I live in the great and wonderful state of South Carolina, one of many southern states to adopt some rather stringent laws concerning illegal immigration ala Arizona, Georgia, & Alabama. I don’t bring up this issue because of my rising food costs, and how “Georgia’s economy is projected to shrink by $391 million and lose 3,260 jobs as a result of farm labor shortages this year, according to a report released Tuesday by the state’s agricultural industry.1”
I bring up this issue because as Christians, how are we called to respond?
Now, I recognize we must maintain secure borders because of drugs (and the violence that comes with drugs) and to keep another tragedy from occurring. But how are we now choosing as a nation to act? Many of our politicians on the campaign trail and in Washington loudly profess how their Christian faith affects the choices they make (or will make) on the Hill. Really?
Currently – if you are found to be working without proper documentation, or you are found to be a person working without legal status you can be detained or quickly deported; and those who employ such workers are fined heavily. That’s the basics of the laws our politicians who love to stump and speak of their “Christian Values” wrote.
So how does the Bible deal with this issue? Does it? – You betcha.
Remember – the Exodus begins with the People of Israel residing in a place that was not their home. They were aliens in a foreign land. How did the people of Israel get to Egypt? Check out the story of Joseph, his brothers, and coat that may be described as a Technicolor Dream Coat. But in Exodus, the Israelites are in Egypt and have been oppressed. The Egyptian people forgot the good that came of Joseph and grew fearful of this large nation of people living within their borders. So the Pharaohs created laws that forced the people of Israel into slavery. Israel cried out, and God heard their cries for mercy; leading them out of bondage via the Red Sea. While in the wilderness God spoke, not just to Moses, but to the entire nation of Israel.
How awesome would that have been, did God really sound like James Earl Jones?
Sorry, I digress.
God spoke and gave the Hebrew people the Law, the rules of how to live as a nation of Godly people. We know many of these rules, but I want to talk about just one that was mentioned since we’re dealing with illegal immigration.
Exodus 22:21 reads:
“You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien for you were aliens in the Land of Egypt.”
So, God didn’t say, “Evict and detain these people, and fine whoever provided these people shelter and employment.” God reminds us the people of Israel were once a people without a land. Are we wronging, or oppressing those today who may be considered resident aliens?
Yes, we must maintain security; but if we claim to be a nation that uplifts Christian principals, how are we living out those values with laws that are in direct conflict with the laws that God gave the people of Israel?
If we claim the Good News of Christ’s Salvation,
we reject the oppressed,
abuse those without a home,
and do not heed the Word of God;
How do we, as a nation, differ from the Land of Egypt spoken about in the Old Testament?
Because it didn’t end well for the Pharoh.
-Look, a citation!
1Galloway, Jim. “Ag Report: $16 Million in Vidalia Onions, $29 Million in Blueberries Lost to HB 87 | Political Insider.” Blogs about Atlanta News, Sports and More | Ajc.com, AccessAtlanta.com. Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 4 Oct. 2011. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. <http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2011/10/04/ag-report-16-million-in-vidalia-onions-29-million-in-blueberries-lost-to-hb-87/>.