Heaven’s Open Borders

Heaven’s Open Borders July 10, 2018

A friend drew to my attention the following meme that a friend of theirs posted on Facebook:

There is so much to say about this. First, since the aim is to make heaven a standard for current American policy, I simply must mention the fact that this is what conservative Christian Trump supporters refuse to do when it comes to things like the economic principles in the Bible, whether ancient Israel’s laws like the Jubilee year, or the early church’s practice of sharing all things in common. A little consistency, or explanation of the rationale for the inconsistency, would be greatly appreciated.

Second, for Protestants, the standard for acceptance is grace rather than merit. How does that translate into refusing entry to conference presenters and persecuted Christians because they reside in specific countries? Sure, it is ignoring their merit, but it seems nonetheless to be lacking in grace.

Third, with regard to those texts that do specify moral standards for entrance into the Kingdom of God, it is the vile and the violent, the adulterers and fornicators, the liars and dishonest, those who are proud, self-interested, self-aggrandizing, and greedy who are excluded. What does that suggest about a policy formulated by someone who seems to be at odds with the values of the Kingdom of God not merely at one point but quite possibly at all of them?

But perhaps most importantly and most relevantly, the most concrete depiction of “heaven” – or more precisely, God’s ideal life being established eternally for a new heaven and a new earth – is the New Jerusalem at the end of the Book of Revelation. We are told emphatically that its “pearly gates” are never shut, and while some are excluded (because their lives resemble that of our current president), the openness of the gates represents not a closure of borders but an open invitation that extends a welcome to all who hear the voice of the spirit.

Does that sound like current American immigration policy to you? And conversely, does current immigration policy in the United States honestly sound like Jesus, or Revelation, or anything else in the Bible?

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