Mark Galli: Loving Our Neighbors Knows No Borders—Even Political Ones

The recent immigration controversy—about the administration’s decision to separate children from their parents at the border—has ended, at least for now, with President’s Trump’s promise of a executive order to end the practice. His decision was clearly due to the near universal outcry against the policy. It was a rare moment for Christians, as believers of all stripes were united on this one point of public policy. When Jim Wallis and Franklin Graham, and nearly everyone in between, condemn the administration’s policy, it’s practically a miracle. And for this, we should be grateful.

It stands in contrast to the usual order of things, but it might be an opportunity to examine some of our assumptions about entering the public square to pursue justice in the name of Jesus Christ. We do well to remember that first and foremost, our job in this life is to help people see and comprehend the love and power of Jesus Christ. Standing with a unified front on a particular issue goes a long way in that regard. But we also have to figure out how to help people see Jesus when we don’t agree.

To reiterate what Christians of nearly all stripes have agreed on lately: We found it deeply troubling that so many children were needlessly separated from their parents at the border, and we along with so many others called for an immediate halt to this practice.

Where We Stand

Furthermore, we believe that a zero-tolerance policy on any issue is not likely to produce justice; rather it will only exacerbate injustice. The most recent example in US history is the zero-tolerance policy both white and black leaders championed against crime and drug use in the 1980s and ’90s, with good intentions. This has resulted in the US having the largest prison population in the world today, with many inmates suffering unjust prison sentences. A zero-tolerance policy at the border will only lump the deserving and the undeserving into the same pile, with injustice for many.

On this, most Christians seem to agree. Christianity Today’s position is more expansive, of course, and this is where Christians begin to part ways. For years we’ve championed a more generous and open immigration policy. Recent conflicts across the globe have multiplied the number of refugees exponentially, and this sad reality has only prompted us to double down on this commitment.

We take this stand first and foremost based on our reading of Scripture, the main theme being the call to love our neighbor, which we believe includes the neighbor knocking on the national door. For that particular neighbor comes poor, afflicted, afraid, and confused. To us, the first act of love toward these neighbors is welcome. The second act is to determine with both compassion and justice whether they should or should not be permitted to migrate to the US.

Click here to read more.
Source: Christianity Today