This open letter to Congress comes from Kelly Monroe Kullberg, founder of The Veritas Forum, editor and co-author of the award-winning book, Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians and A Faith and Culture Devotional. She is co-founder and acting president of Christians for A Sustainable Economy (case4America.org) and Senior Fellow at the Acton Institute. To sign this letter or pick up this conversation visit on Facebook and the web: Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration.com.
Open Letter to the Congress of the United States of America
Esteemed Members of the United States Senate and House ~
Perhaps we should take notice when anti-Christian billionaire and globalist, George Soros, is the quiet funder of an “Evangelical” campaign to promote a large and confusing piece of legislation in our U.S. Congress. This time it is the “Gang of 8” Schumer-Rubio immigration bill (S. 744). Mr. Soros and allies have funded open border advocacy in Europe, the yield of which, we believe, is in daily news stories of escalating chaos, debt, and violence. Now it’s America’s turn. Sen. Harry Reid wants to begin the voting process on S. 744, immediately.
Further, fellow “evangelical leaders” and I are disappointed because we were asked by Jim Wallis’s “Evangelical Immigration Table” (of the Soros-funded National Immigration Forum) to sign on to biblical principles, not to endorse a specific piece of legislation (S. 744) that we had not read. The bill is 1,000 pages and growing. Unwitting signatures “of 170 evangelical leaders” were referenced in the E.I.T.’s letters to the Senate, the House and the President as explicit endorsement of S. 744, here. [ http://evangelicalimmigrationtable.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/May-2-Open-Letter-to-Congress.pdf ]
We were also not told that Mr. Soros and colleagues, some of the world’s largest Progressive and politically partisan donors (Open Society Institute and the Ford, Rockefeller, Tides, Carnegie foundations), and their National Immigration Forum, were behind the “Evangelical Immigration Table” and its enormous messaging campaign. For these reasons we now write in the hope of Christian and American wakefulness, unity and courage.
The Bible and Immigration
God loves us all, the sojourner and the citizen. No matter where we find ourselves on this curious blue planet, the Bible tells our “citizenship is in heaven.” We are all, in a sense, sojourners or “resident aliens” in this life. God invites us into his Church as a new kind of family. At the same time, He has purposefully placed us in this century, and into families, tribes and nations. Many people are displaced by war, famine and in need of kindness. We can help. The Church, and America, almost always has helped. We are a generous nation. There are other foreigners, however, such as the Boston-based Tsarnaev brothers, and others who do not mean to come as blessing, who do not belong in America. Scripture teaches discernment, as does the brilliant economist, Thomas Sowell:
Not only the United States, but the Western world in general, has been discovering the hard way that admitting people with incompatible cultures is an irreversible decision with incalculable consequences. If we do not see that after recent terrorist attacks on the streets of Boston and London, when will we see it? ‘Comprehensive immigration reform’ means doing everything all together in a rush, without time to look before we leap, and basing ourselves on abstract notions about abstract people. (Full article, here: [ http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2013/06/04/abstract-immigrants-n1612011 ])
While the Bible teaches us to be kind to the sojourner or “resident alien,” it also teaches that kindness to the sojourner ought not to be injustice to local citizens and their unique culture. To steward and cultivate, whether a garden or a nation, involves wisdom and discernment. We, like our Founders, want to conserve what is true, good and beautiful. We want to nurture a nation that would welcome our children as well as the well-intended sojourner.
That would mean making distinctions. Lawlessness with escalating violence and incivility cannot yield peace. Freedom for one is not slavery for another unless one chooses that sacrifice for oneself. It is unkind to force the debt of servitude on millions of Americans. We should secure our borders, pay off our national debt, give jobs to millions of unemployed Americans, and become a productive nation, once again, in order to sustain voluntary generosity to our neighbors and to the world. This goodness was once America’s greatness.
I offer my thoughts as a Christian and as one who worked at various times alongside the very poor in North, Central and South Americas, and with orphans in Russia, and who seeks the whole counsel of Scripture. God loves the “sojourner.” No question. Amen. God also loves the citizen. He is a God of love and of order, peace, freedom from debt, wise boundaries, and of nations. In some contexts Scripture teaches us to welcome. In other contexts it teaches us to be distinct, set apart, and, at times, to build walls. I am learning to see through political slogans and emotional appeals that sometimes feel like manipulation, and to focus on the breadth and balance of biblical teaching which could help us recover a wisdom tradition that is adequate for the real world.
Old Testament scholar James Hoffmeier states that the Hebrew word “ger”, translated “alien” or “sojourner” refers to “a person who entered Israel and followed legal procedures to obtain recognized standing as a resident alien.” This lawful sojourner (“ger”) was not necessarily given all the rights and privileges as the Hebrew citizen, but was treated kindly, indeed much more kindly than was customary among tribes and nations of the ancient world. God commanded Israel to be kind to the sojourner. In other words, Hoffmeier continues, biblical “… verses about sojourners refer to legal immigrants into the country. But other people who did not have this recognized standing were simply termed ‘foreigners’ … and did not have the same benefits or privileges that sojourners did.”
What Is the Issue?
This week the U.S. Senate begins voting on yet another massive tome of mysterious legislation that few have actually read — immigration bill S. 744. It’s passage would allow 11 million illegal immigrants to become citizens in the short-term, with likely an additional 20 million family members as new citizens within about a decade. Cost projections vary but most agree that, given access to many U.S. social welfare services, the net price tag of S. 744 will be in the trillions of dollars. This net cost is in addition to our current seventeen trillion dollars of national debt ($17,000,000,000,000). Such escalation of debt is one way to destroy a nation. It is immoral. It is theft from American seniors and children. It is unbiblical. It is unkind.
We’re primarily concerned that S. 744 is ideologically and politically driven, and not motivated by compassion for, and justice to, actual human beings. Given the gross injustices to American citizens this year such as the Boston terrorist bombing, NSA and DOJ privacy invasions of citizens and media, IRS harassment of Constitutional and Christian conservatives, and unaccountable spending which raises ours debt and tax load making more Americans poor, I’m curious why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in such a hurry to prioritize and pass “comprehensive immigration reform” in the form of S. 744. Perhaps the White House and Congress should first focus on getting our own fiscal house in order before making hollow promises to millions of illegal immigrants who are not-yet-citizens. In our present circumstances we are, for foreigners, a false hope.
“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.”
~ Pastor William John Henry Boetcker (1873-1962)
A Simple, Common Sense Request of the Senate and the House
Therefore, as a citizen in the Heartland, I have a simple request of the Senate: Please stop. Please, no more surprises. Rather, rebuild our trust.
There seems to be great confusion about what the bill means and how it will be implemented. Rushing to a vote, once again, is not wise. Apparently most of our Senators have not read the bill in its entirety. Nor have citizens read the bill as we try to make ends meet, raise children and be good neighbors. Our citizen fatigue is understandable. We are politically exhausted. Millions feel disregarded, helpless and censored in the age of the Media Propaganda State. We sense rather nervously that at least a few people in high places are there to manage the decline of the America we love.
It is hard to know what to do, but we are finding our voice. We cannot take yet another onslaught of billionaires and their globalist interests demeaning the essence, and diverting the good future, of America. From the Heartland I beg you — stop. Rebuild the trust of American citizens. The burden of distrust is squarely on the shoulders of Congress, the White House and our federal agencies. Consider this an opportunity to rebuild trust. Pause for grace. Read the bill. Hit re-set. Start over.
We are not willing to “pass the bill so that [we] can find out what is in it.” We The People never were willing to act so immorally, so foolishly, and certainly not now. This is no time for another mystery bill that will forever change the nation we love and have the duty to steward. This issue is important but it is not a crisis. Few immigrants are being deported. America leads all nations in allowing hundreds of thousands of foreigner’s unlawful entrance each year (the exact number is uncertain). Our future should not be shaped by those who break laws but by those who keep laws. Let’s learn to care for both the citizen and the foreigner, and do this wisely with no surprises. Another “Obamacare” will break our back as a nation. We believe that some of you know this.
I am asking my Senators, and all of Congress, to pause and read all 1,000 pages (and growing) of the S. 744 bill itself, and to kindly consider the citizens of the United States whom they are elected to represent. Our poor. Our widows. Our unemployed, many of whom are African- and Hispanic-American young people. Our veterans and college graduates having trouble finding meaningful career paths. Passing another comprehensive bill full of good intentions and empty promises is unjust, immoral and unwise. This bill is not “better than nothing.” It is flawed to the point of being unworkable. Please, scrap it and start over. Give us something short enough to read. Something clear enough to understand. State what the bill will do, when it will be done, and how much it will cost. Use our common dictionary as well as our vocabulary (enough with the Alinsky/Screwtape rhetoric). No more obfuscation — let your words mean something real.
The very last thing that our nation needs is another massive, cryptic, game-changing piece of legislation forced upon us that will forever reshape the moral, cultural, economic and political future of our nation. We’re saying this in plain-speak: no more back-room deals, special rides on Air Force One and rushed Sunday night votes on the Hill. Enough. We may have once been too trusting, but we are not now suicidal. And many are no longer silent. The nation is waking up.
Let’s leave behind the sloganeering and confront the hard task of discernment. Just as Paul taught the Church (1 Timothy 5) to delineate among widows for whom the Church should provide, we are called to discern among “sojourners” (like Ruth and Rahab who intend to assimilate and bless) and “foreigners” (who do not intend to assimilate and bless) and to welcome the former with hospitality. Observance to the whole counsel of Scripture yields growth and goodness to those in need. America is a nation rooted in the truth of God’s love for the individual and for the whole world.
The U.S. Senate now has the opportunity to rebuild confidence that citizens have lost concerning the competence of our legislative branch. Please first enforce existing laws, secure our borders and end on-going illegal immigration. This will go a long way towards reversing pubic cynicism and distrust. Then, with the growing confidence of the American people, Congress and citizens can work together to address the challenges of immigration in the context of our calling to nurture the great story of America’s heritage and future. We pray and work along with you towards the renewal of American creativity, productivity and generosity for our nation and for God’s whole world.
Acting President, Christians for A Sustainable Economy
References and Resources:
Kelly Monroe Kullberg, author, Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas (Veritas Forum Books) (IVP 2006)
James Hoffmeier, The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible Crossway Books, 2009.
The S. 744 bill itself: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s744#overview )