Monday, July 22, 2013

So where should Christians be in the immigration debate?

I got to thinking about this earlier today while tweeting about House Speaker John Boehner and whether or not he would cave in to the Senate's demands for amnesty and a "path to citizenship". I stopped before clicking "Tweet" to consider whether or not I was just being foul tempered and snarky; or if I was being consistent with the Word of God. What should Christians think about this issue?

I had been reading in the Old Testament recently and these verses from Zechariah Ch 7 came to mind:
And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice;show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor.Do not plot evil against each other.’
There are references throughout the Old Testament about the treatment of foreigners. God reminds the children of Israel that they too were foreigners in Egypt and thus must not mistreat foreigners in their midst.

In Zechariah, the word translated as "foreigner" is the Hebrew word "ger" (גֵּ֥ר). This word is often translated as sojourner or stranger. It implies a gentile living among the Israelites and obeying some basic rules (namely the laws given to Noah) and accepting the authority of the rabbinical court. This is as opposed to the more generic "goy" (גּוֹי) where no such adherence to the law or rabbinical authority exists. In fact, we see throughout the Old Testament that the goyim are so often the enemies of Israel; not only fighting against them and oppressing them, but also introducing them to idolatry and leading them away from God..

So for us, this tells us that there are foreigners and then there are foreigners. Those who come here and obey our laws and customs ought to be welcomed among us. Those who break our laws and ignore our customs... not so much.

So where does justice lie?

There are two options only for amnesty: Grant it or deny it. It's a binary decision. If we deny it, then there are once again, only two options open to us: Ignore those here illegally, which is de facto amnesty, or forcibly remove them from the country. The latter I believe to be unjust.

There are "officially" 10-12 million illegal aliens living in the US. Some estimates put that number at closer to 20 million. There is simply no way to move upwards of 20 million people in a forced migration without killing thousands in the process. History shows many instances of mass deportations being used as a mechanism for genocide. Why? Because it works for those bent upon killing the target population. Even when genocide isn't the intent, deaths occur whenever mass deportation is used by a government. During the "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovo, the Serbs meant only to remove the Albanian population from Kosovo. Their intent wasn't genocide. However, many displaced Kosovars died anyway. Even with the resources of the United States at our disposal, I do not see how we could safely move so many people. I may not want these people here, but I don't want them dead either!

So if we're forced to grant amnesty, what about a "path to citizenship"? That, I believe, would also be unjust. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) points out that this would be ”profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who followed the rules.” It would also be unfair to the American people. A "path to citizenship" would suddenly inject millions of people into the voting public who do not share our values or our culture. This would be like opening our elections to the rest of the world. How would it be fair to the American people have their government chosen by people who do not share American values? Or worse, who may despise American values?

So if we are to seek justice and mercy, we need to value both the lives of those living among us and the liberty of the American people. We cannot force millions to move and we cannot force millions of others to accept what would amount to foreign rule.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013