There seems to be a great deal of emotion being expended regarding the situations at the southern border of the nation.
One view is that it is immoral for “children to be ripped out of their mother’s arms” when their parents, who have entered the country illegally, are separated from their children for a period of time. Another view is that borders are unnatural or even unbiblical.
While I am sympathetic to the plight of people who seek a better life for themselves and their children, I wish to briefly address these two viewpoints.
If babies are being “ripped out of their mother’s arms,” as the claim seems to be, that would be a sad occurrence in the life of that family. Yet, children are separated from their parents who commit illegal activities all the time.
When a person goes to jail there is often a tearful scene at the courthouse as the children cry mournfully as their father or mother are placed in handcuffs and incarcerated. In my former profession as a social worker, I was responsible for removing dozens of children from their families. The scene was always heartbreaking.
I removed one 2-year-old girl from her mother because she was so hungry she was eating cat feces … an act I personally witnessed. Five children, all girls ages 5–15, were removed because their mother was using them as prostitutes. One 15-year-old girl was hysterically clinging to her father as we pried her arms from around his neck as he was arrested for incest. A boy and girl were removed from their father who refused to feed them. This loving parent later went to jail for murdering a sheriff’s deputy. One night after midnight, I “ripped” a baby girl from her mother’s arms as she was being arrested for hiring a contract killer to do away with her husband.
The common denominator in all these removals was that the safety of the child was paramount. I hated doing it. I lost sleep at night. But, it was necessary and I have not one regret.
People who illegally cross the border are lawbreakers. They, not the government, have put their children in the position to be removed from their custody.
The other issue regards borders. Every nation has borders and laws to protect those borders. Are national borders, as some claim, unbiblical? Bryan Fischer host of Focal Point, a radio talk show, says this: “The Scriptures make it clear that national sovereignty, including clearly defined borders, is God’s idea. In Acts 17:26, we read, ‘And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place …’(Emphasis mine throughout.)”
“Two things, we are told, are under God’s sovereign control: how long a nation lasts, and where its borders are. The verb translated ‘having determined’ is the Greek verb ‘horizo,’ from which we get the word ‘horizon.’ It means ‘to mark out, to define.’ So God has marked out and defined the borders of each country.”
“Our southern border is there by God’s design. To disregard it, to treat it as if it were not there, to regard it as something not worth respecting and defending, is an insult to the God who put it there for our benefit.”
One may quibble over how a border got to be a border but it is currently a border. Normally only an act of Congress of an act of war can change a border.
Or let’s consider this: Why do people lock their doors at night when they go to bed?
You lock your doors to keep unwanted people out. You lock your doors for the safety of yourself and your family. You lock your doors because you do not want people that you did not invite coming into your house. Whether those people be Americans, or even neighbors, or not.
People who enter your house without authorization are by definition criminals. The charge could be breaking and entering, burglary, trespassing, or a host of other crimes.
There’s no difference with people who enter the country without authorization. There is a way to legally enter a home and there is a way to legally enter a country.
In the county where I live, if you decide to put in a swimming pool, the law mandates that a wall be installed around the pool area. Why? To keep unauthorized people, especially children, out of the pool area. That pool wall is also a protection for the family who owns the pool.
“Good fences make good neighbors” is a proverb that exists in many different cultures and languages and due to its longstanding history and prevalence, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where this insight originated.
In English its common usage seems to have sprung from Robert Frost’s use of the phrase in his poem, “Mending Wall,” published in 1914. He writes, “Good fences make good neighbors …” Benjamin Franklin is known to have said, “Love thy neighbor, yet don’t pull down your hedge.”
There may, indeed, be solutions to the problems at the southern border. But putting forth emotion-laden accusations that arouse passions are neither beneficial nor do they lead to those problems being solved.
Having said all this, the Bible makes it clear that believers are to deal kindly with foreigners. Leviticus 19:33-34 (NRSV)
“When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
I encounter people all the time who I suspect who are here illegally. I always treat them with respect and kindness.
Perhaps if the politicians among us would seek solutions instead of using these poor souls as pawns in their political games, the problems could be solved. In the meantime, the law is what it is and the situation is not likely to change anytime soon.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA between Newnan and Peachtree City (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Diocese of the Mid-South which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]