Nearly every morning, my wife Marilyn and I read from the scriptures and other books of interest. This morning I read from Malachi 3 and she from Matthew 25. Both of these passages have to do with helping the orphan, the widow and the stranger, among other things.
With the subject of immigrants in the news, many of us who oppose unlimited immigration are being subjected to lectures by our liberal Christian friends about our duty to get on board the cause of massive acceptance of “refugees.” I put the word in quotes, because most of these people are not strictly speaking refugees. They are groups of people seeking a better life.
But who isn’t? Does that desire make me a “refugee” within my own country?
It is impossible for the US to take in huge numbers of these foreigners without disrupting the institutions and traditions of our nation, and without degrading the standard of living of those already citizens by birth. This obvious truth doesn’t seem to affect those who are quoting the Bible to (at) us.
I am a student of the scriptures, and as I read those many Old and New Testament passages about the stranger and the neighbor, I have some thoughts about this subject.
Apart from the question of whether “the stranger” and “the alien” that we encounter in the Bible are interpretively analogous to the masses of economic immigrants clamoring for entry to our shores, there are other things that concern me.
For one, I have to ask how it is that those who do not really hold the Bible to be the inspired Word of God (most of these scolds are LIBERAL Christians, after all) now find it convenient to quote it in this context. There are many other truths of scripture that they seem to have thrown away as outmoded, such as its clear teachings on homosexuality, abortion, bestiality, general sexual immorality and that most pestiferous of biblical injunctions, “be not conformed to this world.”
Why is part of it authoritative to them, while much of the rest is not?
This selective and tendentious quoting of scripture carries little weight on this matter when we see that our liberal gentry have no problem with gay marriage, transvestism, or what we now call “body art,” but which the scriptures call Canaanite paganism.
How is it that we are under moral imperatives to practice their version of social compassion when they have so little inclination towards the final and most significant teaching of Christ, to tell their neighbors to repent and believe in His Name? How many of their friends and neighbors have our liberal Christians sought to lead to the Savior?
More poignantly, do these people care about the spiritual destinies of the people they are welcoming? If they claim to believe the Lord’s words on welcoming the neighbor and the alien, do they hold to his words on the necessity to evangelize them?
Those of us who believe the Word of God to be authoritative in our lives find enough to keep us uncomfortable and penitent without our well-meaning but hypocritical liberal friends trying to heap guilt on us for not joining them in their singular political obsession with immigrants.