- ► 2012 (17)
- ► 2011 (33)
- ▼ May (5)
- ► 2008 (29)
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Immigration Questions - Again!
We have a horrendous task before us if we settle the question of "Border Control"! Since I last blogged on this subject, I have had some facebook friends who took exception to some of my statements about keeping the law. It's o.k. with me for them to take exception. We shall remain friends and shall continue to discuss our feelings frankly and without malice towards one another. (At least that's my desire.) For me - the debate over the Arizona law is about law and not about race-relations. As I see it the Bible calls on the followers of Christ to pray for those in authority and to support the officer of the law as we would a minister of Christ. Some who read my thoughts immediately jump to the conclusion that I must not love the aliens. So I must write a few things more in hopes it will clarify my position.
First, Loving the alien is one thing I do. We Christians must love all men, regardless of race, creed or color. Christ taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves. However, This discussion is not about "Apartheid" (a word out of South Africa that means "Apart Life"). My contention is that this is not about "being kind to the Samaritans". It is about breaking the immigration law. Crossing the borders into the USA without a passport and visa... is a crime. It is not a matter of racial prejudice.
Nelson Mandela was imprisoned within his own country. He had a right to fight against being treated unjustly. However – my feeling is that for us to illegally cross into the borders of South Africa and try to overturn the laws of that country is wrong. I do not feel that we have the right to go into Mexico and try to change the laws that we do not agree with. As a missionary working in Africa for many years I saw many laws I considered unjust and unfair but I had better understanding than to become involved in trying to change those laws. If missionaries attempt to get involved in political change they will most likely be dealt with harshly and rapidly. In the same manner, I feel that aliens who come here should not get involved politically until they become nationalized citizens.
Someone said, "The Christian conscience is always in a dialectical tension between laws of the land and the commandments of God." I know of no law/s here in America that makes you and me unable to keep the commandments of God. I do not see “dialectical tension” but I do see signs of "dialectical materialism".
I liked this statememt that someone wrote, "We are obligated to peacefully and prophetically live out our conscience. I liked their emphasis on PEACEFULLY and PROPHETICALLY! Someone lifted up Martin Luther King's strong move against some un-fair laws in the '60s. I like MLK’s position of non-violence but again, we are not dealing with apartheid or racial issues here. We are dealing with immigration and law violators. We are talking about obeying or violating the laws of the land which require a person to have a passport and visa.
I read the National Association of Evangelicals statement advocating immigration reform and some of the Council of Bishops of the Catholic Church supporting an "open door" policy. It seems to me the NAE and Catholic Council support people of any and every economic and social background, saying that they have the right to cross our borders in violation of the law and take jobs so they can send money home to their families while American workers are un-employed. In these arguments I find the issue of economics. Tithing is also a matter of economics. Pastors can be motivated by the concern for the lost souls of immigrants (from whatever country) and seek to point them to Christ. However, I fear that not all escape the economic motivations.
To reform and to refine is good. To allow persons to cross into our borders and be financed by our social welfare systems to the tune of billions of dollars a year – and neglect our own natural born citizens is not good. As someone said, "To reform is not to over-throw." It is to "re-form" and make better what seems to be broken.
REFORM: I very much liked one of the things that was said in our discussion. “To reform is not to over-throw”. Yet I see reports on TV and the Internet where illegal aliens are getting together to march in our streets. They speak against our right to control our own borders. I do not see how they can be compared with Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela at all. When a person crosses into our borders without legal papers to do so, they immediately become criminals and are subject to the law.
Someone referred to "Shadrack, Meshach, and Abendago as well as Daniel" as examples of those who broke un-just laws and were aliens in a foreign land. These men are great Biblical examples to follow. I suggest that if we followed their example to the letter and allowed God to vindicate us that we might have a testimony worthy of the Church of God Evangel (our official in-house news publication). Or think of the action of the King who had Daniel thrown into the lions den. He had a law and felt obligated to carry out the law. He worried and prayed and anxiously went to the lion's den next morning, lifted ujp his voice and asked, "Oh Daniel, is your God able to deliver you?" Of course Daniel had been protected - but I ask you - would God have protected him if he had lied to the King and denied that he had violated the law?
That said, when we break the law there are always consequences and those aliens who break our laws face consequences when they are caught, whether the laws seem just or not. It is for the law to deal with them in that respect. Our part (in my opinion) is to follow what is put down in the law as much as it does not violate God's law. If I understand the "new" AZ law, it simply requires that anyone must show proof of their right to be in this country when asked by the proper authorities. I have had to "show proof" multiplied times while traveling within foreign countries. I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of feeling that I should be above this law. I also know how easy it is to feel that I should not have to cooperate with every officer who asks for my identification. No matter how inconvenient it was for me - Yet, it was required by the law!
Let me point out that Shadrack, Meshack, Abednego and Daniel all were standing up for a spiritual matter; and not a civil one. There is no stretch of the imagination whereby we can compare those men with the law-breakers of today. I submit that had the law been one that would have brought financial stress to these “poor men”, we would have read a whole different story. They would have quietly trusted God to supply all their needs according to His riches in glory.
Let me close by saying – I will continue to love the souls of all men – criminal or law-abiding - regardless of race or legal status. Their soul is the highest priority. When given the opportunity I will teach them to be men/women of integrity and honesty and not to forever be fugitives from the civil law and to put God's Word to the test.
- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.