The following essay is in response to an opinion piece that appeared in The Christian Post earlier this month entitled, White Evangelicals and Immigration Reform.
There are biblical and prudential reasons for opposing "comprehensive immigration reform," but your otherwise thoughtful article did not acknowledge them.
I concur with the statistical conclusion of Kellstedt and Hoover, that evangelicals, "white" and otherwise, largely oppose the kind of "comprehensive immigration reform" that President Obama is attempting to enforce despite the disapproval of Congress and most Americans.
In fact a 2014 Pulse poll found that only 11% of evangelicals feel that the Biblical teaching to "love the stranger" means to offer citizenship. Most feel that "loving the stranger" means to "treat the stranger humanely while applying the rule of law." I believe that this answer is biblically informed and therefore also wise and compassionate.
Almost all evangelicals support lawful, reasonable immigration. What they oppose is lawlessness and a disregard for the rights of citizens. To reduce the sincere concerns of American evangelicals to under-educated, white Republicans, as the Feb. 6th article implies, is the kind of simplistic characterization we've come to expect from politicos, but not from friends. To the contrary, evangelicals look to the whole counsel of Scripture and the careful discernment of consequences as the most reliable sources of wisdom for human living and cultural thriving. Consider just five (5) points:
1 Scripture: The Bible's teaching does not equate "welcoming the stranger" with our emerging 2015 scenario of anonymous entry through open borders, disregard for laws and customs, blanket amnesty, and cradle-to-grave social services. This is not biblical "justice." It is unsustainable presumption and theft.
God loves us all. God teaches us to love the well-intended sojourner who comes lawfully as a blessing (the 'ger' in the Old Testament), and so we welcome and protect lawful immigration. (America is likely the most welcoming nation on the planet.) There are three other words in Scripture for foreigners to whom citizenship is not to be extended (watch Todd Wagner's sermon Declaration, or read scholar James Hoffmeier's The Immigration Crisis). We are for legal immigration, but not for lawlessness that weakens our culture.
In Scripture, we see both welcome and walls. We see welcome extended to kindred spirits, such as Ruth and Rahab. And we also see Nehemiah, upon his people's return from Babylonian exile, organizing the nation of Israel to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem that protected the nation from danger and syncretism. This allowed a repentant Israel to rebuild its faith and culture in the life-giving ways of the Lord. They did justice to the DNA, story and future of their culture and nation.
2. Political scheming: Evangelicals oppose the use of "immigration reform" as a means to advance a political agenda.
The astute are concerned about the definition and nature of the word "reform." Due to the policies of President Obama, Eric Holder and others, we are now watching the "resettlement" of many thousands of foreigners into hundreds of American cities without the knowledge or consent of citizens in those cities.
The same political machine is beginning to distribute driver's licenses useful for, among other things, voting. If this sounds cynical, at least two Secretaries of States are warning that the Obama administration is creating loopholes for people here illegally to vote in the upcoming elections. Studies show that at least 8 of 10 immigrants will vote for the party of "free" stuff (not freedom but free stuff) — the Democrats. This is not politics as usual. It is not the rule of law. It is neither democracy nor fairness. It is political assault. Who doesn't wonder if our republic can survive these tactics, and why they are being advanced so aggressively?
Ponder this irony: Evangelicals helping a political machine that will likely result in a nation that might never again find the votes to elect an American President and Congress committed to America's biblical and Constitutional first principles including unalienable human rights endowed by our Creator, the sanctity of human life, and personal responsibility over government dependency and debt-escalation.
The liberal activist group, ThinkProgress, admits to "using an evangelical strategy" that "could work" for amnesty. ThinkProgress' larger political goals include a "Permanent Progressive Majority" (PPM). Let that sink in.
One begins to wonder if it is not the pro- "comprehensive immigration reform" evangelicals who are lacking education and attentiveness.
How tragic to think of Christian organizations taking hundreds of millions of non-profit and federal tax dollars to help the 'progressive' movement resettle countless "refugees" (some truly are refugees) for their stated political end of a Permanent Progressive Majority. This is why evangelicals oppose what currently passes for immigration "reform." What a poor witness the Church is to the nation, to enable and participate in a scheme like this.
3. Kindness: Evangelicals oppose the injustice to American citizens done in the name of "justice." We're for kindness to citizens as well as to well-meaning strangers.
America's healthcare and social safety nets are breaking. Citizens, including veterans and our elderly who've paid into these systems over a lifetime, are struggling to access services. But isn't kindness our goal? Amnesty to millions here unlawfully is unloving to citizens. This seems like theft. Aren't our current citizens also children of God? Who is standing up for them? Where is the Church? Few of us would do this to citizens of another country.
The unemployed, underemployed and those who've simply dropped out of the work force are also victims of massive illegal immigration. And who is hurt the most? Inner city, minority youth facing severe competition for good paying entry-level jobs. Young college graduates with oppressive debt and declining career prospects. Families with falling wages and rising taxes are asked to pay for the increased burden of expanding welfare services. Jesus rebuked those who imposed such burdens.
God invites us to be citizens of his Kingdom, as a blessing to all nations. He does not suggest we all move to any one nation. It grieved me to learn that World Relief, with whom I once served in the city dump outside San Salvador, has closed various Central American mission posts to "resettle" people into North America. It is disturbing that they would take federal money to break up families.
Perhaps the prophetic silence of some in the Church regarding the Obama administration can be partially explained by hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to faith organizations for 'resettlements.' 'Progressive' and globalist private foundation money is also pouring in. There are other "resettlement" missions that call themselves Baptist, Catholic, and Lutheran.
Clarifying the Soros Connection: One of the groups lobbying for reform is the Evangelical Immigration Table. The EIT told Breitbart News in 2013 that it does not legally exist but was begun by the National Immigration Forum. The NIF is a multi-million dollar Progressive slush fund for comprehensive reform and amnesty. When journalists downloaded the NIF's IRS 990, they found that its largest donor is George Soros's Open Society Institute (OSI), followed by Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller and other globalist and liberal foundations that, based on their enormous giving to the ACLU, the SPLC, Planned Parenthood, pansexuality (anything but traditional marriage), drug legalization and so on, are not very interested in the Christian faith, nor in American sovereignty. That is the Soros connection, via the NIF, though denied by the Rev. Sammy Rodriguez and others (who truly might not know of the money trail).
Soros's Evangelicals: Furthermore, atheist billionaire George Soros, an Obama advisor and beneficiary, Chair of HillaryPAC, and known currency-manipulator in France and England, has cleverly been funding (with other donors) "faith" groups through OSI including Sojourners, "Faith in Public Life," Richard Cizik, "Faithful America," Pax Christi, PICO, the National Council of Churches and others for many years now. This has swung the Church to the Left, dramatically, per Soros's interests. (Google: Soros and Jim Wallis). This should be old news, but many are just waking up to the ways of the world. Jesus said to be "wise as serpents, but innocent as doves." Follow the money. Pitiful but eye opening.
4. The Economy: Our economy is jeopardized by an unimaginable $18,000,000,000,000 (trillion) escalating national debt.
An influx of several million lower-skilled workers hurt Americans including veterans and the elderly sadly still needing to work. Surges of immigrants have hurt black and Hispanic-American workers throughout U.S. history. And what a shame for a nation to have so many college graduates with debt but few career opportunities. Mr. Obama, bring us more jobs, not more workers.
We are now experiencing the lowest workforce participation rate in America's history. Many people have stopped looking for jobs as the President removes incentives, grows the welfare state, and gives our jobs to non-citizens. Nearly twenty million (20,000,000) Americans are currently looking for jobs, but cannot find one. The incompetence of leadership that invites more people to compete for scarce labor is staggering. One can only deduce an interest in growing a Permanent Progressive Majority (a dependency state that, I believe, demoralizes and dehumanizes a nation).
Wouldn't wisdom, leadership and true kindness bring more jobs to a nation, before bringing more workers, welfare recipients and likely voters?
5. The Danger of welcoming Islam and Gangs
The rise of the global Muslim Brotherhood terrorist network under the watch of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is now obvious to the world. Open borders to America continue to invite violent drug gangs and Islamic terrorists. I wish it were not true, but denial is silly and unloving.
President Obama and political correctness have brought the conflict to us under the folly or guise of "tolerance" and "compassion." Stanford sociologist, Thomas Sowell warns us of the unwise "welcome of incompatible cultures, which Europe is learning the hard way." It is now in America. It is estimated that 2.5 million Muslims are now, without our permission, among us in our own American cities (yes, many are no doubt peace-loving people but many are also attending Sharia-compliant mosques that teach violence).
America must close its borders and regain the rule of law and discernment. Americans must read and learn of Islam's 1,400-year history. Churches must share the good news of Jesus Christ with Muslims, and all people. Do not be bullied into silence. CAIR and other Islamists are daily "evangelizing" in our schools, prisons, courtrooms, media centers – for Islam and Sharia law. That is not good news. Let's share the truly good news of God's freedom and love. Love speaks and reasons and does not fail.
Summary: Perhaps you will consider the whole counsel of Scripture including the Genesis cultural mandate to steward the garden well, for human flourishing. Let's include Proverbs, Isaiah, Ruth and Nehemiah. Let's love citizens as well as strangers. The Lord is a wise and loving Father who excels in managing his household and has shown us the path of life. Let's do justice to the American story, and future. If we do not, countless more human beings will suffer. If we do, we justly and wisely serve the generations who will follow us. It is time for wisdom and courage.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis put it this way:
Many Christians have the idea that, provided you are 'good,' it does not matter being a fool. No …. He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not …. Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it. (chapter, "The Cardinal Virtues")