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Archive for February, 2018

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Apostle Paul_Citizenship

The Apostle Paul declares his Roman citizenship, anon. 2008.

Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”

He said, “Yes.”

The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.”

And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen” (Acts 22:27-28).

Hamartano is a Greek verb, which is rendered in English translations of the New Testament as “sin.” But in classical Greek usage it more commonly meant “miss the mark.”

For example, one classical Greek writer gave an account of a hunting party that went out to slay a wild boar. Among the hunters were the king’s son and a rather ambitious courtier. The hunters finally cornered the boar, and the courtier, apparently eager to get credit for the kill, threw his spear and missed, instead striking the king’s son and killing him.

That, as they say, was a bad career move.

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Devin Nunes

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. speaks with reporters outside the White House. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Among the biggest stories in the press so far this year has been the dust up over the FISA memo.

The memo is the work of the House Intelligence Committee and its Chairman Devin Nunes. For several weeks, Americans were treated to the suspense, not just concerning what was in this mysterious memo, but also whether it would be released to the public at all.

After two weeks of wrangling, the go-ahead to make the memo public finally was given by President Trump on Friday, February 2.

The memo, as it turned out, showed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were less than forthcoming when they presented the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) with evidence to convince the court to authorize electronic surveillance of one of then-candidate Trump’s volunteer advisors, Carter Page.

The evidence supplied by the DOJ and the FBI to get the FISA warrant – the application was presented to the FISA court on October 21, 2016, just weeks before the presidential election – was a dossier put together by Christopher Steele, a former British spy. The dossier contained allegations about Carter page and Donald Trump. The ones concerning Trump were of a particularly salacious nature.

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Ruth_and_Naomi_Leave_Moab

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

When I began writing this series of posts on immigration in September 2016, my original plan was for five to seven posts and to wrap things up by early 2017. Obviously, the series grew well beyond these plans, and I find myself nearly a year and a half later sitting down to bring the work to a close.

At this point, it may be worth asking and answering the questions 1) Why I started this series in the first place, and 2) Why did it grow in length far beyond my original intent?

There are two reasons I chose to write on the topic of immigration. In the first place, it’s important, for the effects of a nation’s immigration policy cannot be reversed easily if at all.

Most other political decisions can be reversed. For example, the US passed the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcohol. This amendment went into effect in 1920 and was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933.

Immigration, on the other hand, is forever. Once immigrants are welcomed into the national family, there’s no going back. Their acceptance permanently alters the makeup of a nation. For this reason alone, it is important for legislators and citizen both to have a clear idea in mind about what constitutes proper immigration policy.

Second, for all the ink that has been spilt on the subject, I have yet to read a fully satisfactory treatment of immigration. In Immigration, Citizenship and the Bible (ICB) I review immigration commentary from across the political and religious spectrum, including secular and religious right and left. I have reviewed the works of proponents of mass, taxpayer subsidized immigration and the works of immigration restrictionists. None of the writers I have read get it right for the simple reason that none of them begin their thinking with the Scriptures.

Some writers do use Scripture when formulating their ideas about immigration, but either apply it inconsistently or misunderstand what the Bible has to say on the topic.

And because I was dissatisfied with the work that has been done up until now that I decided that what is needed is a Scripturalist take on immigration. That is, I wanted to approach immigration systematically as someone who believes the Bible has a monopoly on truth, not as someone who seeks to combine the truths of Scripture on immigration with “truths” discovered elsewhere.

Concerning the second question, Why did this series grow much larger than I had originally intended?, the answer lies in the fact that immigration is a large topic and more space was needed than I thought at first.

Apart from immigration – immigration is the act of someone coming to a new country for the purpose of taking up permanent residence – there are two other major related subject: migration and refugee resettlement.

Migration – more specifically, international migration – is the is simply the temporary movement of people from one country to another. Migrants do not intend to settle permanently, but come for various reasons, for example seasonal economic opportunity.

Refugee resettlement involves the accommodation of people fleeing their native countries. A refugee is defined as someone who, “Demonstrates that they (sic) were (sic) persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group” (USCIS).

Both migration and refugee resettlement issues are closely related to, but separate from, immigration proper. And because of the close relationship all three topics have to on another, to discuss one generally involves at some point discussing the others. This was a major reason for the growth of this series beyond the original five to seven posts that I originally thought would be the case.

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