Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Good Samaritans and Jail Cells

The headline is "Is it Christian or Illegal to Aid Migrants?" The reality, which is becoming increasingly clear, is that it is both Christian AND illegal.

On one hand, there is nothing new here. Christianity has a long and noble history of people of faith defying the ruling authorities (perhaps they never read Romans 13) in order to uphold a higher law and a higher authority. There have been times throughout history when the notions of higher law and higher authority were, in fact, the backbone, the uncontested truth, of the Christian faith. You might want to examine the lives and testimony of the apostle Peter, Thomas More, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther King, for example.

That was, of course, before 2016; sometimes many years before that, but perhaps we can realistically point to 2016 as the watershed year in which many American people who called themselves Christians, and certainly the vast majority of white evangelical Christians, managed to convince themselves that following Jesus meant doing precisely the opposite of what Jesus taught them to do.

There aren't many places in the New Testament where Jesus unequivocally contrasts the behaviors and attitudes of those who follow him and enter the Kingdom of God vs. those who do not follow him ("I never knew you," he tells them) and who do not enter the Kingdom of God. When he does - and he does in the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew - he puts it in terms of feeding people who are hungry, giving drink to those who are thirsty, welcoming strangers (ironically, the same Greek word that can also be translated as "immigrants" and "aliens"), clothing the naked.

You know what happens when you try that these days? They arrest you.

81% of white evangelicals who call themselves Christians voted for these policies. Rorschach Jesus. You can see whatever you want to see and hear whatever you want to hear. Except, apparently, what he clearly taught.


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