Immigration: Choosing Love Instead of Fear
I don’t often write about political issues. I don’t like politics. I don’t like talking about politics or thinking about politics. It tends to just make me upset. But I’m excited that the Christian synchroblog I used to be a part of is starting up again and I want to jump back in even though this month’s topic is a very political issue. I'll be honest, I don’t feel like I have something really helpful to add to the debate. I don’t have a solution for the “immigration problem”. I don’t know all the ins and outs, or all the pros and cons of different suggestions. I don’t have any idea what a Christian policy on immigration should really look like – I’m not sure there really is ONE “Christian policy on immigration”. I am sure that the issue is complex, that there are probably a variety of solutions that would solve a variety of the problems that arise when dealing with immigration. I’m sure that there are a multitude of “right” approaches.
Personally, I don’t want to talk about solutions, or suggestions today. I don’t want to talk about the legality of the issue, or about how it relates to jobs and the economy. I don’t want to talk about the politics of the situation. What I want to talk about is attitude.
As followers of Christ what should our attitude be towards immigrants? I don’t know about you but so often when I hear people talking about the “immigration issue” I hear a lot of negativity and very little love. I hear a lot of prejudice and racism and not a lot of love. I hear a lot of condemnation and not a lot of love. I believe that as Christians we should take a higher approach, a different stance. We should try to understand instead of condemn, to help instead of degrade and to love instead of fear.
I think a lot of the problem comes from fear. People fear immigration and immigrants. They fear the influence that immigrants (both legal and illegal) will have on the American economy, culture, and political system. They believe that we have to protect America and that the protection of America is the ultimate goal and makes any act (including the restriction of civil liberties) justifiable. Out of fear, policies are then made that restrict civil liberties (case in point: Arizona). The restriction of civil liberties due to fear is much more detrimental to America than immigration will ever be.
The truth of the matter is that we are all foreigners and strangers on this earth. The truth of the matter is that our ultimate allegiance is not to a specific country and protecting its way of life. Our ultimate allegiance is not to a specific political or economic system. Our ultimate allegiance IS to Christ Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and his radical new kingdom.
As Christians, I believe we need to support policies that are not driven by fear, but are instead driven by love and sound reasoning. We need to remember that although we owe America some gratitude and allegiance for the gifts that it provides us with, America is just a nation – nations rise and fall, but our allegiance is to God most High and Him alone. We need to remember that immigrants are our brothers and sisters, even if they look and act differently than we do. They each have unique stories to tell and a no matter how they crossed our boarders, or why they crossed our boarders, God loves them passionately and recklessly and so should we.
Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman
Here are the other synchroblog participants posts. Hope you all enjoy the discussion! I know I'm really looking forward to reading through these:
Mike Victorino at Still A Night Owl – 'Being the Flag' Sonnie Swentson-Forbes at Hey Sonnie – 'Immigration Stories' Steven Calascione at Eirenikos – 'The Jealousy of Migration' George Elerick at The Love Revolution – 'We’re Not Kings or Gods' Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – “Together We Can Make Dreams Come True“ Sonnie Swentson at A Piece of My Mind – “Immigration Stories“ Matt Stone at Global Christianity – “Is Xenophobia Every Christlike?“ Steve Hayes at Khanya – “Christians And The Immigration Issue“ Ellen Haroutunian – “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses“ Beth Stedman – “Immigration: Choosing Love Instead of Fear“ Pete Houston at Peter’s Progress – “Of Rape And Refuge“ Joshua Seek – “Loving Our Immigrant Brother“ Amanda MacInnis at Cheese Wearing Theology – “Christians and Immigration“ Sonja Andrews at Calacirian – “You’re Right“ Kathy Escobar at Carnival In My Head – “It’s A Lot Easier To Be Against Immigration Reform When You Have Papers“ Jonathan Brink – “Immigration Synchroblog” Beth Patterson at Virtual Tea House – “What we resist not only persists but eventually becomes our landlord”