Why Barack Obama is wrong about the Bible and Immigration

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Published on: November 24, 2014

In his speech announcing unconstitutional, illegal and immoral amnesty for 5 million illegal aliens, President Obama cited the Bible. “Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger –- we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants.”

Here’s why he is wrong.

First, we are not a “nation of immigrants,” although we all have immigrant forefathers. Between 85% and 87% of those who live in the United States were born here. Anyone who was born here is an American by birth, and thus in the truest sense of the word they are not an immigrant, but a native American.

Second, it is not a form of oppression to ask somebody to obey the law. If someone breaks the law and experiences legal consequences, that’s not oppression. That’s justice. Compassion, in fact, is helping someone to obey the law, not break it.

Third, the command to be kind toward immigrants is directed to us as individuals, not to government. The government’s job is justice; kindness and generosity is our job.

There is a huge difference between someone who is here legally and someone who is here illegally, and the kind of treatment each should receive. If you come home and find someone sitting in your living room and eating your food, it makes a huge difference whether you invited them in or whether they broke in by sneaking in the back door.

The proper response to an invited guest is to enjoy their company. The proper response to an uninvited guest is to call the cops.

If compassion is the issue, we must ask the question: where is the compassion for those whose lives are harmed by illegal immigration? Where is the compassion for students, whose educational experience is derailed by a sudden influx of students who speak no English? Where is the compassion for low-skilled black Americans, whose unemployment rate is already twice that of whites? Where is the compassion for people whose communities are disrupted by violence and whose children are endangered by the drug trade? By not “oppressing” strangers, the president is oppressing his own citizens.

The United States has the most generous, open-hearted, open-handed immigration policy in the world. We allow legal entry to 1.1 million sojourners every year, and, of course, we should love them and welcome them.

That’s different, entirely different, than being forced to embrace trespassers who have transgressed on our sovereign territory and broken our laws. To reward such wanton illegality is a form of insanity, shatters respect for the rule of law, and is a recipe for national suicide if taken to its logical conclusion. There is nothing remotely biblical about any of that.

One-third of the world would move to the U.S. if they could. That’s why we have rules, so the process of integrating strangers is orderly and guided by reason, law and common sense.

The solution is not to turn America into a Third World country through uncontrolled immigration. The solution is to turn the Third World into America by giving them an example to imitate, by being the shining city set on a hill Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:14.

Borders are God’s idea (Deuteronomy 32:8, Acts 17:26). A border is meaningless unless it’s something that represents a clear line of demarcation that can be defended and protected.

When Moses brought the fledgling nation of Israel to the border of Moab and was denied entry, he went around Moab rather than through it. In other words, he respected national boundaries.

And if we are looking for biblical instruction on immigration, how about the example of Ruth? Although she was a foreigner, when she came to Israel with Naomi, she did not cling to her native customs and her native religion. Instead, she uttered these famous words: “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). That passage is not about marriage at all. It’s about assimilation. If we are looking for biblical instruction about immigration, perhaps that’s the place to start.

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

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