Rev. Jim Wallis, the socialist-leaning liberal clergyman who has the president's ear and is the media's go-to guy for all things religious, said last night on the Ed Schultz show that enforcing immigration policy would "make obeying Jesus against the law." He claims that not allowing illegal aliens to flood across our southern border without restriction is a violation of the Jesus' teaching about caring for the poor.
This is in response to Arizona's new state law which makes it illegal for individuals to be in Arizona if they are in violation of U.S. immigration law. It allows them to be questioned by law enforcement if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they are here illegally.
In response, we should note first that the United States has the most generous - and I would say compassionate - immigration policy in the world. Every year we naturalize about 630,000 immigrants, who have come to our shores with the hope of realizing the American dream. They come through the front door, play by the rules, and are welcomed into a nation that prizes the rule of law.
There are a number of things that can disqualify an individual from being considered for citizenship, and one of them is committing a crime, which happens the moment illegals cross our southern border. If the rule of law is to mean anything, they have disqualified themselves from permanent residency and citizenship. We didn't do that, they did.
It is their criminal behavior that disqualifies them, not some mythical absence of compassion on our part. It is not our lack of compassion that disqualifies them, but their defiance of our laws. It is simply foolish for any nation to welcome into its midst those whose very first act on its soil is to break its laws.
To embrace such lawbreakers is not compassion but stupidity.
Wallis is fond of citing Old Testament Scriptures in support of his mindless folly, but he conveniently overlooks this one, from Numbers 15:15-16. "For the assembly, there will shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you ... one law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you."
This expresses the classic American ideal that we are all equal under the law, all equal before the bar of justice. The sojourner is not to be given an exemption that the native citizen is denied.
Now Wallis wants illegal aliens to be able to break our law with impunity. In fact, he wants illegals to be positively rewarded for breaking our law. If we are to do as Wallis wants us to do, and apply biblical standards to immigration policy, then we must grant the same exemption to current American citizens.
The only way we can be fair is to tell all American citizens that they get one free pass to commit the misdemeanor or felony of their choice. And, we should tell them, not only will we not punish you for breaking the law, we are going to find a way to reward you for doing so.
I doubt that Wallis would be prepared to go that far, but that's where logic takes him.
He laments that enforcing immigration law breaks up families. Two responses. If illegals flout our laws, and it results in separation from family members, how is their criminal conduct our fault? The same Bible Wallis is fond of quoting says that a man reaps what he sows. The wages of sin is death, and always has been. Wallis apparently hopes that God will create a loophole for some lawbreakers but not for others.
Plus, there is no reason why families must be separated at all. We can believe in family integrity and in sound immigration policy at the same time. We don't have to choose between them. It's perfectly possible for us to repatriate entire families to their land of origin to keep husbands and wives together and parents and children together. In fact, I would suggest compassion as well as justice demands no less.
And as long as we are talking about compassion, what about compassion for American citizens who are law-abiding but have to bear the cost and injury caused by uncontrolled immigration? One abiding scriptural principle is that justice and compassion are two sides of the same coin. Compassion is the obverse side of justice, and justice the obverse side of compassion.
What this means in practice is that justice is a way of showing compassion, particularly to victims. it gives them closure, a sense that justice has been done, validates the impact the crime has had on them, and makes vigilante justice unnecessary.
What this also means is that injustice is also a crime against compassion. Where injustice is allowed to bear its poisonous fruit, innocent citizens must be forced to ingest it. This certainly reflects a gross lack of compassion for those who are forced to bear the consequences.
For example, hospitals along our southern border have been closed because illegals have driven them out of business by coming to their emergency rooms for medical care. How is that compassionate to those citizens who once took their children to those medical centers for health care?
Exotic tropical diseases are re-emerging in our population, diseases that once had virtually disappeared from the United States, diseases brought here by illegals who aren't screened for communicable diseases like law-abiding immigrants are. How does that show any compassion for Americans now suffering from Chagas disease and drug-resistant tuberculosis?
Welfare costs, law enforcement costs and education costs are breaking local and state budgets. (The last figure I've seen indicates that almost 30% of inmates in the California system are illegal aliens.) How is that compassionate to the hardworking American families who are forced at the point of a gun to cough up tax dollars to pay for all this?
Bottom line is that Wallis' view is sub-Christian, unbiblical, and grossly selective in its compassion. It is unworthy of any serious man of the cloth.