A Biblical Worldview on Immigration

July 3, 2006 — 26 Comments

**Read This** The Bible is unabashedly pro-immigrant. Interesting article to take a look at. I’m not sure I agree with everything he says, and in fact, I think he goes a bit overboard. But he has some interesting points to make. Thoughts?

I’ve been thinking about illegal immigration for the past couple of months, and really wrestling with the issue of how we should respond. Should we just boot the people out of our country, or should we go the completely opposite route and award them complete amnesty. I quickly ruled out complete amnesty, due to the fact that that would not be serving justice. But I also came to the understanding that many Christians have put aside their biblical worldview in this issue, and have just been speaking Rush Limbaugh talking points. It’s not that Rush is wrong, it’s just that many of us, in our tone, come off as heartless. We come off as compassionless.

Now, what do I propose in order to fix the situation? To tell you the truth, I’m still working through it, figuring things out. One fact is, we can’t just kick 11 million people out of the country. On the other hand, it would be a terrible injustice if we just granted amnesty to all illegal aliens, whether they are from Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Europe, or Africa. Where is the middle ground, and where should we as Christians be standing on this issue?

Here’s what we need to answer:


How should a Christian respond to this issue as a whole?
How would you fix this problem if you were put into a place of power?

There may be more questions to answer, but I think these are two of the central ones that I am wrestling with. Are you up to the task of answering them? Use the comment section or your blog, and we’ll try to figure this out as Christians, and not just as Republicans.

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

26 responses to A Biblical Worldview on Immigration

  1. You offer the same false choice that Bush does. A third alternative would be to simply start enforcing the laws and encourage many current illegal aliens to self-deport. That would also discourage more from coming.

    When coming up with a solution you need to take into account all the negative effects of illegal immigration: increased political corruption in the U.S., increased political power for Mexico inside the U.S., and on and on.

  2. It’s such a delicate balance between maintaining safety within our borders, and allowing others to start a new life here…

    I am so glad I’m not the President.

  3. One thing to keep in mind Tim, the role of Government and the role of individual people are 2 differnt things. I’ve debated immigration and that concept seems to get mixed up alot. The Government is supposed to Punish evildoers (or lawbreakers) and reward good. (see full explanation of what I found government’s biblical role to be on my blog under “Published Articles”). The Christian’s role as an individual, however is completely different. We’re suposed to help the poor and needy.

    So, if we as citizens stumble along an illegal, what should we do?

    We should follow our role as Christians and help them out, though encourage them to gain legal citizenship.

    But as the government, we need to enforce our laws, and use whatever action needed to keep them enforced.

    So, with regards to the two questions posed:

    How should a Christian respond to this issue as a whole?

    We need to understand our role and the role of government/our role in government.

    Throughout the new testament, it is emphasized that we are to help eachother as Christians. Though, if we are placed in government, then it is our job to punish evil/reward good and enforce the law. I am quite against amnesty, but if I stumbled across an illegal looking for food or something, I would help them out if I could. That is my duty as a Christian.

    How would you fix this problem if you were put into a place of power?

    I’ve asked this question to alot of my elected officials and I’ve gotten some good answers, with a Biblical basis. Enforce the Law. We have laws regarding immigration but they don’t get enforced. If we started enforcing our own laws that might slow the immigration down a bit. I personally propose building a “wall” as a deterrent so we can make the problem manageable. Also, eliminate needless government aid (I.e., welfare, social security, etc..) it’s unbiblical and if we did that, we would be causing another detterrant. Most illegal immigrants are on some form of government aid (illegally of course)and if we told them, “you can’t use this because you’re not a citizen”a dn enforced that…it would in turn most likely slow the incentive to come.

    That’s my take on it, I’ll probably be comming back and explaining more…

    hope it helped
    Kierstyn

  4. We cannot possibly provide financially for every person who would like to immigrate to the US. We have got to enforce our border, we have got to have limits on how many come over. We can allow the numbers of immigrants that our laws allow and allow them to come when they go through the steps to come here legally. Yes, it is important to show compassion and reach out in whatever ways God directs, but we need to do something, or what is the point of Homeland Security plans? We are making our citizens vulnerable unil we do something to protect the borders.

  5. Copying the talking points of Rush Limbaugh? Why is that even in here? If he’s right, he’s right. He certainally is not wrong.

    “One fact is, we can’t just kick 11 million people out of the country.”

    One fact is, we can’t catch all the killers in the country. So why try?
    Because we are a nation of laws, and laws are worth nothing if not enforced to the maximum amount possible.
    If you entered the country illegally, you knew the consequences if you were caught, yet broke our laws anyways. Breaking and entering into the United States of America is a crime punishable by deportation, and that is what the law calls for. Compassion should not even be an issue here, justice is the issue.

    If the illegals wanted to come into our country to make a better life, they should have done so legally. They have blown their chance by shattering our laws.

    How do I think a Christian should respond to this? In the manner the just and moral laws dictate, and that is the immediate deportation of illegal aliens, whether there are 100 or 11 million, they have broken our laws and should be prepared to suffer the consequences.

    If I was in a place of power, the law would be followed. The issue is only cloudy if you make it so with useless emotional appeals and a blatent disregard for the law.

    There should also be no difference between Republicans or Christians here. The Law of this land, regarding immigration, is legal, moral and just. Just follow the laws we have established.

  6. I agree with Palm. I was going to write something along the lines of what he said, but he already said it, haha.

  7. What a question, Tim!

    I recently read Thomas Sowell’s book Migrations and Cultures . He provides a free enterprise economist’s perspective on immigration and shows how, historically, immigrants have contributed vast amounts to the economies of the countries to which they have migrated. It was interesting – not what I expected, but interesting.

  8. Here’s what I’m saying when it comes to the Rush Limbaugh stuff: our tone comes off as just terribly nasty. It comes off as unchristian, and immedietly turns people away from the message which is probably right on. I agree with you all – justice must be served in some way. I really think that we need to secure the borders so we don’t have any more illegals coming in, and deal with the 11 million or so here by either deporting the bad ones (those who have broken other laws), or having those who want to work do so and also work to become legal citizens. Give them the chance.

    I also want to make sure we do not seperate our biblical worldview out when we start talking about any issue. We must look at it and see what the Bible says. We need to look at even our laws and see what the Bible says.

    Now, on a final note: IllegalImmigrationIntroduction. I haven’t said what I believed on the issue unitl this point. I never said I agreed with Bush or I agreed with someone like Tancredo. I’m looking at this issue as a Christian, and will make my decision based on God’s Word.

    Further thoughts? I’m certainly open to more discussion.

  9. Tim-
    I’ve always wondered why Christians are so anxious to deport people who probably need the gospel. Maybe illegal immigration is God’s answer to our lack of missionary enterprise. “If I can’t get the missionaries to the people, I’ll just get the people to the missionaries.”

    Just a thought…

    Great to see you at G’boro, btw.

  10. Kierstyn, your view on the government is right on. Well explained too.

    “Here’s what I’m saying when it comes to the Rush Limbaugh stuff: our tone comes off as just terribly nasty. It comes off as unchristian, and immedietly turns people away from the message which is probably right on.”

    I still don’t understand why following the law, as Rush advocates, is nasty and mean. A disregard for the law is a turn off for most americans, much more so then it is for someone who has a blatent disregard for it in the face of supposed compassion.
    But is it compassion to leave criminals running loose in America? Where they are likely to commit more crimes? If you are the family of a victem, how much compassion would an illegal deserve? Protect our citizens first, then we deal with compassion.

    Tell me, do the half million criminals who marched in LA and Dallas, waving Mexican flags, reposting the US flag upside down, and then burning Old Glory, what compassion do they deserve? How many slaps in the face will this country take before people begin to realize we are dealing with criminals here, not helpless buffoons who stumble across the border, looking a ‘better life for them and their family’?

    “deal with the 11 million or so here by either deporting the bad ones (those who have broken other laws)”

    They have already broken the law. They should now reap their rewards, which in the case of illegal immigration, is a swift and sudden deportation to the country of origin.

    “Give them the chance.”
    Everyone has a chance at immigration to the US, but not everyone breaks the law. Why in the world should a person who has shown absolutly no regard for the laws of this country, be put in the same line with a regular immigrant, or put in front of the line, because they broke the law to get in first?

    And on the article, the Bible is pro-immigration: The bible is pro-immigrant, but not pro-criminal.
    Why this is so hard to understand, I don’t know.

  11. Great thoughts, Palm Boy. But I think my point still stands that our tone must still be compassionate, although we must have justice served. Now, it’s still up for debate on how justice can be served, but I think we can all respond to this issue without any hint hatred in our voices.

    My compassion is not letting things go – God still has to have justice served when he gives us mercy. That justice was given to Jesus Christ.

    I just can’t see deporting all of the 11 + million illegals in this country.

    Marty,
    Another good point – we’re looking at a huge mission field, and if we are witnessing now, when these immigrants are saved, they can spread it to their own country.

  12. “But I think my point still stands that our tone must still be compassionate, although we must have justice served.”

    Please explain how this works. The way to administer justice is with the administration of the law, and the enforcement of the punishments for breaking the law.
    Is it compassion to let a person break the law, and get away with it? Is it compassion for the children to see their fathers break the law, and escape the consequences? Is it compassion to law abiding Americans to let criminals walk the streets?

    This is not the tone of hatred, this is the tone of truth. By definition an illegal alien is a criminal, one who has broken the law, and entered a country without permission. Thus, they are criminals. The punishment for illegal immigration is deportation to country of origin. That isn’t hate, it’s justice.

    Why is it so inconcievable that we deport 11 million illegals? Administer each person on a case by case basis, and export those who are here illegally.

    As for the missions field, thats great. They probably need Christ. But that is absolutly no reason whatsoever to keep from punishing those who break the law.

  13. Tim, the article you links to commits the logical fallacy of diversion (i.e. a red herring). As it is, the author can only come up with one Bible passage to support his claim (and apparently your claim) that the Bible is “unabashedly pro immigrant.” There are numerous Bible passages, however, that force us to the conclusion that illegal immigration is wrong and should be punished. See Virtue Blog for more details.

  14. Edit: I take back the “apparently your claim” since I see you do state reservations about it.

  15. Thanks Derek, I appreciate it. Thanks for taking a look and responding without grouping me with the author. And great job responding to the article. It was pretty close to what I’ve been thinking.

  16. I read the article and find it typical of many I have read or heard that use the scriptures the way they want to and do not give a full explanation on any topic.

    Jerry Bower says “Immigration is different: The Bible is explicit. In the Torah, Moses commanded, “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.” The Bible is unabashedly pro-immigrant.

    The argument is simple: You were immigrants in Egypt, and you didn’t like being mistreated, so now that you have your own country, you should treat immigrants compassionately. Compassionate treatment of immigrants is basically an early version of the Golden Rule: Treat people the way you used to want to be treated when you were in Egypt.”

    I believe the scripture is pro-alien but many texts state clearly that the alien is to follow God’s law not their own. The point is someone should look at all that the Bible teaches on immigration and write a clear article or two so that we are not misled. The following are only a few of the 56 verses that I am aware of using the term “alien”.

    NAS Exodus 12:19 ‘Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.

    The alien could not eat what he wanted in their land.

    NAS Leviticus 16:29 “And this shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls, and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;

    The alien could not work when he wanted in their land.

    NAS Leviticus 17:12 “Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’

    The alien could not eat blood in their land.

    NAS Leviticus 17:15 “And when any person eats an animal which dies, or is torn by beasts, whether he is a native or an alien, he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening; then he will become clean.

    The alien had follow cleansing rites in their land.

    NAS Leviticus 18:26 ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you

    The alien could not do abominations in their land.

    The issue is illegal aliens and what does the Bible have to say about these things. The aliens in the O.T. were to follow the same laws as the Hebrews and the Hebrews were to treat them as they would be treated — under God’s law not some version of their own idea of what compassion meant. The alien in the O.T. was not considered to be illegal as far as I can tell. But they God’s law was to be applied equally to all who were under their jurisdiction.

    This is an excellent topic that needs full development of thought from both the Old and New Testaments.

  17. Tim, this is a hot one. Thanks for raising the topic! I’ve got WAY more to say about this than I can squeeze in here and now… but keep your eye on my blog for more on this.

  18. regarding biblical immigrants,
    sure they did not eat whatever they wanted, but did they pay the temple tax? or the king’s tax? that is the question. one of the real issues with illegal immigrants is that they don’t pay taxes and go to state paid schools and hospitals. The blame is not the immigrants but the employers who would cut corners and not pay taxes owed to the state.
    In regards to legal immigration,
    if you had little or no money you would not be doing this. legal immigration requires money. You have to buy the application each time and chances are if you don’t have money you won’t immigrate. America doesn’t want a nation of paupers.

    it’s a tricky question, so I think that what bush did is most likely the path of least resistance.
    oh well
    Micahel

  19. “The blame is not the immigrants but the employers who would cut corners and not pay taxes owed to the state.”

    I beg to differ. The opportunity would not be available for the employers if not for the immigration laws being broken in the first place. The blame rests on both shoulders. The aliens, for breaking and entering, and the employers for hiring them.

  20. “our tone comes off as just terribly nasty. It comes off as unchristian, and immedietly turns people away from the message which is probably right on.”

    Wow that sounded liberal to the max!
    WHo cares what our tone is, if they come here illegally they shouldnt get a pretty present and then given citizenship because we dont have the guts to send them home.

    The illegals have been more of a burden than a help to this nation. And when they say “We pay taxes” that is a load of bull****. they have no irs after them to pay like all of us have.

  21. Daweed,
    1. I’m not liberal, and as I’ve said numerous times, I’m still thinking through this.

    2. I think you made my point about tone pretty clear. Remember, I’m looking at this from a Christian perspective, not a Republican (although I call myself one).

  22. I have heard so many issues come up recently about what the US should do about immigration it makes me sick. I don’t know how well deporting would work, but I do know that we need to keep up our rules about illegal immigrants and not allow anymore to come and stay. My family technically immigrated from Germany but the legal way, and I must say for having to go through the whole system was a pain but for those that come in correctly, to see others just allowed to come in illegally, not pay any taxes, and get jobs, gets very annoying. My dad had to go through the whole green card deal, and almost got thrown out of the country for a mistake on the governments part. Our country really needs to uphold the law otherwise why obey any other laws they have made?

  23. Edward Choate July 11, 2006 at 6:20 PM

    My answer is :

    Fine the illegal’s:
    12 million Illegal’s = 12 million Illegal Immigrants ID cards that has fingerprint and DNA of every illegal Immigrant together with background check at $2000.00 each = $ 24.000.000.000 plus a fine for being here illegally of 2.000 each = 24.000.000.000. Plus Expenses for immigration documents 1000.00 = 12.000.000.000
    24.000.000.000 + 24.000.000.000 + 12.000.000.000 =
    US $ 60.000.000.000
    Help pay the national debt with the money
    Get rid of every one with criminal record.
    Shoot anyone entering the US via desert until we build a Wall that will be a free duty area for immegrants that want the american way of life without having to come to america. This free duty work area (inside of the US) a publicly held enterprise hires immigrants to work in the factories for 5 years. After 5 years they get permition to move to inside the border if: They learn how to speak, read and write college level English and have no criminal records.

  24. Edward: Ouch.

    Everyone else: Jerry Bowyer is (1) not liberal, (2) very conservative, (3) is very acquainted with Church history, traditions, and many strains of theology. In other words, he is very well-educated. While I don’t agree with all his conclusions (government given the sword, etc…), his argument IS logical and Biblically solid…like it or not.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. VirtueBlog » Blog Archive » The Bible–’unabashedly pro-immigrant’? - July 4, 2006

    [...] There’s an interesting discussion at AgentTimOnline over Agent Tim’s latest post, in which he discusses the Bible and illegal mmigration. He opens his post with a link to an article that claims to show that “The Bible is unabashedly pro-immigrant.” [...]

  2. Agent Tim Online :: Culture And Theology--Hand In Hand - July 10, 2006

    [...] I think Colossions 4:5-6 rings quite clearly in light of some of our recent discussions. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. [...]

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>