The Super Bowl commercials seemed a bit lackluster this year. No cute animals to make us laugh. Lots of movie trailers that weren’t created with this specific time slot in mind. A few chuckles here and there, but, for the most part, nothing that far out of the ordinary.
One commercial stood out to me, even though Fox censored the original ad and forced the sponsors to submit a “more acceptable version.” It was the one by 84 Lumber, called “The Journey.” If you haven’t seen the full video (as rejected by Fox), you can watch it here:
This ad puts a necessary face on immigration. I’ve stated before that I’m in favor of tighter controls at the southern border, though this necessarily needs to be coupled with a worker program. The border crossing is too dangerous, yet people are willing to risk it because it is the only way for them to come work here in the United States. Controls should be tightened to protect immigrants and to limit the entrance of the small percentage who fit Trump’s characterization of immigrants.
However, when a wall is built based on xenophobia and racism, with an insulting, bullying attitude toward our neighbors, it’s wrong. The proposed wall on the Mexican border is wrong! We cannot overlook the rhetoric behind the actions. Here’s why I oppose this wall:
- Christians should unite against a campaign that characterizes fellow Christians as people with problems who bring drugs and crime. Many immigrants are brothers in Christ. We need to treat them as such. Even if not, they are fellow human beings. There are criminals who walk across the border as immigrants, though statistics show that the immigrant population has a lower crime rate than the general public. I would guess that more criminals fly into this country than swim the river. Until border security is presented in humane terms that treat immigrants with respect, it is to be opposed.
- The United States should work with Mexico on immigration, not against Mexico. It is time that we stop being the bully of the Americas. It is time that we stop abusing our power. The United States has a long history of injustice in Latin America; the time for reversing that is long overdue.
- A wall carries symbolic weight. It is a symbol of oppression. Why did Fox only accept the above video when it showed a fence instead of a wall? Because of the symbolism.
- Christians must remember that, while the United States may act purely in its own interests, we are called to something much higher. Dan Rodriguez, professor at Pepperdine University, once said, “In 100 years it won’t matter if we were American, English, Honduran, etc., in regards to this issue. But it will matter if we approached this issue as a Christian.” Our loyalty is not to Trump, not to conservatism, not to the Republican party, not to the United States. Our highest loyalty is to God.
I’ve avoided this topic for fear of being seen as speaking in partisan terms. I’m a bit ashamed that a lumber company would speak up before I did, especially given the attacks on people that I love, on brothers and sisters in Christ. You can favor increased immigration controls. You can favor isolationist attitudes. But when they are coupled with pejorative falsehoods hurled against fellow Christians… you cannot support that. And this wall is inextricably linked to that rhetoric.