An Upsetting Immigration Conversation
As many of my (now angry) readers are aware, I (Suspender Man™) have begun talking about immigration in terms that are pretty upsetting to a lot of my friends. In this article I am going to start answering how we can have mostly open borders and not be over-run by Muslims, which fear has conquered us to a point of sheer panic.
In my last post I opined for mostly open borders but also for enforcing biblical norms for law and society for everyone in the land. I showed that God revealed a basic principle in Scripture that under His civil law (law carrying penalties) foreign born people are to be judged under it the same as the home born. I also told my readers that there is no vetting of immigrants found in Scripture. These statements triggered days-long debate threads.
I can honestly say that I identify with your outrage, astonishment (and false accusations) that this conservative Christian sounds like a mindless shill for the left. My friends are wondering how this could have happened, thinking, “Schanzenbach has gone off the rails. Can’t he read the newspapers? Why can’t he see the writing on the wall with all these dangerous people flooding in here? What does he want to do, just bare his neck to these Sharia law fools and have his head cut off? Has he not noticed what is going on in Europe?”
Suspender Man Repents
I assure my critics, yes, I see the dangers and, yes, I have read about what is happening in Europe, and, no, I do not want my head hacked off. Judging by the hostility found in recent comment threads my neck may be in greater danger from my Christian friends than anyone else. I now confess however, that I used to think about immigration questions just like my harshest contenders. Seven years ago, in one of my blog posts I wrote:
The southern border needs to be sealed. The inflow of Muslim and Arab peoples needs to stop. Recently immigrated foreign nationals need to be sent home regardless of family ties that may exist. If we do not do these things we will likely die as a nation.
It is safe to say that I totally get where many in the conservative Christian community are coming from. Yet I also am convinced that I need to repent of my former unbiblical and poorly considered opinion. I thought I was being spiritual and brave and God honoring in my ideas about immigration. Now I realize there were a great many questions I had not asked and answered biblically, along with Scripture and heart issues I had not addressed rightly. My theology has deepened. My understanding of the biblical text across a broad field has grown and matured. I still don’t want my head chopped off but I have seen that God has provided different answers than I first envisioned. Hence I have repented.
What Can Be Done About Invading Religions?
Let me tell you a story about Gideon who was called valiant warrior by the angel of God following which God gave Gideon a job to do. The story is important because it shows us how one of the greatest heroes in Scripture dealt with idols in his country, Israel. Gideon is also famous for repelling a massive foreign invasion of Midianites:
Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night. When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. They said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched about and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he had torn down his altar. — Judges 6:25–32
Gideon’s actions, by God’s direct command, fit into an important background that is directly relevant to us. Prior to tearing down the Baal worship center Gideon had been out growing a field of grain. It was not just any field of grain though. It was a field right in the middle of an area of Israel where the Midianites had started coming yearly to occupy and steal anything they could find. The rest of the men in Israel were hiding in the mountains but Gideon was right out there growing and harvesting grain and hiding it in a wine press. Gideon had some chutzpah. This was why an angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and called him valiant warrior and told Gideon God had a mission for him to free Israel. After that angel left the Lord spoke to Gideon and told him to tear down a Baal worship center. This was a bigger step of bravery than Gideon had yet taken. It prepared him for his larger task of leading the army of Israel against the invasion of the Midianites. Tearing down the Baal worship center also softened God’s heart toward Israel and helped establish the Lord on Israel’s side in upcoming fights.
Learn from Gideon
Here are some lessons related to immigration for us from Gideon’s story.
First, we Christians need to start acting with some bravery. I do not want to be insulting but we have become pacifistic cowards. We want to insult no one, have no public or private battles, and pretty much just let the world go to the devil. A few days ago I met with a manager of a business with property that borders against an abortion clinic. I asked the man if he was a Christian and he said, yes. Yet when I asked if peaceful abortion counselors could stand on land owned by the business and talk to abortion customers at the clinic he simply said, NO. He told me his reason was that he did not want to get into a “p***ing match” with his neighbor. He also told me that if his daughter ended up needing that clinic’s services he thought the clinic should be there. He agreed that abortion is murder but was willing to do exactly nothing about it when the clinic was right next door. Unfortunately, guys, this man is us. We do not want to do anything manly. We have little interest in showing a courageous face—even in small things. We need to man up and start acting the part God has given us. We need to lead the culture back to righteousness.
A second lesson from judge Gideon is that it is the proper work of Godly people to get rid of the idol worship centers in the nation. I know that is pretty novel in our polytheistic society. It is novel to Christians that is. Have you noticed that when Muslim people gain a significant percent of the population they have no problem subjugating Christians, and instituting Sharia law, to force forward their cultural rule? Have you noticed that when the humanists build their worship centers (public schools) they do not let the Christians teach a word about their Christian religion from the front of the classrooms? Humanists can say whatever they want but Christians must shut up or get out. This is the way it has always been in the clash of the cultures.
In our culture, we Christians have not pressed our civil magistrates to obey the word of our own God:
For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. — Deuteronomy 7:4–6
This is the standard for a Christian Protestant society. We have not practiced this behavior in a long time and we are losing the culture as a result of this sin of negligence as well as a few others. We must encourage our civil magistrates to do their God-ordained duties and disallow the construction of idol worship centers. Lest we think that judge Gideon was alone in history in his Baal burning courage:
You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. — Deuteronomy 12:2
There was Hezekiah:
He did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. — 2 Kings 18:3-5
King Josiah understood how to deal with idol worship centers:
Then he brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; and he broke down the high places of the gates which were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one’s left at the city gate. — 2 Kings 23:8
In the case of these two kings we see the normal pattern for overthrowing major social evils. It is the civil magistrates that should lead the way in re-establishing justice and morality in the land. Those of us who hold no civil office ought to be encouraging, even demanding, a return to righteousness, but the office holders in civil government need to lead the way. It is rarely God’s will for angry mobs with pitchforks to usurp the holy roll and work of the civil magistrates.
This is the standard for #Christian society. We must encourage our magistrates to obey the word of God.—@4XianCulture
Returning to Gideon we can notice he is (or became) a judge in Israel. God sanctioned his actions. Gideon was a low level judge or maybe even just a layman doing what a whole lot of other laymen (Suspender Men) ought to do—resisting idol worship in his day. In areas where Christians still have a majority there ought to be enough resistance where a building permit for an idol worship center could never be issued and work could never begin. Some people might think that is mean but God does not seem to think so. For some reason we Christians think that it is fine to have a federal agency that vets and extreme-vets people, arrests them, jails them, and refuses entry to people who have nowhere to go, just because our arbitrary system forbids their entry. We think that kind of violence and real destruction of people’s lives is fine but that denying a building permit to an idol worshipping religion is cruel and unfair. It looks to me like our most important value is often that we want a far away agency to protect us so that we need not fight small social battles close to home. We do not want to be manly (manly Suspender Men?), we want the feds to do that for us, cruel though their ways of doing things always are.
Courage & God’s Help
It may well be that if Christians began to have a little courage and conviction that the God of heaven would step in to aid His church. He did in Gideon’s time. Gideon began with a simple act of courage. He advanced to a stronger action as the Lord directed him. Shortly after that God used Gideon to lead a victorious battle that freed all Israel from the Midianite invasion. This is the pattern. Start with small obedience and work toward greater courage and larger victories. God helps His people in ways they never imagined. Now would be a good time to begin.