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.

4 thoughts on “That’s not Trump’s wall you see in the Bible

  1. Paul Smith

    I have to admit to using Ephesians against Trump’s wall. In my defense (if there is any) I was arguing that Paul’s point was that Christ broke down the “wall” that divided Jew from Gentile, or any other racial/ethnic division as well. Trump’s wall, IMO, is more than just a physical barrier, it is an ethnic and racial barrier – it is designed in part to keep *those* people away from *us*. So, I don’t think it is appropriate to use Ephesians to advocate for the absence of all physical barriers, I do think it legitimate in the sense that no ethnic or racial barriers should exist, ESPECIALLY in the church – and I see Trump’s wall having serious repercussions within the church as members argue over what is appropriate in terms of making our borders safe. Thanks for the pushback, we all need to be careful how we see, and use, the biblical text.

  2. Allen Townley

    To say trump wall is racist is not right every time I hear the race card it’s because some did something they should not have done and thrown the race card up to get people to back down many of the same people who will throw the race card say they cannot be racist there are many things in America where there is reverse racism (black history month ,miss black American and statements like black lives matter when all lives should matter

  3. Jason

    The principle of the wall in Nehemiah has merit in that part of it that was for protecting people. In that case we see an example of the general principle put into action. That general principle is that a group of people have the right to protect themselves from harm from others. You’re correct that the doors were open to anyone except foreign armies, and I would add to that group thieves and others who can harm those people. The intention of only keeping people out by that wall does not imply (however) that they were necessarily welcoming people to come live in that city. They were opening the doors to trade and commerce, visits by friends and/or family. And (if space allowed) maybe new residents.

    The parallel stops there though I suppose.

    My point is that using this to teach the principle that a people has the right to protect themselves is valid and CAN be used in the discussion about any wall–and about any other measures for protection for that matter. It does not prove or provide all the answers, but it does have merit for consideration.

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