Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted a passage from the New Testament the other day. He was talking about immigration law at the time. In response, the Left has been treating the public with an uncharacteristic rash of biblical quotations. The Bible verses the attorney general quoted were “infamous” ones, the Washington Post informs us. Well . . .
Describing verses from Holy Scripture (as opposed to, say, the editorial bias of certain newspapers) as infamous was an audacious stroke. The Washington Post clearly considers itself qualified to separate scripture into more and less unacceptable segments—confidently judging, with no apparent concern about itself being judged.
Meantime, many Democrats (rather less ambitiously) are engaged in the good old American tradition of looking for scriptural support for their own pre-baked positions and a biblical moral critique for the other guy’s. It’s an effort for which I applaud them, as it demonstrates at least a pretense to a modicum of respect for religious faith.
And good-faith Googling has yielded, to their great and perhaps surprised satisfaction, various instructions to the ancient Hebrews to be kind and humane to “strangers and aliens.” The Hebrews are indeed sternly instructed that, once they’ve established their nation in the new Promised Land, they must “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:19, KJV.) Foreigners passing through or residing in the Promised Land according to Leviticus 24:22, are neither to be discriminated against, nor privileged: “You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.”
These and many similar injunctions clearly prohibit cruelty and abuse. Just as clearly, though, they’re in harmony with the “notorious” passage in Romans—not opposed to it. Those who’ve newly discovered the “sojourner” passages might want to look at them in that light.
The Romans 13 passage explains to us that, ideally, “…rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid…” (ESV)
So biblically, it’s not who you are, but on what you do, which establishes your relationship with just authorities. This is a revolutionary thought in these days of intersectional politics, and one well worth pondering. There are many such thought-provoking notions, in the writings of what was once a big part of our cultural “Common Core.”
There are also handy “life hacks” in the form of simple common sense. For instance, the book of Proverbs offers the following observation, which seems to have gone overlooked so far in our national impromptu theology debate:
People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house. (Proverbs 6:30-31)
A man might truly be desperate; his crime might be one we can all imagine ourselves committing in the wrong circumstances. It might elicit general sympathy. That doesn’t, however, eliminate the need to pay consequences if discovered. If you steal bread because you’re hungry, someone else loses bread and, perhaps, even goes hungry. Your stolen gain was someone else’s loss. Sympathy for you doesn’t restore that to him. From Moses’ laws, down through various civilizations to our own, the law had to recognize that, and get down into the details of “whose ox has been gored.” Those who “seek a better life” are welcome to do so, but this shouldn’t be done by worsening the lives of others.
Illegal immigrants, and especially those who identify as asylum seekers, are trying to escape nations where the rule of law isn’t reliable, where favoritism, corruption, and political ulterior motives create double- and triple-standards, and where one’s group is more important than the letter of the law. Our nation remains a place worth fleeing to for legitimate asylum seekers. But that depends on our country maintaining (and, where necessary, restoring) the rule of law.
This rule of law also protects them, if they simply make their asylum claims without first surreptitiously infiltrating our territory. Failure to choose that available option is what put the separated families in their unenviable position in the first place—a fact which mainstream coverage of the crisis has been conveniently leaving out.
Which brings another of Solomon’s common-sense proverbs to mind: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17, ESV.) Next week, the “Trump is tearing apart families!” script will surely be replaced by another equally disingenuous one, on some other real or imagined crisis. Examine that next issue, too, beyond the melodramatic headlines and pious posturing which, no doubt, the Left will again employ.
They’re infamous for it.
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