Immigration - A Christian Response

“WASHINGTON, June 28 — President Bush’s effort to overhaul the nation’s immigration policy, a cornerstone of his domestic agenda, collapsed Thursday in the Senate, with little prospect that it can be revived before Mr. Bush leaves office in 19 months.
The bill called for the biggest changes to immigration law in more than 20 years, offering legal status to millions of illegal immigrants while trying to secure borders. But the Senate, forming blocs that defied party affiliation, could never unite on the main provisions.” –NY Times

The bill was hotly contested, not only in the political realm, but also among Christians. The issue of immigration is very complicated—we need to think about national security, tax breaks and health-care costs. But one thing is sure: Christians need to be careful about echoing the conservative political side of this issue without also thinking biblically about how we, as Christians, are to care for human beings.

As David Gushee wrote,

“The first question a Christian must ask when thinking about immigration is whether the highest priority for us is American self-interest or biblical principles. As American Christians, are we more Christian or more American?...
Biblically, the five most relevant moral principles on this issue are love, justice, hospitality, family and humility.” – “Christian Principles For Immigration Reform”, Associated Baptist Press

The Houston Chronicle reports that both the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptists Convention have adopted resolutions embracing immigrants —both legal and illegal.

"You cannot deny the message of migration in the biblical story, in the Old Testament and the New Testament. God calling people into unknown lands is very central to the biblical story," said Suzii Paynter, directorof the Christian Life Commission for the Baptist General Convention of Texas…
"We have responsibilities as citizens of the United States and the Kingdom of God," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "As citizens of God we have an obligation to reach out and try to meet the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of visitors in our midst and that certainly would include people who are illegal aliens." - "Texas Baptists to launch immigration services," Houston Chronicle

I’ve lined up on the other side of some issues with Richard Land, but here we have the epitome of good "Compassionate Conservativism," a term that has been pretty beat up and brutalized lately. I applaud the Baptists of Texas!

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Ted M. Gossard said...

Me too, and glad to hear it!

joe said...

you know bob, i think i am converted. my nationalism gets in the way sometimes. i guess the question isnt how should the government react to it, but how should God's people react. i think i was getting the two confused. i am still wrestling with it though.