When Christians make comments on public policy, they should be shaped and informed by the truth of Scripture.  But even when referring to the Bible when speaking up on issues, our statements must be coherent, well-thought-through arguments.  This second blog post analyzing the 2009 Immigration Statement by the National Association of Evangelicals will focus on the biblical foundations this document presents – specifically the historical examples from Scripture.

Frankly, this argument in the statement is so confusing, I’m asking the help of any reader to post a comment to explain it to me.  This statement condones the illegal presence of millions of immigrants in America right now, blaming the government for laws that apparently aren’t worth following.  Here is the appeal made to biblical history:

“The Bible contains many accounts of God’s people who were forced to migrate due to hunger, war, or personal circumstances. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the families of his sons turned to Egypt in search of food. Joseph, Naomi, Ruth, Daniel and his friends, Ezekiel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther all lived in foreign lands. In the New Testament, Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to escape Herod’s anger and became refugees in Egypt. . . These examples from the Old and New Testaments reveal God’s hand in the movement of people and are illustrations of faith in God in difficult circumstances.”

What this paragraph is saying is that each illustration presented here were people “forced to migrate due to hunger, war, or personal circumstances.”  Third graders from Mrs. Jones’ Sunday School class could refute the error in this paragraph.  Did Joseph end up in Egypt by his own decision?  (Or maybe a better question is: Is migration the result of a personal decision, or is one forced?)  If he was just “forced to migrate” because his brothers sold him into slavery to some Ishmaelites, does that even have relevance to the current immigration debate?

How about Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and other Israelites who lived in exile?  How did they get to foreign nations?  As I recall, the people of Israel were removed from the land God promised them because they rejected their God and suffered the consequences.  They weren’t just moved because of war.  They were exiled by the judgment of God.  And was their intent to stay and become naturalized citizens?  I’m glad Jesus’ family didn’t make plans to live life in Egypt – many prophecies would never had been fulfilled and God’s entire plan of salvation for mankind wouldn’t have happened. 

I’d love to know how this applies to illegal immigration as a foundation for how we should look at the law in America.  Seriously, I need help seeing the correlation.

This argument seems to be based on the premise that, if it happened in the Bible it is normal and should be acceptable under any circumstance today.  The only problem with that is a lot of things happened in the Bible that we wouldn’t think about allowing today at all.  Some in the nation of Israel burned their children as sacrifices to Molech, a historical fact.  I don’t hear anyone, thankfully, demanding the right to do that. 

So, “These examples from the Old and New Testaments reveal God’s hand in the movement of people and are illustrations of faith in God in difficult circumstances.”  True.  They just don’t have anything to do with people coming to America deciding not to obey the law with every intent on staying.  1)  Just because people move doesn’t mean it is right or beneficial.  As an example, terrorists, drug cartels and murderers aren’t coming here because God’s hand is leading them and any attempt by American law to defend itself against them is justified.  2) Is the document saying that every act of migration is motivated by “faith in God in difficult circumstances”?  Come on.

If a person or organization makes such sweeping arguments from Scripture, then they must also be prepared to apply its veracity across the board.  This paragraph of examples is just too weak to bolster the NAE’s position.  Speak for right from the Bible, but connect the biblical illustration with the contemporary issue so there is clarity, not confusion.

And boy, am I confused by this.

Next installment:  “What was that, Peter?”