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December 21, 2008

What would Jesus have to say about illegal immigration?

HOUSTON CHRONICLE (Editorial):

"The Bible contains numerous passages outlining the duty of the faithful to treat 'aliens' with charity and tolerance
By BILL KING Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Dec. 6, 2008, 8:52AM
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6150621.html

A few months ago I was in church listening to our pastor's sermon. He was describing a feast where the prophets had sent out word for all the people of Israel to come together. Interestingly, the invitation to the feast specially included all of the "aliens living among you."

When I got home I got on an electronic version of the Bible and did a search for the word "alien." To my surprise, the search turned up dozens of references. It seems that the issue of immigration has been on peoples' minds for some time.

A copy of the passages can be found at www.BillKingHouston.com/scripture. Most are in the Old Testament and while the message varies, the underlying theme is an admonishment to treat aliens living in your land with tolerance and charity. Frequently, they are grouped with widows and orphans, and the passages charge us with an affirmative duty to see to their well being. In many of these passages, originally written to the Israelites, they are reminded that they will do these things because they once lived as aliens in the land of Egypt.

There are two passages that I found particularly compelling. First is Exodus 12:49:
"The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you."

I am not a big proponent of mixing religion and politics, but I do not believe we should check our faith-based values at the courthouse door or the capitol steps. I find many of the legislative proposals floating around these days pretty inconsistent with this passage.

The second is less legalistic, but even more compelling. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 provides:
"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality . . . He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt."...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at December 21, 2008 07:43 AM

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