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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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Jack Phillips_SCOTUS

Mary Torres holds up a rolling in in support of cake artist jack Phillips outside the Supreme Court n Washington on Dec. 5.  (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

In perhaps the biggest story of this past week, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The case involves the Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop, who in 2012 refused to make a custom wedding cake for a same sex married couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. This set in motion a legal battle that saw Mr. Phillips, a Christian, dragged before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which did not look kindly on his appeals to free speech and the free exercise of his faith.

“I can believe anything I want,” said Commissioner Raju Jaram, “but if I’m going to do business here, I’d ought to not discriminate against people.” According to this same article, Phillips was ordered to stop discriminating against gay people, document any customers he refuses to service, provide antidiscrimination training for his staff, and report quarterly for two years.

One commissioner likened Phillips’ actions to those of the Nazis.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal organization representing Jack Phillips, argued this week before the Supreme Court that the baker’s First Amendment rights were violated by the Commission’s ruling. According to her, the Commission also violated Phillip’s religious liberty by attempting to force him, “to sketch, sculpt, and hand-paint cakes that celebrate a view of marriage in violation of his religious convictions.”

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Roy MooreAs the social justice jihad on Alabama Senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore builds to its predictable ear splitting crescendo, it seemed goo to me to take some time to analyze at least some of the arguments that have been brought against him by “progressive” left.

I’ve been clipping online articles on the whole Roy Moore dustup at a furious pace over the past few days. But even at that, I’m sure that there are plenty of relevant posts yet unread and unclipped by me. So all I can say is a “thank you, thank you” to the fine folks at http://www.al.com who posted a wonderful article (sarcasm alert) on their website that, so far as I can tell, managed to take just about every whackadoo, SJW argument against Roy Moore and distill them into a single post. No small feat, that.

The post to which I refer is titled Ministers sign letter saying Roy Moore ‘not fit for office’. The article begins by noting, “A group of 59 progressive Christian ministers, more than half from mainline Protestant denominations, signed a letter released today calling U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore ‘not fit for office.’ ” For my part, I consider any sentence containing the words “progressive,” “Christian,” and “mainline Protestant” to be a sort of trigger warning to alert me that what’s coming is almost certainly going to be a lot of touchy-feely, social just warriory nonsense. As it turns out, I was neither surprised nor disappointed by the collective wisdom on display.

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