Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Seeking a Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration: A Second Essential Starting Point (Part 2)

In last week’s blogging, I was proposing two solid starting points if we want to view illegal immigration from a Christian perspective. The first starting point was Genesis 1, from which we learn the unique dignity of each human being, who bears the image of God, and God’s intention for humankind to live fruitfully.

The second starting point was Jesus. His teaching on the kingdom of God points to a radically different way of living, one that turns upside down many of the assumptions we make about life. As God begins to reign on earth, the poor receive good news and the oppressed are set free. Those who suffer in this life will be blessed. Love will be the guiding ethic of people who live under the reign of God, love not just for our neighbors, but even for our enemies. When we care for those who are oppressed and in need, including the stranger in need of welcome, Jesus receives our love as if it were given to him. Moreover, in the teaching of Jesus, the alien becomes, not only someone to receive love in the name of Jesus, but also someone who models love for others.

The Actions of Jesus

When we consider the relevance of the actions of Jesus for the issue of illegal immigration, we must once again remember that Jesus did not encounter the same kinds of situations and challenges that we face today. Nevertheless, several of his actions bear witness to how Christians who seek to imitate Jesus might live in relationship with undocumented workers and their families.

It is worth nothing that Jesus was himself an immigrant during the first years of his life. Shortly after his birth, Jesus’ parents fled to Egypt in order to protect him from being murdered by soldiers of King Herod (Matt 2:13-18). When Herod died, Jesus and his parents returned to their hometown of Nazareth (Matt 2:19-23). About Jesus’ time in Egypt, we know very little, however.

When Jesus began preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, he demonstrated the presence of the kingdom in various ways. He healed the sick and cast out demons, showing that God’s power was indeed present. Jesus cared for the crowds, proclaiming the kingdom and healing the sick, because “he had compassion for them” (Matt 9:35-36; 14:14). His empathy for people in need led Jesus to minister, not just to souls, but also to bodies. (Photo: “Christ Healing the Paralytic by the Pool of Bethesda” by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo)

murillo-christ-healing-5.jpgIn one case, Jesus was approached by a leper who sought to be cleansed of his disease (Matt 8:1-2). Not only was this man stricken with a terrible physical condition, but also he was ostracized by his community because he was ceremonially unclean and a danger to the health of others. The fact that a leper was allowed to approach a holy man like Jesus is a testimony both to the leper’s desperation at to Jesus’ exceptional welcome of a person in need. When Jesus touched the man, thus allowing himself to become unclean, the man was cleansed of his leprosy (Matt 8:3). But this was not the end of what the kingdom of God meant to the former leper. Jesus sent him to the priest in his town, who would verify that the man had been cleansed and enable him to be restored into his community.

The fact that Jesus had intimate fellowship with a leper was scandalous, but, to make matters worse, Jesus often hung out with people judged to be unsavory and unacceptable. We read this in Matthew’s Gospel:

And as [Jesus] sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (9:10-13)

Jesus associated with people who were on the outs, those who were marginalized because of their behavior as well as their physical condition.

The activity of Jesus in demonstrating the presence of the kingdom may not tell us how the United States should deal with the issue of illegal immigration, but it surely guides Christians when it comes to how we relate to those who are in this country illegally, as well as to their families. Millions of undocumented workers live on the edge of poverty or on the downside of that edge. They are often victimized by people in power since they have relatively little legal protection. In the eyes of many Americans, illegal aliens are viewed rather like lepers, as outcasts who are not welcome in our communities, as people who threaten our way of life. Or they are seen more like “tax collectors and sinners,” people whose behavior excludes them from our fellowship, friendship, and compassion.

If we ask the classic question, “What would Jesus do?”, in reference to illegal immigration, we would no doubt hear different answers with respect to American legal and social policy. But it seems undeniable to me that Jesus would associate with and care for the tangible needs of undocumented workers and their families. He would seek their wholeness: spiritually, physically, relationally, socially. Those of us who follow Jesus are called to do the same.

  • Joe M.

    Mr. Roberts – I came to your blog recently because Hugh Hewitt (who arguably has the best show on radio) made special mention specifically of your insights on what should be the Christian perspective toward the immigration issue. I was already familiar with you from your debate on Hugh’s show with Christopher Hitchens – certainly a courageous undertaking – and I really looked forward to reading your isights to one of the most important issues facing our nation today. After reading your final installment, all I can say is: What. A. Disappointment.
    You’re kidding, right? It took you 10 fairly good-length posts to say: “Jesus wants us to treat these people in our midst as our neighbors – kindly, with charity, seeking to serve their needs as we hope to win them to Christ.” No kidding. I really thought you might come down on the other side of the Christian argument where the Lord calls us “to beat these intruders with sticks, and steal their lunch money”. What a shock. Well, unless you just really enjoy typing, you could have saved yourself some time, or written on a completely different topic, because there is NO LEGITIMATE CHRISTIAN LEADER that would teach anything different on this subject. OF COURSE we are to treat all people with kindness and love, hoping to lead some to him. And even those who will never come to the Lord, as the people of God, we just treat them well because that’s how the Spirit who resides in us operates.
    It appears you got cold feet on the subject, because what you purported to deal with initially was “A Christian Perspective on Illegal Immigration”, and it morphed into “How Should Christians Treat the Illegal Immigrants in our Midst” – two very different issues, the latter being about as difficult and controversial as the question “Should we pray frequently to God?” It is a case of “bait and switch”, because your first entries on the subject pertained to the macro question, and it seemed that you were going to apply your thoughtful analysis to what the Christian Perspective should be about the flow of illegal immigrants into this country in the first place. Did you really need 10 posts and copious research to come to the conclusion that a) These people are Humans(!) – made in Christ’s image, and b)He would have us treat these folks well?
    It’s your blog, and I’ll let you return to your regularly scheduled programming without my further 2 cents. But at this stage of the game, it just seems that folks (me included) are looking for wise, insightful, courageous leaders and teachers who will confront the *difficult* issues from a truly biblical perspective, and help us to shape our worldview from a Godly perspective. The easy stuff, well, I think we’ve already got that down. But, just so you know, I will be putting away my beating sticks, and will try to do a better job of treating my neighbors – both legal and illegal – with great kindness and charity.
    I look forward to your next cutting-edge topic: “Christian Perspectives on Littering – WWJD?”

  • DougLaw

    Mark, With all due respect to Joe M.’s remarks…
    The truly courageous thing to “do” will always be to ask WWJD—then actually do it. It is not “Bait and Switch” to stay true to an answer your are compelled to give. We are not about to soon fix something as complicated as illegal immigration, but meanwhile we can actually “trust God and love people,” as LJO used to say.
    BTW—I look forward to any wisdom you might have on Christians and littering. I believe, in fact, by the very nature of your calling, you will again have to ask WWJD—and good for you! :-)

  • Norski

    If you “cherry pick” excerpts from the Bible to justify what you want people to believe while ignoring verses that make statements to the contrary is that not creating a falsehood in the mind of the readers?
    In Matthew 21:11-13, Mark 11:15-16, and John 2:14-16 did Jesus kiss the Money Changers and Sellers in the temple and say love thy neighbor? No, he called then thieves and drove them from the temple.
    In Luke 10 did the Good Samaritan by-pass the man lying beaten by the side of the road and travel on to minister to the Robbers who beat him? If a person robs someone else is it not because they need money and are thus poor? And if a person has money to rob, does that not mean that that person is comparably rich?
    In Luke 20 in the Parable of the Wicked Tenants Jesus even went so far as to compare Teachers of the Law and the Chief Priests to wicked Tenants and say “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
    In Luke 6:41-45 he said “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
    Illegal Entry, Illegal Presence, Identity Fraud, Identity Theft, coveting what one’s neighbor owns, and bearing false witness are the life bread of Illegal Immigration. None can be considered the fruit of the good tree. Or does the bad tree now produce good fruit?
    And when asked about forgiveness Jesus’ response in Luke 17:3 was “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” Jesus was fantastic about putting his words into practice for as is said above “Jesus associated with people who were on the outs, those who were marginalized because of their behavior as well as their physical condition.” But note that Jesus did so because those people were approaching him and asking for forgiveness. At no point in the Bible does it ever say that Jesus associate with people WHILE THEY WERE BREAKING THE LAW.
    Luke 20:45-47 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

  • Rodney

    Norski, take a look in the mirror; you wrote:
    If you “cherry pick” excerpts from the Bible to justify what you want people to believe while ignoring verses that make statements to the contrary is that not creating a falsehood in the mind of the readers?
    Get the beam out of your eye.
    Really? You think the U.S. is the temple of God? You think the focus of Jesus’ parable (“THE GOOD SAMARITAN”) is the robber?

  • Jennie

    This weekend, our housekeeper, who is already one of my favorite people, sprayed my oven with oven-off and then I accidentally turned the oven on before she could clean it out. It was time for her to go home so I said I would clean it myself when it cooled down. It took me an hour + to clean my oven and, while on my knees, I was reminded of what Julia (not her real name) does for our family. She is in this country illegally AND she fulfills a service that others will not AND she works painstaking hours for not that much money AND she returns the favor by renting an apartment, paying for a car and insurance (yes, she has car insurance) AND shops at her neighborhood stores and malls. Often when she is here, her daughter plays with my daughter, which has been wonderful for both girls. It is economically inefficient for me to clean my own house. I work for money, volunteer or spend time with my family and friends. This is a choice I could not make without Julia’s help. I am not unaware of the strain that too many people puts on a society. However, I think that most of these people are giving back as much as they are taking. I know this is not a black and white issue and my story is NOT the only piece. But, it is A piece and I wish for it to be considered in the conversation.

  • Matt

    Hispanic immigration actually helps Christian numbers in America whereas in about 100 years at Europe will be primarily muslim based on their current immigration rates.

  • Ray

    After Jesus’ encounter with the leper he sent him to the priest, in accordance with that society’s rule, so that he could 1) be certified as clean and 2) become a productive member of that society. I think Jesus just told us to play by the rules.

  • Ann Hilliard

    I agree with Joe M. — my reaction to this piece was, “Well, duh!” When our pastor told us of seven Hispanic families living in trailers on a farm in Southwest Arizona who had been burned out by a wildfire, our mostly Anglo church gathered a truckload of food, clothes, and household goods to send, along with monetary donations. No questions asked, of course — human beings were in distress and we were called to help. Your writing does not address the real questions: how to deal in a Christian way with the violence, crime, ecological damage, wildfires in environmentally sensitive areas, free flow of illegal drugs, and recreational areas too dangerous to enter due to criminal activity. Or with Christian leaders who say that because Arizona, New Mexico, California, Colorado, Nevada, and Texas were once under Spanish and/or Mexican rule, all Americans not of Hispanic descent are usurpers who have stolen the land. Or with government officials who openly disregard the law of the land which is meant to protect us.

  • Norski

    To Rodney
    Luke 10:29-37 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
    Today there are over 21 million Americans looking for work while 7.5 million Illegal Immigrants are working in the USA Illegally. And according to the Pew Center and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those working in the USA illegally are ALL working in jobs Americans used to do. Who is the victim of law breaking behavior and who is the law breaker? I get the impression that those who support the law breaking behavior that is illegal immigration would rewrite the story of the Good Samaritan as follows:
    But when the Samaritan came upon the man lying by the side of the road who had been beaten and robbed, he approached the man and said on to him that he must surely be a rich man to have been robbed and beaten as he has. Therefore, as a rich man, he has earned what he has received. His greed and avarice, his lack of sharing his riches with the poor has led to his demise. And so the Samaritan passed by the beaten and robbed man and traveled down the road until he found those who had beaten and robbed him. He then set about ministering to the Robbers and paid for their stay in an Inn. They were obviously driven to rob and beat because they were poor, needed help, and were not getting it. And thus the beaten and robbed man learned that to the Samaritan and others so like minded, loving and respecting your neighbor as yourself only applies if your neighbor is poor and breaking the law.
    Remember Leviticus 19:15 – “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”

  • Rodney

    How do you make sense of the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus says “you have heard it said, . . but I say to you”? Isn’t he taking the old covenant (passages like Lev. 19:15) and telling his disciples what the new covenant requires, e.g., “love your enemies”?
    It seems to me (by quoting texts like Lev. 19:15) you’re trying to make the U.S. = Israel, which leads to disastrous interpretations for Christ followers.
    Remember, the way God does justice is that he shows us mercy–the cross proves it. In the new covenant, we don’t get what we deserve. Try looking at this issue through new covenant eyes rather than through American eyes.

  • Ann Hilliard

    This is an old thread but I feel compelled to respond to Jenny’s post. Jenny, I would love to come home from work to a clean house and well-cooked meals. And if I had kids still at home it would be great to have a loving live-in babysitter. However, I can’t afford the $8 (approximately) legal minimum wage, plus overtime, plus 25% worker’s comp, social security tax, and Medicare tax.
    What? You’re not paying $400/wk for her services? You’re not submitting withholding to the Federal and State governments? So your housekeeper doesn’t pay any taxes on what you pay her? Well. Sounds like to me you and your family are profiting big time from your collusion in the criminal enterprise of traffic in human lives. The crime syndicates which smuggle illegal immigrants across our borders profit from using them as drug mules and from kidnapping and extortion. As an Arizonan, I would like to thank you and your family for your complicity in the chaos in our state.

  • Norski

    To Rodney
    James 2:8-10 “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”
    Matthew 5:17-20 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
    Are these New Testament verses “New Covenant” enough? Remember that each time that it says in the Bible that Jesus was teaching, the text implies that he was teaching about the Law and the Commandments. And the quote from Matthew above says it explicitly. Since the New Testament did not exist back then the Law and Commandments so referenced were what we now call the “Old Testament”. What you claim is “Old Covenant” and thus not worth taking into consideration was in fact the core of Jesus’ message.
    Too many people today want variable morality. They think that if you claim to love your neighbor that makes everything all right. And if you repent for those you hurt on the day before you die everything is absolved, because the ends justified the means. But you cannot build justice for some on the backs of injustice to others. You cannot decide that those who break the law at the expense of those who keep the law are more just without maintaining the delusion that it is good for one person to enrich themselves at the expense of another. And Illegal Immigration is just that. For truly it can be said that it is impossible to maintain the covenant of the Bible by lying, cheating, and refusing to acknowledge the hurt illegal immigration does to others.

  • Rodney

    Again, what prompted me to respond to your first post was the accusation that Mark was merely “cherry-picking” verses, weaving an interpretive cloth, then misleading people into thinking that his approach was “biblical.”
    You’re doing the same thing. You seem to ignore biblical context, e.g., James was taking on the wealthy land-owners (read Ja. 5) who were exploiting the poor, and even worse Christians were showing favoritism by giving honor to the wealthy when then visited their “synagogues.” Do you see how this text could be applied to illegal immigration? Those who have endured “injustice” (in broader terms than what is defined by the American legal system) because wealthy land-owners are taking advantage of the poor–think in terms of global economics–may have a legitimate complaint before God Almighty who is the Creator of all things. In other words, your perspective seems to be more informed by your/our American context than by biblical context.
    Would you mind trying a little exercise? (It may not be helpful, but I’ll give it a try.) Think about this issue in first-century Judean terms. Rome ruled Judea. Roman law was the rule of law for this imperial province. What if a Jewish man broke the law according to Roman standards and was punished for the same. Would we take Rome’s side or the Judean’s side in this political context?

  • Norski

    To Rodney
    Somehow you seem to think that when I point out Bible verses that contradict the conclusions that you or this article have come to by “cherry picking” somehow means I am cherry picking as well. Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, the Chinese have a wonderful concept that describes the true nature of the Bible. It is Yin and Yang. For every exhortation to love and respect your neighbor there is an equal and opposite exhortation for your neighbor to love and respect you back. You want the Yin, but you do not want to acknowledge the Yang.
    The Bible does not just say that the Rich should not steal from the Poor. It also says that the Poor should not steal from the Rich. And it does not only say that if someone repents and asks for forgiveness, you should grant it. It also says you should rebuke those who do not repentant. And the Bible may say that the rich should share their blessings. But it also says that the Poor should not covet what the Rich have and should not try to take it from them. Thou shalt not steal.
    But the single largest corruption of the Bible in today’s popular culture is to assume that because Jesus preached against what is popularly called the “Eye for an Eye” section of the Old Testament that it also means Jesus was in support of foregoing punishment for breaking the Laws of Society. Jesus’ point was simply that those who wish to execute justice should no do so as an act of vengeance. For truly it is written in Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
    In the story that is called “Render onto Caesar” Jesus clearly separated adherence to Secular Law from adherence to God’s Law. And later on, both Peter and Paul reiterated the need for Christians to respect Secular Law.
    In the Illegal Immigration debate there are really good reasons why we limit Immigration and regard those who enter or stay in the USA without permission as breaking the law and thus deportable. The most important reason being that it is a proven fact many times over that Jobs in the USA do not grow based on population. They grow based on available Capital. And it is a proven fact many times over that immigration in excess of our reasonably established caps only destines an equal number of people, be they the Immigrants or our fellow Citizens, to the unemployment line. Thus restricting people from staying in the USA without permission is an act of protection to the American Citizens who would otherwise loose their job. And considering that the jobs so protected are those held by people who are mostly Poor, this is truly a case of loving thy neighbor.
    If you feel for those people who want to come to the USA but are not high enough on the admissions list to get in, I would suggest that you go help them. Gather your flock and lift them out of poverty. Since over 50% of those people illegally in the USA are from Mexico you should have no trouble finding a place where people need help. Try Mexico. But instead of doing this, you support people who ignore the law, lie about their legal status as they live in the USA, commit document fraud or identity theft in order to work in the USA, and when not doing all that, march in the streets demanding they be given all that they have illegally acquired even though they know full well it is at the expense of other people in whose territory they have chosen to illegally enter. All the while carefully remaining intentionally ignorant of the hurt caused to Poor Americans out of work because of the disregard for the law. But instead too many people have rationalized away the law breaking behavior with the non-Biblical concept of “the end justifies the means”. But the road to Hades is paved with rationalizations and good intentions. And “the end justifies the means” is just selling your soul to the Devil for a Saintly outcome. When Jesus was offered the rule all of the cities of the earth did he say “if I run them I could do wonderful works” and accept the job? Or did he just decline?

  • Joe M.

    Norski, Rodney: Please read the foregoing post in this section, and the post on “Illegal Immigration – A Helpful Resource”. They both point us to what constitutes a “Christian” response vs. what is anti-biblical………don’t they?
    It seems as if Mr. Roberts and the author of the book certainly know what a Christian would do, because they make such great distinction of how we need to think biblically, and respond as “Christians” toward the illegal immigration issue. It’s absolutely crystal clear.
    Isn’t it?

  • Mel

    Good discussion, but again, going in circles. My impression, having lived and worked amongst illegals in CA for 20 years, there is a missing element to the discussion, that is Justice.
    Frontline has a couple good shows about the illegal experience from Central and South Americans into and through Mexico. There is no justice for illegals in Mexico. The second is a Cuban exile working with the ‘Minutemen’ in AZ who lived with a family of illegals and even accompanyed them to their home town in Mexico. Actually three now that I think about it, the Vietnam Vet who didn’t get his paperwork filled out after he come home is now deported to his ‘hometown.’
    There needs to be discussion of justice FOR ALL. No one has accounted in any detail for lost tax revenue, housing bubble, rent, educational expenses, and cost of living in general on all sides – illegals and Americans. Re: education, the Anaheim Union School District sued Mexico to recover expenses to educate their fellow countrymen. About three or four years ago, a US Senator from San Diego found out his child, who had lived and graduated HS in VA was now going to pay out-of-state tuition in CA his ‘real home state’ while the illegal Hispanic was paying in-state and getting (read your tax dollars and mine) grants just because they are Hispanic. My classmate, Rudy, bragged about that one day when he was talking about Reconquista. I told him that if Mexico took back CA then his education would be doubtful much less paid for by someone else. His response,’Oh?’
    I’ve only heard one t.v. commentator say that Mexico is the root of the problem because they didn’t get their country up to speed as the NAFTA legislation progressed. Speaking of Mexico, and Central and South America, how do they treat their poor, indigenious population. Why aren’t Christians expressing the injustices that ‘force’ people to migrate. Lastly, illegals are migrating to stay, not sojourning. The illegals that pick the apples in the orchards around my rural Missouri town migrate to KS and TX then back, it’s said they rarely return to Mexico or points south.
    Keep thinking about all the people involved, the governments, the employeers of illegals, the charities insisting illegals should get at American tax payer expense and America is evil towards illegals and how their home country treats them.

  • Norski

    To Joe M. – if you fool yourself into believing a six inch ruler is a foot long, every measurement you take will be subject to the same misperception.

  • Joe M.

    Norski – I’m with you; I was being a bit facetious with my post, because I believe we, so far, have yet to see clear, reliable guidelines on how a Christian should act in relation to Illegal Immigration from anything written here. And I do believe that even though they might be difficult at times to adhere to, most believers will want to follow truly biblical guidelines in order to please the Lord and be the servants we’ve been called to be.
    Clearly, there are a handful of guidelines in daily life that most of us already try to follow. Unless I’m hiding a Jew in my house and am confronted by an SS officer at my door, I really try to avoid lying as much as possible. Woe is me if my wife asks “does this make me look fat”, because I’ll go out of my way to compliment her hair, praise the color of the dress, or tell her what good taste she has in clothes. But if she presses the point, I’ll tactfully tell her the truth rather than lie – and it would be so much easier. If I’m given too much change at the local store, even after I’ve left the premises, I can’t just justify not returning the overage by saying “I’ll give it to a poor person”, or “they charge too much anyway”. Some Christian guidelines are pretty clear – at least in my reading of the Word.
    That’s why I eagerly look forward to Mr. Roberts clarifying his statement when he says “The activity of Jesus in demonstrating the presence of the kingdom……..surely guides Christians when it comes to how we relate to those who are in this country illegally, as well as to their families.” Really? How so? Do we really need to chalk it up to “serving the Kingdom” when confronted with all costs, crime, and cultural issues that un-assimilated and illegal immigrants bring? I’d really like to know what those guidelines are, because so far, details and biblical rationale have been lacking.

  • Joe M.

    And speaking of Biblical Guidelines:
    I know that the Bible tells us to pray for our leaders, but this bumper sticker may not have been in guite the spirit the admonition was intended:
    Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8
    As Norski has pointed out repeatedly, context is important.

  • Norski

    To Joe M.
    Your questions are good ones that all people should be asking themselves. But rather than look at the totality of what the Bible says they only look just far enough to justify what they want the answer to be. And the same applies to life. Too many people look only at what they want to see in order to make their conclusions and ignore the rest. This rationalization process allows people to commit unspeakable sins in the name of what they believe is right. That is why, in an earlier post I said “the road to Hades is paved with rationalizations and good intentions”.
    Unless you look at the totality of Illegal Immigration you can successfully convince yourself that it is really and only about Poor People searching for a better life, blocked by a bunch of people who do not care. But in fact Illegal Immigration is really about raw exploitation. About bringing people to the USA and keeping their home countries poor so that the exploitation never has to stop. When you look at the larger picture you see the exploitation at work behind the scenes and begin to see that this is truly a time for tough love.
    Few people ask themselves the questions “Why should people have to move to were the economic expansion is?” and “Why shouldn’t the economic expansion come to them?” and “Why must we force millions of people to relocate just to satisfy an outmoded belief that only economic expansion in the USA is good and all economic expansion elsewhere in the world is bad?” People forget that economies cooperate. It is Business that competes. Are we competing against the Japanese economy? No! You cannot trade with another country unless that country has something to trade. Our companies compete against Japanese companies. Do you buy a Toyota or a Ford because one is better than the other for what you want? Or do you buy the Ford because it is made by an American company and skip the Toyota? Most people do not realize that both cars are manufactured in the U.S. employing American Workers. Yet both companies compete. When it comes to international trade, balance is what is important, not outselling the competition.
    Economic development elsewhere is not bad for the USA. In the past, when the USA had more jobs than there were workers, excess jobs were exported to other countries. A few decades ago that resulted in the economic development of Korea, Taiwan, and the other economic powers of the Pacific called the Four Tigers. Remember the Marshall Plan? Did either destroy the US Economy? No! Today those who want to exploit poorer countries to import cheap labor into the USA incorrectly brand foreign expansion as “outsourcing” and use it as the universal boogeyman for all that ails us. But in fact, when we are at Full Employment, foreign expansion (which is not outsourcing) is no threat to US Workers. Because all US Workers are working. That is why they call it Full Employment.
    If you truly believe that we reached full employment back in 2007, then we spent the last decade wasting a tremendous opportunity. We spent the decade importing 7.5 million Illegal Immigrants. Why did we not instead place those 7.5 million jobs to where those people lived? Would we have overbuilt the domestic housing market into oblivion if we had done this? Let’s look at Mexico as an example of what could have been had Illegal Immigrants never entered the USA and we had reached full employment. Per the Pew Hispanic Center six million Mexicans have illegally immigrated to the USA, over three million of which are working. Per the CIA World Fact Book the 2006 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Mexico was $741.5 billion and the Labor Force numbered 38 million. That means that the average GDP per working person was $19,513. If the USA had exported three million jobs to Mexico and paid the average GDP rate (a mere $9.38/hr.) and the six million illegal immigrants would have stayed home, we would have pumped $59 billion in wages into the Mexican economy. In the USA economy approximately 57% of our GDP is made up of wages. Wages generate business, which in turn generates more wages, which in turn generate more business. Assuming this same job multiplier for Mexico means an additional $59 billion in wages added to the Mexican economy that would increase the GDP of Mexico by more that $103 billion or 14%. And the GDP of the USA would increase by as much a $5 billion with repatriated profits.
    This is a win-win situation. Why is it that both Legal and Illegal Immigration are never looked at in the context of what both cost the Immigrant’s home countries in lost economic and development opportunities? Is it that greedy people want a continued source of cheap labor and like true misers they what to keep economic development in their own backyard while denying it to other countries? This is a recipe for keeping the lesser developed counties of the world in perpetual servitude, rather than a fulfillment of the American Dream. And by keeping countries south of the border poor the exploitation can go on forever.

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More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Mark D. Roberts. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Conclusions
In this series on the death of Jesus, I have presented four different perspectives on why Jesus had to die: Roman, Jewish, Jesus’, and Early Christian. I believe that each of these points of view has merit, and that we cannot fully understand the necessity of Jesus’ death without taking them all

posted 2:47:39am Apr. 11, 2011 | read full post »

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling
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posted 2:05:51am Apr. 10, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 3
An Act and Symbol of Love Perhaps one of the most startling of the early Christian interpretations of the cross was that it was all about love. It’s easy in our day, when crosses are religious symbols, attractive ornaments, and trendy jewelry to associate the cross with love. But, in the first

posted 2:41:47am Apr. 08, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 2
The Means of Reconciliation In my last post, I examined one of the very earliest Christian statements of the purpose of Jesus’ death. According to the tradition encapsulated in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus died “for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (15:3). Yet this text doesn’t expl

posted 2:30:03am Apr. 07, 2011 | read full post »


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