Aliens in our midst

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It’s amazing to me how hypocritical the left is on the subject of religion in the public square.

When it comes to almost any issue facing our political system, we are told to keep religion, especially Christianity, out of it. We are lectured on the separation of church and state and told, erroneously, that religious thought is to have no input on public discourse.

But then when it suits them, the left and Democrats in general love to turn to the Bible itself—not just general Christian sentiment—to bolster their claims. And they don’t even limit their appeal to the Gospels or the New Testament, but go right back to the mean-spirited Old Testament (OT) to make their case.

This is because the OT contains many pleas to treat the “alien in your midst with kindness” and to do so because “you were once aliens in a foreign land.” Great stuff, but it’s odd to hear the folks who categorically dismiss the OT as a source of moral authority quote it so passionately to justify their view of immigration.

I mean, if the OT can be jettisoned for its views on human sexuality because they are of a piece with its prohibitions on shellfish, then why is it all-of-the-sudden our guiding light for what we ought to do with immigration law?

Such hypocrisy, of course, is par for the course from some people on the left, and I know that we on the right seem equally hypocritical at times (“How can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty?”).

But it’s an altogether different level of hypocrisy, intellectual dishonesty, and blatant cynicism to use the Bible as the buttress for your argument when your side has consistently tried to remove it from every aspect of public life.

That all being said, let’s delve into the nuance of this issue a bit.

Admonitions to be kind to foreigners in your midst are indeed meant to be taken literally. Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan, where a lowly traveler from Samaria, a region considered to be peopled by the lowest of the low among the Jews, exemplifies Jesus’ ideal of the neighbor by taking care of the victim of a robbery.

So, yes, we must look after and treat well those in our midst. But the Bible is also pretty clear that duly instituted governments have the right and obligation to uphold the laws, and that we all, both citizens and visitors alike, must obey lawful authorities.

The unfortunate people entering our country illegally are not upholding their end of the bargain. They are not entering by legal port of entry or properly making their case for asylum or temporary residency as many who have gone before them have.

On some level, of course, we must still take care of those people, no matter how they got here. But the idea that the Old Testament somehow commands us to tear down our borders, abandon our laws, and give unlimited succor and support to those who want to enter illegally is simply not true. And, moreover, it encourages the kind of lawlessness we now see on the border, and the horrible exploitation, rape, and suffering that goes with it.

However, I am willing to make a bargain. If the left can use the Bible to excoriate ICE, conservatives, the president, and anyone who voted for him as despicable, xenophobic hypocrites, then can we use the Bible to inform our public debate on abortion, human sexuality, family issues, etc.?

Somehow I think the answer would be “no,” and so if that is the case, then I would ask the left to refrain from misquoting scripture to support a worldview that is ultimately very un-scriptural.

Then we can debate the issue on the merits, the facts, the law as it stands, and can even try to respect our counterparts’ views and humanity in the process. That, too, is a very biblical thing to do.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

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