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Farah On Immigration And The Bible: Love Our Neighbor—Not Give Him Our Country
Joseph Farah, Editor of World Net Daily, writes powerfully and clearly about why those who cite the Bible as a justification of illegal immigration and a warrant for illegal alien amnesties are dead wrong—even sinfully so. [What the Bible says about illegal immigration, by Joseph Farah, World Net Daily, November 2, 2011]. His Biblical exegesis is concise and should be proclaimed far and wide.
Farah tactfully and tactically aims his reasonable message at Christians and Jews alike by, with two exceptions, confining his citations to the Pentateuch—Scripture equally sacred to both Christians and Jews. As a brief and powerful refutation of open-borders activists who cite the Bible for their own aims, his column is very good.
People pondering the National Question do well to remember what the novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn—a man then living through Soviet Communism's leveling of Russia as a distinct nation—wrote in the Nobel Lecture in Literature 1970 that Soviet Communist party bosses forbade him to travel to Stockholm to deliver:
“It has become fashionable in recent times to talk of the leveling of nations, and of various peoples disappearing into the melting pot of contemporary civilization. I disagree with this, but that is another matter; all that should be said here is that the disappearance of whole nations would impoverish us no less than if all people were to become identical, with the same character and the same face. Nations are the wealth of humanity, its generalized personalities. The least among them has its own special colors, and harbors within itself a special aspect of God's design.”
(VDARE.com note: links added to quotes throughout).
Solzhenitsyn implicitly and Farah explicitly refer to the hubris and sin of Nimrod and the fate of the Tower of Babel—a cautionary tale too closely reminiscent of the ambitions of today's "elites" for comfort. Farah writes:
“Nations were first established by God as a judgment in Genesis 11. Remember the Tower of Babel story? It seems there was a man named Nimrod who attempted to set up the first world government and the first false religion.
“After the Flood, God decreed that man should scatter across the whole earth and be fruitful and multiply. But, about 100 years later, a large contingent of men, under the leadership of Nimrod, whose very name means ‘let us revolt or rebel,’ decided they would settle in Shinar and build a tower to make a name for themselves.
“God foiled this plan by scattering them around the world and creating new languages among the new nations that were thus established.
“Make no mistake about it: Nation-states are an invention of the Creator—a deliberately chosen device to serve His purposes….Ultimately, the purpose of nation-states seems to be to restrain Satan's efforts at creating his kingdom on earth.
The United Nations—the European Union—NAFTA—post-Warsaw Pact NATO—the pernicious programs of such as George Soros: all are bitter reminders that the temptation of Nimrod remains very strong in our world, and strongest of all among deluded (or diabolical) Westerners.
Farah asks: “But what about those selective biblical citations used by apologists for illegal immigration?”
(He cites Leviticus 19:33-34, Exodus 22:21, Exodus 23:9 and Deuteronomy 10:19, all containing the phrase “for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt”, which gave historian John Higham the sonorous title for his famous—and much-misunderstood—study of American “nativism”).
“You can develop some really bad theology—not to mention politics and morality—by reading the Bible out of context, by not fully understanding what is being said to whom and about whom.
“Strangers that sojourn with you or live with you do not equate with illegal aliens. In fact, the corollary here, in each and every case, is that the children of Israel were ‘strangers’ in Egypt. That's why they were to treat their own ‘strangers’ well, because they knew what it is like to be ‘strangers’ in a foreign land.
“Clearly, then, what it means to be a ‘stranger’ is to be a foreigner. In the case of the children of Israel in Egypt, they were invited and, at first anyway, were honored guests. Later, they would be oppressed by a generation who ‘knew not Joseph.’ But they were certainly not trespassers. They were certainly not in Egypt illegally. They were certainly not breaking the laws of the land by being in Egypt. In fact, they were commanded not to offend their hosts in any way (Genesis 46:28-34).
“So, we must conclude that ‘stranger’ does not equal ‘illegal alien’...
“God loves the stranger, we're told. You should, too. They should be treated with respect and dignity. They should not be mistreated. That's the clear message of the Bible—treat law-abiding foreigners and aliens with love and compassion…
“We shouldn't be mean to those lawbreakers either. We shouldn't mistreat them. We should even forgive them. But they have to leave.
“They haven't been invited. They are not our guests. They are not just strangers; they are trespassers. They are victimizing others through their presence—namely American citizens and foreigners who are trying to immigrate to the U.S. legally.”
One caveat: I do strongly disagree with Farah’s view that "[illegal aliens] need to go back home and get in line like everyone else waiting to enter our country lawfully." On the contrary, I believe anyone who has entered another's country as an illegal alien, or overstayed a visa to become an illegal alien there, should be barred permanently from applying for legal residence. Illegal alienism should have severe consequences.
Everyone who is an illegal alien in one country is a native citizen and legal resident of another. So such a policy would render no-one homeless.
And an issue Farah does not discuss (as, to be fair, his headline makes clear) is: what should a faithful Christian (and Jewish) response be to mass immigration that a country's government happens to make legal?
But the prudential Biblical arguments against the demographic flooding of existing nations under cover of specious legality are almost entirely the same as those Farah marshals against illegal immigration. Thus he writes:
“But the aliens and strangers of the Bible were expected to obey the Hebrew laws, though they were exempt from some. They were also treated differently than the children of Israel in that they could not own property; they could be bought as slaves and charged interest on loans.
“Only if these aliens and strangers were fully converted as partakers of the covenant could they be landowners, partake of the Passover and be fully integrated into the nation of Israel.
“In other words, even though the aliens and strangers of the Bible were not illegal aliens, they were still expected to fully assimilate into the Hebrew religion and culture before they could receive all the blessings and all the responsibility of full citizenship”
Farah writes, in an unmistakable echo of Solzhenitsyn:
“You have heard it said that if we don't have borders, we don't have countries. It's really true—especially when two countries very different from one another in language, culture and economy share a 2,000-mile border as do Mexico and the U.S. But, as the Bible shows, it's not just a political issue, it's a moral issue—it's an issue, ultimately, of right and wrong.”
And he ends:
“Let me conclude with one last relevant verse—Deuteronomy 27:17: ‘Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.’
Henry McCulloch (email him) writes requently for VDARE.COM.