Donald Trump, Immigration, and the Politics of Satan

Donald Trump, Immigration, and the Politics of Satan July 6, 2015
Photo: Flickr, Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons License
Photo: Flickr, Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons License

Donald Trump created a stir recently with his comments about immigration.

“When Mexico sends its people, they aren’t sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.”

We could easily dismiss Trump and his comments by claiming that he’s our nation’s crazy uncle. But our crazy uncle is gaining in the GOP polls. After announcing his candidacy and making his comment about immigrants, he surged to second place among Republican voters.

It’s early, of course. I don’t expect Trump to maintain his surge. But I do think his comments reveal something important about politics.

Immigration and the Politics of Satan

In the biblical book of Job, Satan is the Accuser. Satan roams throughout the world as a prosecutor looking to make accusations against people. But Satan doesn’t care if people are good or bad. As we see with Job, all Satan cares about is making accusations.

In other words, truth doesn’t matter. All that matters is making an accusation that sticks.

Donald Trump made an accusation against Mexican immigrants that has struck a chord with many Republican voters. And that’s the point behind the satanic principle of accusation. As René Girard claims in his book, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, “Satan seeks to have others imitate him.” Our imitation of Satan primarily comes in the form of accusations against our fellow human beings. That accusation is usually based on fear, a contagious emotion that is easily manipulated by the satanic principle of accusation.

But the fear is baseless because it isn’t grounded in truth. That’s especially true in the case of immigration. Study after study shows that immigrants, whether legal or illegal, are less likely to be involved in violent crimes than the rest of the population.

In her study, Bianca Bersani, professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, states, “Foreign born individuals exhibit remarkably low levels of involvement in crime across their life course.”

Jorg Spenkuch of Northwestern University finds that, “There is essentially no correlation between immigrants and violence crime.”

The Public Policy Institute of California reveals that, “Immigrants are underrepresented in California prisons compared to their representation in the overall population. In fact, U.S.-born adult men are incarcerated at a rate over two-and-a-half times greater than that of foreign-born men.”

Donald Trump’s accusations against Mexican immigrants is a clear example of the politics of Satan. Satanic politics orders the world through accusation, exclusion, and scapegoating. While native born Americans actually have a higher rate of violent criminal activity, that fact doesn’t matter to the politics of Satan. What matters is making an accusation that sticks.

Immigration and the Politics of God

Fortunately, we do have an alternative to the politics of Satan. We don’t have to order our lives around the principle of accusation and exclusion.

The way God wants us to order our lives, including our politics, isn’t based on accusation and exclusion, but love and acceptance. For example, take Exodus 22:21, “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” Leviticus 19:34 continues the theme, “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

The politics of God makes no distinction between “illegal” and “legal” immigrants. Rather, all immigrants are human beings worthy of being included and treated with love. The Bible calls us to empathize with all immigrants, “for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” While in Egypt, the Israelites were marginalized and treated as less than human. In modern America, we’d call them “illegal immigrants.”

But the Bible calls us to something higher. The Bible calls us away from the divisive politics of Satan and toward God’s politics of love.

Instead of making accusations against immigrants, the Bible calls us to love them. Instead of excluding immigrants, the Bible calls us to include them.

The differences between the politics of Satan and the politics of God couldn’t be clearer. It’s the difference between exclusion and embrace. This election cycle, let’s follow God who calls us to “love the alien as yourself.”

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • FAM22

    Adam Ericksen- I agree that it is our duty as Catholics and Christians to be charitable to those who are new to our country. However, it is also a moral duty to avoid intentionally breaking legitimate laws, particularly when the cost of doing so is borne by those around you. Our immigration laws in this country are some of the most liberal and “pro-immigrant” in the entire world. And yet, many hundreds of thousands of immigrants knowingly and illegally stream across our borders each year, collectively thumbing their noses at legitimate authority. The governments to our south enable and encourage the illegal behavior because it lessens the cost to their countries of dealing with their own societal problems, and likewise results in billions of dollars being sent back to family members at home. Our politicians here turn a blind eye to the issue due to corruption and weakness. These are moral issues as well. While I am no fan of Trump generally, at least he had the courage and honesty to open up a dialogue about these issues rather than jump on the amnesty bandwagon as a Latino vote-getting scheme.

    The cost of illegal immigration into the US over the past 40 years cannot be underestimated. As someone who grew up in Southern California in the 70’s and early 80’s, and saw the beginning of the transformation of that region as a result of illegal immigration first hand, and it is my humble opinion that this is a debate well worth having. There are plainly many good people who come to our country illegally. However, it is equally true that there are also many bad people who do so as well.

    The bottom line is that there is not only one “correct” side to this issue. Yes, there are those who are motivated only by race or ethnicity, on both sides. That is lamentable. Nevertheless, it is cowardly to parrot the politically correct version of thought on this issue as the only “moral” choice. You have linked Trump’s comments on illegal immigrants with Satan’s identity as the “accuser.” I would also point out, however, that Satan has made very effective use of the same political correctness that oozes out of your article for many evil purposes that both of us would agree have been greatly damaging to society.

    • Thanks for your comment, Fam22. I’m interested in your comment that there is not one correct side to this issue. I think that’s true and well put. I’m also interested in the political correctness that you see oozes from my article, one that you see as uses by the satanic for many evil purposes that we would agree have been damaging to society. I’m blind to my scapegoating and am aware that I’m susceptible to it. Naming the satanic mechanism where we see it is appropriate, and if you could expand on where you see it oozing from my article, I’d appreciate it. So far in the article, I see naming it and providing the biblical alternative that calls us to love our neighbor, including the alien, in our midst. But I may be blind to my own scapegoating so if you could help me open my eyes to it, I’d be grateful.


      • FAM22


        I apologize if you took my comments as an accusation against you. Perhaps my tone is the result of reading too many left wing analyses that always try to paint more conservative viewpoints as “heartless”, “cruel”, or selfish. I don’t share those sentiments most times, and may have projected the same tactics onto your article. I do think it is very easy to simply say “love the illegal immigrant” and gloss over all of the more difficult parts of the discussion because this is the politically correct thing to say these days. Nevertheless, in my lifetime, political correctness has brought us moral relativism, the welfare state, abortion, gay marriage, and a general push of all things Godly from our lives. I lament these greatly. Illegal immigration is yet another wedge issue being used to further fracture our besieged culture and no one is discussing the cons, only the pros. I would be much more inclined to welcome illegal immigrants if I saw some evidence that an open borders policy was having a positive impact on our country, but that does not seem to be happening.

        In any event, I am sorry if I accused you of scapegoating. My only intent was to point out that I believe the conversation on the moral level needs to be much deeper than the one that was suggested by your article.

        • No need to apologize, Fam22. I really appreciated your comment. You were gracious but firm, qualities I appreciate in a disagreement. I sense that you and I would have a very good and respectful conversation on these topics. I don’t know if you will find it persuasive, but here’s an article that makes some points about the benefits of an open border.


          • Here is something that never gets discussed.
            You on the left, and don’t kid yourself, your on the left, only look at what you think the facts are and not the facts themselves.
            I grow weary of bleeding hearts that offer platitudes and no real solutions. Try digesting a few of the facts below before you start calling anything “satanic”.
            “We are a nation of immigrants”
            Would it surprise you to learn that about 1/4-1/3 of the immigrants that came to Ellis Island were returned to their home countries. These were returned due to disease or economic need at the expense of the shipping company not the taxpayer. The country didn’t want people who were going to consume more goods and services than what they were going to contribute to the country. Also if the shipping company knew they would have to transport people back, do you think those companies did an initial screening? So as a country, we were getting the “cream” not the skim milk so to speak. If you find this offensive, on a more personal level, How many homeless people do you have living with you? Don’t you think they deserve that right. They are just trying to get ahead. If it doesn’t work on the personal level, why do you think it should work on a national level? And about 20% of those that were admitted had returned to their home country within 5 yrs.
            “We have always welcomed immigrants”
            You would have to verify things here as I don’t have the time to get the actual dates. But I believe from around 1920- 1940 the policy was “zero immigration”. Why? Maybe because it takes a while for immigrants to adapt and become citizens of the country. They discard their old ways and adapt to their new country because they wanted to be Americans.
            I have to get back to work and pay my taxes so I have to cut this short. But I will leave you with this last sobering thought-
            Take a football field, including the end zones. Stack the entire area with $100 bills up to 8′ high. Lot of $$ right.
            This represents 1 Trillion dollars. We are currently $19 Trillion dollars in debt. Who do you think is going to pay for all this “charity” and malfeasance ?
            It is just like the current crop of illegals, they are not even fluent or literate in Spanish let alone English. How does this affect the US kids in school? Any compassion for them?
            I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that if you are not willing to open your house and say, Come one, come all, why does it make sense for the Country to do this. But then again, I’m just a simple taxpayer that has been paying taxes for over 50 yrs. not some pontificating blogger that just wants to feel good about himself with other peoples money and goods.

            As for immigrants being more peaceful, consider this;
            immigrants =5% of population, immigrant inmate prisoners= 25% of prison population.
            Sort of discredits your feeling comments.

  • Larry Tanner

    I totally disagree with this propaganda. A sizable population of people in jail are illegals! Ever hear I’d MS-13? Look them up!

  • James Dean

    mexicans are the scum of the earth

  • mgcic

    The #1 duty, and most important , of the President of The United States is to 1 duty, of the President of The United States is to PROTECT AND DEFEND IT’S CITIZENS FROM FOREIGN HARM. He took a oath on top a Bible swearing to our God he would do so. He has broken that oath a number of times now. The senseless and avoidable murder of the young women from California should be America’s last straw. Federal law passed under President Clinton’s time in office states that local and regional law enforcement must cooperate and work with Federal Immigration and Enforcement. These cities that pass there own local statutes stating they will not comply with Federal Law and are now “Sanctuary Cities” are in direct violation of the law. There is no argument that can be made to deny this. In 2007, San Francisco’s Mayor signed into there so called law this very statute. This has caused many illegal immigrants to flock to the city. The seven time felon, and now murderer, to cross the border illegally for the fifth time. And the absolute worst thing about this tragedy is President Obama and his administration new this was, without question, against federal law. In 2009 the administration stated they new about the “sanctuary” cities and was not going to prosecute or stop this from happening. PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION? PROTECT AND DEFEND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? This is way beyond politics. This beyond democrats and republicans. This is beyond reason. I have pictured holding my daughter, while she bleeds to death, crying “please help my Dad. ” For some reason this haunts me. If you have a daughter try picturing you in that man’s shoes and then make a argument against filing Articles of Impeachment against a President and administration that let this happen. We as Americans must say enough. Not Democrats or Republicans, AS AMERICANS.

    • corvus corax

      So well said!

    • Buhari

      Lol how predictable, blame Obama. What was congress doing all that time?

      • mgcic

        They all need to be replaced. You must cut the head off the snake first. Then work on the rest of them. Democrats
        and Republicans.

        • Buhari

          that’s nonsense. The president is not at fault here… congress should do its job.

          • mgcic

            I agree. Congress also to blame.. What’s different about the killing in California is the President and the administration has no comment. Remember the President stated he will not prosecute sanctuary cities? Nonsense? No. The great enabler in action sir. If you don’t think he is for illegal immigration you need to go get help.

          • Buhari

            What comment are you expecting? Of what use is a comment? I thought you all demanded states rights? It’s a California issue, let them deal with it. If you’re not satisfied then get your congress to pass immigration reform to stop cities from doing whatever they feel like doing. To say the president is for illegal immigration basically exposes the sort of bankrupt thinking that has us here in the first place. This president has deportation rates higher than anyone since the 60s…

            You seem to want to reflexively blame the president for the sun shining today. Does congress have any responsibility for anything at all?

          • mgcic

            Good lord. Honestly you don’t have a clue. I hope one day you wake up. I truly pity you. I wish you the best sir, I cannot debate the ill informed.

          • Buhari

            Feel free to show me where I have been ill informed. I got zero facts from your posts other than the usual caterwauling about Obama being at fault for everything. It’s a simple question… You minions like to ask the Feds to stay out of your states so how is Obama to blame for sanctuary cities? We’ve had sanctuary cities since way before 2009… What did bush and the republican congresses do then? Lol all these morons who act as if everything bad in America started in 2009.

            Your own post indicated this was signed into law in 2007, why didn’t the bush justice department challenge this in court then as you whine that Obama should have done?

          • mgcic

            You can stop. I have not the time or the patience to debate a fool. the more “facts” I here from you the foolish you sound. Its clear you have definitely been ill informed.

          • Buhari

            At this point, its clear that you have no facts or basis to debate… so you try to cover that up with the typical abuse. Not surprising for rightwing zealots who think America’s problems all started in 2009. As i said, you even mention that this law came into being in 2007… where were you then to blame GW. Bush?

          • mgcic

            save yourself the embarrassment

          • Buhari

            yeah… you should take your own advice.

  • naomhniall

    I wonder, how many “illegal aliens” or legal immigrants from the last 5 or 10 years are in jail or have been deported for their crimes in the USA?

    • axelbeingcivil

      If they commit violent crime, they’re incarcerated in the US. The statistics wouldn’t vary. They’re still faulty, though, in that most crime by a given community tends to be inflicted on members of said community. Illegal migrants will naturally be afraid of reporting violent crime against themselves. This is a possible confounding factor.

      Their outcome, for the record, may be valid: Hispanic migrants may truly be less prone to commit crimes, for a number of reasons, but we can’t draw that conclusion from these statistics.

  • Mitchel Mills

    Problem is there are many violent drug cartel sponsored gangs bringing in their toxic inventories and the government officials are getting their cut to make sure their passage to their lucrative market remains safe. I’ve got nothing against honest migrant workers or those who want to be good Americans from Mexico or Central America, but we are at war with those who want to profit from the poisoning of our fellow countrymen, we need to make our borders secure and arrest violent offenders coming in from the South.

  • corvus corax

    As some of those who’ve posted previously have mentioned, there are many facets to the issue of illegal immigration. I sympathize tremendously with those entering illegally to try to improve theirs and their families circumstances. Heck, I’d probably be one of them if I lived in Mexico! No one is saying that we shouldn’t have compassion for the immigrant. A brief and cursory look at our history is enough to see that we as a county have immense compassion for them, wherever they originate from. I’m also aware that both political parties have used illegals as wedge issues for votes, money, political expediency, etc. It appears that this current administration is particularly in your face about breaking immigration law, making up laws (executive actions) or not enforcing those already on the books. Turn around is fair play. Trump is serving as an important inflection point to talk about this immense problem and by extension, those who are complicit in continuing and expanding it. If I planted a garden that serves to feed my family, I had better put a fence around it and enforce that boundary, or my family and I will go hungry or worse. This country has an obligation first to it’s citizens to protect us. That is clearly not the agenda of this administration, particularly when looking at their actions addressing illegal immigration. To focus on Trump as the stand-in in order to bring to light satan’s use of accusation, in this case seems a bit out of touch with the larger landscape, and in fact appears blatantly partisan. Perhaps you could focus on the use of bald face lying through the media to manipulate the masses as the primary M.O. of the satanic in our times. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

  • Harrison

    Are you sure the scapegoat mechanism is Satanic?

  • tyler

    that kinda sounds like what frank does

  • axelbeingcivil

    Trump is an ass, who doesn’t care who his comments hurt. Controversy makes him richer and more powerful. That he rises in the polls shows the far-right’s opinions to the world, if nothing else.

    That being said, while I think he is wrong, you can’t really trust those statistics. The circumstances of illegal migrants mean they’re much less likely to report crimes made against them, and crime often stays within a community. This means we’re inevitably looking at dampened rates of report; a massive confounding factor.

    Trump is probably still wrong, but we can’t be sloppy in refuting him.

  • Gene Jarr

    Isn’t it funny how no matter HOW offensive Trump gets, his popularity continues to rise….His comments about Megyn Kelly would have put anyone else’s numbers in the toilet, but not the Donald…He no regard for women or for the dignity of womanhood itself (he says that breastfeeding “disgusts” him, too)…. he doesn’t give a hoot about religion…..he doesn’t even respect our POWs – “they got caught”: Trump values winners and winning, because his only “god” is power/force, and, of course, himself…..
    …but, hey, at least he’s NAMED well!
    Donald sees himself as a “trump card”, and he trump-ets that “fact” all day long to anyone who will listen, and brags and blows and puffs himself up, but no matter how great he grows, he’s just a little tin-Horn:
    Dan 8:9¶And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, …..

    Dan 8:10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.