The Evangelical Immigration Table "is trying to take evangelicals and their congressmen for a ride"

"EIT spokesmen stress that immigration policy should be a matter of 'compassion and justice.' Agreed. And so we ask: Where is the compassion for the victims of illegal immigration?" The Evangelical Immigration Table is Flat Wrong

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Jim's picture

My take - the immigration issue is very complex and the local church should be politically neutral on the issue. Further observations:

  • I am a non-native American. My forefathers came without green cards, visas, or any immigration approvals. They just came!
  • I am a proponent of legal immigration
  • Complexities:
    • Children of undocumented (illegal) immigrants who were born here. Per the constitution they are citizens by birth. 
    • Children of undocumented (illegal) immigrants who were brought here and really know no other country
  • Observations: It's unlikely that we could 'round up' all the illegals and ship them out. 
Rob Fall's picture

Unless we institute a police state with internal passports in the style of Russia, the Former Soviet Union and other authoritarian regimes.

Jim wrote:

My take - the immigration issue is very complex and the local church should be politically neutral on the issue. Further observations:

SNIP

  • Complexities:
  • SNIP
  • Observations: It's unlikely that we could 'round up' all the illegals and ship them out. 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I don't think the church needs to be politically neutral about obeying the law. And enforcement would actually fairly simply if we really wanted to. Start by enforcing the 14th amendment the way it was originally meant to be enforced. No more citizenship for babies born to people here illegally. Then start requiring proof of citizenship for basic services - utilities, school enrollment, medical (other than emergency). Take away one of the primary incentives for coming and the ease of staying and the immigration problem is largely solved.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Larry Nelson's picture

Jim wrote:

  • Observations: It's unlikely that we could 'round up' all the illegals and ship them out.

A few years ago, a nice, pleasant, quiet, hard-working young couple moved in next door to me. They were of indeterminate ethnic origin, as far as I could tell. I came home from work one day, and they were gone. They left behind a townhouse full of furniture and other belongings. It turns out that they were illegals, and the INS was apparently getting too close on their trail, so the couple abruptly took off.

The townhouse went into foreclosure. The next couple who eventually moved in were nothing like the previous residents. Drunk *all* of the time, out-of-work *a lot* of the time, loud parties, etc.  (Apparently U.S. citizens though...)  They just moved out three weeks ago, after (who woulda thunk it?) losing the place.

If the choice was mine, I'd take the illegals again!

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

But Larry, the choice isn't yours. As a Christian, you are obligated to follow the laws of the land, unless they somehow require you to violate God's law. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Larry Nelson's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

But Larry, the choice isn't yours. As a Christian, you are obligated to follow the laws of the land, unless they somehow require you to violate God's law.

Ease up, Chip: can't you recognize a little tongue-in-cheek jest when you see it?  I'm not advocating flouting the law.  I'm just saying the illegals were easier to live next door to.......

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Sorry Larry. I didn't see anything in your post to indicate a tongue-in-cheek approach. It seemed like you were making a pragmatic assessment that this seemingly insignificant violation of the law should be ignored to make life more pleasant and perhaps that it wasn't fair the the poor illegals lost everything because they had to flee from the harsh pursuit of the law. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I thought so. He's looking a little pale too.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Larry Nelson's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

I thought so. He's looking a little pale too.

It's because of our long, very cold winter & our rainy spring here in Minnesota.  It's hard to keep a suntan when it's -20°!

 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I remember. I was born in St. Paul and lived in Stillwater intil I was 9.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Todd Bowditch's picture

I think Christians are all about showing the love of Christ until it comes to immigration. I understand the arguments for "obeying the laws of the land." But I also know that Jesus didn't pick up a stone to legally execute a woman caught in adultery. It is a difficult proposition to find the balance between justice and mercy. But I definitely don't think Christians should be leading the charge for deportation.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Todd,

I don't think your proposition holds water. Your accusation that deportation is a failure to show love is analogous to saying God fails in loving because He still sends some people into eternal damnation. Biblically, justice and mercy do not function in opposition but in tandem. God's justice isn't brushed aside when He shows mercy. His justice is still satisfied, it is just satisfied in Himself instead of by the one who incurred the debt. As for the woman caught in adultery, Jesus couldn't legally stone her. The law called for two witnesses before a stoning could take place, but the witnesses all left. There was no one left to accuse her, so Jesus was obligated by the law not to execute punishment. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Todd Bowditch's picture

I love it.

But I think there's an easier solution. Sometimes a straight line is the best way to travel.

Proclaiming Gods love while deporting people sounds a lot like "go and be filled" to me.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Todd,

I had to step back for a time to avoid the snarky response I initially started to post. Let me just say I have never heard anyone declare theology to be a dodge. You agree that God is love. God is not just loving, but the very epitome of love. God, in His holy perfection, is also absolutely just. God does not temper His justice to fulfill His love, not does He subdue His love to fulfill justice. There is no tension between the two, no supposed balance where too much of one will diminish the other.

 

Just as God is not failing in His love toward creation when He justly condemns a sinner, the Christian is not failing in his love toward his neighbor because he is also maintaining the law of the land. The primary failure in your argument is that you assume love demands we open the border and stop patrolling to keep anyone out. On a personal level, it would be the same as saying you are personally unloving and way too consumed with justice because you call the cops when the homeless guy breaks into your home and crashes on your couch. He's just trying to enjoy the same comforts God had has blessed you with, right? You, however, lack the love of Christ in your heart and simply hide behind the justice of private property rights while he suffers every day. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Todd Bowditch's picture

Chip, I apologize for using "dodge"....I think that could be perceived as snarky...or at least dismissive. I would change that to "nice theological gymnastics". I think you really have to dance around the issue to arrive at your conclusion. As I stated, I prefer a straight-line approach to the discussion.

I'm perfectly fine with border control and immigration rules. But I advocate mercy and humane treatment for those that are here. I can appreciate a more hard-line approach, but I do not think that Christians should be leading that charge. I do not believe that the kingdom of Christ is best advanced by calling for deportation of individuals that need the Gospel and its fruits. Would I rather be known as a Christian that meets the needs of the "dregs" of society or as a Christian that waves the flag and banishes the dregs (obviously a caricature and most likely not representative of your actual position).

I don't have time to fully address a robust theology of immigration, but I think that certain principles (which i will not develop) can color the discussion. 1) Not visiting sins of fathers to the next generation (God does it, not us) 2) Christians caring for the poor and unfortunate 3) Fair treatment of "strangers" in OT times (and pathway toward entering the covenant community [which is not a direct parallel, but there are similarities]) 4) The aggressively cross-cultural focus of NT missionalism 5) A focus on heavenly citizenship rather than earthly citizenship. 6) Jesus' ministry to Samaritans (perceived by Jews to be unlawful residents) and outcasts (prostitutes/sinners/thieves/publicans) 7)  Jesus' acknowledgement of legal citizenship (render to Caesar) while "staying on task" (I am the King of the Jews).

Feel free to respond, but I'm not planning on fully developing these thoughts. Its more of a "string of pearls" approach that broadly shapes my opinion on this matter.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Todd,

I am still not seeing how your position is justifiably different when it moves from the national immigration debate to the homeless guy who breaks into your home and crashes on your couch. Mercy and humane treatment toward those who are here illegally does not have to equate to pardon and enablement does it? 

 

I really don't think your points apply here.

1) Not visiting sins of fathers to the next generation (God does it, not us) - the illegal children are still here illegally, though I agree the primary offenders are the parents who brought them here. But if the homeless guy crashing on your couch brings his kids with him, you're not going to have the cops arrest the homeless guy and let the kids live in your living room.

2) Christians caring for the poor and unfortunate - nowhere in scripture requires us to permit law breakers to go unchallenged or allow them to continue stealing from us

3) Fair treatment of "strangers" in OT times (and pathway toward entering the covenant community [which is not a direct parallel, but there are similarities]) -  not a parallel at all; the U.S. has a pathway for visitors to come legally and for those who wish to transfer national allegiance.

4) The aggressively cross-cultural focus of NT missionalism - likewise completely confused with helping law-breakers continue in their rebellion against God and God-given authorities.

5) A focus on heavenly citizenship rather than earthly citizenship. - not jeopardized in any way by upholding the legal immigration laws of the land

6) Jesus' ministry to Samaritans (perceived by Jews to be unlawful residents) and outcasts (prostitutes/sinners/thieves/publicans) - no the Samaritans were not considered unlawful residents. Despised and outcast=yes, but not illegal. 

7)  Jesus' acknowledgement of legal citizenship (render to Caesar) while "staying on task" (I am the King of the Jews).- but you are ignoring the legal citizenship and rendering to Caesar in the name of your self-proclaimed task. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?