How can evangelicals, who supposedly believe in the teachings of the Bible, refuse to welcome immigrants and refugees? This is the subject of Tara Isabella Burton’s piece at VOX: “The Bible says to welcome immigrants. So why don’t white evangelicals?” It is written in the context of the large group of Honduras migrants fleeing gang violence and political instability. Here is a taste:
How did white evangelicals come to so fully embrace the Trumpian rhetoric on immigration? How did a religious group whose foundational sacred text explicitly mandates care for the poor, the sick, and the stranger become a reliable anti-refugee, anti-immigrant voting bloc?
Read the entire piece here.
Many conservative evangelical Trump supporters, including almost all of the court evangelicals, will argue that immigrants are not welcome in the United States unless they enter legally. But for Christians, immigration policy is not so black and white. Christians must remember that they are first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom of God. The ethical mandates of this Kingdom often contradict the ethical principles of the nation-state. There will be times when our citizenship in the Kingdom of God will come into conflict with the laws of our nation. I think the case of refugees fleeing persecution is a prime example of when the ethics of the Kingdom of God must trump the ethics of the nation-state.
Those who invoke Romans 13 (Christians must obey government at all times), or who believe that the ethics of the Kingdom of God as related to refugees and immigrants should not be applied to this caravan of Honduras (and others) refugees, will inevitably find themselves in a difficult situation. At what point does opposition to illegal immigration give way to the Christian call to love the immigrant and refugee? Where do evangelicals draw that line? What will these conservative ministers do when they encounter refugees in need of love and compassion? Should they send them away because they have violated the law of the land by entering illegally? Or do they follow the teachings of scripture and welcome these refugees in need of God’s love?