This particular article focusing on a Pentecostal leader and educator demonstrates the complexity of immigration. It also raises the question for me again, as a friend and I discussed last weekend, “Why are many who oppose immigration reform and treating immigrants better calling themselves Christian?” How do you do that?
We can have national security, but the nasty vitriol concerning immigrants themselves is needless. It is pointless, especially coming from those who profess Christ as Lord in their lives.
“Who is doing the greater danger to the rule of law?” he asked at the luncheon. “Immigrants? Or a Congress who knows the system is broken and won’t fix the laws or enforce them?” (Joe Castleberry)
If we are going to respond with bumper sticker answers like, “Build a wall!” or “Ship them all home!”, here are some bumper stickers to think about as well, for believers:
Are immigrants our “enemies?” Consider this bumper sticker: “Love your enemies. — Jesus” (Luke 6:27-36)
Are they NOT your enemies? That would make them your “neighbor.” Here is a bumper sticker: “Love your neighbor as yourself — Jesus” (Mark 12:31)
“For me as a Christian American, to be hostile to people from other places is to violate my spiritual mandate,” said Joe Fuiten, pastor emeritus of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, which has had thriving Iranian, Japanese and Spanish wings.
“Well, they’re not REALLY my neighbor. It’s not like they live down the street from me.”
Try reading this parable to gain perspective on who IS your neighbor, and how you can be a better one.
“But we could be letting in terrorists! We just don’t know!”
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Ps. 56:3)
We can disagree on things. Castleberry doesn’t favor amnesty. I would disagree with him. I favor a path to citizenship that identifies illegals in a way that would help keep those, for instance, who had visas expire but have lived law-abiding years, along with children brought here by families, etc. But many disagree on that as well.
The point is this: we need to sit down and reason together. We don’t throw political hand grenades.
“Sometimes social class values will outweigh religious perspectives,” Castleberry said, adding, “some, not all, working-class white people are taking the bait to blame immigrants for the so-called disappearance of the middle class.”
There are ways to find political solutions, but it is when we sit down and talk. That may seem impossible in today’s deeply divided politics. However, in the meantime, it should also mean we, as believers, find a way to ACT BETTER and with less nasty vitriol.