Sojourners and strangers – the USCCB attacks

This Friday the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called on all Catholics in the US to call their Congress Critters and put in a good word for the so-called Dreamers.  We Catholics, for your humble correspondent is of that tribe, were told that it was a matter of Christian charity to

“contact their Members of Congress and urge them to:

  • Protect Dreamers from deportation

  • To provide them a path to citizenship

  • And, to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process”

I was busy today, so I will call my Congress Critters tomorrow and urge them to send them on a one way trip back to wherever they came from.

Buddy, can you spare a paradigm?

Although sorely tempted I cannot in good conscience judge these men’s intentions.  I am sure that they mean well and many devoutly serve the LORD.  I can judge the effects of their actions, which is to be a useful tool for the Democratic Party’s drive to increase the pool of Democratic voters.  By doing so they have weakened their moral authority, already in decline, shown themselves to gullible, easily manipulated fools and exacerbated the political divisions in our Republic.

Worse, they foolishly abet the drive to destroy the American character by importing huge numbers of people whose culture is alien to our nation, and often inimical to it.  By their support of an ethic which has the effect of turning the US into the world’s welfare hotel they abet a form of cultural genocide, for such a policy can result in nothing other than the ultimate destruction of our nation.  Were immigration policy such that people were admitted in limited numbers with the expectation that they would assimilate and become self reliant Americans it would be a different story.

about this, which I recommend to your attention.  She comes at it from the perspective of someone who knew that it was her business to integrate herself into America, make herself an American, which is no easy task.

The Left is very good at manipulating the Scriptures to advance their ends, and it is often difficult to resist moral power in their misuse of the Bible.  But there is plenty of support for a restrictive immigration policy in the Good Book.  Professor James K. Hoffmeier has an excellent discussion of the Old Testament texts so often misused by liberals.  I here summarize some of his points.

Borders existed in Old Testament times.  The Hebrews asked to enter the land Egypt when they were beset by famine, and were permitted to sojourn in Egypt with Pharaoh’s permission.  When they were ready to leave Sinai, a land unclaimed by any nation, they asked permission to enter and transit the land of Edom they were refused permission, and did not enter.  Later, when they had conquered the various peoples in the Promised Land, they controlled their borders.

People who entered the land with permission were called ‘sojourners’.  These peoples were basically accorded the rights of native Israelites and, let it be noted, the duty to conduct themselves as Israelites while living in the land.  Sojourners were distinct from ‘Strangers’ and ‘Aliens’.  Strangers and Aliens were in the land without permission and not protected.  Because of modern linguistic imprecision these three terms have often become synonymous when they should be distinct.  Sojourners were the legal residents with work permits and green cards, Strangers and Aliens were the illegal aliens and were to be expelled from the land.

Finally, a brief word on the biblical practice of sanctuary. This had its origin in the wilderness period in Sinai after the exodus from Egypt. There, the entire community lived with the Tabernacle, Israel’s sanctuary, in the middle of the camp. Exodus 21:12-14 establishes the practice: “Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. However, if it is not done intentionally … they are to flee to a place I will designate. But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar (in the sanctuary) and put to death.” Cases of involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide (Exodus 21:33-36) were not capital offenses. So to keep the lex talionis (law of retribution), “eye for eye, tooth for tooth … life for life” (Exodus 21:23-25) from being carried out by family members, the offender was to run to the sanctuary where he would be safe and his case heard. Once the populace spread throughout their new homeland, it was impractical to have just one place of sanctuary. Consequently six cities of refuge were designated, three on either side of the Jordan River (Numbers 35:11-30; Joshua 20:1-6). Once again the conditions for sanctuary protection are plainly stated, “these six towns will be a place of refuge … so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there” (Numbers 35:15 – NIV). Sanctuary, then, is explicitly a place to get a fair hearing in the case of accidental death, but for no other crime. The cities of refuge were not a place to avoid trial or punishment. American cities that use their communities to circumvent the law to help the illegal alien in the name of justice are doing a gross injustice to the letter and spirit of the biblical law.

The Bible clearly recognizes the difference between a welcome guest and an invader, and we should too.  One wishes the American Catholic Bishops could.