The Good Undocumented Immigrant

laborersA white Christian man was driving down from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and his car had some massive mechanical failure and died on the side of the road. He was in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone signal in the heat of the day. If he didn’t get help, and soon, he would be in serious risk for heat stroke or death.

Now by chance an off-duty police officer was going down that road but, after he saw the distressed man, he passed right on by. He had some important personal issues to attend to. So likewise a Republican congressman, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by without slowing down – he had to get to a town hall meeting.

But an undocumented immigrant, as he journeyed, came to where the stranded man was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and gave him food and drink. Then he made room in his own vehicle and brought him to a auto repair shop and took care of him. He took out $140 and gave it to the mechanic, saying, “Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back through.”

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who was stranded and in distress?

You go, and do likewise.

Not Our Kids: When Christian Nationalism Gets Ugly

FOX-Friends-Co-HostsOn Fox & Friends today, Brian Kilmeade made a remark that the immigrant kids coming over the border are not something to get upset about because we have our own kids to worry about. Here are his words:

And these are not — like it or not, these aren’t our kids. Show them compassion, but it’s not like he is doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country and now people are saying that they’re more important than people in our country who are paying taxes and who have needs as well.

Someone asked me how, then, we’re supposed to talk about the tough choices of immigration, security, etc. It is fine to talk about tough choices. But that is not what’s happening here.

The statement, “These are not our kids,” is a justification for not feeling bad about what is happening to immigrant families. The statement says, “We would be justified in feeling bad if these were American kids, but since they’re foreigners, lighten up.”

Kilmeade, facing intense criticism for his remarks, put out a follow-up statement on social media:

On FOX & Friends earlier, Of course-I didn’t mean to make it seem like children coming into the U.S. illegally are less important because they live in another country. I have compassion for all children, especially for all the kids separated from their parents right now.

It’s hard to believe him when he EXPRESSLY commented that people from other countries are less important than Americans. He made the comparison between foreigners and “the people of Idaho or Texas.” I have rarely heard such un-Christian comments from people who claim to be God-fearing people.

I’m not making comments about American policy or policy makers. I’m not getting political. My remarks are about the American attitude towards outsiders. In the Bible, the people of Israel are told treat foreigners well BECAUSE they had been in that position themselves!

Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)

Or how about:

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:34)

I know, I know.

This is the part where Conservatives talk about how Israel was in a different situation and those verses don’t apply to America – which is HUGELY ironic because Conservative Christians are quick to claim the promises of Israel for America for everything else.

hands across the world.Again – not talking about policy. What I AM saying is that the God-fearing person cannot look at anyone as “other than.” There’s no “us and them” in God’s kingdom. Yes, the geo-political world in which we live will always draw lines, but how we VIEW people cannot be divided. The Christian must pursue the welfare and well-being of all, because all humanity bears God’s image.

Christians aren’t given the right to say, “America first, to heck with everyone else. There’s no us and them.

There’s only us.


Dear Franklin Graham, Please Leave the Ministry

Seriously, sir – it’s time to go. You seem more interested in political ranting than in doing any real ministry. Let’s take your recent rant calling for America to stop allowing Muslim immigrants into the U.S. You said:

FranklinGrahamWe must reform our immigration policies in the United States. We cannot allow Muslim immigrants to come across our borders unchecked while we are fighting this war on terror. If we continue to allow Muslim immigration, we’ll see much more of what happened in Paris—it’s on our doorstep. France and Europe are being overrun by young Muslim men from the Middle East, and they do not know their backgrounds or their motives and intentions. Islam is not a peaceful religion as George W. Bush told us and as President Barack Obama has said—that is just not true. Our president and our politicians in Washington need to wake up before it’s too late. This is not the time to be politically correct. Our nation’s security is at stake. The future of our children and grandchildren is at stake. We should not allow any political or religious group who want to destroy us and our way of life to immigrate to this country. Right now let us continue to pray for the victims and family members of the ‪#‎parisattacks.

I have three major problems with your statement.

First, your statement is about American policy and has nothing to do with ministry. You head the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. You are not a voice of a conservative political caucus.

Second, you are conflating politics and faith. You give a very harsh political statement about immigration policy and end it with a call to prayer. Are you NOW trying to switch back into the role of spiritual leader? If you want to play politician, leave the ministry. If you want to be a spiritual leader, stop using a ministry platform to push political ideology.

Third, your attitude is explicitly contrary to the Bible. Yup – I’ll say that part again. Your statement is in direct opposition to the attitude of the Bible. The Bible actually has a lot to say about foreigners. For example:

The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:8)

“I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.” (Genesis 23:4)

The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.” (Exodus 12:49)

“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 22:21)

“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)

 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.  You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)

Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. (Jeremiah 22:3)

You see, God’s people have been foreigners before. We’re supposed to understand what it’s like to be displaced – living in a world that is not our own. Because of our understanding we’re supposed to be sympathetic to the foreigner and alien. But instead of looking to treat them well, you look to treat Muslims with fear and disdain.

God COMMANDS that we treat well the foreigners living among us. I Turkey syrian refugees kurdsknow, I know, you’re technically talking about immigration, not the foreigners who are living among us. But let’s follow your line of reasoning to its conclusion. What about the Muslims who are already within our borders? You would seem to advocate removing all of them, because we can’t possibly know all of their backgrounds, motives, or intentions.

You say, “This is not the time to be politically correct.” You should change that to say, “This is not the time to be biblically correct.” I’d love to see your proposed plan to airports receiving flights from other nations:

Are you a Christian? Welcome to America! Are you a Muslim? Go, home, terrorist!

Your rhetoric is cheap and encourages both fear and animosity towards non-Christians. Please stop the charade and stop claiming to represent Jesus to the world. Run for office.

Leave the ministry.

You’re Breaking the Law But You Want the Church to Protect You?

Breaking the Law

Recently I read an article from MSN about a man who was ordered to be legally deported out of the U.S. back to Mexico. Instead of surrendering himself to the authorities, he took refuge in a church and sought sanctuary. As it stands now the government is not immediately taking action.

For some reason I can’t get Homer Simpson out of my head yelling out, “SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!” and Reverend Lovejoy muttering to himself, “Why did I ever teach him that word?”

In all seriousness, though, I get that how we deal with illegal immigration is a hot topic for many.

The Bible calls us to treat well the foreigner in our midst. At the same time, I believe that Christians are called to be law abiding citizens (when the law doesn’t conflict with the Bible).

I understand the desire to help people, but I don’t think that the church should be getting involved in politically assisting people who break the law. I’m not cold-hearted, and I would see exceptions being granted for unjust, unethical, or immoral laws, but for all intents and purposes, we should not be assisting criminals – even in the name of grace and mercy.

Our primary purpose as the church is spiritual, not to protect people from the law. I’m reminded of the baptism scene from “O Brother Where Art Thou?”

Delmar thinks that his earthly crimes are no longer held against him because of his baptism. Later on his companion has to tell him that, though God may have forgiven him, the state will take a different view.

Ed Stetzer once wrote, “When you mix faith and politics you get politics.” We in the church ought to help the disenfranchised and show kindness to those who hurt and suffer. I don’t think the church should get involved in the political arena as much as it has been (especially in the U.S.). Where do we draw the line? For what crimes will we offer sanctuary? When will we turn people away?

It’s hard to balance demonstrating love and practically governing a nation. I don’t pretend to have all the answers on this issue, and I recognize that good Christian people will have different opinions. So I’m asking you:

What do you think? (keep it civil, keep it nice, and keep it from being racist…)

Related Post:
Christianity and Immigration Reform

Obama, Christianity and Immigration Reform

Image courtesy of twobee at
Image courtesy of twobee at

The news is reporting that Mr. Obama is moving to shield millions of illegal immigrants. It seems the Left and the Right are back at it – fighting for their particular view of what is right.

Before I even began to write this post I knew that immigration reform is a very charged topic. I also no that there is no monolithic Christian perspective on the issue. In fact, immigration is largely a national issue and not so much a spiritual one. That is to say, the bible never addresses how to handle immigration reform. The Bible DOES talk about foreigners and aliens and how to treat them. The Bible also addresses how to help those in need. Those are the issues we’ll look at today. Do you remember that movie Short Circuit from a while back? It’s about the robot that comes alive and has personality. The movie is filled with issues of identity: identity we give ourselves and identity given to us by others.short circuit On of my favorite scenes has two of the main characters talking and one asks the other about his identity – his heritage.

The white guy asks his (seemingly obvious) co-worker from India: “Where are you from?” To which his colleague responds: “Pittsburgh, originally.” 🙂

The passenger had a whole heap of presupposed ideas about his friend’s identity. This is part of our problem when it comes to immigration. We assume an “us vs. them” attitude. In the Old Testament we find that God gladly welcomes foreigners and aliens into the community of faith. Not only were they welcome but God saw to it that there were treated fairly and without discrimination.

God loves Foreigner?!?
God loves Foreigner?!?

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. ~ Leviticus 19:33-34 There is no room for an “other-than” mentality – they become us. Many Americans seem to hold to an immigration policy that embraces this wrong thinking. Heck, we still struggle with oppression and discrimination among natural-born citizens. The foreigner doesn’t stand a chance.

But God’s people are supposed to act fairly and inclusively no matter what. The New Testament letter of James tells us that our words need to match our actions. If we believe in a God that cares about people then so should we. It does no good to wish someone well if we fail to back up those words with our actions. I know that James wasn’t addressing international politics but I do believe that his words ought to make us think twice about how we behave towards foreigners looking to move to America.

While it may seem that I am in favor of flinging wide our national borders to any and all comers, I am not. I think that legal immigration should be embraced. I think that illegal immigration should be quashed. During the Exodus, when God freed Israel from slavery in Egypt, God made a provision to care for foreigners. The only stipulation was that Israel’s law would apply to the foreigners as well. In this case it meant circumcision. That’s a steep price to pay for citizenship! If foreigners want to legally immigrate and make our laws their laws I believe we should welcome them whole-heartedly.

Where I personally draw the line is when people look to circumvent laws for their own betterment. When all is said and done I know there is no easy answer or fix to immigration reform. I know that Christians will approach the issue from several perspectives and reach differing conclusions.

Regardless of how America addresses the issue as a nation, I believe Christians need to wrestle with these Bible verses and ask if we’re treating people the way God would want us to treat them. And remember – go back far enough and we’re all from somewhere else (even the “Native Americans”).

How about you? Have you given any thought to how God wants you to treat foreigners and aliens?

Related Posts:

You’re Breaking the Law But You Want the Church to Protect You?

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