Y’all no doubt have opinions on the broad topic of immigration. I have a very long-time friend, now retired from a very successful career as a corporate atty., who sends me questions from time to time. If you’ll forgive the conceit that anyone else might care, his question and my answer:
The European Union is being inundated with Muslim immigrants, and the US has a growing immigration problem along the border with Mexico. What is the answer? Does Scripture provide wisdom and direction? You know my feelings, but I am concerned that I may be unduly harsh and judgmental.
I replied: I’m wary of replying because I am well aware of my immense capacity for rationalization and self-justification, not to mention just fooling myself. Nonetheless, fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
I’m inclined to say that scripture has nothing to say directly on the point because scripture was written in and to a very, very different chronological and cultural period. Nation-states as we know them did not exist at all in that time. Even the Roman Empire or the Greeks or the Babylonians or the Assyrians, though they controlled territory by might, did not exist with borders and entry points and passports and visas. And scripture must be interpreted first in light of what the writer understood and meant and what his readers would have understood and meant. (This is not to say that scripture may not be transcultural. Our belief in its truth implies that it is. It is just to say that original meanings is the necessary starting point.)
Thus, the best we can do, ISTM, is to try to tease out principles that can then be applied to our world. And that is where the rub lies. Because no one interprets scripture without first consulting their baggage of interpretive assumptions and philosophies. No one.
Thus, disagreements arise not from scripture, but from which principles we select to include in our analysis and what priority order we give them based on our own philosophical biases.
With that bushel basket of caveats in mind, here are some scriptural principles that apply, IMO.
* Romans 13 – All earthly authorities are established by God. All means ALL, or else God is not sovereign. We may not understand His reasons, but the choice involves God’s sovereignty.
* Romans 13 – We are to obey the laws that the authorities establish….or be subject to the penalties. (This, and the above, mean that, Biblically, there is no such thing as undocumented (illegal) immigrants because if they were obeying the law they wouldn’t be here.)
* A number of Biblical passages address the importance of hospitality to the strangers and foreigners among you. Important principle. But this would not have meant to the writers or readers anything like “illegal immigrants”. It would have meant something more like, in our contemporary understanding, “ business travelers or tourists” or “immigrants with visas and green cards.” And, indeed, we owe it to them, as well as our American-born neighbors, to show a hospitality that reflects God’s love for us.
* A number of places in scripture speak to defending those in need of defense. This principle speaks most directly, I think, to the issue of refugee-type immigrants, not what might be called “economic immigrants”, people looking to better their life and that of their family. But this is not unfettered entry because, IMO, it falls under the purview of the governing authorities.
That’s my opinion in a nutshell. Will it satisfy? Probably not….unless one happens to share my perspective. 😃 So, what to do? Stop voting for useless, feckless poltroons who are only interested in building personal power and prestige and start voting for people who are willing to sacrifice their personal life in order to actually improve our country’s laws. Our immigration system is TERRIBLE but the people we elect are interested only in posturing and using the issue as a way to fire up a segment of the population to vote for them. That’s why politicians never solve problems. (Well, except for one.)
Btw, here’s an irony. In America at least. Any economy needs a growing population if it is to grow and prosper as an economy. For the past 40+ years America has murdered about 50 million babies….who would have grown up to work in our economy.
That absence of workers created a supply-demand imbalance that becomes a draw for illegal economic immigrants. So they come.
But the Law Of Unintended Consequences is always at work, and maybe, too, the hand of God in discipline. Because, if we hadn’t murdered our babies, we would have had a population of workers who’d grown up in America with American cultural values. Instead we get a mashup of people with all manner of different cultural values. And that creates social tension as a price.
But the babies that were murdered are needed in society now. So, we import them…..along with whatever cultural problems they may bring with them.
My two bits. YMMV.
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