Home > Faith and Spirituality, Ground Zero, Guest Blogs > Many Christians are “missing the mark” on immigration

Many Christians are “missing the mark” on immigration

My heart has been grieving over the immigration battle brewing in the state of Arizona. SB1070 is nothing short of government sponsored terrorism toward people of color, particularly our Mexican brothers and sisters.

I do consider both Mexican nationals, and Americans of Mexican descent, to be my brothers and sisters. I try to think of all the people in this world as my extended family. Why? Because I am a Christian and the Bible tells me that my God created all men and women in His image and calls us His children.

And while I do understand that some of the people who are being terrorized by this law have come to America illegally, I also understand that many American citizens are being terrorized as well. I wonder how this law can be applied without resorting to racial profiling, effectively making “brown the new black.”

As I have researched further into the issue, I have discovered the racist origins of the new law, and the [un]surprisingly stacked deck against people of color being able to immigrate legally to America. I encourage all Americans to uncover the truth of these things for themselves and give it serious thought.

But beyond the origins SB1070 and the legalities of immigration, I feel very strongly about this issue from the human rights perspective.

You see, America rapes and plunders the world.

We steal the resources of third world nations. We rob the people of these nations by paying shockingly sub-par wages. We industrialize and mine in them without following our own environmental standards. We wage wars and make refugees out of the citizens.

Doesn’t it make sense that the people we steal from would attempt to follow their wealth and resources to America? Mexico and Latin America are being destroyed by America’s drug war. Latinos are having their homes and neighborhoods taken over by cartels and gangs and we did this!

We have made them refugees and when they come here seeking the freedom and opportunities that we have denied them, we treat them like the worst kinds of criminals. Most of the people who immigrate illegally into the US are not criminals – they are hard working, honest, and good people. The supposed crime statistics just don’t add up.

So how can we, who call ourselves Christians, support the violent offenses against our brothers and sisters? Do they deserve to have their homes raided? Do families deserve to be torn apart? Do children need to lose their parents? Do honest, hard-working people (who otherwise would never be allowed to come here, check the history!) deserve to be treated like the scum of the earth?

Let me just say this before moving on – Manifest destiny is not proof of “God’s blessing” on America. Manifest destiny is the rationalization of theft in the name of God. Think about it. How would be feel about Mexico’s “manifest destiny” to take back their original lands? Yeah, I thought so.

Just because we are experiencing difficult economic times in our nation, does that mean it’s ok to develop a mob mentality and start going after “those dirty Mexicans who steal all of our jobs”?

Those who claim to be Christians should be doing anything in their power to alleviate pain and suffering on our planet. Starting with how we treat those people who are already here, and then extending that grace to the nations we have been destroying. Why? Because Jesus tells us to to bring heaven to earth!

“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:9-15

Jesus asks us to pray for God’s kingdom to be on earth as it is in heaven. We have been bringing hell to earth and robbing the people of this planet of their peace and joy. Do you think the kingdom of God is so divided? Will there is Mexico Heaven and America Heaven and Canada Heaven? I think not! We are one planet, one people.

“The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

The entire law, which Jesus came to fulfill, can be summed up as loving your neighbor as yourself.
I have read this carefully, and I haven’t found that is specifies only white neighbors, or “good” neighbors, or “nice” neighbors, or Christian neighbors. It just says neighbors. Whether your neighbors are the people who live next door to you in your neighborhoods, or they are the neighbors of our nation, this text applies. We are to love them as we love ourselves.

We have destroyed their homes and stolen their resources. We have done the opposite of loving our neighbor. Would you steal, destroy, and pillage your own family? Would you condone the ripping apart of loved ones? Yet, we do! As long is it’s a mentality of us vs. them.

So, maybe you can’t see immigrants as your neighbor yet. Although you should, I understand we are all on varying stages of acceptance. I know many ‘Christians’ who see immigrants as enemies who steal jobs, burden our economy, and reap the benefits of American tax dollars. If that is the case, you are still without excuse!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44

Because we are called to love even our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us! Love them, for God *is* love, and God created us all. There is divinity in every person on this planet. We all bear the image of God.

Your hatred and treatment of immigrants is the same as murder. Did you get that Christians?

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” Matthew 5:21-22

Those are strong words, but they are needed. We humans are pretty thickheaded. Christians, I fear, even more so. We read these words, but fail to even come close to living up to them. We are supposed to be the radical ones on this planet. Not living life in judgment of all those around us, condemning them for their sins. No, we are supposed to be radical in our love, radical in how we treat one another, radical in meeting the needs of those who are weak, hungry, sick, poor, and downtrodden.

Christians in the first century church sold all their possessions and gave to those in the community so that none had need. Think about what America does. Rather than give up even some of our possessions and wealth to those in need, we steal even more! We are so far from the calling of Christ.

I challenge you to rethink what it means to be a Christian and what stance you should be taking on immigration. Think about how you need to change yourself and your thoughts first, and then focus an eye on changing the hurts of our world. Immigrants don’t need to be vilified…they need to be loved, treated with respect, and shown the true light of Christ’s message. Sadly, all they see from us – supposed Christians – is darkness, hatred, and fear.

The word ‘sin’ in the original Greek means “to miss the mark” Christians are indeed missing the mark on this issue, and many more that relate directly to how we treat others. Not only are we guilty of this sin, but we make the message of Christ unappealing. You represent Christ….so, how are you doing with that?

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  1. August 9, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    Becky, I read an article in the LA Times just today that lends weight to so much of what you say here about how words and actions differ.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/08/opinion/la-oe-lobdell-religion-20100808

    • Becky
      August 9, 2010 at 6:23 PM

      I read that last night, actually. Which is where my heart already was, but added even more.

  2. Pam Vozza
    August 9, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    Becky, thank you for saying this so well. I have so many Christian friends who are vehemently in support of this law and I try to speak to them from a “what would Jesus do” perspective to no avail. Thank you for your eloquent words.

    • Becky
      August 9, 2010 at 9:26 PM

      I suspect the problem lies in only being a Christian when it’s convenient and what I call cultural Christianity. “Mom and Dad were Christians, and I have always gone to church, so that’s just what I do” type of mentality. I sincerely doubt that many have made a decision for Christ on their own and with any understanding of what that means. *sigh*

      I have way more thoughts on this than any one blog can contain. It makes me very, very sad.

  3. August 9, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    Becky,
    Thank you for writing this post…it is one of the arguments I have with most christians (as you well know). I appreciate that, from the perspective of a christian, you are able to say words that others may heed. I know that my message has been similar, but since I am not a christian, it is either completely ignored or “justifiably argued with.”
    Thanks again,
    Heidi

    • August 9, 2010 at 9:04 PM

      LOL and Heidi, much as I adore you, you always wind up burning someone’s eyelashes with the candle trying to get them to see the light 🙂

    • Becky
      August 9, 2010 at 9:23 PM

      I know that it goes ignored coming from non-Christians. I am sure it will be ignored from me and they will say I am not really a Christian, or that I am not a good American, or something else. I hear it alot.

      I can’t profess to doing all the things I need to do as a Christian. I know I want and need to do more and that I am always working on that.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  4. August 9, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    @ Cyndi….yeah, I know. I really don’t like that about myself…I really wish I could do things differently. I am getting better as I age…but, honestly, I am still WAY too strung-out emotionally.

    • August 10, 2010 at 5:39 AM

      Trust me, even though you and I have head butted once or twice over things we saw differently, I appreciate both your passion & your honesty, even when their rough around the edges.

  5. MaryAnn
    August 10, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    I am offended by a lot of the anti-American propaganda in this article.

    I don’t recall invading Mexico any time in recent history. We (as Americans and as Christians) are not responsible for any problems that might influence why these illegals are coming into this country, unless they have to do with drug smuggling, which we DO fight against, but mostly on our own soil.

    There are laws in this country that govern immigration. All people who come to this country legally and learn the language, get a legal job, pay taxes, are usually treated fairly.

    If people cannot not document their right to be here, they should be IMMEDIATELY deported. Then they can come into to the country legally.

    All immigrants for 200 years have been required to learn English and to work for a living, pay taxes. Why are we all of a sudden allowing a group of people to INVADE this country, live off the grid, draw social security when they haven’t even worked to earn it.? We put up signs everywhere in Spanish, but where are the signs for the other immigrants .. there are none because they LEARN ENGLISH, get jobs, become citizens.

    • August 10, 2010 at 10:04 PM

      MaryAnn, I debated for some time how to address your comment. I like to have open and honest exchanges of ideas, including those that differ from my own, but in my experience with you, those kinds of conversations just don’t happen. I could take the time to dispute your opinions with historical fact and provide you with sources, but I’m familiar with your standard M.O. so I already know you’ll refuse to read them or take the information into consideration, and that my time and energy would be wasted. I could request that you provide sources to back up your assertations, but again, I am familiar with your M.O. You will state that you don’t need sources, because you know what you know.

      So, I will just say this… unlike Heidi, I feel no sense of family obligation to tolerate your negativity. Unlike Heidi’s facebook page, this blog is MY space, and I have a comment policy. If you cannot abide by that policy, I will block you from commenting. When you are a guest in my home, you will not insult my friends or family members. You will not call anyone, particularly someone who has served in the armed forces, anti american because her views differ from yours.

      I will pray for you… your bigotry and hatred exemplifies everything in this post.

    • Becky
      August 10, 2010 at 11:07 PM

      MaryAnn,

      What I wrote is not propaganda, or Anti-American. It’s truth.

      Have we invaded Mexico? I actually laughed out loud at this. If you consider that most of the southwest United States once *was* Mexico, I guess you could say that. If you take into account the numerous covert operations by special forces that happen over the drug war, I guess that would be a form of invasion as well. You ignorance of basic American history offends me.

      I am also offended by people who supposedly love America, but adhere to a blind allegiance, as if this nation can do no wrong. We are obligated as citizens of this to question the ethics, policies, and laws of America. We are empowered to overthrow our government if necessary in our constitution. The very constitution I swore to uphold and protect, along with people like you. Because, you know, I am anti-American.

      I cannot understand how you don’t feel that we are responsible for why they are coming to America. Did you read this at all? Have you bothered to open your eyes and see what is happening? Do you have ANY idea, really, how much America takes from the rest of the world? How can you not feel an obligation.

      You are a prime example of what this blog is talking about. You are comfortable with your life and your comfort makes you lukewarm. If you read the Bible, you will know what it says about that, I am sure. If you took the teachings of Christ seriously, this message would convict your heart and spur to to action. Whether learning more about the situation in order to understand the truth, or to take action.

      In any case, I will pray for you.

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