Coming To America

This weekend has been a tumultuous one with Trump issuing his most controversial executive order yet–a ban on immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. And his timing couldn’t have been more inappropriate, as it appeared on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that we as one people–not just as one country–remember the atrocities of the Nazi regime against those they found to be “inferior”. There was an immediate outcry from the public and the media–and rightly so! Trump’s latest executive order is, in fact, illegal, based on a law called the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. In a nutshell, the law disallows the banning of immigrants based on their national origin.

To me, however, the worst of this situation isn’t that Trump has (once again) moved illegally within his first one hundred days as president.  It isn’t that he is dividing the country. It isn’t that protests are forming as we speak to show immigrants to America that we are still a safe haven for them.

The worst is the total lack of empathy from an administration that claims to be working to restore faith to America–and if we’re being candid, let us admit that this only applies to the Christian faith.  No one should kid themselves that the GOP has any intention of giving Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or any other of the hundreds of world religions the same sort of political clout that Christianity has in America.

And yet, Trump’s actions stand in direct contradiction to those of whom Christianity was founded on–Christ.  When Jesus walked the earth, he gave us only two edicts: We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and we are to love our neighbours as ourselves.  Nowhere in that does he say that “neighbour” only applies to fellow Christian, fellow whites, fellow men, or fellow rich people.  In fact, through more than one parable does Jesus explain that our neighbours especially include those that typically exist outside of what we consider familiar or comfortable. If you don’t believe me, read Luke 10, verses 25 through 37, and Matthew 15, verses 21 through 28. These are the stories of the Good Samaritan and the Faith of the Canaanite Woman, respectively.

I could go on and on, citing verse after verse that tells us, as Christians, to welcome and accept guests–even strangers–into our homes.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2

“In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:11

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

“Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40

There is no gray area here, no lack of clarity.  If we are to live in Christ’s image and do as we have been commanded, we are ordered by Christ to take these strangers (immigrants) into our home (America) and treat them with love, kindness, and peace.

If you side with Trump in this, you have an essential choice of faith to make.  On one side, you can continue to side with Trump and give up the pretense of being Christian.  If he and his administration continue to keep those fleeing war, famine, and persecution from entering our country, they are doing the work of the enemy.

On the other hand, you can do what Christ has asked us to do as Christian, and love our neighbours as we love ourselves; in other words, to give them the same freedom and opportunity that we have had, regardless of their faith, their skin colour, their sexual orientation, or any differing factor.

Again I will point out that in giving us the Golden Rule, Jesus did not specify to us that our neighbours only included the select few we choose to interact with.  A neighbour to a Christian is any fellow human being. And we are to do right by them. If we don’t, how can we call ourselves Christians any longer?