Immigration, Faux-compassion, and #FakeChristian

Sometimes I make the mistake of diving into comment threads or trending topics on social media. Then my head and heart hurt. Tonight’s foray into the pointless was the #FakeChristian hashtag.

Make whatever you will of the situation at the southern border, but the fact is our country and both political parties have failed to address this for well over 30 years. And make no mistake why: it is about politics, economics, and future voters. Republicans were afraid to alienate the Hispanic vote and businesses who profit on cheap labor. Democrats want as many people fleeing failed socialist and despotic governments as possible because the vote of these new immigrants is going to probably break their way by at least 2:1 since the Democrats platform sits closest to their cultural experience in their countries. Add enough, the Democrats will have unfettered control over all elections. There are plenty of people who are legitimately upset for the well being of these people fleeing failed states from both sides of the aisle, but the political parties and hyper-ideologues are not those people. They both benefit from the influx of chaos and not solving the problem.

My head got pretty scrambled by the #FakeChristian stuff, as it is purely hyper politicized because Trump/Pence are the elected parties who must be defeated no matter the cost and this is the next weapon to do so. When much of what is going on started well before Obama left office, the outcry wasn’t this vitriolic. Why? Because it is a mortal sin for Democrats to speak ill of their party, much the same way it is for Republicans. The party is perfectly right and all sin must be spun, lest voters abandon their façade of perfection.

Nothing grinds my gears in social media as much as non-Christians and Christians alike being biblically illiterate trying to cherry pick passages from the Bible out of context to make Christians look bad or good. The #FakeChristian stuff tonight exemplifies that greatly. Most of it is strawman stuff too, expanded to broad generalizations. The same God who they claim said the Jews must protect everyone coming into their land in the Old Testament also asked the wandering Hebrews to conquer the already occupied promised land and wage war on and off again against bordering peoples. The temple had a wall, the Jewish people had armies, and had to fight invaders and neighbors alike. Oh, and God let the Israelites get consumed by their enemies time to time too, even being exiled. Compassion and care is not without systems, and the landscape of the Old Testament was brutal, far more brutal than everyone just singing songs together in harmony. A single person seeking refuge may be one thing. Millions seeking refuge is another. Israel would have had problems with great numbers of people migrating, especially if they didn’t want to follow the Jewish theocracy, as would any country then or now. Context matters.

Up until Trump, the Republicans were afraid to try to fix the border. Trump is hardly compassionate and is certainly morally bankrupt in many ways, but it isn’t like either party in Congress has passed legislation to fix the border and the border has been a growing problem for decades. The Democrats hope enough people scramble across the border so that an epidemic can then be solved by them, with amnesty to tens of millions with instant voter rights and benefits. Again, as to coax them to vote Democrat, thus forever changing the landscape of the country. Would the Democrats allow a compromise for amnesty for all here illegally under current law with the single provision that they cannot ever vote? I doubt it. It isn’t about compassion, it is about defeating Republicans and controlling the country. These immigrants are pawns in this game.

Which gets to my main and final point: the faux-compassion and outrage over the treatment of the people crossing the border that pre-dates Trump while trying to blame it all on Trump. The United States has no infrastructure to handle thousands and millions of people coming in short order. Children can be brought here without their actual parents and people may come with zero documentation or way to verify their identity and relationship. Some way to verify and safely handle everything has to exist, but we haven’t put infrastructure in place to handle it safely for all parties. We are not marching these people to gas chambers after forcefully displacing them from their homes. No one passed legislation that organized, funded, or built more compassionate ways to house people as the verification happens. So it is a mess, but America is not Nazi Germany, and to intimate as much is hyperbole and political weaponization.

Mass border crossing is a symptom of greater problems: countries that fail their people. The Democrats often turn a blind eye to the atrocity around the world, and they are only willing to “help” those who risk everything to get to the border. Why are they not outraged over the conditions in these countries the people are fleeing, and doing everything they can to fix those countries? Do they not care about those who are too poor or are physically unable to make a several thousand mile trek to the promised land? Why do a few lucky ones get the luxury of getting America? Why not take America to them if millions are in exodus from particular failed states? That smells of imperialism of course, and I am not personally advocating this position, but the reason is simple: future control of America by mass changing of the demographics and culture. Trump used more colorful language, but there are failed countries around the world and larger percentages of bad elements thriving in those nations. Any country who fails to systematically control immigration will fall, or at the very least, dramatically transform to an entirely new country, unrecognizable with all established tradition and culture lost. I know some actively want that level of change, and this is a tool to help that happen.

The simple truth is America cannot solve the world’s problems. We couldn’t unite Korea. We couldn’t save Vietnam from communism. We couldn’t change Iraq or fix Afghanistan. No matter how many billions we may give in aid, countries will still struggle. There will always be poverty. There will always be unhappiness somewhere. Government will not bring utopia, because utopia is a place absent of sin. Humanity will never be absent of sin on this earth. Problems existed before America and problems will exist after America. The only sin we could try to correct in this discussion is to protect our borders and have an organized way for people to seek citizenship or asylum and have the proper infrastructure to handle them as they come. Which should include denying access to those who truly don’t deserve to be here and have clear rules for how people can come here without violently changing American culture, heritage, and tradition. For all Trump’s warts and indecency, he at least started the conversation neither party wants to have, because it doesn’t suit their political interests to solve it.

Prompt Series #3 – What is the best present you’ve ever been given?

QuestionWhat is the best present you’ve ever been given? Who gave it to you and what  made it the best?

As an only child, I feel I was spoiled quite often. The magnitude of toys, games, cheap little trinkets, etc. that piled up in my possession is somewhat embarrassing at times. By no means did I have more than many in my classes, but I had plenty to spare. I have no shortage of gifts, at least from parents, as candidates. I really only had one birthday party as a child, and given I was born in great proximity to Christmas, much of the year would be barren, save for my nagging about something at the store. Yet one gift above all others sticks out as the best. A study Bible, given Christmas 1997 by my mom.

Christmas 1997 was a unique Christmas. My grandpa, uncle, and sister came down to visit us. We spent some time with grandpa’s siblings in the Tampa/Clearwater area. The gift giving portion of Christmas was split in three segments: a couple on Christmas eve, a few Christmas morning, and the big gift in the evening. The Bible was part of Christmas eve’s unveiled items. We had to leave early Christmas morning to spend most of the daylight hours in Tampa. The  big gift that evening was a Nintendo 64 console, with Madden 64. As a kid who loved his NES and Super Nintendo, getting the N64 was a big deal. But yet, that Bible still overshadowed it in the end.

What makes it the best gift takes some explaining. After a rough time in our family several years earlier, my mom started to go to church again. She brought me along, and while sermons were unintelligibly boring to my 1st grade mind, it was a seed. As time progressed, my mom took me to other churches and the youth programs planted more seeds. My 5th grade mind was starting to truly grasp who God was and why Jesus was important. I knew I wanted to follow God, I felt the call, but I didn’t truly understand it until the summer of 1997 between 6th and 7th grade. During that span, as I grew to understand the world and its darkness and my need for the light of salvation only God could provide. I embraced God’s call that summer.

I had made the commitment to be  baptized sometime after Thanksgiving. We wanted to time it around the family being in town for Christmas.  I believe it was going to be the evening service the Sunday before Christmas when a children’s performance with music would be held. Ultimately I got very sick the weekend prior to Christmas. I remember waking, walking into the bathroom, and fainting. I had a high fever and was sick a few days, through Christmas. My baptism was delayed until January, namely on Super Bowl Sunday in 1998. That was also the first time my dad went to church with mom and me.

It was really around this time that the Bible I had been given that Christmas started to be utilized. I was reading nightly. The first book I truly read with any kind of personal, private understanding was Ecclesiastes. I simply opened the Bible and that was the book I had landed on. I moved on to the New Testament and continued to dive deeper into God’s word as years progressed. That Bible was my primary source for reading scripture, with its study sections and other augmented learning sections, up until college.

I am certainly no perfect individual. I would say  in many ways I am still guilty of drinking milk when I should be devouring steak in my life with Christ. I didn’t always read scripture with such  consistency, fervor, or reverence. There have been mountains and valleys along the way. But certainly no gift meant more to helping grow the seeds that were planted than that Bible.

While the Nintendo 64 was fun and I had great times with friends, I eventually sold it. I regret that somewhat now, given the retro craze the last decade, but I still have that study Bible. I’ve moved on to other translations and more robust study content, but it is always there on one of my bookshelves as a reminder of the days when I felt the most alive and newly inspired by the creator of the universe.

Student's Life Applicable Study Bible
The Bible gift of Christmas 1997. The Student’s Life Application Study Bible.