The Scripture Scout
3 Truths About Immigration
and Why You Should Care
by Michael Kiggins
You already know what many of people from the Bible have in common is that they were outcasts. So let’s look at a quick list of untouchables from Jesus’ time:
You also know what many of these people also have in common, don't you? Many were only an 'untouchable' outcast because of their lot in life, some were reviled due to life choices or career choices, and one a mob sought the justification to take away her life because of her adulterous choice (with no mention of the man involved!).
But who loved them anyway? Jesus.
Yes, the power of Christ’s message is the inclusion of the least among us. But unfortunately, it may often appear that many are unwilling to acknowledge the revolutionary import of this call.
You see this too. You know the power of Jesus’ inclusion message. What He offers us all is “a place at the table.” And this place comes along with the promise that the first will be last and the last will be first. Considering this, it may be disconcerting to you to observe that the current administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy seem antithetical to that promise and may be irrevocable.
SO. Even if you might be (even a little) worried about undocumented immigration across our southern border, I hope this eases your mind. There are three things you must know about those applying for asylum, and they are directly from the United States government:
First, during the affirmative process, the legality or illegality of their entry into the United States is set aside while their petition is considered.
Second, if they are granted asylum, then they are judged not to have not crossed the border illegally.
Third, the law only allows the individual to request asylum once on U.S. soil.
The Attorney General and White House Spokeswoman have quoted Romans 13: 1-2, a beautiful charge, to justify a somewhat draconian approach: “Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.”
This directive of true citizenship has been proven time and time again. But here is the problem of which law-abiding, loving Christians can be guilty. It is essential to not only know the cultural situation behind the scripture, but it is pretty important to, well, KEEP READING. Romans 13:8-10 continues with ...
"Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love."
Romans 13:8-10 The Message
And I am sure you have not forgotten Jesus’ distillation of the commandments in Matthew 22:34-40, which tells us upon what “the whole law and the prophets depend…”
What does this have to do with you? Well, if a Christian who believes in the liberation that Christ inaugurated is not standing idly by while our government commits any possible fits of abuse and injustice on the most vulnerable among us, then you aren’t guilty of that.
Or are you?
Also if you happen to feel a few more references in this conversation would be helpful, let's check out some other biblical mandates concerning foreigners, refugees, and "the least of these:"
Exodus 23:9, Leviticus 19:33-34, Deuteronomy 10:19-21
Malachi 3:5, Matthew 25:34-40, Galatians 5:14-15
Michael Kiggins has an M.T.S from Vanderbilt Divinity School, with a focus in Constructive Christian Theology.
He currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches and writes.
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