This is The Christian Response Briefing. I’m Daniel Whyte IV. The Christian Response Briefing represents the perspective of the Christian community to the events happening in our perilous times. When great tragedies or historic events take place, the White House and other organizations often have a publicized response. In this briefing, we share a response to the same events based on God’s Word.
The Trump administration’s immigration policies have become the subject of much intense debate in recent weeks, particularly over the policy of separating children from their parents as a “deterrent” to illegal entry into the country. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders referenced the Bible’s command to obey the government in Romans 13 in defense of the policy. On Monday, Sessions, President Trump, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the policy in statements to the press. Many political leaders on both sides of the aisle as well as many Christian leaders have condemned the practice as cruel and immoral.
And we agree. Immigrant families fleeing poverty and violence to seek a better life in America should be treated with compassion and empathy. We must remember that many of the very people who founded this nation and flooded its shores for decades were fleeing persecution for religious beliefs and lack of economic opportunity in their own lands.
When the children of Israel were establishing their nation, God told them in Leviticus 19:33-34, “When a foreigner lives with you in your land, you must not oppress him. You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself.” In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, God says that he “loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. You also must love the foreigner.”
That being said, it is true that the Bible commands us to obey the laws of government as long as those laws are just. Romans 13:1-3 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” Laws regarding national borders are necessary for the security of the nation. And the government is right to enforce those laws and require those who seek to come to this country to enter by legal means.
However, the government’s laws can be carried out in a loving and empathetic manner particularly when considering the condition of those seeking entry. The simple solution to the problem is to detain familes together, process them together, and either allow them into the country or send them out of the county together. The immigrants coming to our borders have already endured much suffering. We need not heap it on them a hundredfold by separating parents from their children.
Romans 13:9-11 embodies the spirit that we should have toward the immigrants seeking shelter within our borders: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Our job as Christians is to pray for foreigners yearning to breath free and to pray for the president and government that is trying to protect the citizens of this country from murder and mayhem. It’s a both/and solution all the way across.
One final thought. If we as churches and Christians are not willing to put our money where our mmouth is and adopt these poor families into our oftentimes rich churches and rich homes, to help alleviate the problem, maybe we should not complain about what the foreigners or the government is doing.
Thank you for listening to the Christian Response Briefing. I’m Daniel Whyte IV.