The Anti-DACA Evangelicals

BJUI want to thank historian Paul Matzko for bringing this to my attention.  Apparently there is a group called “Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration” (EBI). They have written a letter to the White House asking Donald Trump, when making a decision about DACA, to “first and foremost honor often forgotten American citizens whose families have served our nation for many generations…”  Read the entire letter here.

The signers of these letter includes  David Barton, Timothy Barton, Rick Scarborough, and Eric Metaxas.

If I read the letter correctly, the men and women who signed the document are not opposing DACA on constitutional grounds, but on moral grounds.   This group appears to also oppose a congressional attempt to institute something akin to a Dream Act or a new DACA program.  The folks at Breitbart seem to be very excited about it.

The fact that David Barton and his son signed this letter does not surprise me.

I shouldn’t be surprised that Eric Metaxas signed the letter, but I guess I still held out hope that he might find his way back to mainstream American evangelicalism.

Over at his person blog, Matzko has a great piece on the EBI statement.  He compares the letter’s reasoning to the evangelical proponents of segregation in the mid-20th century.

Here is a taste:

But the most striking thing about these paragraphs is that the authors have rooted their argument in the idea of fixed ethno-national boundaries. Thus they misquote Isaiah 1 as condemning the destruction of borders and the violation of indigenous culture. Doing so requires some serious reading into the passage, given that the context for the book of Isaiah is the conquest of Israel by the Assyrian Empire. This isn’t a passage about immigration at all but about the consequences of losing a war. Of course, anti-immigration activists often use military language in referring to immigration as an invasion, so I suppose it’s easy for them to buy into their own hyperbole and see illegal immigrant children as some kind of vanguard force.

Such is negative reasoning, that God says not to allow such and such. But the authors also make a positive argument, that God says to do such and such. In this case, they believe that God intended for the various peoples of the earth–North, Central, South Americans, Africans, etc…–to stay in their respective homelands, thus the emphasis on “unique nations” and on God’s placement in a particular land. Note also the final sentence; where has God called people to be a blessing? In another country? No, of course not. It’s strongly implied that we ought to remain “where God has placed us in the world.” What God has put asunder, let no man mix together.

That is the same basic logic of segregation theology that was widespread among mid-twentieth century white evangelicals. Let’s compare the rhetoric and logic of this letter to that of a prominent pro-segregation preacher of a generation ago. I’ve picked Bob Jones Sr. both because his 1960 sermon, “Is Segregation Scriptural?”, is available online (do read the excellent introduction by Justin Taylor) and because I attended the eponymous Bob Jones University as an undergrad. I know firsthand how damaging segregation theology can be not just to its targets but to its adherents and their descendants.

Read the rest here.

4 thoughts on “The Anti-DACA Evangelicals

  1. Whatever happened to being Jesus’ “witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1) The majority of the well-to-do and American middle class is made up of people who have been here for generations, so what does this mean– “First and foremost honor often forgotten American citizens whose families have served our nation for many generations…” and that’s only because their ancestors left their unique nations and displaced native peoples without “legal” permission to do so, even the history of Europe is one of migration. Many evangelical (and Catholic and other) Christians continue to say and do very alarming, unChristlike things.


  2. Two quick thoughts: could we look at the movement of people from other cultures and often faiths into the US as God sending a mission field to our doorsteps? And what will be the national boundaries in heaven do they suppose?


  3. Any of us, who are not Native American, whose ancestors came to this country as immigrants should return to our region of origin? Actually, truth be known, there are days when that is a tempting thought in light of the absurdities we are witnessing.

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    • The hypocrisy of such a letter is astonishing. The United States of America is/was only majority of European origin because of conquest of the Native Americans. And their use of scripture is unsettling to say the least. I don’t think anyone has argued that we should have open borders; they are making a straw man argument there. Beyond that, their argument just falls flat. In an age where people can move globally so easily, do they really think that there is any sense in people “staying where God put them in the world”? And, this smacks terribly of racism. Is this really the Evangelicalism I grew up with?

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