Many are the conservatives who bemoan immigrants who seem to flow into the United States freely without going through the legal paperwork required of them. Many of those, also, fully support such legislation that requires people who look foreign to show proof of citizenship or legal residency to any authority figure who decides to stop them.
President Obama's DREAM Act wants to give undocumented residents, especially children, the opportunity to become American citizens and be a productive member of society without worrying if they'll eventually be discovered and deported to countries they might not even remember. In a speech in Florida last month, the president said:
"They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds. They are Americans through and through -- in every single way but on paper. And all they want is to go to college and give back to the country they love."
Conservatives cry that illegal immigration is reducing the number of jobs, depleting medical resources, and draining the economy by using welfare and free services that could be used for legal those here legally.
Those seem like they might be convincing arguments, but when you stop to think about how many of these conservatives also call themselves devout Christians, one has to wonder just how faithfully they follow God and Jesus.
Well, in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy has quite a lot to say, particularly Chapter 27, verses 14-26. For practicality's sake, only one of those verses directly correlates to this issue, and this verse 19:
"A curse on anyone who interferes with justice for the foreigner, orphan or widow."
A few more choice words from Deuteronomy include a curse against people who cheat their neighbors by moving property lines, those who give intentionally wrong directions to the blind (abusing a disabled person), and a curse on anyone who commits adultery and has sex with an animal.
Leviticus 19:33-34 reads:
"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."
Ok, so what about the poor? What about those people? They're not contributing to anything, are they? Hard working Americans shouldn't have to carry the load for these freeloaders, should they?
Well, according to the Christian Bible, yes.
Leviticus 25:35 states, "If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you."
But, you might say, those verses don't mean the government should legislate the Bible! There's a separation of Church and State! States and cities shouldn't be forced to provide for the poor and illegal immigrants and their families. It should be left up to the churches. That's your standard Conservative Teapublican response.
But that's a weak argument. Even Jesus admonished his followers to treat the poor, widowed, and fatherless with respect and dignity. He admonished the rich to give to those who could not support themselves. In the days of Jesus, the Church was the State, and so what God and Jesus were telling them was that they needed to follow established governmental law. If they didn't, well...
But since the United States officially has a separation of Church and State, it makes this a bit murky, especially since the Republican party in various states wants to install Christianity into official government legislation. Here's a word of advice: If you're not prepared to follow every single rule in the Christian Bible you have no business advocating for Christian values to a part of state or federal law.
Otherwise, you're just a hypocrite.
Â©2012 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.