Whenever I cover church politics at Wesley Report, things can get really heated, so more recently, I've been trying to focus on the spiritual side of things. But the more experience I gain, the more I realize that the dividing lines between spiritual and physical and between sacred and secular are not nearly as defined as I'd like to think. Actions in one realm will almost always have consequences (either positive or negative) in the other. Americans in particular have become quite the experts at compartmentalizing faith. Perhaps it's the whole separation of church and state thing we've all been taught. But if we're living on the edge of God's Kingdom, we're going to find that it's hard to avoid politics altogether.
Immigration is one of those issues that the church can't afford to avoid. Every time I seek God's guidance on this topic, I come back to one Bible verse:
Never mistreat a foreigner living in your land. Foreigners living among you will be like your own people. Love them as you love yourself, because you were foreigners living in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34 GW)
That doesn't mean I'm for opening up the borders haphazardly, but it's important to remember that the United States is a nation of immigrants. There's an interesting article this week at Baptist Press that addresses various evangelical leaders' views on immigration. Evangelicals are certainly not of one mind on this. I find it quite interesting that fewer evangelicals seem to be subscribing to the perceived Republican "orthodoxy".
Probably the most interesting quote in the article comes from Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
The Republican Party stands at the brink of repeating history by completing a wall, not between Mexico and the United States but between Hispanic Americans and the conservative movement. How ironic. The group that [President Ronald] Reagan believed would invigorate the Republican Party via its traditional values of God, family and country today potentially stands rejected by the party of Reagan. The family values party is alienating the most pro-life, pro-family constituency in America. Go figure.
He's right. And the recently passed Arizona law (signed by a Republican governor) hasn't helped matters for the GOP. I've heard radio talk show hosts and Fox News commentators defending this law, but the fact of the matter is, the law will encourage racial profiling. How would you like to be a Latino citizen of the United States and suddenly feel second class?
But that being said, the boycotts against Arizona (including the one by my own city, Austin) are foolish... and they'll hurt a lot of hard-working people who had nothing to do with the immigration law.
It's good to see Christians putting issues before political parties. That's really the way things ought to be.