"Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." — Exodus 22:21
For some, including the Rev. Robert H. Stewart, pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in Lee's Summit, Missouri, that verse tells us pretty much all we need to know about national borders, immigration policy and the controversy over President Barack Obama's threat to use executive orders to provide 30 million green cards to people who immigrated to the U.S. illegally.
Stewart told his flock it's time to look upon those spilling over into the U.S. from across the southern border with compassion. And who could argue with compassion and mercy?
It's always good when people consider the moral implications of public policy. So the Bible is a good place to start exploring the right and wrong of immigration laws. But seizing on one or two out-of-context verses in the Bible does not make for the kind of comprehensive moral case you would expect of those urging "comprehensive immigration reform."
The Bible actually has a lot to say about national borders, foreigners, citizenship and the law.
For starters, I challenge anyone to check an exhaustive online or offline concordance for the word "border" to get an appreciation of how many times the Word references this term. Though not all of them are relevant to our discussion, I count 169 references, most of them making the point that God really cares about them. Is that surprising? He cares about boundaries between nations. In fact, it is God himself who invented nation-states back in Genesis 11.
Why did he do it?
It seems he scattered the world's population and created the diverse languages in an effort to subvert man's efforts to unite in a global kingdom under a false universal religion. Keep in mind that this took place before God created the nation of Israel.
Interestingly, one of the prime motivations of those behind the promotion of borderless societies is this very same notion of regional government and global government and the breakdown of nationalism.
What was wrong at the time of the Tower of Babel remains wrong today. That should be clear to anyone and everyone whose standard of morality is the Bible.
Remember the Tower of Babel story? It seems there was a man named Nimrod who attempted to set up the first world government and the first false religion.
After the Flood, God decreed that man should scatter across the whole earth and be fruitful and multiply. But about 100 years later, a large contingent of men, under the leadership of Nimrod, whose very name means "let us revolt or rebel," decided they would settle in Shinar and build a tower to make a name for themselves.
God foiled this plan by scattering them around the world and creating new languages among the new nations that were thus established.
Make no mistake about it: Nation-states are an invention of the Creator — a deliberately chosen device to serve his purposes.
That's what we're told in Acts 17:26-27. God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord."
The purpose of nation-states seems to be to restrain Satan's efforts at creating his kingdom on earth. That will happen eventually — only when God himself permits it in his timing, as shown in Revelation 17:17: "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled." But nation-states serve another purpose, as well — to be God's instruments on earth for meting out justice and providing protection for the people (Deuteronomy 17:14-17).
Ultimately, the political debate about borders and illegal immigration is a debate about national sovereignty. You have heard it said that if we don't have borders, we don't have countries. It's really true — especially when two countries very different from each other in language, culture and economy share a 2,000-mile border as do Mexico and the U.S. But as the Bible shows, it's not just a political issue but also a moral issue; it's an issue, ultimately, of right and wrong.
To find out more about Joseph Farah and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.