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Letter: Scripture offers no justification for border policy
A family looks toward metal bars marking the United States border where it meets the Pacific Ocean Wednesday, March 2, 2016, in Tijuana, Mexico. - photo by Associated Press

Since the current party in power on the national stage has aligned itself with a so-called Christian pro-life ethic, it is worth examining the practice of separating parents from their children at the border through the lens of the Scripture Christian lawmakers claim as the basis for their lives.

We could start with James, the brother of Jesus, who writes of leaving unfulfilled the “royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” as showing partiality and committing sin.

We could turn to Jesus himself, who defines the term “neighbor” through a parable in Luke 10 to a self-righteous lawyer. Two men pass by a half-dead victim of robbery, but the victim’s neighbor, according to Jesus, is a compassionate man who belongs to a group of people with whom the victim would have never associated based on ceremonial and cultural differences. 

We could read the apostle Paul, the same man quoted by our nation’s top lawyer, when he quotes from Solomon in the 12th chapter of his letter to the Romans. In doing so, he writes “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Though I reject the notion that those coming across the border are our enemies or are evil, it seems undeniable that they are nonetheless being treated worse than the Scripture commands Christians to treat enemies. Instead of quoting part of the following chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans, we should read the whole of it, including the notion that “rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” If families are presenting themselves at the border seeking asylum, a lawful act, it seems unchristian to terrorize the neighbor by separating parents from children.

Returning to James, we read that “judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” My fellow Christians have two options: one is to search the Scriptures for clear definitions of who our neighbor is and how the Lord would have us treat them; the other is to stop claiming to believe the Bible, quit taking up valuable space in the pews at churches, and renounce our faith in Jesus Christ. 

It does not seem tenable to continue voting for and supporting representatives who claim knowledge of or relationship with the One Who judges justly while simultaneously advocating practices which do not.

Adam Johnson


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