigration. And by coming into the country and not following protocol, the law has been broken even without one of these other crimes.
Here’s the frank truth: Democrats are in favor of “comprehensive immigration reform” because they perceive it to be a political winner. Increase the number of the underclass, working poor, government dependents, and you increase the quantity of Democrat votes, creating an almost nondeatable Democrat majority.



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Scot McKnight

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm


I’m calling to a halt the debate about the word “illegal.” The term has become one not to be used, but anyone who wants to examine terms and their history will know that “illegal” has both a fairly innocuous status with respect to law while it has come to have a loaded history and too much pejorative connection. The same will happen with the word “undocumented” over time.
But for now, let’s use “undocumented” and move on to more important matters — like the substantive issues.



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Scot McKnight

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm


And Adrian, to reduce this issue to politics works both directions.
What do you think of the rise of evangelical leaders in favor of the immigration reform? Do you think this is nothing but politics?



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Peter J. Walker - EmergingChristian.com

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm


To me, the depth of discussion about this issue underscores (once again) how fundamentally linked Christian/Evangelical identity has become with American identity. We seem to care more about securing our borders than about Christian charity, hospitality, and the ethos of the Beatitudes (not to mention countless OT references to “the alien”).
Regardless of how ungracious the language about “illegals” is, why do conservatives (who happen to be Christians) feel the need to use religious rationalization to validate their pro-nation-state stances? The truth of the matter is, Christianity (the Way of Christ) is no way to run a country. If we wanted to use Jesus as a model for foreign policy, national defense, and economic policy… my God, we would be a third world country because we would give EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. And we would lay down our weapons. And we would die for Iranians and South Koreans and yes, even our Latino neighbors to the south. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t do those things – I want to learn how to do them. But here, I’m saying that the way of Christ has nothing to do with running a First World Superpower, and the sooner that’s acknowledged the sooner Christians and Americans can begin functioning in the real world, with real-world expectations. Not that the two can’t overlap, but the two do not share the same interests…



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Peter J. Walker - EmergingChristian.com

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm


Oops, Scot, I think you wrote the “halt” while I was writing my post. I used “illegals” in parentheses, but I used it nonetheless. Apologies.
Peace,
Peter



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kevin s.

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm


“Regardless of how ungracious the language about “illegals” is, why do conservatives (who happen to be Christians) feel the need to use religious rationalization to validate their pro-nation-state stances?”
Who here is doing this? What prominent politician is doing this?
“If we wanted to use Jesus as a model for foreign policy, national defense, and economic policy… my God, we would be a third world country because we would give EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. And we would lay down our weapons.”
I don’t think this is true, but if it were, we wouldn’t have any immigrants interested in coming here. We wouldn’t be able to provide jobs or a better life, or anything other than suffering at the hands of mad men.
Also, if we are going to use Jesus as a model, we should insist that all of our leaders be Christian, which is not the case at present. I don’t see how we can trust non-Christian leaders to lead as would Christ.



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm


33
Scot McKnight
July 22, 2010 5:31 PM
What do you think of the rise of evangelical leaders in favor of the immigration reform? Do you think this is nothing but politics?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez in your post is correct. If you are anti-immigration then I feel that you are anti-latino because these people are the perfect people to want to come into a country if you are an aging christian, which many of us on this blog are and many of the people who are against them are.
The SBC guy could and imho is most likely doing politics, just like they have this one guy that says people should be green…I forget who it is. pls correct me if wrong.



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:56 pm


kevin s.
To your and Peter’s point, there is a clear separation here that needs to be made about Christian and American. I feel queasy when I hear people use the two together. Having said that, I did that earlier in this thread to make the point that the people who I perceive to be against immigration are doing so via some irrationality that I have concluded is related to race, or jealousy. I would love to be proved wrong.
How would I be proved wrong? Well, thanks for asking. I could be proved wrong ….hmmmm
Scot, I had to post this incomplete entry just because of the captcha:
captcha – slickest site



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Jennifer

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm


Let’s get back to some basic facts. We are Christians and we are also Americans. We have a country of laws. If I visit a foreign country and stay beyond my visa, then I am an illegal person according to that country. If I sneak into a foreign country, then I am acting illegally.
If a Mexican wants to live in America, he or she must follow the legal requirements and become a citizen according to the laws of our country.
This has nothing to do with extending hospitality or compassion. We can have compassion for an illegal person and still have laws to uphold.



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm


Jennifer,
You are 100% right. Do you ever speed?
The issue is not whether this is legal, the question is what is right.
We have dangled a bag of money in front of a country of poor action oriented people then cry foul when they try to grab it.



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Jennifer

posted July 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm


DRT (#39),
Yes, if I speed (which I try not to do), then I will suffer the consequences with a speeding ticket which I deserve.
Yes, the issue IS about whether sneaking into the USA is legal or not. It is also an issue of whether it is RIGHT or not. And if it is illegal, then it is not right.
If an illegal/undocumented person wants to live in this country and work, then he/she needs to apply for citizenship and do it legally.
I have friends who have immigrated to the USA, and it took them many years to get their citizenship because they did it the RIGHT way. They are totally against illegal immigrants.



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Andy D

posted July 22, 2010 at 6:23 pm


@DRT #36
“Rev. Samuel Rodriguez in your post is correct. If you are anti-immigration then I feel that you are anti-latino because these people are the perfect people to want to come into a country if you are an aging christian, which many of us on this blog are and many of the people who are against them are.”
I think some of the terms you’re using need further qualification, just as the quotes in the original post by Scott do. No one I know is “anti-immigration,” rather some people do not want to reward those who entered/remained in USA illegally and are in favor of fortifying the borders. Those terms are being used so loosely it isn’t helpful to this discussion at all. Also, of course people are appealing to various parts of scripture and choosing simply to hold them in tension, as if they can’t be synthesized to serve as a guide for our modern day situation. Is that merely the job for essays and books, and has no place here in the blogosphere? What else are we going to measure our principles by if we’re supposing one’s position is more attune to God’s will, if not God’s word? What I’m gathering is that most people want to assume this a closed issue and study the cultural/ecclesial/political phenomenon that’s ensuing instead of really seeking a Christian response to this dilemma.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted July 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm


As immigration debate emerges those supportive of undocumented workers regularly trot out Leviticus 19:33-34:
“33 ‘When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. 34 The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
This verse magically answers all questions and demonstrates that those who ask more complex questions are racist right-wingers in opposition to God.
David Baker writes in “Tight Fists or Open Hands? Wealth and Poverty in the Old Testament Law”:
“… Fourth, the resident alien is to be distinguished from the ‘foreigner’ … which often has a negative connotation (e.g. Gen 31:15; Ps 144:7; Isa 2:6; 62:8), thought the possibility is not excluded that one day even foreigners may join the people of God (Isa 44:5; 60:10; 61:5-7). A foreigner is someone who comes from another country and has no relationship to the Israelite tribal system and covenant community (Deut 17:15; 29:22; Judg 19:12; 1 Kgs 8:41). Apparently foreigners follow their own religion, since they are never included among those who take part in religious ceremonies and are specifically excluded from eating the Passover (Exod 12:43; cf. 48). They do not benefit from the seventh year remission of debts (Deut 15:3) or the facility of interest-free loans (Deut 23:20). It seems the status of resident aliens is somewhere between that of natives and foreigners, and individual aliens may be incorporated into the community by becoming dependent members of an Israelite family, under the protection of the household head (cf. Exod 20:10; 23:12).” (180)
Baker goes on to talk about “temporary residents” who seem to live in a status between resident aliens and foreigners.
Does Leviticus 19:33-34 have direct application to our current situation. No. The context presents considerable challenges for interpretation and direct application. Taken as a piece with other passages and concerns of Scripture it may contribute to our discussion.
And this brings me to a key point. From some Christian communities I hear how 1 Timothy 2:11-15, when understood in context, does not universally ban women ministers … and that when Leviticus 18:22, says homosexual acts are detestable, it no longer applies because of context. Yet when they turn forty verses ahead to Lev. 19:33 on the treatment of aliens, this is lifted without context as irrefutable direction for our present concerns with no attention given to context. The right does just the reverse with pet issues. It is time for a little self-examination of our ideological bents as we approach Scripture for discernment on these issues.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted July 22, 2010 at 6:47 pm


DRT #37
“… the point that the people who I perceive to be against immigration are doing so via some irrationality that I have concluded is related to race, or jealousy.”
And this is the subtle little shift of the debate … and it happens constantly … that makes conversation difficult. I don’t see anyone above articulating a view that is opposed to immigration. (Where do you see this?) I see people who are opposed to people coming across the border while circumventing the law.
I’m fully in favor of immigration. I’d like to see immigration law streamlined. I’d like to see implementation of responsible guest worker program. I’d like to see more economic barriers between nations drop. But I also would like the chaos to end and to have an orderly process for immigration that includes border enforcement.



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Fish

posted July 22, 2010 at 6:47 pm


I am not sure that our positions on immigration are driven by politics. They seem morally and economically driven to me. Of course, those two things add up to politics.
On my part, when I was young I was extremely ambitious and money-driven. I’m pretty sure had I been born in Mexico, I’d be living here now, legally or illegally. And if you wanted to throw me out, it would be your economic loss, actually. We both lose.
I have the God-given right to provide for my family. A nation has the man-made right to try and stop me. If I were forced to choose between crossing a border or providing for my family, that’s an easy choice. I am not sure that Romans trumps hungry people in the eyes of God and I know it doesn’t in the real world.
I say this not to excuse breaking the law, but to say that if we walked a mile in the shoes of these immigrants, we might not be so eager to demonize them for their “sin.” We might consider a way out of the situation that didn’t involve breaking apart families and deporting a million (or whatever) people. We might consider how we would treat Jesus if He were an illegal alien.
But for the grace of God, there go I.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm


I don’t fault people for breaking the law in order to improve their situation, but I also don’t fault the government for having laws and punishing people for breaking them – even if they have good reason. If a man’s family is hungry and he robs a grocery store to feed them I will understand why he did it, and I will also understand why he goes to jail.
What I hope that I would do in that situation (and in the current situation) is work for a system where he doesn’t need to steal in order to provide for his family. That might mean opening my own business and employing him, advocating for a better food stamp system, etc.. It most likely wouldn’t mean demanding that the government stop prosecuting thieves because they have good reasons for their activity.
The church has a gospel responsibility that outweighs our responsibilities as citizens. My primary interest for immigrants is their salvation, and if insisting that they follow immigration law interferes with gospel proclamation then it has to take a back seat. I will become all things to all men for the sake of the gospel.



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Eric

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm


The language that Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is using comes straight from Liberation Theology (a false gospel), which has its roots in Marxism. This form of Theology has been infiltrating the church for many years and distorting the gospel. These are the same preachers of redistribution of wealth. Their mission is to paint socialism as the Christian way to run politics; however, those who know their history and the teachings of Marxism know that socialism is straight from hell! Read “Tortured for Christ,” by Richard Wurmbrand (Voice of the Martyrs).



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm


If you don’t like the example of the thief in (45) because immigrants aren’t “hurting anyone” then replace it with a prostitute. Prostitution is by and large a victimless crime. The prostitutes need money for various reasons and the Johns desire sex. (I’m not talking about sex slaves or seedy brothels run by the Russian mob) I understand why some women may feel the need to sell themselves sexually in order to make ends meet. I really don’t understand why the government has decided we need to punish it (much like some people feel about immigration) but I don’t see a lot of evangelicals rushing to push for legalization – even though the reasons women prostitute themselves are likely identical to the reasons undocumented immigrants cross the border. Regardless, if a woman is destitute I understand her actions and can empathize with her. I probably won’t start a movement to legalize prostitution so that she can continue her occupation without fear, but I would hopefully work for a situation where she has better alternatives.



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Jonathan

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:24 pm


a half-developed thought from my blog above:
(As a complete aside, allow me to allude to a contentious political issue: Egypt was built on the backs of immigrants who fled a famine in their home-land for the opportunities and security afforded by the wealth of an empire, only to end up indentured laborers under increasingly exploitative conditions. Egypt?s unwillingness to be compassionate towards their foreign neighbors ultimately resulted in destruction, death and suffering [to say nothing of political unrest!] for their citizens.)
(remarkably apropos) Captcha: pugnacity appetizer



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Scot McKnight

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm


Eric, that’s rational nonsense, and I hope you inquire enough to know what Samuel believes, teaches and preaches.



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm


Michael#43
I don’t see anyone above articulating a view that is opposed to immigration.(Where do you see this?) I see people who are opposed to people coming across the border while circumventing the law.
True. I also do not see anyone who murdered Jesus unjustly in the bible, nor do I see adulterers unfairly treated.
Let’s face it, those who live in a region where they are having some level of harm due to illegal immigration need to stand up and wave their hand before they talk. Who are those people? I should not say.
The point is that everyone who has an opinion also needs to look in the mirror and say “well should I be prosecuted for the fullest extent of the law for everything I have done?” There is a biblical teaching about mercy that is not mercy for those who are righteous, but those who have a need!
This is about mercy (I had not concluded that before). Let those without sin cast the first stone.



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Jonathan

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm


Michael,
you wrote: “And this brings me to a key point. From some Christian communities I hear how 1 Timothy 2:11-15, when understood in context, does not universally ban women ministers … and that when Leviticus 18:22, says homosexual acts are detestable, it no longer applies because of context. Yet when they turn forty verses ahead to Lev. 19:33 on the treatment of aliens, this is lifted without context as irrefutable direction for our present concerns with no attention given to context. The right does just the reverse with pet issues.”
And I think that’s a really fantastic point re: proof-texting to support theo-practical positions. What about my more narrative approach above. Do you think it falls to the same ills?



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Fish

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm


What is the Christian argument against a path to citizenship for the people living here now?



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm


FIsh (52)
One argument is that it is an unequal system of justice to put them on a path to citizenship ahead of people who have been working through the process for years. We could either put them at the head of the line in front of those who have been trying to do it legally but have the misfortune of being from a country that won’t allow them to walk here (countries like Vietnam or Thailand) or we could let them physically remain in this country, but go to the back of the line for the purposes of documentation. Either way, they are getting substantial benefits that people from other countries, who also want to come here, are not allowed to receive. This extends the immigration process for those seeking to do it legally by years. Peter’s admonition not to give the rich a preferred place in the church also goes in the other direction. Laws should be applied equally and you shouldn’t get special advantages because you are trying to immigrate from Mexico instead of Nigeria.
That is one possible argument off the top of my head.



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sam tsang

posted July 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm


yes, to the back of the line is fine. I’m an immigrant from long ago and I did it legally. I understand the plight of the illegals and in most cases sympathize with them. The process needs to be a fair one. I think I’d be happier to see our gov workout some kind of fair process. As for legality being the same as morality the way many evangelicals argue, it wouldn’t work because we’ve said the same about slavery before. We’ve also used laws to persecute Chinese, Japanese, Irish and all kinds of immigrants. This has been a historical lesson bear repeating. Legality is not morality.



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Randy G.

posted July 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm


One issue I have not seen raised is the ways that employers lure undocumented immigrants here to provide low wages and secure documents for them. One thing that would calm fears on both sides, is to see the CEO’s and other management of such companies prosecuted for human traficking or counterfitting of documents.
In Iowa, where I lived until a year ago, ICE would come in raid meat-packing plants, deport the line workers and arrest some low-level HR person, while closing their eyes to any possibility that there was a company or plant policy to this. That destroyed whole communities and families, churches, schools etc. Look up Marshalltown on line for this.
Peace,
Randy Gabrielse



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kevin s.

posted July 22, 2010 at 9:07 pm


“One issue I have not seen raised is the ways that employers lure undocumented immigrants here to provide low wages and secure documents for them. One thing that would calm fears on both sides, is to see the CEO’s and other management of such companies prosecuted for human traficking or counterfitting of documents.”
I wholeheartedly agree. To the degree undocumented work thingy is criminalized, those punished should be those responsible for knowingly hire undocumented workers. For the documented undocumented, we should work to determine who provided the documentation. These are major crimes, and companies have lobbied too effectively to get themselves off the hook.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted July 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm


Jonathan #51
I think there is merit in considering narrative themes.
Two narrative themes I see:
Compassion for the outcast with and orientation toward holistic redemption of those outside the community. That is the trajectory of Scripture.
Creation stewardship and the cultural mandate, which includes the formation of families, towns, and other human groupings. It includes the formulation of institutions that clarify boundaries and balance competing justice issues so people can effectively operate as stewards of resources. What begins in a garden (Eden) ends in the city (New Jerusalem) with the glory of the nations incorporated into that city … all the human creation that honors God.
I really like William Webb’s idea of a “ladder of abstraction” in trying to figure out ethical issues. For example, ranked from Hi to lo in ethical abstraction:
Hi = Love your neighbor as yourself
Med = There should be no poor among you
Lo = Let the poor glean from your fields
This fits the OT era but we are no longer in that era. To figure out what we must do, we must move up the ladder to a medium state that still applies to our time and discern how we move back down the ladder in our time.
Two things we should avoid: A) Trying to use contextualized instruction from the Bible as though it were a universal instruction for our day, and B) reading our context back on to Scripture and “torturing it” into supporting our current agenda.



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Jonathan

posted July 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm


“What begins in a garden (Eden) ends in the city (New Jerusalem)”
I’d never heard that before. That’s fantastic.



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Naum

posted July 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm


IMV, framing the debate in a “middle ground” approach is akin to straddling the line on slavery where one claims the center and says oh well slavery is wrong but what about the poor slaveholders who’ll be harmed economically if change is made. There’s ~10M+? here, undocumented, most working — are people really serious in believing there should be draconian raids employed to sweep them back OR creating a culture of fear where individuals are paralyzed with fear when going to and fro, and consequently, easy prey for human predators, capitalizing on their trepidation in remaining hidden from authorities?
I’m not in favor of instant citizenship, but those who’ve unlawfully migrated here for work or family should be treated as brothers as sisters of Christ. To value a man drawn border (and one where the land was taken by the sword in a non-Christ like manner?) over love of the other? ?especially when I doubt most would not be eager to exchange lots with, and those that come from lands exploited and now serve as economic cogs that props up the cushy life many Americans lead.
And studies and statistics have succinctly shown the alarm over crime and security at the border is largely FUD, misguided justification for a numbskull allocation of resources for “security theater”. What, 45%+ of our economic resources go to defense or security interests! WWJD, indeed?



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Andy Holt

posted July 23, 2010 at 7:57 am


Naum said:
“To value a man drawn border (and one where the land was taken by the sword in a non-Christ like manner?) over love of the other?”
Since all borders are man-drawn, do you advocate a borderless world? Should we all just be one nation? But it’s not an issue of valuing the border over the person, it’s an issue of wanting the person to respect the border. Laws (and borders) exist to establish an ordered society. Without them we have chaos. If we are expected to respect and obey the laws of other countries, is it too much to ask others to respect and obey our laws? In other words, shouldn’t they do unto us as they would have us do unto them?
“And studies and statistics have succinctly shown the alarm over crime and security at the border is largely FUD, misguided justification for a numbskull allocation of resources for “security theater”. What, 45%+ of our economic resources go to defense or security interests! WWJD, indeed?”
While I don’t appreciate the name-calling, I’m very interested in seeing these studies. Can you provide links? I’ve searched around and it’s difficult to find anything objective. Anything you can provide would be much appreciated!



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Kate

posted July 23, 2010 at 8:07 am


Andy,
Don’t border laws really exist to protect us, our resources, our ways, and our ideologies from them (who ever them may be)? Is this really a christian ideal? Give me a break.
We have to respect laws, our nation and others, within reason – but often as a matter of practicality not always as a matter of moral right.
There are massive problems of poverty and want in this world – and in the country of our neighbors to the south. If we concentrated our effort on working on these problems (deep and intractable as they may be) instead our protecting what is ours from them, we’d be coming a lot closer to what I see as the Christian call.



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faith

posted July 23, 2010 at 8:47 am


Having observed deportation in a faith community and seeing the tearing of family, extended family and the effect on children… I think there are better ways of dealing with the 12 million undocumented.
While it is important to have good laws and obey them, often laws have been unjust and in need of reform so that justice can be establish. Believers who cite Romans 13 need to be careful in their application of it and not use that verse as a text to support unjust laws or laws that need reform.
To seek reformation of laws is not disobedience but wisdom.
We can have obedience to just laws, border security and comprehensive immigration reform if we look at the situation creatively. So often in political dialogue we land in either/or thinking. Wisdom requires that we really examine our laws and the need and come up with creative and compassionate responses that actually help and foster the most justice for all concerned.



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Randy G.

posted July 23, 2010 at 11:56 am


“Since all borders are man-drawn, do you advocate a borderless world? Should we all just be one nation?”
Jesus and Paul speak of us as “One in Christ.” We as Christians ought to be precisely a community that transcends our “man made divisions.”
“But it’s not an issue of valuing the border over the person, it’s an issue of wanting the person to respect the border.”
You are saying that (for us) it is an issue of having (that person) respect the border (that we created by force of military arms in 1847).
“Laws (and borders) exist to establish an ordered society. Without them we have chaos.”
Imagine first century Judea, where Paul was advocating abolishing circumcision for Gentile men, THE MOST IMPORTANT DIVISION BETWEEN JEWS AND THE PAGANS THEY HATED. Circumcision maintained an orderly division between Jews and Gentiles.
Peace,
Randy G.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/2010/07/evangelicals-and-immigration-t_comments.html#ixzz0uWNaCE19



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Fish

posted July 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm


Reading these kind comments blesses and lifts up my day. Grace and peace to all my brothers and sisters in Christ.



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ChrisB

posted July 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm


Now they’re trying to completely take over the term immigration reform?
I’m pro-reform, but by “reform” I mean we need to cut off the flow of people illegally crossing our border, enforce labor laws making it impossible to work if you’re here illegally, and only then make a path by which those currently in the country illegally can gain legal permanent residency (but not citizenship).
I am not anti-immigrant. I am not anti-hispanic. I’m simply pro-lawful behavior.



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Andy Holt

posted July 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm


Randy, I’m not so sure that Paul had geographical boundary lines in mind when he wrote that. Also, the nature of the establishment of the border has little to do with the validity of border protection six generations later. Wars happen. Boundary lines are redrawn. This has been going on for quite some time. America was neither the first nor the last to do this.
Circumcision isn’t the best analogy, in my mind, because that had more to do with who was in the kingdom of God and who wasn’t. It was one of several indicators, including the land. It really had little to do with state laws or matters of justice.
Let me lay down my perspective. If the folks coming over the border were doing so because they were fleeing totalitarianism, persecution, oppression, or were refugees of war, then, by all means, we should throw open our doors and welcome them in. But as I understand it, by and large, people are coming across the border for economic reasons. That’s not a bad reason to come across, it’s just not as justifiable as something along the lines of religious persecution. While there is nothing wrong with seeking a better life for you and your family (isn’t that what America’s all about), there is something wrong with doing it by flaunting the laws of the land. Process matters.
I understand that people are upset at the idea of deportation, that it tears families apart. And I would hate to see that happen to any family. But that’s part of the risk you take when you willfully live in disobedience to the law.
Part of the Christian response to this issue has to be to encourage people to live in accordance with the law of the land. I can’t think of a single verse in Scripture that tells me it’s okay to disobey the law. While I do believe that there are exceptions (such as preaching the gospel and protecting persecuted people), I don’t think that economics is a justifiable excuse to circumvent the law. Fortunately, in America, average citizens have the privilege and responsibility to work to change the law–but we have that privilege because we are Americans, not because we are Christians.



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Kate

posted July 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm


Andy,
Get real – the vast majority of us come from stock who came here for economic reasons. Those who came for reasons of persecution or war represent a very small minority. And we “legally” (ha!) ripped the land and livelihood from the prior occupants. (Some were ripped away dragged here and placed into servitude of course.) This is process?
We don’t have a moral leg to stand on.
Process only matters when you already have something you want to protect from others. We do need process – but I don’t really have a problem with those who looked for a way forward without process. For the most part they didn’t kill the prior occupants or destroy their way of life and take over their land.
Any Christian response must view everyone first and foremost as human beings created in the image of God and of no less intrinsic value than your very own children. This doesn’t mean open borders or socialism or robin hood activities. But it should color every decision we make. Is this in the best interests of all? (or is it made to protect what is ‘mine’ from them).
Most of the talk about the details of ‘legality’ is a cover for our own greed and selfishness. If people start to talk about how we can help (where possible) to make a life possible that will prevent the need for large movements of illegal immigrants – than we will get somewhere, and in a Christian manner at that.
And this is one place where we should not look to Europe for wisdom. They are worse then we are. (So is almost everyone else for that matter.) I don’t expect better from anyone whose primary loyalty is country – but if our primary loyalty is God and Christ I do expect better.



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Andy Holt

posted July 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm


Kate, I assume that your perspective is that Europeans have no right to live in North America. While I personally don’t believe the sins of the past invalidate the laws of the present, I understand the moral outrage of those who do. It also seems that you have decided the motives of all who want the law enforced are greed and selfishness. Maybe that’s true of some, but I certainly don’t think it’s true of all. If this is your view, I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree.



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Kate

posted July 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm


Andy,
That isn’t what I think at all. Reality is far more complex.
What I do think is that we all need to get off of this moral high horse. This talk of law and process is a cover.
Then we need to view these people first and foremost as human beings created in the image of God. Then we need to search for the best way to respond as the kind of Christian servants we are called to be.



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Andy Holt

posted July 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm


Kate, I don’t think I’m riding a moral high horse or covering any evil motives by talking about law and process. Frankly, I share the view expressed by Emma Lazarus in The New Colossus on the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
What a beautiful greeting we offer to the world! And yet, that doesn’t mean that we ought not have reasonable rules, structures, and processes in place to allow that to happen in a way that maximizes the benefit for all.



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Fish

posted July 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm


“And yet, that doesn’t mean that we ought not have reasonable rules, structures, and processes in place to allow that to happen in a way that maximizes the benefit for all.”
But we don’t. We don’t have anything close to that. We don’t get close to welcoming the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, the wretched refuse. They yearn for freedom and we turn the lamp out. When we’re asked for mercy, we give them the full extent of the law. We can only pray that Jesus does not hold us to the same standard as we hold the homeless and tempest-tossed.



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kevin s.

posted July 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm


“When we’re asked for mercy, we give them the full extent of the law.”
By my lights, those who are applying for citizenship more closely resemble those asking for mercy.
Either way though, doesn’t the full extent of the law apply to anyone, whether or not they ask for mercy? The only counter-examples tend to be the politically connected who lobby the executive branches for pardons.
I can’t imagine how a lawful society would function if our standard for applying the law was to extend clemency to anyone who asks for mercy.
Also, the Statue of Liberty, however important and symbolic may be, is not the constitution.



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Nathan

posted July 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm


While I think comprehensive immigration reform is needed, it’s incredibly disappointing that Sam Rodriguez chose to use such rhetoric.
I find such language to be unhelpful and unwise. There are principled reasons, possibly informed by one’s Christian faith, for holding differing perspectives on the immigration issue.
It is the height of arrogance to say a lack of agreement with one position is necessarily anti-christian. We aren’t talking about the divinity of Jesus Christ or any other article of the Creed. We’re talking about a sociological phenomenon and the philosophy of law.
When a particular position on a particularized and contingent social issue of our day becomes the litmus test for Christian identity we are, in some sense, adding to the Gospel. St. Paul had harsh words for such behavior. Rodriguez only succeeded in alienating people that need to be dialogue partners in finding a solution and making someone like me–who probably agrees with him on the substance–cringe.



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kevin s.

posted July 25, 2010 at 1:23 am


Nathan,
I agree. I would consider it a manifestation of the legalistic impulses that lead churches to ban dancing.



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