Illegal immigration, legal immigration and the poor
Legal immigration as opposed to illegal immigration
I have been watching some of my friends, as well as some of their friends discuss and debate the subject of illegal immigration – in the specific context of our duty as a Christian people. Our Biblical mandate supersedes any duty or privilege we may have as American citizens. And with this in mind, how this influences our thoughts and actions on the subject.
This is an issue that can have most of its aspects painted pretty clearly from general Biblical principles. However, it does have several facets. And it would behoove us as Christians to consider each aspect individually – and hold those aspects up to the Biblical light. This is something that I have had to do – and adjust my own thoughts and attitudes on (and continually do so whenever the Lord shows me in His word that I am wrong in my mind or in my heart).
Before I begin, I’d like to encourage the reader to COMPLETELY set aside any predispositions, prejudices, bitterness, pride or contempt that they may have based on issues such as ethnicity, political affiliation, socio-economic status or the history of the United States in regards to any people group.
Just like our being an American should not supersede our identity in Christ – being Caucasian, African-American, Latino, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, native, immigrant or refugee should not ever supersede or define who we are in Christ. It is what God calls us to, and if the shoe fits on the one foot it must also go on the other.
So in other words if my experience as being native, being white, being part of those perceived as “privileged”, or of having any kind of advantage should not cloud my judgment when reading the Bible – then another’s experience being a minority, being poor, an immigrant or experiencing racism should not cloud their vision either.
If we allow those things to do so, then the conversation has already failed and we have no business discussing the issue further. I’m willing to do my best. I ask my readers to do so as well.
The first distinction that we all must make is between legal and illegal immigrants.
It is important. And even from a Christian perspective, we must recognize this distinction and whatever facets that it adds to the discussion and how it influences the appropriate response to the situation.
The other thing we must recognize is whether or not a person is under duress, or is essentially forced into being an illegal when they would willingly do so legally. There are many who truly choose to be illegal, when they could do so legally. And there are equally as many if not more that are given a nearly impossible choice to make. We will cover this later – but this should absolutely be considered.
Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission
"Making their way from Galilee in October-November 1948".
The Law: Causes for deportation
And when considering those who are legal immigrants, we must also look at if these people are truly conducting themselves as though they were already citizens of this country or if these people simply had an easier road to a green card than most and use this legal status as a means to get a free pass for otherwise impermissible behavior that would get them deported. Before we get into a Biblical world view discussion, let’s see what would cause deportation.
According to http://www.us-immigrationvisa.com/topics/deportation the most common grounds for deportation are:
The person was inadmissible at the time of entry into the U.S.
This includes many inadmissibility grounds such as convicted crime, false representation of being a U.S. citizen, insufficient passport expiration date and invalid visa.
While I don’t see a great need to hash out the last two, as I’m sure as with anything else in this country that it is could be highly complex and requiring individual attention to each scenario – the first two reasons listed show criminal behavior, and possibly even a reprobate mind. These are people who simply have a criminal mindset. In the first case they may be victimizing others, and in the latter case they are committed fraud.
I don’t see any reason why we are compelled to take up the cause of the unjust.
The Person violated his or her Non-immigrant Status during the Stay in the U.S.
This situation can arise such as work without proper authorization or overstay the permitted authorized period of status or otherwise violation of the terms under a non-immigrant status.
I’ve seen this happen before to a Canadian, who was gone for a few months, but did not have too much trouble getting back into the U.S. in a legal fashion. There’s no injustice here for expecting that someone would honor the timeframe specified or legally re-enter the U.S.
The Person Becomes a Public Charge
A person may subject to deportation if the Attorney General opines that he or she has become a public charge within 5 years of entry from causes not shown at the time of entry.
According to http://www.uscis.gov: For purposes of determining inadmissibility, “public charge” means an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense. A number of factors must be considered when making a determination that a person is likely to become a public charge.
Under Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), an individual seeking admission to the United States or seeking to adjust status to that of an individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence (green card) is inadmissible if the individual, "at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge." Public charge does not apply in naturalization proceedings. If an individual is inadmissible, admission to the United States or adjustment of status is not granted.
Inadmissibility based on the public charge ground is determined by the totality of the circumstances. This means that the adjudicating officer must weigh both the positive and negative factors when determining the likelihood that someone might become a public charge. At a minimum, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer must consider the following factors when making a public charge determination:
- Family status
- Financial status
- Education and skills
What publicly funded benefits may not be considered for public charge purposes?
Non-cash benefits (other than institutionalization for long-term care) are generally not taken into account for purposes of a public charge determination. Special-purpose cash assistance is also generally not taken into account for purposes of public charge determination.
Non-cash or special-purpose cash benefits are generally supplemental in nature and do not make a person primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.
Non-cash or special purpose cash benefits that are not considered for public charge purposes include:
- Medicaid and other health insurance and health services (including public assistance for immunizations and for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases; use of health clinics, short-term rehabilitation services, and emergency medical services) other than support for long-term institutional care
- Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Nutrition programs, including Food Stamps, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program, and other supplementary and emergency food assistance programs
- Housing benefits
- Child care services
- Energy assistance, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Emergency disaster relief
- Foster care and adoption assistance
- Educational assistance (such as attending public school), including benefits under the Head Start Act and aid for elementary, secondary, or higher education
- Job training programs
- In-kind, community-based programs, services, or assistance (such as soup kitchens, crisis counseling and intervention, and short-term shelter)
In addition, and consistent with existing practice, cash payments that have been earned, such as Title II Social Security benefits, government pensions, and veterans' benefits, among other forms of earned benefits, do not support a public charge determination. Unemployment compensation is also not considered for public charge purposes.
Failure to Register and Falsification of Documents
A person is deportable if he or she either (a) commits document fraud; (b) fails to notify the USCIS in writing of address change as required by law; or (c) claim false U.S. citizenship.
This is pretty reasonable. I would say that it is possible that (b) could be done accidentally; however, knowing the consequences it is also reasonable to expect that this would and should be complied with.
A person who votes in violation of any federal, state, or local government law is deportable.
- An alien or lawful permanent residence (green card holder) is deportable if the person is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and was committed within 5 years of admission and the crime convicted may impose a sentence of one year or longer.
- An alien or lawful permanent residence is deportable if after admission the person is convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude and the two crimes arose not from one single scheme of criminal conduct.
- An alien or lawful permanent residence is deportable if committing aggravated felonies at any time after admission.
How do you view immigrants to the United States?
Some biblical guidelines
Okay, so now that we’ve gotten some of the terminology out of the way, let’s see what the Bible has to say about the subject of immigrants and refugees; and about the factors that influence how we should look at this subject.
One of my favorite chapters in the Old Testament is Leviticus 19. Let’s start there, as my friends were there and I’ve seen this conversation come up in a number of different contexts over the past two or three weeks also.
“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God. Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.”
This chapter has a lot to say about dealing with the poor and the stranger. To bring this into a modern context, the poor would still be the poor, and the sojourner would be someone who is here temporarily – passing through and does not have a job, a home, resources and a support network in place in our country. Generally they are not people who intend to be here permanently, although that could change at any time.
The Lord commands those of us who have resources – in the case of the Israelites, the landowners – and in the case of us it would also be landowners and business owners. The Lord’s command to us is essentially not to try and rake every last cent or resource from the land/business greedily for our own benefit, but rather that it is God’s command for us to leave a portion for those who are poor or passing through.
It’s important to note here, before moving on, that in God’s plan there is still a responsibility for the poor or the sojourner to do work. They have to go to the field of their own ability and volition. They must do the work to gather the gleanings that are left for them.
It was not intended to rob the person of their purpose, dignity and work ethic – rather to give them an opportunity to survive and provide for their family in a legal manner. In the book of Ruth, we see that Ruth does the gleaning for both her and Naomi. I believe that Boaz’s heart towards her and Naomi and his generosity speak volumes about how the Lord wants us to view those who are poor or new to our land.
Then there is the idea of dealing falsely that is mentioned. Let’s see what the text says to expand on that.
“Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.”
This is fairly self-explanatory. However, this causes me to think of all of the temporary “work today, paid today” type of jobs that exist normally for those who are unemployed. These may be through a place like a Labor Ready agency, or they could be on a cash basis direct through the “employer”.
If you hire a worker in this scenario (or in any), God is telling us that we do not withhold their wages. This is taking advantage of a very vulnerable person who would be in a place of desperation without the wages they have earned. We aren’t earning additional interest or avoiding additional effort at the expense of the vulnerable.
This is not talking at all about welfare. This is talking about earned money or earned benefits – unemployment, Social Security, etc.
Does our country even look at all like this? Are we honoring God in how we treat our poor and sojourners?
“And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
When I read this text, there is an attitude that should be present amongst all believers of being willing to welcome others into our land and allow them opportunity. However, there is absolutely nothing here that would prohibit a country from setting up criteria to do so legally versus illegally. I don’t think this should be viewed as a statement to blanketly open the borders to all, grant amnesty to all and provide free services to all. There’s more to it.
Let’s also concede that our customs for citizenship are different from the Israelite people. As one of my friends had pointed out in another forum, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of codified requirements in the Old Testament about being a Jew. Basically his point as far as he could see was that in the Old Testament to be an Israelite “you repeat the shema, get circumcised and that gives you permanent standing in Israel.”
Racism: The J and A show Take 1
Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ
What about racism?
So let’s dig a little further, look at a few aspects of this issue, see what else the Bible has to say and see if we can come to some general conclusions.
Racism – Does this impact SOME peoples view on the issue? Absolutely. However, you cannot make a blanket and uninformed assumption like “when people complain about illegals they are almost always racist”.
I reject that because I believe it to be completely inaccurate, and at best it is an assumed speculation on the situation. We are able to draw better conclusions than this.
Let’s address where this comes from before we move on though. I think that will be helpful.
In virtually every city or metropolitan area, as well as many rural areas with large agricultural industries, you have large populations of immigrants. These are the areas that are perceived to have opportunities. It is fair, reasonable, and goes with the experience of most to expect this.
And usually when you see a large number of immigrants from any one country (Ireland, Mexico, Honduras, Somalia, China, etc.) they tend to want to congregate with other immigrants from their own country. This is pretty reasonable too, in and of itself.
I mean, why should an immigrant not be able to congregate with family and friends if they are also here? And is it also not reasonable that while these folks learn to integrate/assimilate into our culture and learn how to prosper here, that they would desire to congregate with other countrymen whom they can communicate with and who will understand them culturally. I think that is also reasonable.
Where the problem arises, is generally when a large portion of one of these “micro-communities” does things as a group that are deemed as offensive, illegal, lazy or just plain off-putting. Sometimes you can chalk it up to cultural differences and sometimes you cannot.
There is a fine line here. Some grow to hate all people of a culture for this reason, and that is clearly against God’s word. Right from Genesis 1 we know we are all on equal footing. God created us all in His image.
However, you cannot and should not call it racism when someone criticizes a people group who have a large percentage that can fairly be characterized by some kind of action that is wrong. Let me clarify here – if a group of refugees or immigrants come from a nation that thinks more tribally, and their elders decide that they do not want to work, learn to drive, learn to speak even minimal English, work within our banking/financial system, etc. (even if it could hurt their own family), it is fair to criticize those elders. That is not racist.
Sometimes you have an established entitlement program, such as welfare, that essentially causes dependency and near enslavement of a population. Often you will see resentment from the lower-middle-class and the working poor who are not using those programs (or who don’t qualify) – as they feel they are paying for a person to not work.
Assuming all other things being equal, that’s a fair sentiment depending on where you take it from there. The problem is that usually those resenting the people also don’t care about freeing them from the system either.
I don’t see this “enslavement” that I mentioned happen as quickly with immigrants as it does with our own people who grow up in homes that have generationally been a part of these programs. The last time I checked, which was admittedly a few years ago, an immigrant in this country was 400% more likely to become a millionaire than a native-born person.
Despite a lot of challenges that many perceive to be unfair, we must admit that there is clearly opportunity here. And there is no doubt that a person from another culture, who speaks another language, and who wears different clothes, clearly must work a little bit harder than the rest to overcome these differences and succeed. None of us could deny this. Most come prepared to face this challenge in my experience.
Another problem exists when a group immigrates here and instead of bringing some of their culture with them, and simultaneously integrating/assimilating into America – meaning to embrace many aspects of our culture at the same time (language???? – thoughts?) – these cultures attempt to create their own little municipalities with their own laws (example: Sharia Law in parts of Europe).
When an immigrant (not a refugee) comes to the U.S., just as in our past, one would reasonably expect that the individuals coming here saw a great deal about our own culture that they like, admire and want to embrace and become a part of. It is good to bring some of who you are from your own background with you. However, it is also good to respect and attempt to integrate into the culture that you willfully chose to become a part of.
You have to consider this. I think it is great that Americans from a Mexican background choose to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It’s part of their heritage. St. Patrick’s Day is another example for those of Irish descent (to a degree). If you want to have a party, wear a certain color of clothing, take the day off and eat traditional foods, etc. then it is great to honor your ancestry that way.
However, to walk into a country and disrespect them by trying to take their flag down or fly it upside down… or if you further insult and disrespect them by trying to fly your flag above theirs (not at your own home-mind you) or in place of theirs at a public institution – that is wrong and you should expect backlash.
It’s like a person coming into your home and crudely pasting pictures of their family over the pictures you’ve hung of your own. You wouldn’t mind if they broke out the pictures from their cell-phone or their wallet. However, when they come into your home and disrespect you and your family, of course you will be completely outraged.
The same is true of burning that countries flag, or assaulting someone who wears the red, white and blue. This is the United States, and you have a choice to live here as an immigrant. If you immigrate here, it is reasonable for the citizens to expect that you’ll respect the flag and safety of our citizens as just a couple of examples.
Of course you’ll have racism flare up when people try to be provocative on a holiday such as Cinco de Mayo – by going into a Latino community and dishonoring their symbols of their heritage. I would not defend that type of activity. That is clearly sinful.
Let’s also realize that there are big differences between communities such as Atlanta, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Lewiston, ME as examples. You cannot project your experiences from one to the other and expect it to be exactly the same.
So let’s get back to immigration, as we’ve been going down a rabbit trail, but a very important one. It’s not all about racism, which many people assume.
I understand it happens a lot, but we can’t always look at what goes on through those lenses. If we do that we are blind to how we can coexist, and live within a Biblical framework as Christians in the U.S. So as we let our identity in Christ overtake our Americanism – let’s also be sure we let it overtake our “racial” identity.
Immigration and the Christian: Should we send them all back?
Real Homeland Security: the America God will bless
Some conclusions about immigration and the poor
Let’s concede two things moving forward – if I may be so bold as to suggest them. One is that we accept that there is clearly a mind-set or a group of Biblical principles, some of which we’ve already covered, that should govern how we think and act on this subject. The second, is that it is reasonable and not explicitly against Biblical mandate, for a country including our own to have REASONABLE standards or requirements for being a legal immigrant or becoming a citizen.
Those who are illegals – specifically those who ARE NOT under some form of extreme duress or compulsion – are choosing to forfeit the benefits that would otherwise be extended to them the same way any citizen who is a criminal forfeits some or all of the benefits of freedom and citizenship. God is fully just. It’s not unjust to ask that you go into the line and wait your turn (immigrants again-not refugees).
And as Christians, we should be able to be comfortable with reasonable requirements or documentation. There are different kinds of immigration here in the U.S. Each comes with their own requirements or expectations. Those are put there to make sure that we protect our own citizens who may be vulnerable, and to make sure that others don’t simply come to exploit those that we are responsible for and take advantage of them.
In other words people who intend to coexist and be productive in and for this country (even if some of what they EARN gets sent back to their former home) should be welcomed. Those who are criminals, terrorists, or who simply want to get a free ride and do nothing for it – well I think that speaks for itself doesn’t it?
As a side note, any taxpayer funded “entitlement” program that offers a cash benefit is in the opinion of this writer to be sinful to choose to send back home for any reason other than providing basic necessities for one’s immediate family. These benefits are not earned, and are generously given to provide one with the needs of living in our culture and having something approaching the standard of living in this country.
To abuse that by sending it out to have luxury in another country or to fund causes and groups that may not be in our national interest is a gross misuse and is essentially fraud. If the funds are earned, there is less to say about this outside of keeping clear of directly funding groups that have been demonically influenced.
TAKING ADVANTAGE -
Let’s get back to the aspects of the text where God clearly commands us to not take advantage of the poor and the vulnerable. And let’s apply this to the immigration situation.
If you look at a farm that hires undocumented workers for criminally low wages by U.S. or state labor laws, that is clearly a direct violation of Leviticus 19:13.
Another example would be if a company chose to take on legal immigrants and pay them a barely livable wage, paying them far less than they would have to pay a native citizen, as well as requiring work that supersedes the value of the pay. And let’s compound this with that same company taking a U.S. subsidy for up to half of those workers’ wages as an incentive to hire them.
The example listed above is also a violation of Leviticus 19:13. It is also dealing falsely with your neighbor. It is dishonest scales. And quite frankly is a deviant abuse of the system as a means of raking in a profit that in this case is unjust.
Nothing here says the workers are entitled to extravagant wages, or anything more than the native citizen. And nothing says that every company that can’t afford to pay a lot more than minimum wage is robbing the worker. However, when the facts are viewed in context the difference is often pretty clear.
The poor and sojourner are vulnerable. And so those in power and those with the resources are commanded to be hospitable and to love them as they do themselves and their own people. So whatever we would do for a native citizen, and whatever God commands us to offer, we are also called to do for the immigrant as well.
I don’t think you can broadly expand this to anyone perceived to be in the “majority”. In other words, you can’t say because you’re white in this country or because you speak English, you automatically owe something to the immigrant.
Some of that “majority” may be poor or paycheck-to-paycheck. They’re in a similar boat to the sojourner. The key difference is that they have a better understanding of the system and possibly (not always) a good support system.
However, those in the majority who have resources also have an expectation and responsibility that comes with them. There is no Biblical exemption that I can find.
“And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
This attitude is the polar opposite of the heart attitude God is requiring of us in Leviticus 19. This particular rich man was foolish, self-consumed, and spiritually poor towards God. He was abundantly blessed and could only think of how he would amass more wealth for himself; as though he would live forever. He did not give thought of how to be a proper steward of that blessing.
“Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
This is not necessarily saying that every person is required to sell everything. However, that may be the case for some.
There is a clear understanding here that the earth and all that is in it, and all that dwells in it, belongs to the Lord. We are stewards of His possession; and as such we are called to honor Him with those resources. We are to care for other image-bearers of God.
Jesus is pretty clear about His heart on the subject here in the passage that follows. Here is a portion of that passage.
“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto WHOMSOEVER MUCH IS GIVEN, OF HIM SHALL BE MUCH REQUIRED: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Emphasis mine)
So it’s clear to those of us who own businesses, own land, or are in positions of power and privilege what God expects of us. We are to honor Him with that possession and privilege; and we are also to bless those who He did not give that to. It is part of the purpose which He gave it to us for.
That being said, even from the earliest times, while the U.S. since becoming a nation has always welcomed immigrants, there have also always been some sort of oversight to the process (to the extent possible at the time). You cannot say that Canadians, Mexicans and the Japanese have a right to this land without qualifying that statement in some way.
To say that would be the same thing as saying that the Israelites have a right to continue choosing to occupy the homes of Palestinians or that Muslims in Saudi Arabia have the divine right (not legal right) to simply take over the home of a Christian family there.
Let’s keep in mind that the European expansion was not just the English in the U.S.; but also included the Spanish and Portuguese in Mexico, Central America and South America. A whole lot of people conquered a whole lot of other people and took over their land. It changed hands several times, and the concept of who has a “right” to any portion of the land in some cases is very complex.
I don’t want to address restitution here. That’s important, but not part of this discussion. My point is that we must look at the U.S. as it is now and how we as modern-day Americans must move forward on the immigration issue.
There is obviously a right to be able to legally immigrate to this country. And whatever requirements that are made to do so legally should be reasonable, achievable and should not violate any Biblical command. That’s clear.
However, the immigrant has no more right just because they are considered vulnerable to just come in and take over than the majority does to choose to expand in another place and simply take over. There is more to it than that.
If we see part of those laws that are unjust, we as Christians have an obligation before God in this country to work within the system to oppose those portions of the law and change them. We can do that through legislation, election, or in some cases through the government rule-making process. God gave us a voice here for a reason, we should be using it.
We should also oppose those who want to hunt down immigrants like they are animals and arrest them or kill them. That’s craziness and unjust. It’s sin.
However, we have an obligation to our citizens and legal immigrants to keep the human traffickers, murderers, rapists and drug dealers out. So there is value in the concept of a secure border and immigration requirements.
Within the proper Biblical context we are protecting the vulnerable and poor from these people who want to abuse the system for their own purposes. We cannot be complicit with those more evil elements that want access to this country.
Let’s look at an American principle, that is actually a Biblical principle, consistent with the discussion here. It has to do with the minority having some protections from the majority. This is where we are blessed in this nation still, unlike a multitude of other nations across the globe.
We believe in certain INALIENABLE RIGHTS (human rights) that have been endowed upon all mankind by our Creator, God. In our Declaration of Independence we enumerate these to be life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness. (Emphasis mine)
Our founding fathers in this country expanded on that phrase in the Bill of Rights, which expounded more upon those inalienable rights. We have a right to speech, assembly and freedom of worship. We have the right to keep and bear arms. We have a right to a fair trial before a jury of our peers; and the right to confront our accuser.
These are just a couple of examples of ways we have enshrined in our own Constitution to protect the minority from a majority-rule atmosphere. We should count our blessings that we are so fortunate.
Eventually the country realized that these natural rights went to all mankind – of any descent, male or female – such as the right to vote; and abolition of slavery. Unfortunately all was not perfectly Biblical in this country then, and it still is not now.
This protection we should care about as believers; and not just for our own benefit either. This protection is what keeps immigrants from being treated as dogs or as property. Without that protection, nothing would stop those in power and privilege from abusing the poor and the sojourner, unless they had a Biblically informed mind and a heart after God.
There are a lot of other issues that we could go on rabbit trails on that are equally important but off topic. These would include, but certainly aren’t limited to: The U.S. and Indian population that was native to this country; slavery; the Israeli-Palestinian struggle in 1948 and ongoing to today. These are issues for another discussion.
I may have acknowledged them briefly here, but I’d like to keep the focus to be solely about Christians being obedient to God’s commands towards immigrants and possessions, and viewing ourselves as Christians above all else (not Americans, or Republicans, Democrats, White, Black, Hispanic or Asian). Our loyalty and duty is to Christ first, and everything else is prioritized behind Him. Our identity is in Him first as well.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
As a side note, I would love to hear your thoughts on what a modern application of the Levitical gleaning laws for the poor and the immigrants (and refugees) might look like here in the U.S. I think that could be an enjoyable and fruitful discussion.