Jul 12, 2013

Biblical Immigration?

I was recently presented with this article http://evangelicalsforbiblicalimmigration.com/read-the-letter/.

Because I saw it on Facebook, I immediately wrote a long but hurried response. Then deciding that I would rather not argue on Facebook today I decided to post my response to the article here. It is rather unpolished but I figure that I need to start actually posting things.

I firmly believe that this article’s conclusions are a misreading of the Bible. I would probably argue that the Bible has almost nothing to offer on the topic of modern immigration. These verses were never ever intended to be a frame work for immigration policy or foreign policy for a country with 300+ million people in it. Using the Bible to justify political ideologies isn’t Biblical. In fact, I consider it to be a gross misuse and misinterpretation of the Bible and far closer to heresy than Christian doctrine. I think if you ask 50 Bible scholars from 50 different denominations and traditions you will get a pretty clear message that the Bible is not a very good text to build modern immigration or foreign policy on.

Nations and cultures in the time of the writing of the Bible were extremely different politically and culturally than our current situation in this country. How can we compare the policies of a small nation built primarily on race, ethnicity, and one religion to our multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religion country, based on the principles of freedom and equality, with a huge population consisting entirely of immigrants. The idea that a few ancient stories about a few people in a very different setting should be the entire framework for global policies in the 21st century is rather ridiculous.

The principles of love and charity that come from the Bible aren't a bad place to start, but those are general principles. Those general principles aren't a good foundation to argue for either side of this issue. In my mind, neither side is doing enough to love and care for the people they could be helping.

The ideas presented much closer resemble western, white, Christian privilege than they resemble Biblical charity. Several statements in this piece can really be boiled down to: if they don’t want to assimilate our culture and act like us then they are trouble makers and shouldn't be here. That is in absolutely no way Christian.

“we are called to discern among  “sojourners” (like Ruth and Rahab who intend to assimilate and bless) and “foreigners” (who do not intend to assimilate and bless) and to welcome the former with hospitality.”

How in the world does anyone expect to figure out if potential immigrants intend to assimilate and bless? This is no different than saying “why can’t they just learn English”. Which doesn't take into consideration all of the factors of immigration, culture displacement, and loss of social capital that occurs when people come to this country.

I’m not suggesting that we just give green cards to terrorists. By all means keep the country safe. But we can do that and not pretend that keeping Mexicans out of this country is in the Bible.

What is being advocated here is judging people not based on their intention to do HARM but on the their culture and religion. I’m sure the author would disagree with me on this, but to me it really appears that this is not based on the premise of loving and helping at all. It rather appears to be based on Republican ideologies, conservative economic theory, American Exclusivity, American Exceptionalism, and American Supremacy.

I resent the fact that this group is claiming Biblical immigration. I think the Bible says very very few things about immigration and I do not think the Bible says what this group claims it does. I can’t find a single thing in the Bible that would indicate that we should keep Mexicans out so that Americans can have more jobs. None of this makes either of our opinions Biblical. It just means that people are once again invoking the Bible to justify their political beliefs, which I’m pretty sure Jesus would consider an inappropriate use of scripture.


  1. Hahaha I really love the last line for ironies sake --- i.e. don't justify your opinion with the bible BECAUSE, Jesus didn't want that.

    I realize the irony is not exactly textbook and plenty could be said for why its not irony at all...but let's just enjoy the moment because I'm still trying to learn how and when to find irony and at least this might be "ballpark irony" (trademark).

    The last line notwithstanding though, I think a very great point; someone is getting a little carried away with their political ideology.

  2. Thanks for commenting. You are officially the first comment on my blog. For that you receive 10 billion points!*

    Ya the last line was intentional and I'm glad someone caught my little joke.

    I think this is a prime example of needing a greater and more distinct divide between religion and government.

    (Points have no cash value, and are not redeemable for any good or service. They entitle you to nothing but bragging rights.)


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