Category Archives: Politics

Immigration: Neither the Left nor the Right

I mentioned the other day feeling unable to support either of the two major political parties here in the United States. To me, they each promote some good things and each promote some ungodly values. Because I choose not to follow a platform that’s handed to me, I find myself with views that conflict with each party. Especially on a topic like immigration.

  • I favor a secure border. We should do what we can to eliminate unauthorized border crossings.
  • A secure border can only be created when there is a practical process that opens the door to unskilled workers. There needs to be a worker visa. I wouldn’t insist on a path to citizenship; the goal is to allow people to come and work when needed.
  • The two above items need to happen simultaneously.
  • I think all language deeming the secure border a “wall” is misguided. As I’ve written before, it smacks of very ugly attitudes. It is used to rouse the xenophobes among us. Little progress on real immigration will occur as long as the term continues to be bandied about.
  • I think the immigrant caravans are a bad thing. I think most of those in the caravans are not bad people. They are pawns in a political process, used by activists to provoke a situation. (Could be pro-immigration activists; could be anti-immigration activists. My hunch is it’s both)
  • The president should retract statements about immigrants being murders, rapists, drug dealers “and some good people.” He should at least admit that the inverse reflects reality. He knew it was a misrepresentation when he said it. Admittedly, President Trump speaks in hyperbole and expects everyone to recognize it was such. Still, slandering entire groups of people merely hinders open discussion on important topics.
  • Christians should stop encouraging people to come here illegally. I think we minister without judgment to those who have already come. But we do nothing to promote illegal immigration. (And yes, I know that some of you think that you can’t minister to those who came illegally without promoting future illegality. I disagree.)
  • Politicians (and Christians) need to stop the fear mongering.
    • The situation on our southern border does not constitute an emergency. Viewing how people use 911, I recognize that many people have trouble recognizing what truly is an emergency situation. This isn’t one.
    • Terrorists aren’t streaming across our southern border. There are much easier ways for them to enter the U.S. Few have entered from the south in the past; there is nothing to indicate that has changed.
    • The caravans appeared after the discussions about “the wall” began, not before. This situation was provoked by activists. It did not occur spontaneously.

There. Is that enough to make people on both sides mad? If not, I’ll share some more. I don’t attempt to make my position align with either major political party. And don’t ever plan to.

photo courtesy Conor Luddy on Unsplash

That’s not Trump’s wall you see in the Bible

As I’ve mentioned, I watch for illogical arguments. And I watch for misuse of the Bible. Discussions of the border wall tend to feature both.

When Trump announced his desire to build a wall, people begin quoting Ephesians 2, talking about how Jesus came to break down walls, not build them. While I definitely agree that Jesus is about bringing people together, I disagree that he is against all physical walls. If I come over to your house and start banging on your walls with a sledgehammer, are you going to say, “What a Christlike attitude!”?

Then wall enthusiasts started quoting Revelation 21, pointing out that the New Jerusalem has walls! Again, that’s not a very good use of the Bible, especially since the walls in Revelation have gates that never close.

Now I’m seeing people quote Nehemiah, observing how he was blessed for building a wall. To be honest, this one comes the closest to having some relevance. Here’s an example of a wall being built for the protection of those living inside. Still, if we begin conflating the nation of Israel with the modern-day U.S., we quickly get ourselves into trouble. And again, Jerusalem’s wall had gates that were open to all… except invading armies. Any and all peaceful visitors were welcome.

I’m okay if you want to argue the merits of the wall in the comments, but that’s not really my point. What I’m saying is that we need to stop using the Bible as a political tool, to quit picking out the parts we like and quoting verses out of context. Read the Bible to find God, to understand Him more, and learn how to draw nearer to Him. Don’t search through it to find arguments to support your partisan positions.

Democrat? Republican? Not interested

I’ve been reminded again lately why I could never align myself with the political left or the political right. Neither has a godly worldview. Both work off of dishonesty and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. Both seek their own good, not that of others.

Some will support one or the other as “the lesser of two evils.” Seems to me that you’re still choosing evil either way.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Feel free to call me naive, escapist, or whatever you want. Just don’t make me sign up as a Democrat or a Republican.

Debates, bad arguments, and snowstorms

In fifth grade, we had a unit on conservation. I was assigned to participate in a debate. I had to argue that conservation was a bad thing.

That experience taught me an important lesson: you can say things just to win a debate, even if you don’t think they are true.

I see that all the time with politicians. Yesterday on Facebook, I called out a common practice where those that don’t believe in climate change use one day’s weather as evidence to support their disbelief. “It’s cold outside; there’s no global warming.”

That’s silly, and politicians are smart enough to know that. Climate weather patterns and daily local conditions are not the same thing. They know that, but they know that some don’t know that and will rally around their champion’s rebuttal of those know-it-all scientists.

I know that global temperatures are up. I suspect it’s a long-term trend. I also suspect that human activity is involved. But I’m not enough of a scientist to affirm that 100%.

What I do know 100% is when people are making bad arguments. And I’ll point them out when I see them, no matter what the political stripe.

Make this world great again

I’ll interrupt my series because something must be said about President Trump’s statements yesterday regarding immigrants from developing nations. Since the election of Donald Trump, I’ve committed myself to being guided by 1 Peter 2:17 and similar passages. I avoid criticizing the president himself because of this passage. I’m also aware that such statements tend to be seen as partisan, as if I were supporting another party or candidate.

But with all the uproar from yesterday’s vulgar remarks, I want to state a few things clearly, directing my remarks to Christians who live in the U.S.:

  • If the only thing about the president’s remarks that bothers you is the fact that he used a vulgarity, then something is very wrong.
  • If you’re willing to explain away the president’s remarks because you agree with his politics, something is very wrong.
  • The United States is not a church and should not be expected to act like one. But we Christians are the church, 24/7, and must never forget that.
  • If greatness for one country comes at the expense of other peoples, then we Christians cannot promote such greatness. We are Kingdom people first and members of some nation of this world second.

Much more could be said. Probably should be said. But it’s hard for me to say much more without violating the principles I wrote about in the first paragraph.

Pray for Africa. Pray for Haiti. Pray for all the nations of this world. May God make this world great again.