March 24, 2006

God's Immigration Policy?

I noticed an interesting quote today on CNN ...
"They're here for the American Dream," said Malissa Greer, 29, who joined 10,000 people in a march through Phoenix, Arizona today. "God created all of us. He's not a God of the United States. He's a God of the world." Across the country, people protested against proposals cracking down on illegal immigrants, with demonstrators in Arizona, California and Georgia staging school walkouts, marches and work stoppages.
While I’m not really sure what God being the God of the ‘whole world’ not just the US has to do with immigration --- I wonder what exactly the Christian response to (frankly illegal) immigration should be. There are a number of passages in Old Testament about the ‘foreigner’ or ‘alien’ in your land and how you should take care of them --- but how does this apply to modern American immigration policy?

How broadly should we apply the following commands?
“There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.”

Numbers15:16

“He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 10:18-19

“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien {or} an orphan, nor take a widow's garment in pledge. But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing. When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.”

Deuteronomy 24:17-22
The story of Ruth (who is, after all a foreigner) also comes to mind.

Further, David, in 1 Chronicles 22 is documented using what appears to be the ancient equivalent of modern immigrant day laborers.
Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” David commanded to gather together the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God.
On a side note, God clearly does recognize ‘nations’ so the idea that the whole world is one huge open border just because God created it all is silly.

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