Being a Good Citizen of Heaven

Thanks to a tip from Greg Wallace, I read a great blog piece weighing in on the immigration debate in the US. Republicans are split on this issue and I tend to side with the President and against much of the GOP Congressional delegation. Sigmund, Carl and Alfred address it with a thoroughness that I have not. They base their arguments on the historical patterns of immigration throughout US history. Within that article is an excerpt from another SC&A article about why Europeans are anti-American. Very interesting and worthwhile analysis.

I have heard critics of the accommodationist view argue that the Welfare State (such as it exists in the US, which is a matter of perspective after immigrating to Europe) offers too much to the new, predominently Hispanic, immigrants. They don’t have to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps like the Irish and Italians and the other European groups did in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I think it is unreasonable to suggest that 21st century immigrants should play by 19th century rules while 2nd, 3rd – or in my family 8th, 9th and even 10th – generation Americans enjoy 21st century advantages. And I don’t blame those who scale fences, dig tunnels, or swim rivers to get in. I think “secure borders” are a repudiation of the Gospel that played such a fundamental role in the founding of the nation. After all, who is my neighbour?

We have created, by the grace and mercy of God, a land of milk and honey. And now we want to turn around and become the giants in the land. We worship false gods and build walled cities. We offer incense and even our own children on the altar of convenience, letting generation after generation drift further and further into the immoral morass. And that’s before taking into consideration the unborn sacrificed on the altar of promiscuity. Yet we have the audacity to suggest that immigrants don’t share our values. We can only hope that some of them don’t.

Secure borders even keep my family out. As I alluded above, Aidan and Abby are Americans of long lineage. The earliest ancestors about whom I have reasonable certainty of immigration is their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents who were married in Pennsylvania in 1726. They have several ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, including their great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Holford. They have ancestors who fought on both sides of the War for Southern Independence. That they are well and truly American, there can be no doubt. Nonetheless, having been born abroad, they are required to live in the US for certain lengths of time after certain ages (legislation changeable at the whim of Congress) before they can pass on the benefits of that heritage. If they haven’t complied with these requirement before having children, those children will not be American citizens.

I do not believe in the Social Gospel, but I believe the Gospel has social implications. Christians who realise that their true citizenship is in heaven have a hard time justifying their treatment of others based upon the temporal realities of the modern nation state, a political concept that really only began to develop in the 15th century. In other words, Jesus’ words and example have been with us four times longer. In the US, the idea of national sovereignty didn’t even evolve into a form recognisable today until the aftermath of that Great Confligration of the 1860s and it could be argued is in itself nothing like the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

Secure borders is about selfishness. Its about keeping hold of what I’ve got.


2 Responses to Being a Good Citizen of Heaven

  1. from Texas says:

    It seems easier to make an evaluation of the Mexican border situation from across the pond, far from the facts.

  2. Dave says:

    In some ways it is. It allows me a certain amount of detachment. As a lawyer, I can analogise that it’s a bit like addage that lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.

    However, having spent the first half of my life living in South Texas less than five hours from the border, and growing up in a town as much Hispanic as it was Anglo, I’m not ignorant of the facts. The places I lived outside of Texas before moving across the pond also had significant populations (and work forces) of illegal Mexican immigrants.

    In addition, I live in the county that other than London has seen the largest Eastern European migration into the UK. The most rural, monocultural county in England now has thousands of Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish monoglots. It is a situation that I deal with every day as a school teacher with children who cannot speak English and promised funding to help assimilate them has failed to materialise.

    No, despite that fact that I was focusing on spiritual responsibility, I am very aware of the physical reality.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: