By Sheila Devall -
Not only am I also an “evangelical” myself, I also happen to be a Wesleyan, and I deeply love the Church. I have read: "Three Evangelical Responses to Presidential Executive Orders on Immigration "by David Drury, published on November 20, 2014 at http://www.wesleyan.org. And I have a response to the “Response.”
I felt that Drury did an acceptable job of not accusing those of us Christians who oppose the President’s amnesty order of being hateful bigots—which is, of course, what so many individuals and organizations that adhere to a more “Liberal” ideology accuse us of being on a daily basis.
Even as a “Tea Party Conservative,” I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Drury on the following statements: “On this matter we must be defined by our faith, not political party. Immigration is an issue, but immigrants are people.” … (Quoting Dr. Jo Ann Lyon) “We have an urgency to see these laws changed, but regardless of what our government does with our laws the gospel must be preached.”… “As followers of Jesus, we’re commanded to welcome the stranger, to love our neighbors, and to respect the rule of law.”
I wrote on both my blog and my Facebook page a year ago that my fellow Tea Party Conservatives were too quick to throw Marco Rubio overboard for his work on a compromise immigration bill. Not that I personally agree that our “immigration system is broken," but was able to see the wisdom in offering to compromise on the issue.
If you examine the laws, there is nothing really wrong with them the way they are. It is government in general that is “broken.” There are long wait times, inconsistencies, redundancies, glitches and bureaucratic red tape. Sounds just like the DMV to me! In the same way that there will never be a Utopia of no excessively wealthy and no excessively destitute people—ruled by benevolent and unbiased politicians— there will never be a “fixed” immigration system. If by “fixed” one is envisioning a quick, smooth, consistent, reasonable process for immigrants to enter the country and become citizens. Face it. That is never going to happen. It is the nature of the beast of government. Throw in the complexities of drug cartels and sex trafficking, terrorism and disease, (ie: “Sin”) and you have a recipe for exactly what we have now and what we will always have. The DMV on steroids.
And this is where I throw in my remark about how it is not compassionate to tell people things that are not true, or to enable them to hope for things that are impossible. But to get back to the President’s executive amnesty order.
I am a child welfare worker. For the past ten years I have worked with families who have made poor choices and mistakes to be reunited as a safer, more stable unit. Often, we as workers put more effort into the process than the parents. Sometimes we hear from the parents how it is so unfair that their children have to endure being in the “system.” We hear how they had to change schools, lose connections with their friends, be separated from their siblings, etc. And these things are difficult, and yes, they are unfair to the children, who are innocent in the midst of everything. But repeatedly we must remind the parents, it was their poor choices that put their children in this situation.
And to bring this analogy closer to home on this topic, the vast majority of the time when we have held the parents’ hands too tightly, convenienced them a little too much, kept the children with relatives and given them ample, flexible visitation, the parents do not correct the conditions that brought their children into care and in the end, the family cannot be reunited. Frequently, it is not until the children are truly separated from the parents that the motivation is found and the changes are made.
But who can disagree that all true followers of Christ should have compassion for needy and hurting people, the “strangers among us.” And I believe I understand the larger agenda of The Wesleyan Church’s stance and alliances on “immigration reform,” though I would disagree that it is not political. It is evangelical first and foremost, which is highly commendable, but it is also political. Allow me to explain how.
It is political in that the ideological basis fits squarely in line with a political movement embraced by popular culture, which, in turn, has shaped the world-views and thought-processes of the nation’s young people, of every cultural and ethnic background. This world-view is something many call, “Collectivism.” It is this cultural reality that has drawn Mr. Drury and the Wesleyan Church to this particular opportunity for outreach. This is the political connection. I do not adjudge this connection to be good or bad, it simply is.
Let me just say that I do not believe that Mr. Drury, Dr. Lyon, or the Wesleyan Church are motivated by Collectivism itself. I believe they are motivated by the love of Christ and a desire to reach as many lost souls as they can in whatever manner present-day culture presents opportunities to do so. In that, I have no beef whatsoever with the Immigration Alliance or any outreach and charity extended to illegal immigrants. More power to them!
Collectivism is a concept as old as Mankind. It was Collectivism that was at fault for the Tower of Babel. It was the culprit when Israel cried for a King and it was at the root of the fall of every great civilization since then, without exception.
This ideology may sound very simple and compassionate. It is this: that a community of people, not intended to include communities of Faith—as the New Testament Church is described in Acts Chapter 2, where “all things were held in common—” but municipalities and states, can and should live in a communal agreement in which wealth is evenly distributed, no one is excessively wealthy and no one is excessively poor.
But it is not simple and ultimately, it is not compassionate.
The reason that Collectivism—a secular concept—is not compassionate is because of the unchangeable, universal, sinful nature of Man—a very non-secular concept. Collectivism, Socialism, Communism—whatever you chose to call it or whatever stage the experiment has reached—it always, eventually, leads to oppression. Sooner or later there is a loss of freedom for at least one, and often several, groups of people who do not align themselves according to the liking of those who are deciding what is “fair” and what is “equal” and who deserves to have and who deserves to have not. After all, someone has to decide.
But who are Men to decide these things? Do they have the power to know the true condition of those who profess to deserve a piece of someone else’s prosperity? And in the same vein, how do Men handle this kind of power? The answer is, not very well. There is a reason for the old adage: Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
And all of this is why the Founders created the revolutionary document, The Constitution of the United States of America. It’s all about the Sinful Nature of Man, which, for whatever reason, be it divine intervention or otherwise, all seemed to have an uncanny understanding of.
Having said all of this, I commend Mr. Drury and Dr. Lyon for their brave and timely outreach efforts. At the same time, I would encourage them, and The Wesleyan Church, resorting to political phraseology, to not abandon their “base.” Forty plus, mid-western, Conservative Americans who built the church with the sweat of their brow and compassion in their hearts, to what it is today, a force for change around the World.
While many Christians are called to reach out to illegal immigrants with legal help and the gospel message, some Christians are called to stand watch for the safety and welfare of our nation. Please be careful not to sacrifice one for the other.
Sheila Devall and her husband founded a 9-12 group in Peoria, Illinois.This commentary was used by permission.