I had a good conversation with a my good friend Keith Plummer about the illegal immigration issue today and basically I came to the conclusion that I don't know enough to talk intelligently about the political and legal issues involved. But I did want to share a few biblical thoughts that won't help anyone resolve any policy issues but may at least give Christians some perspective.
Before doing this, here are links to a few of bloggers who are talking intelligently about these issues.
Keith Plummer interacts with Thomas Sowell who points out the sophistry in much of the rhetoric on illegal immigration.
My buddy Dignan is in a quandary on the issue but he is far more intelligent while in a quandary than most of us are when in a state of serenity.
"Quandary" is not the word I would use to describe LaShawn Barber's reaction to some of the recent protests by illegal immigrants. She's fired up about the "Illegal Ingrates" and frankly, considering the actions of many, I can't blame her.
Michelle Malkin has some pictures and commentary that is eye opening.
So, let me encourage you to check out those blogs and their links for much more and better info than I could give. But also allow me to share a couple of biblical perspectives.
Many Christians are feeling the tension between personal and governmental responses to illegal immigration. Personally, we are to "welcome the stranger" as Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:35. At the same time, our government officials are called to make laws and enforce them in Romans 13:1ff:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
By definition, illegals are rebelling against authority. True, our authorities don't seem too concerned about it, but we wouldn't call them "illegals" if they weren't in rebellion to authority (although Thomas Sowell points out that even terms like "illegal" are being subjected to some linguistic sleight of hand).
I just wanted to point out that there is a valid tension here between our obligation to welcome the stranger and yet uphold our laws against illegal immigration. Of course, this tension is exacerbated many times over by the vacillations of our leaders.
I am unable to resolve that tension and won't even try to.
But the main thing I wanted to point out is that Christians ought to operate from a position of identification with illegal aliens. The fundamental Christian confession is that we are all lawbreakers, hence we are all illegals. And our identity on this earth is that of aliens and strangers.
I bring that up not to condone the actions of illegal immigrants, especially those who would show blatant disrespect for the flag of the nation that has welcomed them. But knowing our own identity as "illegals" and "aliens" ought to help us hold in check any illusions of moral superiority.
Furthermore, there is some sense in which illegal immigrants are demonstrating a longing for a better city (Hebrews 11:10). Again, this is an aspiration with which Christians ought to identify as we ourselves are looking for a better city.
So, if you are a Christian, whatever your position on the matter of illegal immigration, you ought not to operate from a position of moral superiority. Humility and compassion are the order of the day.
And having attained a humble and a compassionate posture (mercy) in regards to illegal immigration we can then proceed to do justice in this situation. Proper biblical compassion, humility and mercy does not negate our responsibility to faithfully administer justice to those who break the laws of our land. But therein lies the rub - determining what justice is in this situation is the supremely sticky wicket.