A contradiction between conservative Christians and the Bible | In Focus

The Bible says not to mistreat immigrants, so why the disconnect?

It’s a fact that many conservative Christians are anti-immigrant.

There is no doubt that we have a problem on our southern border with millions of people coming not only from Mexico, the rest of Latin America, but also other parts of the world, including China. I get their concern. I’m puzzled, though, by outright hostility to immigrants by conservatives.

From an economic perspective, there is a big need for more workers, especially for jobs that most Americans will not do, like working in the fields and meat-packing plants. A lack of workers is driving up inflation, also a big concern of many Americans. My major bewilderment is about being anti-immigrant and claiming the Bible as their source of authority.

God was very clear in the Hebrew scriptures about the need to treat aliens with kindness.

Here is a scripture about treatment of aliens from the Old Testament:

Leviticus 19:33-35: “If a resident alien lives with you in your land, you are not to mistreat him. 34 You are to treat the resident alien the same way you treat the native born among you—love him like yourself, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”

I am aware that around 11 million immigrants are here illegally or are considered “undocumented” by progressives. Many, if not most immigrants, who come across our southern border are fleeing governmental oppression, drug cartels, and violence. It seems to me that offering grace instead of judgment should be the dominant theme among all Christians, not just progressives.

During the era of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, Congress passed and President Johnson signed the 1965 U.S. Immigration Law. Congress was trying to treat eastern and southern Europeans, and Asians more fairly. Before this law was passed, Latin Americans were allowed to enter the U.S. freely. Because of the 1965 law, a quota was imposed on Latinos for the first time. That law actually helped contribute to increased numbers of Latinos coming here illegally. Before 1965, immigrants from Latin America could freely come and go to visit their families. After 1965, families wanted to be united so they entered illegally. That’s why the number of illegal (undocumented) immigrants has risen to 11 million.

This is a matter for Congress, not the president, to solve. They created the problem, it’s their responsibility to solve it—humanely. Placing blame on Biden is both unfair and illogical.

For anyone who has been following the news recently, it’s common knowledge that the Republicans in the Senate came up with a bi-partisan compromise bill setting strict rules for immigrants on our southern border. President Biden was ready to sign it. Then, former President Trump told Republicans in both the Senate and the House to reject the bill because he wanted the border problem to be a major talking point against his political opponent, President Biden.

Neither former President Trump nor the conservatives in Congress are acting in Christian love. It sounds like Trump is using immigrants as bargaining chips to be used to win the November election. If you support Trump, you are supporting someone who is openly ignoring a scriptural mandate for his own personal gain.

Going back to Leviticus 19 noted above, almost all of the people living in this country were descended from immigrants who were discriminated against when they entered. By the time you read this you will have just celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Patrick was an Irish-Catholic saint. Irish Catholics suffered persecution when they came here in the early 19th century. Many conservative Christians have Irish genes in their DNA. If you object to immigrants, would you have also objected to your ancestors coming to this country to escape oppression, fear and violence?

What is the basis for your opposition to immigrants based upon the scriptures? Your arguments seem to be based upon fear rather than reason. Judgment and condemnation seem to be triumphing over grace.

Easter will soon be upon us. Its key message is the coming of Christ and his resurrection, saving us all, both native-born Americans and immigrants from our sins. All of us are equal in the eyes of God because all of us are forgiven sinners, no matter what our immigrant/citizenship status.

I’d love to hear from a conservative Christian who could explain to me the contradiction between your faith and your belief in the teaching of the Bible as the divine word of God, and your attitudes about immigrants.

Any takers?

Readers can email Rich Elfers at raymond.still@courierherald.com.