Emma Lazarus, famous Jewish-American poet, most widely known for her poem “The New Colossus” that is imprinted on the pedestal which the Statue of Liberty stands. Here are the most famous lines:
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This is definitely not the sentiment that modern-day rhetoric on immigration carries. Self-preservation, ethnic egocentrism, and economic concerns all tied to the platform of American patriotism make even the topic of legal immigration a hot current event.
In order to face the topic of immigration well I believe we need to think biblically first before we side with a political persuasion that meets our desires and needs. Kindness towards foreigners seems to be a theme throughout the Old Testament (check out Exodus, Ruth, and even the prophets!). Jesus even uses the Samaritan’s acts to illustrate the importance of loving your neighbor no matter how different they are from us (Luke 10:25-37). The author of Hebrews reminds us that we are all foreigners looking towards the heavenly city, whose builder is God (Heb. 11). If our first commitment is to God and his kingdom and not the American dream, then we will have to radically reconsider the attitudes of our hearts toward the foreigners and aliens in our midst. Although, it would be easy to mount arguments and resist the implications for application in this situation, we must work together to be faithful to those in the community of Christ by putting brother and sisterhood in Christ before national identity.
What do you think we should do as Christians regarding immigration reform?
I am going to make this blog topic a series as I prepare to attend the New Wine, New Wineskins conference on immigration on April 27th at Multnomah University. Check out the details here.
Here is the link to Part 2: http://wp.me/p1oVBU-id