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.

 

Obama, Christianity and Immigration Reform

Image courtesy of twobee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of twobee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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?

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