Up to yesterday morning, I was pleasantly surprised by the series of Lent meditations from the Matthew 25 Initiative of ACNA (the Anglican Church in North America). Yes, some were tendentious. Yes, two or three of the meditations took liberties with Scripture. But most brought up issues that should be considered.
But on Day 21 of Lent, they crossed a line by posting this quote from M. Daniel Carroll Rodas, a professor at Wheaton College (of course):
What all Christians should appreciate is that the more they can grasp about migration and the experiences of immigrants, the more they will understand their faith -that is, the truths of such convictions as the reality of having another (heavenly) citizenship and the rejection that can come from being different as well as the vulnerability that surfaces with needing to be dependent on God. Sadly, it is not uncommon for Christians to not feel like “strangers in a strange land”; their place of residence has lost its strangeness, and now they join others in wanting to keep strangers out.
Leaving aside whether it is appropriate to romanticize those who enter our country illegally — and although our “social justice” friends hate the word “illegals,” that is what is really being addressed in flowery language here — the quote vilifies those who want controlled legal immigration instead of the disaster that is now occurring at our Southern border.
First, the quote is a straw man. I run with a rather based crowd, but I do not know of any Christians who want “to keep strangers out.” I know of none that want to end immigration altogether. Such may be out there but they are few. (But if what is meant is that we want to keep dangerous or harmful “strangers” out, what sane and decent person does not want to keep such out of one’s home?)
But I know of many, Christians and not, who want the human trafficking into our country stopped. Matthew 25, like many pushing open borders, uses the faces of children in their propaganda as they did on Day 21. Do they have any idea of the child trafficking going on across our borders?
I know of thousands upon thousands murdered by fentanyl smuggled across our borders. I know of many murdered more directly by criminals who come through our borders like a swinging door. I know of South Texas ranchers in fear for their lives every day because of organized smugglers tearing up their fences to go across their land. I know of Hispanic families near Falfurrias, Texas whose homes were burnt down by a wildfire started by human smugglers. I know of countless people killed by illegals driving under the influence. And I know of people in fear from the increased crime driven in part by illegals and the Mexican drug cartels smuggling them in.
Being closer to the Southern border and to reality than Wheaton, I am one of those people.
Yes, many, most I hope, who enter illegally do not come with malicious intent against us. But their first act in this country is still to disrespect and violate our laws. What many do soon after is to take advantage of our overburdened social services even through they should not be in this country in the first place. Many then take jobs from those struggling to make a living who are citizens or legal residents. A country has the right and is right to defend itself from such behavior. Our doors for legal entry are among the widest in the world and can remain so while putting a stop to this.
Christians can and do differ respectfully on just exactly what our immigration laws and policies should be. So it is wrong for an initiative of ACNA or for any church group to vilify those alarmed by the millions illegally pouring across our borders and the evil many are bringing with them.
The Matthew 25 Initiative, along with Prof. Rodas, owe us a public retraction and a full and appropriate public apology. And, in the future, perhaps they should use Lent to confess their own sins instead of inventing others’ sins.
Photo: by Patrick Johnstone, KRIS Corpus Christi, of a family who lost their home in the Falfurrias wildfire.