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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Religion, Name-Calling, and Immigration

American politicians routinely use religion and the Bible for justification for their policies and a cudgel against their opponents.

Michael Doyle reports at McClatchy:
Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday took to the White House driveway for a round of Republican-bashing over immigration.
One day after California joined a dozen other states in a legal brief supporting the Obama administration’s policies, Brown used a quickly arranged meeting with reporters to deploy some less judicious language.
“I just think some of these Republican governors should be ashamed of themselves,” Brown said, adding that “the Republicans delight in undermining the president, and the presidency, and in dividing the country even more than it is.”
Brown further accused the Republicans of “declaring war on millions of people, not just those who are undocumented, but those who sympathize with them.”
Driving the point home, Brown said the Republican position opposed to immigration reform “at best is troglodyte, and at worst un-Christian.”
In July, David Siders reported at The Sacramento Bee:
Gov. Jerry Brown suggested Monday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s ordering of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to address the surge in border crossings is misguided, urging politicians instead to heed the “religious call … to welcome the stranger” in addressing the crisis.
“This is a human problem, and it has been the religious call of all religions to welcome the stranger, and it’s in that spirit that I believe the clergy can call the United States, Mexico and all the players to perhaps a higher response than might otherwise happen,” Brown said on the first full day of his trade mission to Mexico.
Read more here:

At the Center for Immigration Studies, James Edwards explains:
Even the passages of Scripture most often cited by religious advocates of mass immigration and amnesty plainly do not argue for open borders. Rather, these writings generally reflect “equal justice under law” principles.
Consider Leviticus 19:33-34: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Similarly reads Exodus 22:21: “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

Dr. Stephen Steinlight has noted that the Hebrew term for “sojourn” means temporary stay.5 A related term used in some scriptural translations is “stranger.” One Bible dictionary says, “This word generally denotes a person from a foreign land residing in Palestine. Such persons enjoyed many privileges in common with the Jews, but still were separate from them. The relation of the Jews to strangers was regulated by special laws (Deut. 23:3; 24:14-21; 25:5; 26:10-13).”6 This Bible dictionary defines “two classes of aliens: 1) those who were temporary visitors, who owned no landed property; and 2) those who held permanent residence without becoming citizens (Lev. 22:10; Ps. 19:12). Both of these classes were to enjoy, under certain conditions, the same rights as other citizens (Lev. 19:33, 34; Deut. 10:19).”7 Again, those rights amounted to equal standing under the law, or having the benefit of the rule of law. Therefore, it is biblically inaccurate to incorporate, automatically and dogmatically, permanent immigration into every such term.