America: A Nation Divided
Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.
Is legal and illegal Mexican immigration a just concern for Christian Americans? And does the Bible give us any guidance about this issue?
Jesus warns us:"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand" (Matthew 12:25). The United States is a nation strengthened by the unity of a common life – the same language, the same customs and traditions, the same love of a common past. So, what happens when immigrants come to America and refuse to unite in our common life? What happens when immigrants refuse to learn and speak our language? What happens when immigrants despise our American customs and traditions? And what happens when immigrants don’t share the same love of our common past?
Scores of Mexican immigrants flooding into our country have no intention of learning English. They have no intention of adopting our customs and traditions. And they have no intention of sharing our love of a common past. Mexicans want the rights and benefits of living in America, but they refuse to become Americanized. They insist on remaining segregated. They divide the nation.
National peace and prosperity depend on unity: the nation must be of one heart and one mind. And just as family unity is destroyed if family members are not of one heart and one mind, national unity is destroyed if citizens are not of one heart and one mind. Again, Jesus warns us: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand."
As you know, the Bible commands each of us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is both Old Testament and New Testament law. Old Testament law commands: “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18). Jesus also commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).
However, the Bible doesn’t command us to love our neighbors more than ourselves. To love our neighbors more than ourselves or our family is foolishness and self-destructive. Self-care and self-defense are not unbiblical. We are responsible for our own welfare, as well as the welfare of others.
And the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves is one of mutual love; and is equally binding on the immigrant. Therefore, Mexican immigrants who become our neighbors must love us and promote the best interests of the local and national neighborhood. Mexican immigrants must unite with us and be of one heart and one mind. In other words, they must agree to a covenant of unity - to be a Good Neighbor. As a Good Neighbor, the immigrant must come to America with the intent to promote the welfare of his family, the community, and the nation. In other words, the Mexican must come to America with the intent to promote unity and become a Good Neighbor – a true American citizen.
As American citizens, we have important duties: to love, be loyal to, defend, support, and raise the ideals of the nation; to be law-abiding; to cooperate with the government; to be self-supporting; to use our time and property to promote the general welfare; and to pass on to future generations at least as good a nation as we received from our forefathers.
So, do Mexican immigrants coming to our nation intend to fulfill their duties as American citizens? Do Mexicans intend to love, be loyal to, defend, support, and raise the ideals of America? Do Mexicans intend to be law-abiding citizens? Do Mexicans intend to cooperate with the government? Do Mexicans intend to be self-supporting? Do Mexicans intend to use their time and property to promote the general welfare? And do Mexicans intend to pass on to future generations at least as good a nation as we received from our forefathers?
Look at it this way: When our next-door neighbors move out, we are justly concerned about who will move in. Will they be good neighbors? Will the new neighbors be quiet and peace-loving? Will they be law-abiding? Will they keep their home and property neat and clean? Will they be respectful of our property? Will they promote the welfare of the neighborhood?
We should likewise be concerned about Mexican immigrants moving into our national neighborhood. Will they be good neighbors? Will they be quiet and peace-loving? Will they be law-abiding? Will they keep their home and property neat and clean? Will they be respectful of our property? Will they promote the welfare of the nation?
Well, what if Mexicans refuse to learn the English language, and demand that we learn Spanish? And what if Mexicans refuse to share our customs and traditions, and demand that we celebrate Hispanic customs and traditions? And what if Mexicans despise our Founding Fathers and forefathers who suffered and sacrificed to build this great nation? And what if Mexicans show contempt for us in spite of the sacrifices we've made for America?
It is not a sin to exclude Mexican immigrants from our homeland who intend to disturb the peace and unity of America. The apostle Paul explained in his letter to the Romans that those who cause strife and division must be avoided. Romans 16:17 exhorts us: “Now I beseech you brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Those who come to America to cause divisions and offences contrary to our American ideals must not be ignored; they must be excluded.
There are Christians who feel an emotional notion of love toward Mexican immigrants. These Christians vainly desire to appear to be more loving, more caring, and more compassionate than Christians who oppose Mexicans who refuse to unite in the building up of America. The judgment of these misguided Christians is blinded by favoritism: they favor the poor.
These Christians sin because they are unrighteous in judgment: they favor the Mexican immigrant simply because he is poor. And this is a violation of Biblical law. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34); and He commands us not to be a respecter of persons. The Bible clearly tells us it is wrong to favor the poor in a cause: “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour” (Leviticus 19:15). It is just as wrong to favor the poor in a cause as it is wrong to favor the rich or powerful in a cause.
Basically, in the case of Mexican immigrants, prejudiced Christians refuse to review the facts impartially. They judge in favor of Mexican immigrants because they are poor. Now, is this just? In a court case, a judge is disqualified if his judgment is swayed and renders him unable to exercise his functions impartially.
And these prejudiced Christians sin against their real next-door neighbors. Because they vainly desire to appear more righteous, they refuse to safeguard their neighbors’ property, culture, and ideals. They believe that showing favoritism to the foreign poor is more just than safeguarding their neighbors and nation. Now, is that loving your American neighbor?
Why should America, founded by our forefathers, become a nation of Mexican aliens, who will shortly Mexicanize us instead of our Americanizing them? Will America in a few years become a Mexican nation; instead of their learning our language, we must learn theirs; instead of their adopting our customs and traditions, we must adopt theirs? Will we soon feel as if we are living in a foreign country?
Listen, would you welcome someone into your home to live with your family that is going to cause division and strife and destroy your family unity? Of course not. We strive to protect our family from outside destructive forces. So, why would you welcome immigrants into our country who refuse to share our American ideals and culture; and cause division and strife to destroy our national unity?
As Christians, we have a duty to God, we have a duty to our next-door neighbors, and we have a duty to ourselves to safeguard our nation against division and destruction. "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation."