On the immigration issue, many Christians are rightly fond of quoting the scriptural passages that urge us to be compassionate and kind to aliens. And so we should open our hearts and arms to those who come into this country legally, through the front door. If they follow the law, play by the rules, wait their turn, and enter only after they have been invited, they should be welcome here.
But what these same Christians fail to do is take note of what God said was to happen to immigrants after they arrived in their host country. It is clear that his standard was assimilation, and that assimilation was not just cultural but spiritual as well.
Sojourners were welcome in ancient Israel on one condition: that they left behind the gods of their homelands and entered into Israel’s covenant with God. They were welcome as long as they did not have the effrontery to bring their counterfeit religious practices into their host nation and insist that their host nation accommodate their religious preferences rather than the other way round.
The enormous benefit of this standard of immigration is that it preserves a nation’s cultural unity. It prevents the societal Balkanization we see in every country, including the United States, which indiscriminately admits aliens regardless of the cultural and moral values they insist on bringing with them. That is a guaranteed recipe for cultural strain, enmity, and ultimate fracture.
In the refugee crisis that is currently overwhelming Europe, a number of European countries are now refusing to accept Muslim refugees on the grounds that the pressure on societal unity will simply be too great. Hungary’s president, for instance, has talked openly about Hungary’s 1000-year Christian history and his intention to preserve Christianity as his nation’s unifying cultural dynamic. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Cyprus are also adopting similar policies, out of a determination to preserve their cultural and religious identity.
In Numbers 15, the Lord outlines for Moses guidelines for the way in which the people of Israel were to worship him through the offering of sacrifices. And then, significantly, he adds the requirement that the exact same standards of worship were to apply to immigrants as well. They would be expected to adopt the religious practices of their host country.
Here’s how the relevant passage reads (emphasis mine):
“And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you and wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do. For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. One law and one rule shall be for you and the stranger who sojourns with you.” ~ Numbers 15:14-16
Now it seems only fair that if Christians are going to take their immigration counsel from Scripture that they include not just the parts that they happen to like but also the parts that may challenge their immigration assumptions.
What this would mean in America’s case is quite simple. We would communicate to the world that strangers are welcome here on one condition: that they be willing to adopt our God, our Judeo-Christian heritage, our Christian holidays, our Christian moral values, our Christian heroes and our Christian history.
Can this be done? Of course it can. The Constitution gives unilateral authority to Congress to establish whatever rules for immigration and naturalization it chooses. Certainly these biblically-based ideas will be considered controversial, but given the fact that three million Muslims have immigrated to the United States over the past decade and have shown no interest in fully assimilating themselves to our culture, now is the time for the conversation to begin in earnest.
Speaking only for myself, I suggest it’s time, both from a biblical as well as a practical and national security standpoint, to reconsider Islamic immigration into the United States. Maybe Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Cyprus have something to teach us for a change.
As Teddy Roosevelt famously said (emphasis mine):
We should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birth-place or origin.
But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn’t doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house; and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.
Bottom line: it’s time not only for America to embrace immigrants but for immigrants to embrace America.