Assessment: Public Theology

Pages: 4 (1249 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy for $19.77

Theology

A Discussion of a Theology of Immigration for the Contemporary North American Situation

How to respond to the immigration "problem" is a question that can certainly be answered by seeking truth in scripture. The Bible is clear when it comes to the moral issues relating to immigration. Both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament contain ample references to how to treat strangers righteously. "When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God," (Leviticus 19:33-34). How to apply Biblical law to contemporary North America is a more difficult proposition. The cultural and historical context of the Bible does not necessarily or always apply to modern situations and contingencies. Furthermore, as Sider and Snippers point out, "the complex and evolving issue of the church's role in public policy is among the most challenging for twenty-first century American evangelical leaders," (5).

If the Bible is clear on matters related to how to properly care for our fellow human beings, then why is immigration a contentious political issue in the United States? The politics of immigration policy are divisive. Immigration policy is an issue that has caused many Christians to politically fight one another, in the quest for an answer. The United States is a nation founded firmly on an immigration policy that reflects Biblical truths. Even some of the more insidious chapters in American immigration history -- such as the decimation of the native population by the original settlers, and the forced immigration of countless slaves -- have been underwritten by misguided Christians. The time is ripe for a new, theologically informed immigration policy that transcends differences and unites Americans. Even those who, like the author, are temporary residents or guests of the great nation, are in the position to offer guidance and support that is rooted in religion.

One of the main reasons why immigration is a controversial issue in both Western Europe and the United States is economics. In a stagnant economy, immigrants are viewed as potential threats. Likewise, many Americans have vocally expressed fear and concern that immigrants are leaching public services. Another reason why immigration is a controversial issue is xenophobia. Xenophobic reactions to immigration are paradoxical in a nation founded by immigrants, but the fact remains that the dominant culture is white, Christian, and European. Non-whites, non-Europeans, and non-Christians are viewed as outsiders by a substantial enough number of the American population to cause a political controversy. The dominant culture is not necessarily the majority culture, either; dominant culture simply refers to the culture that possesses the greatest amount of political power. As the United States stands poised for a massive demographic shift in which whites might become the literal minority, discourse on the topic of immigration is likely to change.

For now, Ramachandra notes that opposition to immigration is "generally far more prominent than supports for it," (157). It is no small mystery why this is true, given that anti-immigration policy is linked to the conservative political agenda, which is in turn linked to the evangelical mission. It would seem more logical for Christians to avidly support open borders in keeping with scripture. Americans pride themselves on being a nation of tolerance, equality, liberty, and justice for all. Yet the current immigration debate presents Americans in a poor light and makes American consciousness seem woefully hypocritical. "And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?" (Matthew 5:47). When they build walls and fences around the border, Americans are not "doing more than others" as they often profess to do. The same was… [END OF PREVIEW]

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