Wednesday, December 16, 2015

God on Immigration

By way of background, I am an immigrant. I was born and raised in the Bahamas. I attended school in America on a student visa. I fell in love and married a wonderful, Godly and gorgeous American woman shortly after graduation. I applied for and legally obtained a green card so that I might work in America. At first, I was issued a conditional green card for one year followed by a permanent green card for two years before we could apply for my American citizenship. After an exhaustive and costly process I was granted citizenship and was sworn in to abide by the Constitution and the laws of our land. And, for all of the years leading up to my citizenship, I paid taxes to America without the right to vote. But, never once did I resent the process of complying with these laws. Nor, did I ever find these laws to be broken or unworkable in any way. America is my fourth citizenship. I was born British and in 1973, Britain gave Bahamas independence. But, my first citizenship of importance is my citizenship in God’s Kingdom. And, it is from that background I seek to faithfully outline God’s opinion on the hot political topic of immigration.

God on borders. God is not just an advocate for enforcing borders - He invented them. God instituted the concept of nations dating all the way back to the Tower of Babel. Without borders, there are no nations. But, God insists upon us having nations and enforcing borders. That is why in the Bible in several large swaths of scripture God outlines the borders of Israel as well as many other nations. The borders of Israel are outlined in Genesis 15, Exodus 19, Numbers 34, Deuteronomy 11, and Ezekiel 47, just to name a few. And, to top off God’s view in Joel 3 and in other scriptures, He promised to curse those who violate these borders. By the way, God is also pretty strong on not violating boundaries between neighbors as well. So, what is God’s view of borders? I think the answer to that question is pretty clear.

God on laws and rule of law. God is pretty large on laws, including national laws. God authored whole books of law including Exodus, Leviticus, etc. God takes laws very seriously. God then instituted government to execute the laws – and to do so with wrath (Romans 13). Lastly, God condemns in many passages any hint of lawlessness (1 Timothy 1:8-10, for example). There is only one Biblical exception that God affords to obeying law – that is when the law demands that we disobey Him (Acts 5:29). So, is God in favor of obeying the law? I think the answer to that question is pretty clear.

God on illegal immigrants. Logically, God is not against immigrants unless those immigrants dishonor borders and dishonor the law (see above). I am a legal immigrant that obeyed the law. That is not to be confused with an immigrant that violates the law. Violators of law should be punished by government, not rewarded. Many Christians today confuse this issue with a warped and non-Biblical view of compassion. They cite the many passages about blessing and not cursing sojourners (Leviticus 19:33-34, Exodus 22:21, Deuteronomy 27:19, etc.). But a “sojourner” is not an illegal immigrant. The Hebrew word for sojourner is “ger.” That Hebrew word literally means a temporary inhabitant who concedes all rights. That definition has two parts – temporary and humble. Temporary literally means that they travel (sojourn) continually. They never stay where they are. And, these sojourners were humble in that they did not have rights nor did they protest demanding them. In fact, Biblical sojourners clung to nothing - they passed through. That is a far cry from a 21st Century illegal immigrant. Immigrants breaking the law followed by arrogantly demanding the law-abiding citizens to pay for any part of their lifestyle is exactly the opposite of what God supports. God never supports lawlessness, especially when coupled with arrogance. According to God, we should value borders and adherence to law, not reward the opposite. So, is God in favor of illegal immigration? I think the answer to that question is pretty clear.

God on authorities executing the law. According to Romans 13, God is also the one who ordains government as His agent of wrath for the purpose of executing the law. And, God takes very seriously that the government honor law and execute it just as God does. Therefore, when politicians whine about immigration law being “broken” that is code for laziness and/or political deception. As a personal observer of immigration law, I can attest that the law is not broken, but our leadership is. The law is executable. But, our executives are corrupt. We don’t need new laws. We need new leadership that will honor their God-given and electorate-given duty to observe and execute the rule of law. So, is God in favor of government not executing the law of the land? I think the answer to that question is pretty clear.

In conclusion, all opinions fall into two categories, God’s opinion and rubbish. God has pretty strong opinions on borders, the rule of law, illegal immigrants and governmental execution of laws. Christian, as we sift through the mire of political opinions on these subjects that our culture swirls around under the guise of religion, remember that God adheres to no religion. But, He demands that we Christians change our opinions to His in whole, not the other way around. 

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