Monday, April 26, 2010

the stranger

there is a storm brewing out west. recent legislation adopted by AZ threatens to unearth our fear and hate a scape-goating inclinations.  while the law of the land is important we are always challenged to affirm our ultimate obligation to the reign of God.  our story tells us (without qualification)

“when an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.  The alien who resides with you shall be ot you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I an the Lord you God.” (my emphasis…Leviticus 19:33-34).

i know it is a complicated issue and i know there are qualifications to be made but this passage (and many like it) must be our touchstone…along with careful reflection on the way Jesus positioned himself in the public sphere where stones were cupped in white-knuckled hands.

this group is doing some good work to help frame a christian response…check it out.  they say:

· We believe all people, regardless of national origin or citizenship status, are made in the "image of God" and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6).

· We believe there is an undeniable responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:31-46).

· We believe that immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37).

· We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God's image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7).

We recognize that the current U.S. immigration system is broken and reform is necessary.

The biblical princples above compel us to support immigration reform legislation that includes the following elements:

· Enforcement initiatives that are consistent with humanitarian values;

· Reforms in our family-based immigration system that reduce waiting times for separated families to be reunited;

· A process for all immigrant workers and their families already in the U.S. to earn citizenship upon satisfaction of specific criteria;

· An expansion of legal avenues for workers and families to enter our country and work in a safe and legal manner with their rights and due process fully protected;

· Examining solutions to address the root causes of migration, such as economic disparities between sending and receiving nations.

2 comments:

ChooseLove said...

I have been meditating on Levititicus 19:33-34 as well. There are so many Christians with such strong opinions on this topic, but I suppose I just can't see past this verse. Very good post - respectful, Biblical, and insightful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

perhaps the true problem with too many immigrants is that our lifestyle will be lowered. We have it good here and they have it bad there so they want to come here for a better life.
If the politicians really wanted them out, they would keep them out and get them out, but the reality is that our leaders actually want them here.
Now the question is, how long are you supposed to support the stranger in your land? Indefinately?
Ben Frank said something like "a open port, a cut cheese, and a houseguest all go bad in three days."