What is the Christian Position on Immigrants?


John Turner, a religion professor at George Mason University, answers this question in a post at The Anxious Bench.  Here is a taste:

While I disagree with some of Trump’s actual policy positions (to the best I can discern them) on immigration, on many issues Christians might very reasonably disagree. Do porous borders lead to gangs smuggling unaccompanied minors into the United States? Do high levels of immigration depress wages in the United States and strain city and state budgets? And so forth. There is no single Christian position on immigration, from my vantage point.

There is, however, a Christian position on immigrants. It is to remember that an ancient people who followed our God were once aliens, exiles, and refugees.

I like the way both the NRSV and the NIV render Leviticus 19:34:

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. (NIV)

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. (NRSV)

Why should one treat people from elsewhere as one’s own? Because the Lord is our God, and He has commanded us to do so! Simple.

Read the entire piece here.

One thought on “What is the Christian Position on Immigrants?

  1. President Trump’s racist words and ideas about “s—hole” countries deserve criticism.

    Rev. Samuel Rodriquez (President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference) tells us, “Every single person is created in the image of God. Therefore, as it pertains to immigration, we must provide a legal avenue with rigorous vetting, that enables individuals from both Norway and Nigeria, from Holland and Haiti, to come to our nation if they embrace our values, commit to self-reliance and to enriching our collective American experience.”

    But what should we do for these masses of people in such desperate circumstances which are caused by generations of oppressive, corrupt governments, sometimes aided and abetted by the world’s largest countries? Unfortunately Reverend Rodriquez’ (and many others’) only answer is that we must allow a tiny minority to immigrate into the U.S! But since ALL are created in the image of God, then we should be so concerned for ALL that we would pronounce ALL the others, created in the image of God, equally deserving of our help. We should relentlessly try to help ALL these equally deserving people by urging a global unity in condemnation of, and pressure on, their despicable governments. But not one of Trump’s critics have uttered such condemnation.

    When Rev. Billy Graham and others stood up against South African “apartheid” it was an important and necessary step toward removing that awful system.

    It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the current pro-immigration rhetoric is hypocritical at best. Critics only pay attention to a few immigrants and ignore all the other oppressed people from their respective countries. Why do they fail to view the other people in these countries as equally deserving of help? Is some current Christian immigration rhetoric merely an attempt to make a hypocritical show of appearing Godly, biblical, and compassionate? What could be the reason for the disregard, the consistent silence, of Trump’s Christian critics on the oppression of all these desperate masses?

    I personally know a doctor from Haiti who still returns frequently to Haiti and conducts free medical clinics for their poor. This doctor told me that large sums of money from various governments were sent to Haiti, after the last earthquake, to rebuild housing for the poor. However, Haitian government officials took the money and gave some to their friends. Both groups built self-enriching middle and higher class housing which the poor could not afford. Many of Haiti’s poor are still living in tents with only the bare essentials for life supplied by foreign relief agencies.

    Furthermore, contrast our Trump critics’ remarks with those of an African sociologist:​

    “President Donald Trump is absolutely right,” says Mamady Traore, a 30-year-old sociologist in the West African nation of Guinea. “When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power. When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women as saints, who mutilate innocent civilians…”​

    None of the conditions for all these people–created in the image of God–in these countries will improve until the corruption of these governments and the mistreatment of generations of their people is routinely rehearsed, in public, by all Christians, world leaders, our own politicians, journalists, and all others who feel qualified to comment on such issues.

    Stop the hypocrisy; justice for ALL!


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