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In response to Brandon Givens' letter Wednesday, while I am a Christian, I completely agree with his statements. Christians are often some of the most judgmental, narrow-minded and selfish people on the planet.
Whether it be Muslims or Mexicans, we tend to stereotype and demonize people who are different from us. The Christian mandate regarding self-denial, solidarity and sharing are not reflected in our national or local politics. I fear we are becoming a very selfish people.
Jesus said on two occasions, "Sell your possessions, give the money to the poor and follow me." Perhaps he did not mean that literally, perhaps he did. Either way, he is saying something radical about our obligation to share with our poor neighbors.
In light of that, how can Christians, especially wealthy American Christians, support our selfish immigration laws, for example, and vote for politicians who would make them even stricter? As Christians, how can we hold on so tightly to the abundance we have when thousands of our poorest neighbors are knocking on our doors asking for help?
We rationalize our self-preserving behavior by talking about national security, lazy and irresponsible poor people or going to the back of the line, not acknowledging that the average wait for a visa in Mexico for those who qualify (and most poor people don't) is 15 years. That's long time to wait if your children are sick, hungry, thirsty and naked. Jesus said something about that, too.
The vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists, and poor Mexicans simply wanting to share a tiny portion of our great abundance are not trying to destroy us. That kind of paranoid and pre-emptive, first-strike political preaching has cost far too many lives throughout history.
Recall the so-called weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? How many more young men and women (mostly poor) will American Christians sacrifice on the altar of what Eisenhower called our industrial military complex to protect our corporate interests abroad?
Christians are supposed to share what they have with the poor, both locally and globally. That's why the Catholic Bishops and a growing number of Evangelical leaders keep begging for a more compassionate immigration policy and a less strict enforcement of the broken one we now have.
El Paso, a border town of almost 1 million people with a low crime rate, does not turn over to federal authorities people who are only ticketed for driving without a license. Why do Hall, Cobb and Gwinnett counties have to be so much stricter?
I'm not promoting Marxism, socialism, communism, liberation theology or amnesty. I'm simply suggesting, as Christians, we should occasionally follow the teachings of Jesus.
Then even Brandon Givens' might marvel at how much we love one another.