Thursday, April 12, 2007

Illegal immigrants...

I have a special place in my heart for the oppressed. That shouldn't be news to anyone. I loved the Sunday in college when I went to an immigrant church service in Indianapolis, and the congregation brought in a tax advisor to do a question and answer session with the members. He was this thin, stereotypical IRS guy in a scratchy gray suit, nervous twitch. His eyes nearly leapt out of his head when he realized that 3/4 of the people in the room were illegal immigrants! As if these people suddenly stopped being human beings and instead became hardened border-crossing criminals...I lived for a few months with a family whose father was an illegal immigrant in the United States, and I run into people all the time who have done their stint.

I understand some of the reasons why they'd come. And I can't hold it against them; after all, my relatives weren't invited over by the Cherokee or the Lenape or the Sioux, but they came anyway, with their smallpox and beads, their guns and their "God-given destiny." My well-bred (or not-so) English and German ancestors were simply put, illegal immigrants. They just didn't happen to land in a country that placed much value on that fact. But I digress. This wasn't supposed to be much of a rant, as there's plenty of intelligent information lying around about the immigration debate and I don't need to add fuel to any of these fires. Or incur the wrath of my president's anti-dissent services. Where was I??? Oh, yes.

This newspaper article made my day:

Christian responses coming from local governments that radically challenge federal policies of discrimination and hate. Nice. And from Republicans and liberals alike??? Almost unthinkable. Did someone read Deuteronomy out loud in Conneticut???

Deut. 10:17-19
"For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt."

Deut. 24:14-15, 17-22

"You shall not defraud a poor and needy hired servant, whether he be one of your own countrymen or one of the aliens who live in your communities. You shall pay him each day's wages before sundown on the day itself, since he is poor and looks forward to them. Otherwise he will cry to the LORD against you, and you will be held guilty...You shall not violate the rights of the alien or of the orphan, nor take the clothing of a widow as a pledge. For, remember, you were once slaves in Egypt, and the LORD, your God, ransomed you from there; that is why I command you to observe this rule. When you reap the harvest in your field and overlook a sheaf there, you shall not go back to get it; let it be for the alien, the orphan or the widow, that the LORD, your God, may bless you in all your undertakings. When you knock down the fruit of your olive trees, you shall not go over the branches a second time; let what remains be for the alien, the orphan and the widow. When you pick your grapes, you shall not go over the vineyard a second time; let what remains be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. For remember that you were once slaves in Egypt; that is why I command you to observe this rule."

Those passages must really unnerve certain "Christian" lawmakers. But maybe they don't read them, seeing as how they're in the un-PC Old Testament. But then there's that pesky little part in the New Testament where we read that Jesus and his family were refugees, probably illegal ones at that, in Egypt for a time...forming part of the personal history of someone who would later tell us to love our neighbors and our enemies. Hum.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

yeah for illegal immigrants!!! says a girl who lived with a family who are legal canadian citizens, but were illegal immigrants from El Salvador when they lived in Texas. The same girl who is dating someone who's family lived as illegal immigrants in Kenya for 2 (or was it 3?) years, and stayed with an illegal refugee family for 2 weeks in another country. I don't blame any of them- if I had to live in the circumstances and situations they had to, I would flee to.