Nice Try Paula White, but Jesus was a Lawbreaking Refugee

Nice Try Paula White, but Jesus was a Lawbreaking Refugee July 11, 2018
The Holy Family in a Cage
Image via Christ Church Cathedral

President Trump’s top spiritual advisor, Paula White, has been justifying the President’s crusade to torture immigrant and refugee children by ripping them from their parent’s arms and stalling on a court order to reunite them.

Now she’s backing her anti-immigrant position up with a misrepresentation of scripture.

“I think so many people have taken biblical scriptures out of context on this, to say stuff like, ‘Well, Jesus was a refugee,'” White said yesterday. “Yes, He did live in Egypt for three-and-a-half years. But it was not illegal. If He had broken the law then He would have been sinful and He would not have been our Messiah.”

Sorry Paula, but Jesus broke the law — repeatedly. He was the poster child for “lawless refugee.” King Herod sought to kill Jesus because he saw him as a political threat. Jesus escaped his grasp. Perhaps in Paula’s world Jesus’ parents should have submitted to local authorities.

I’m not sure Egypt was thrilled to have him either. Paula seems to have forgotten that little incident when Jesus’ people broke laws to flee Pharaoh’s decree.

Jesus regularly broke laws that were unGodly. He healed on the Sabbath. He overturned tables in the Temple. He emphasized compassion over and sometimes against the law of his day. He was executed by the Roman Empire for claiming to be the “King of the Jews.”

God has repeatedly told Jews to remember the suffering of their ancestors as refugees and outcasts and to treat others with compassion. Christians inherit this ethic, and Jesus embodied it. “You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9). Jesus was the incarnation of that law.

Paula’s ludicrous, scripture-based defense of the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy comes in the wake of massive outcry from Christians that the criminalization of immigrants seeking safety is immoral and inhumane. Trump’s religious advisors are clearly on the defensive.

I led a delegation of top women religious leaders from throughout the country to the border. We represented thousands of religious communities horrified by what the Trump Administration is doing to children. What we saw was traumatized children. Young people who had been so mistreated that they were physically ill and in need of medical treatment. Parents weeping for their kids.

A church in Indiana’s symbolic protest — putting the Holy Family in a cage on their front lawn — recently went viral. Catholic Bishops just paid a visit to the border to protest. Several hundred theologians and ethicists — even evangelical ones like Paula — condemned these policies.

Trump’s religious advisors know they have no moral ground to stand on. So they lie about scripture. They lie about why immigrants are coming here. And they lie demonizing migrants as criminals. They even lie about Jesus. Shame!

Paula tries to portray detention centers as a walk in the park. Yet Bethany Christian Services, a foster agency that is caring for immigrant children separated from their families said, “It is never OK to separate a child from its family when they are seeking asylum.”

How can one even begin to think it is moral to separate a child from a parent just for trying to get to safety or better life?

We’ve seen this before when we jailed Japanese citizens and when we enslaved African Americans. We had our rationales then too. We separated their families and we justified it with scripture and racist myths. We will not let it happen again.

Nice try Paula White but you don’t know Jesus as well as you think you do. Jesus is on the side of those seeking asylum. He was once a refugee.

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  • Don Lowery

    Hopefully soon…the gravy train those like Paula White and other have been riding will be over when the tax exemption for their country clubs from hell are revoked and they start paying their fair share for being this shameful in the public square.

  • mkmangold

    Paula White seems to be confused. There were no “national boundaries” (as we think of them now) in ancient times. This is a modern invention, an outcome of the escape from Medieval mindsets during the Renaissance. While Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment thinkers were original and creative, they were also captive of the mentality that nation-states represent God’s will.
    Remember this: Yahweh did not want the Israelites to have a king. I don’t care if it is David, Solomon, Ahab, Jehoshaphat, or Herod, no king represents God’s will. We, the Children of God, do. If you have to have a biblical reference for your defense of kidnapping, assault, battery, and abuse, please study the OT prophets first. Them dudes and gals knew quite a lot about injustice.

  • Lots to consider in the opening salvo:
    “Jesus regularly broke laws that were unGodly. He healed on the Sabbath. He overturned tables in the Temple. He emphasized compassion over and sometimes against the law of his day. He was executed by the Roman Empire for claiming to be the “King of the Jews.”
    Jesus healed on the Sabbath in defiance of “Jewish” law – correct. Tables? not sure that was a civil issue? But he was executed by the authority of the Roman governor on the urging of the Jews for claiming to be God not King.

    “How can one even begin to think it is moral to separate a child from a parent just for trying to get to safety or better life?” This is just the efforts of the Left to try and get something to stick to Trump which they have not done.Trump is not responsible for the current state of the immigration system but he will solve it and most on this site won’t like it.

    “We’ve seen this before when we jailed Japanese citizens and when we enslaved African Americans. We had our rationales then too. We separated their families and we justified it with scripture and racist myths. We will not let it happen again.” Yes and we have seen this ramping up as the midterms approach and the Democrats are in a panic. #WalkAway

  • Everett Kier Jr

    I would enjoy laughing at this exchange but I think both White and Butler are really serious their arguments are weighty and solid. This is conversation is absurd. To take the time to dissent might give some credibility….

  • Ron

    I think your comment about borders seems to justify White’s position better than that of the author, Rev. Jen Butler. As you are aware our present problem is the large populations of people entering the country improperly (illegally). I know – it is not illegal to seek asylum but it is illegal to enter the country at other than a port of entry and/or without proper documents. Keep in mind, I believe, about 5000 children were dumped on the border at one time and that doesn’t include the adults. Also consider that bus loads of adults stormed the border with their children having no money, no place to stay,and no way to feed their children, saying here I am deal with it! Instead of dumping on the Border Patrol and Immigration, lets share the responsibilities.

    Yes, Yahweh discouraged the Israelites from wanting a king but He did allow it. Israel was not without government before the kings: Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and then the kings. BTW. I am not an administration supporter. I am what you might consider a moderate Democrat.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    There were not exactly national boundaries but some civilizations (most notably Egypt) did have systems severely limiting individuals freedom to travel. In Egypt a person could not travel more than a few miles even to visit the neighboring town without written permission from the local government officials. This makes it particularly noteworthy that the Law of Moses does not allow any such restrictions.

    In the time of Christ Egypt was was part of the Roman Empire (as was Judea) but it considered the personal property of the Emperor. It was illegal even for Roman citizens to visit Egypt without the proper Imperial documents granting them permission.

  • raven nevermore

    Butler sounds like any bonehead community organiser, except she is dressed up as a minister – something like a double-barrelled shotgun – spreads the intellectual bigotry (narrow mindedness) far and wide. There is nothing wrong with zero tolerance, since a country that does not defend its border will not stand together.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    A panic? Why? Chances are we’ll take the Senate, maybe the House. Trump’s incompetent reign has got more people than ever involved in the process.
    We don’t need to “stick” anything to Trumpo the Incompetent. His utter failures on foreign policy, racist immigration disasters (and yes, this ENTIRELY WAS his fault), and complete inability to provide any kind of leadership to the country are plain for all to see.

  • You are filtering reality through Liberal glasses.
    There was never a chance that the Senate would change. The hope was in the House but then the strategy failed, The DNC has not galvanized voters but alienated them. The proof is on display at #WalkAway.
    Nothing the Left has tried has hurt Trump. All your points are failed talking points of a frustrated opponent. What is left is Fear! Because Trump has succeeded his popularity has increased not decreased. If anything you said were true it would be reflected in Trump’s job approval rating. But rather than going down it have been steadily rising.
    How exactly does that comport with your assertions?

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Pretty much perfectly well, actually, since I do understand projection when I see it. The few actual facts you provide are wrong (Trump’s popularity ratings have actually been hitting all-time lows for a sitting President in actual, non-biased polls), and #WalkAway is a tiny bunch of disaffected libertarians, not some sort of movement.
    I understand your fear. The conservative movement has bet their all on a “messiah” who has turned out to be nothing but a foolish, narcissistic manchild who is dragging everything you hold important into neck-deep mud, and is struggling to go deeper. The world is changing in ways you aren’t comfortable with and can’t comprehend, and you’ve pinned your hopes on the orange idiot, only to see the “left” (actually, the CENTRE – you’ve gone so far right Hitler says hello) stepping out of their quiet assumption of victory and realizing they need to actually get involved again.
    We aren’t seeing a new renaissance of Conservatism, we’re seeing it’s end. Your primary population base is old, white and dying off; your ideals viewed as quaint or even damaging; without an enemy at the gates, your propaganda of fear is failing. The current Republican Party might get one more President before it becomes completely irrelevant, but probably not. The Party may survive – it’s old, tired ideals and links to religion will not.

  • Kevin, please. Trumps popularity rating hit 45% this morning. Where are you facts and sources?
    #WalkAway forecasts the fate of a the DNC.
    The rest of your comment is just silly nonsense.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    42%, from my sources, but even 45% is actually remarkably shitty. Most Presidents don’t fall below 50%. Gerald Ford was the only recent one in the ballpark, and he had Nixon’s criminalising to deal with. And #WalkAway is and remains a bunch of nobodies. The rest of what I said is what you are too fearful to face.

  • You see why I cannot debate with you? 45% is not remarkably shitty. What was Obama” average rating?
    “Obama Averages 47.9% Job Approval as President.”

    Where did Obama fall among modern Presidents? Ninth! 9th! The vaunted savior did no better than 9th!

    Job Approval Averages for U.S. Presidents Since World War II
    Dates Average Job Approval
    %
    Kennedy Jan. 20, 1961-Nov. 22, 1963 70.1
    Eisenhower Jan. 20, 1953-Jan. 19, 1961 65.0
    G.H.W. Bush Jan. 20, 1989-Jan. 19, 1993 60.9
    Clinton Jan. 20, 1993-Jan. 19, 2001 55.1
    Johnson Nov. 22, 1963-Jan. 19, 1969 55.1
    Reagan Jan. 20, 1981-Jan. 19, 1989 52.8
    G.W. Bush Jan. 20, 2001-Jan. 19, 2009 49.4
    Nixon Jan. 20, 1969-Aug. 9, 1974 49.0
    Obama Jan. 20, 2009-Jan. 19, 2017 47.9
    Ford Aug. 9, 1974-Jan. 19, 1977 47.2
    Carter Jan. 20, 1977-Jan. 19, 1981 45.5
    Truman April 12, 1945-Jan 19, 1953 45.4

    The rest of what you said is personal opinion gathered from partisan sources.
    Don’t reply unless you have done your homework…

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Blah, blah, blah. You wonderfully ignore the fact that Trump’s average is not 45%, it’s his current. His average at the moment is an abysmal 33.3%. Don’t kid a kidder, and don’t bother bringing up stats if you’re going to be dishonest about them.
    And who gives a flying fuck about Obama? This is all on the orange moron’s head.

  • Your reading skills are suspect. When I said, “Trumps popularity rating hit 45% this morning.” I meant exactly that. I can’t help that you can’t read. Who cares about Obama – You!

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Well, if my reading is suspect, your math is shit. You were comparing that self-same 45% to the averages of all those other Presidents.
    Why on earth would I care about Obama? Was a pretty good President, but it’s not like he can run again. I’m looking at the future and the present. Don’t confuse your obsession with the first black President with my interests.

  • While you looking at the future and if your math is so good: What is the average age of the leaders of your party:
    Nancy, Joe, Hillary, Bernie and Elizabeth? Are these people your future?
    While you read from some Leftist materials about the ageing of the GOP remember this, when people grow up and learn about responsibility they become Conservatives.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Hillary probably won’t try again, too much baggage, and Bernie probably IS too old. Not that he’s slowing down any, but the Presidency is a rough gig and I don’t think he’d be able to take it.
    But so what? Party leaders aren’t all that often Presidential candidates. Goodness knows we’ve had plenty of ancient Republican Presidents, look at Reagan, or Bush Sr., pushed along by even more elderly party leadership.
    If you want young, try Joe Kennedy III. He’s old enough, but only 38. Good speaker, charismatic, enough of a Washington insider to know how to get things done without the stigma of being there too long.
    And who’d he be up against? I can’t believe even the current Republican Party would support Trumpo the Incompetent for a second term. Maybe give Mitt another go?

  • Timothy Weston

    President Trump represents the last gasp of the conservative Christian movement. He spoke the language and displayed the actions of white supremacy. A lot of white men are averse to the notion of non-whites being equal or greater in number and influence. The current Republican Party structure is trying to guarantee that hold on power. This racism also keeps them distracted from realizing that it was the rich and powerful that sold them out.

  • If you believe Jesus was a law breaking anything you side with the Pharisees who referred to him as a lawbreaker.
    When you let your politics inform scripture thinking you’re oh so clever and politically fashionable you end up with egg on your face oh fake rev.

  • Brandon Roberts

    still by modern us legal standards he was illegal.

  • Barros Serrano

    Really? Clearly Jesus broke laws, both Jewish and Roman ones,

    And often anyone following a higher morality MUST stand against the law. If the law said you had to inform the Gestapo about the presence of Jews, think about it, what would Jesus have done? Turned in his neighbors?

    When Jesus entered Jerusalem with a crowd cheering, “Hail Jesus, King of the Jews”, he AND the crowd were guilty of infractions against Roman law, since the Romans had installed Herod Agrippa as “King of the Jews”.

    According to the white right, Dr. King was a lawbreaker. And I think if the British had managed to catch Washington, Jefferson, et al., they’d have hung them for sedition and treason against the King.

    The LAW is not always the ultimate arbiter of what is right.

  • Barros Serrano

    What a pack of lies! Somehow what Trumpolini is doing at the border is justifiable because you don’t like Democrats? LOL… then YOU are as guilty of it as your Orange Fuhrer himself. You are complicit. Do you also support his efforts to destroy the ACA? Then you’re guilty of depriving people of healthcare access.

    On the whole, that is all pretty damned DEPLORABLE, is it not? And that you would sit smugly typing out ridiculous rationalizations for it only makes you look insane as well as amoral.

  • Barros Serrano

    Trumpolini is an egomaniacal narcissist. He is a clear danger to our freedom and to the peace and safety of this country. Anyone so blinded by hatred of Democrats (which usually is due to bigotry against non-whites, women, immigrants or SOMEONE) to continue to support this miscreant serves as a clear example of what is wrong with this country.

    Referring to today’s Democratic Party as “the Left” is comical. The mainstream is centrist. That is not “the Left”. That you think it is reveals that you are so far to the right that you likely think Nixon was a Communist. That makes you a fascist.

    therefore, a traitor

  • Barros Serrano

    Fascist ideologues like you are easy to dispose of. Of course you never get it, so you’ll continue prattling inanely.

    Let’s see, the GOP luminaries are Ryan, Rubio, McConnell, Cruz… LOL!!! It’s a clown show!

    You best ignore all the talented YOUNG Democrats who are coming along, because they’re going to clean your collective clock.

  • Barros Serrano

    yes, and Trumpolini in fact will likely prove to be a good thing… he will destroy the Republican Right. None of those miscreants, most of whose policies are very much like Trumpolini’s, will be able to run on that nonsense now that the Orange Misfit has dragged it all through the septic tank.

    And with Democrats now fed up with the centrism of Clinton-Clinton-Obama, we may be headed back to rule by a REAL Democratic Party of the FDR-Kennedies sort, and a GOP relegated to long-term “minority opposition” party as it was back when the country functioned SO much better… before 1981.

  • Conservatives are not fascist.
    The Luminary is Donald J. Trump.
    The Democrat Party must be hiding them.

  • Most politicians are narcissists and you know this.
    Trump is not a danger to democracy he is the protector of it.
    Conservatives do not hate Democrats; they disagree with their policies.
    The Democrat party stands for third trimester abortion and that is evil not centrist.
    Calling me names will not help win the mid-terms. Trump hate is not a Platform is it?

  • Yes 60 million of us are complicit in stopping the Liberal Criminal, Hillary, from winning the election. But we are happy that we played our part.

  • Law doesn’t take a back seat as you imply.
    And no- Jesus Christ never broke Jewish law in either letter or spirit but set the standard for orthodoxy. You demonstrate your ignorance here and obviously one of those ‘Jesus was a revolutionary’ honcho hippy types so further discussion with you is wasted.

  • Anyone following a higher morality must stand against the law- are you blinking kidding- and who sets the objective standard for so-called higher morality? You?????

  • David Cohen

    You don’t think that whole turning over the money changers episode violated a few statutes?

  • David Cohen

    The people who helped slaves escape through the underground railroad were breaking the law. And, as a side note, the slave owners had plenty of Bible verses to cite in defense of slave-owning. They were as conscientious about picking Bible verses to justify themselves as the Pharisees were, and as their modern day descendants, Evangelical conservatives, are now.

  • David Cohen

    100% of all unsourced statistics are worthless

  • No one on the Left on this site cares about statistics that don’t agree with their skewed ideology cited or not.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Hating Trump (and every total mis-step this loser has so far managed to inflict on America) is a perfectly good platform. Trumpo the Inadequate has so far managed to botch every single decision he’s made. He’s making Harding look GOOD. If everyone on America voted on a policy of “anyone but Trump” the world would be a much better place.

  • Hating Trump is Left; Hating Obama is Right (with both meanings).
    Your illusion of Trumps performance is not shared by the majority.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Your immersion in the right-wing echo-chamber is clearly total. You no longer have any real contact with real life.

  • Thank you…you…you…you…

  • David Cohen

    In other words you have no source, and as you always do when the vapidity of your points is demonstrated, you are shielding your dishonesty with petty insults.

    So typical of you Bob

  • First of all, source for what? Trump’s popularity? Today it’s according to Rasmussen Reports/Pulse Opinion Research it’s 47%. You in particular have demonstrated nothing in your last two posts have you?

  • David Cohen

    (Notice how he changes his tactics when the old one has been publicly identified. But, of course, he retains his core strategy of desperately trying to turn the focus on to other people when his duplicity is identified. Bob may be a liar, but he is an adaptable one)

    Now then Bob, you provided a list of presidential popularity ratings. You failed to provide a source for your information, however. When this fact was pointed out, you got huffy and stated that people with different options from you did not care about statistics. This is an obvious lie, since one such person directly asked you for your source.

    So basically, you have two options: you can tell us where you got your figures form, or you can admit that you are a liar. Past experience with you suggests will go with option 3: you will try to denigrate me for pointing out the fact that you are a liar.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Okay, I have to say that was quite funny!

  • The current source is stated. You have yet to provide a counter to anything. That is because you can’t believe what is happening; but others are no so skeptical.

    The Guardian: Is Trump really winning? The truth about the president’s popularity
    “When Trump hit a personal best 45% overall approval rating last week , boosted by a 90% approval rating among Republicans, asked: “How can this be?”

  • David Cohen

    Quoted from you post:

    Where did Obama fall among modern Presidents? Ninth! 9th! The vaunted savior did no better than 9th!

    Job Approval Averages for U.S. Presidents Since World War II
    Dates Average Job Approval
    %
    Kennedy Jan. 20, 1961-Nov. 22, 1963 70.1
    Eisenhower Jan. 20, 1953-Jan. 19, 1961 65.0
    G.H.W. Bush Jan. 20, 1989-Jan. 19, 1993 60.9
    Clinton Jan. 20, 1993-Jan. 19, 2001 55.1
    Johnson Nov. 22, 1963-Jan. 19, 1969 55.1
    Reagan Jan. 20, 1981-Jan. 19, 1989 52.8
    G.W. Bush Jan. 20, 2001-Jan. 19, 2009 49.4
    Nixon Jan. 20, 1969-Aug. 9, 1974 49.0
    Obama Jan. 20, 2009-Jan. 19, 2017 47.9
    Ford Aug. 9, 1974-Jan. 19, 1977 47.2
    Carter Jan. 20, 1977-Jan. 19, 1981 45.5
    Truman April 12, 1945-Jan 19, 1953 45.4

    Notice, still no source provided. The logical conclusion is the Bob here is a liar. He is, however, quick to provide misleading information to hide his lies. The 90% popularity among Republicans translating to 45% overall popularity is easily explained when you recall that Dolt 45 was not elected by a majority vote, and that many of those who did vote for him more because they believed right wing lies about Mrs. Clinton than out of support for Agent Orange

  • If you care to research the ratings I quoted several weeks ago, they are from Gallup under the search heading following: Presidential Approval Ratings — Gallup Historical Statistics and Trends.
    You sir, are completely disingenuous. But you will have the opportunity to cry about this President’s rising approval rating for six more years! That itself is a good dose of medicine for your arrogance.

  • David Cohen

    Ah, so you can provide a source (if not a link) for your alleged statistics, when sufficiently shamed to do so. Sorry I had to do so Bob, but not all of us live by the credo of “The Party said it, I believe it, that settles it.” And calling attention to this fact hardly makes me disingenuous.

    And as for your faith in the re-election of a man who was not elected by a majority vote, and has consistently failed to achieve an impressive rate of approval for people outside of the protective bubble of conservative extremism, we shall see.

  • Sorry David but you are obtuse.
    The President’s Approval Ratings are updated daily and are available to anyone . That you require a source to independently confirm a Gallup poll says more about you than me.