When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 33-34
It’s a rare privilege to be presented with the opportunity to excoriate conservative Caucasian Republicans and liberal blacks in the same breath. I can’t remember the last time the possibility presented itself, but since the post-COVID world continues to be a strange contrivance, here we go!
As rare as that possibility is, it’s even more bizarre when these desperately divergent demographics agree on an implicit stipulation. But just like those 13- and 17-year cicadas will emerge together in 2024 for the first time since 1803, even that king of consensus can happen.
To wit, the conservative white and progressive black communities share a deeply rooted faith in the Christian tradition, which makes it a bit more difficult to understand their shared antipathy for migrants. But that’s clearly the case as indicated by the following.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his MAGA minions continue to ship Central American migrants to sanctuary cities like Chicago in an effort to score political points with their rabid base. Considering our cited verse, I’d love to be a fly on the Pearly Gates when Abbott has to face St. Peter and tries to explain why he used human beings as propaganda pawns.
Is it fair that Texans have to bear the brunt of this migrant crisis? No. Is it fair that Congressional partisanship has stalled any reasonable immigration policy or path to citizenship? No. Is it fair that Central American governments are so corrupt and incompetent that regular folks have no shot at a reasonable life? No.
Not to be outdone, Chicago’s black neighborhoods are chafing under the pressure of these new arrivals who’ve “usurped” parks, schools, and other vacant municipal buildings. Some city council meetings have become so tumultuous that the police have had to step in to restore order.
Why, the migrant issue’s become so contentious that it’s put the Chicago Democrat’s rapt love affair with Governor J.B. Pritzker at risk. You know things aren’t as copacetic as they used to be when black and Hispanic Alderman are suddenly referring to the Governor as a “liar.” In the words of that great philosopher B.B. King, “The thrill is (certainly) gone.”
Is it fair that that over 17,000 migrants have been thrust upon the City? No. Is it fair that black communities have been “asked” to assimilate the majority of these poor souls? No. Is it fair that economically challenged neighborhoods have to endure the fiscal realities of this mass influx? No, it’s not.
But those stipulations are utterly immaterial because you won’t find any declarations like these in the Bible:
- Do unto others only if everyone else is doing it, too.
- Thou art exempt from this standard if you’re similarly poor.
- Thou art exempt from this standard if geography conspires against you.
- You may follow a commandment only if you see fit.
- Here’s a list of exemptions from this requirement.
- You can pick and choose from these tenets with impunity.
The Christian standard is a very difficult one, particularly because it grants the faithful no leeway or exceptions.
Conservatives and blacks folks also love to use Leviticus as a means to cast homosexuality as sinful, but if that’s the case, it means those good Christians are similarly bound to follow Leviticus’ explicit demand to “welcome the foreigner.”
It was in this very vein that I spoke with my friend, insane multiple weekend marathoner, and Geneva Chapelstreet Church Pastor, Dr. Bruce McEvoy. Here’s what he had to say on this issue:
It’s hard to do the hard thing. It’s messy and I’m not always very good at it, but being a Christ follower means delightfully taking advantage of the fact that we don’t have to go across borders to help our brothers and sisters. Our international neighbors are knocking at our door and God requires us to answer.
That unequivocal statement is a great part of the reason Bruce and I have always gotten along, despite my legendary capacity to hold Christians’ feet to the fire.
To that end, Chapelstreet is ramping up their efforts to assist migrants, including but not nearly limited to providing meals on Monday and Thursday evenings. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to accept your generosity in that regard, too! I’m cracking out the checkbook as soon as I finish posting this column.
Before you consider killing the messenger, the typical response to challenging Christians to live up to the standard they so eagerly thrust upon everyone else, please note that I’m only reporting the rules, I certainly didn’t create them.
The bottom line is this. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Chicago Mayor Brandon Johson, Greg Abbott, a Chicago alderman, a Texas legislator, a Texas resident, or a black Chicagoan, if you claim to be a Christian, you have but one choice in the migrant regard. You are REQUIRED to welcome them as if they were members of your own family.
That means my humble suggestion would be to start setting the example soon, because if you don’t, you’ll have to field the same questions Governor Abbott will eventually have to answer, and it likely won’t go any better for you than it will for him.