By Mark A. Taylor
It’s true for every web post, published article, or magazine cover theme: Some agree. Some object. And many ignore what has been written.
That’s been the pattern for the immigration posts appearing at christianstandard.com this month (all of them lifted from the March issue of the print magazine), and your editor is tempted to reply to each response. I’ll resist, but I am motivated to give 500 or so more words to the subject.
First: the positive comments, Facebook reposts, and retweets of links to the articles are gratifying. But I’ll admit that some of this affirmation has come from the writers of these articles themselves!
Second: the dissenters have, with a couple of exceptions, been gracious or thoughtful. I’ve learned from them—sometimes a perspective I hadn’t considered, sometimes the realization that we hadn’t communicated clearly in this issue.
Yes, I agree that we are a nation of laws and that the laws should be obeyed.
Yes, I realize “foreigners” or “aliens” whose cause was advocated in the Old Testament were living in a situation far less complex than ours today.
No, neither I personally nor any of our writers are advocating here for “open borders” or open arms for immigration offenders.
But many, if not all, of the stories told this month speak of legal immigrants or refugees rescued from desperate fates. Some pieces described ministries to refugees overseas, sufferers with no hope or desire to cross our borders.
Yes, I realize illegal immigrants have committed crimes in this country. So have African-Americans, homeless Americans, and rich, white Americans. But one or even several crimes does not make the case to exclude or exile a whole class. Everyone can agree that undocumented immigrant thieves, rapists, and murderers should be deported. And that “everyone” includes the scores of law-abiding immigrants living peacefully in the U.S.
But, as T.R. Robertson pointed out in his post this month, too many Christians are displaying bigoted fear against whole races or religions. And too many of us seek political solutions to spiritual problems.
I agree that immigration reform, pleaded for by immigration lawyer Land Wayland, should be a concern for every Christian. And that’s not the only concern we can share.
We who love Jesus, we who want to attract the world to our Savior, can be challenged by the example of this month’s stories. People living in fear and want in our own communities need the gospel and the love of Christ.
Surely we who have tasted the unending grace of the Lord will warm to opportunities for sharing some of it with others. Surely we who have invested many millions of dollars to send missionaries to foreign lands will want to grab the chance to reach foreigners from those lands living in our own zip code.
Surely, as Robertson challenged us, since God “upholds the cause of the oppressed” (Psalm 146:7), so should we.
So that’s my final word on immigration. Some will agree with me. Some will disagree. But surely the complex issue of immigration in America is not one that any Christian in good conscience can ignore. Preventing that is the best reason for us to have published these articles.