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Archive for January, 2018

DACA_Demo_Pelosi

Dreamers interrupt Nancy Pelosi’s press conference, September 19, 2017.

It was my intention to continue a post I began last week outlining various reasons why Americans ought to reject DACA. But due to developments since my last post, I decided to take this week’s article in a similar, but slightly different, direction.

As of last week’s posting, the US federal government was still in shut down mode due to demands by certain members of Congress, who, oddly enough. insisted that funding the government should be made contingent on allowing foreign citizens to remain in the country in violation of US immigration law. The shut down ended when these same certain Congressmen realized that they were getting nowhere and folded.

But their decision to fold did not mark the end of the debate over DACA or over the DREAM Act. It just kicked the can down the road a little bit.

You see, last September President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program…sort of. According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration would stop considering new applications for legal status dated after 9/5/17 and would allow any DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018 the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal if they apply before October 5, 2017. This deadline was recently extended by court order to allow individuals currently in the DACA program to apply for renewal up until March 5, 2018.

At the same time, Trump gave Congress a six-month window to come up with an acceptable version of DACA which he promised to sign.

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Ruth_and_Naomi_Leave_Moab

Ruth and Naomi Leave Moab, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872).

Of all political issues, immigration is perhaps the one most likely to elicit strong emotions from all sides of the political spectrum. For this reason alone it is important that we be careful to define our terms. For my part, I find that seeking to be precise in my language is an effective hedge against allowing emotion to cloud my judgment.

In today’s post I would like to tackle one of the most important, and at the same time one of the least examined, aspects of the immigration debate: According to Scripture, by what method or methods does someone become a citizen?

The answer to this question will have a significant impact on our understanding of what the Bible teaches about immigration.

What is a Citizen?

It’s been said, truly I might add, that if you don’t define your terms, you don’t know what you’re talking about. So let’s begin by asking this question, What is a citizen? My Webster’s Seventh Edition give the following,

  • an inhabitant of a city or town; esp : one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
  • a member of a state
  • a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to reciprocal protection from it
  • a civilian as distinguished from a specialized servant of the state

Of these four definitions, the third “a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to reciprocal protection from it” will be the sense in which I use the term “citizen” in this post.

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Lew Rockwell_LRCLewRockwell.com was at it again this weekend, publishing another hit piece on the Reformation.

Now some readers may be asking themselves, just what on earth is LewRockwell.com and why should I care what they publish or whether they attack the Reformation.

Fair questions, those. So before talking about their latest attack on the Reformation, a little explanation is in order.

By number of unique monthly visitors, LewRockwell.com (LRC) is one of the largest, perhaps the largest, Libertarian website in the world. Now by percentage of the population, Libertarians are a fairly small group, so it may be tempting to dismiss LRC as a big fish in a small pond and move on.

The LRC website describes itself thus, “The daily news and opinion site LewRockwell.com was founded in 1999 by anarcho-capitalists Lew Rockwell and Burt Blumert to help carry on the anti-war, anti-state, pro-market work of Murray N. Rothbard.”

From this description, we see that LRC, in addition to being Libertarian also calls itself “anarcho-capitalist, anti-war, anti-state, and pro-market,” and indicates that Murray N. Rothbard is its primary intellectual influence.

So why should you care about any of this? For one, in spite of their relatively small numbers Libertarians are a vigorous intellectual force in the fields of economics and politics. Unlike most schools of thought in our decadent age, Libertarians actually take logic seriously. Further, they defend individualism and private property against the statist big-government philosophies that dominate our age.

A second related reason is that although Libertarianism ultimately fails the test of Scripture – central to Libertarian thought is the ethical doctrine known as the Non-Aggression Principle; Christians, on the other hand, locate their ethics in the Law of God, and these two systems are incompatible – its respect for logical consistency and individual liberty make it attractive to Christians.

And it is because Libertarianism in general and LRC specifically take ideas and liberty seriously, that I have read the website for years, and know of other Christians who do so as well.

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