Bryan Fischer has said some really bizarre things over the years, but his latest argument seems particularly baffling to me. He claims that the entire reason the United States exists is to spread the gospel all over the world, which would come as quite a shock to the men who founded the country and failed to mention that. But further, he says that illegal immigration somehow harms our ability to do so.
“Our purpose as a nation,” he said, “is to advance and expand the Kingdom of God. That is the calling that is on the United States … And we have, up to this point in history, we have abundantly fulfilled that mission. The United States has invested more financial resources and sent more personnel carrying the message of the Gospel to more darkened corners of the world than any other place on the planet. And that is our calling and that is what illegal immigration is threatening.”
“One of the things we need in order to carry out the Great Commission is a sense of national unity,” Fischer continued. “We are one people with a common purpose, that has to do with the things of God, with expanding the reach of God, expanding the impact that God’s kingdom and the Gospel has on the world. Well, you can’t do that if you’re fractured, if you’re divided over race, if you’re divided because you have people living illegally who don’t even belong here, have no intention of assimilating, no intention of entering into that larger purpose for your nation. They’re not going to be an asset to that; they’re going to be a detraction to that. They’re going to diminish the capacity of the country to do that.”
Here’s why I think this is particularly strange. Those who come here illegally come mostly from Latin America, where the population is overwhelmingly Christian. A significantly higher percentage of people in Mexico and Central America are Christian than are Americans. In fact, if not for Latino immigration the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian would actually have fallen faster over the last couple decades than it already has.
And of course, this notion that immigration makes us “divided” is just plain ridiculous. We are nation divided over virtually everything and those divisions are becoming deeper and more pronounced every day. And it has nothing to do with immigration, which is just one of a hundred issues on which we are divided. What a bizarre world Fischer inhabits in his head.