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Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions caused something of a stir last week with his comments on the Trump Administration’s new Zero-tolerance policy for those illegally crossing the US’s Southwest border with Mexico. In his June 14 speech in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sessions said, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God had ordained them for the purpose of order.”

The reaction from some quarters was not, shall we say, appreciative of the Attorney General’s remarks. On June 15, the Indianapolis Star ran an article with the headline “Sessions cites Roman 13 to defend Trump’s immigration policy, raises Christians’ ire.”

One of the disapproving Christians cited by the article was Mike Mather, identified in the piece as the senior pastor at Broadway UMC in Indianapolis. He is quoted saying, “It was terrible…If you read the first 11 chapters of Romans, you get a pretty good idea of what the context of that community was. If you read (Chapter) 12, you see love is supposed to be the guiding force. (Sessions) didn’t read on very far.”

But the hits don’t stop with just one minister. The Rev. Dr. Rob Saler compares Sessions to Nazi era Lutherans who he says supported Hitler based on the passage quoted by Sessions.

But it’s not enough for the Indianapolis Star to suggest Sessions is a Nazi sympathizer. The article also quotes history professor John Fea saying that supporters of Southern slavery also quoted Romans 13 to support their slave holding. The hint here seems to be that Sessions, himself a Southerner, is also a supporter of slavery.

Wow. Jeff Sessions is obviously a very bad man. Not only does he hate immigrants together with their children, but he’s a closet Nazi and wanna be slave holder to boot. And we know this, because he applied Romans 13 to people who flout US immigration law by entering the country illegally through the Southern border with Mexico.

What, then, shall we say to these things? In the first place, this piece once again lays bare the obvious hatred the mainstream media has for regular Americans and the elites’ contempt for their legitimate concerns about the deleterious effects mass, illegal immigration is having on the United States.

As far as the Indianapolis Star (and the USA Today network of which it is a part) is concerned, only Klasmen and Nazi Brownshirts would cite Romans 13 in any context that would support government actions against illegal immigration, especially the Trump Administration’s Zero-tolerance policy on the Southern border instituted in April. In more formal terms, the article commits the informal logical fallacy know as the ad hominem abusive argument.

Second, when it comes to Christian commentary on immigration, only those who support tax-payer funded, mass third-world immigration, migration and refugee resettlement are considered worthy sources. The article cites one minister, a seminary administrator, and a professor at a (at least nominally) Christian college, but no one of like authority who might beg to differ. The article does cite Sarah Sanders, identified in the article as a conservative Christian, making a somewhat vague statement in support of Sessions, but that’s it.

Third, the Star’s article also lends implicit support to the sinful practice of ecumenism. Not content with brining forth liberal Christian religious authorities to call Sessions bad names, the Star also links to a joint statement released by the Office of Government Relations of the apostate Episcopal Church endorsed by a rainbow coalition of “diverse religious organizations” which includes representatives from Islam, Judaism, various liberal Protestant churches, and of course, the Antichrist Roman Catholic Church-State.

Christians are not to yoke with unbelievers, not in marriage nor in ecumenical political statements. Yet the Protestant individuals and organizations who at least name the name of Christ (n.b. I do not say these people are Christians, only that they name the name of Christ) and who lent their name to this joint statement have joined in ministry with unbelieving Muslims, Jews and Roman Catholics. This is a sin in the eyes of God.

Fourth, as is the case with so many pieces in the mainstream media on immigration, the Indianapolis Star’s article is really an extended appeal to pity, which is another informal logical fallacy to go along with the ad hominem abusive argument noted earlier.

The chief objection critics have in the article to Zero-tolerance policy of Sessions and the Trump administration is that is separates children from their parents. For example, in the joint statement mentioned above, we read that the Zero-tolerance policy is wrong, among other reasons, because it, “[tears] children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them.” Further, we are told, this separation is, “unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.”

Now let’s stop and think about this for a moment. Yes, it’s a sad thing that children and parents are separated by the legal system. For my part, I don’t know if this is the best way to handle things or not.

But the article simply assumes, without ever proving, that it’s wrong for the legal system to separate children from their parents. But is that the case? Is it necessarily wrong for the civil magistrate, in the course of carrying out his God-appointed duties, to separate parents and children?

People, including American citizens, are put in jail all the time for various crimes. Do those objecting to the separation of the children of illegal immigrations from their parents also object to jailing rapists and other violent criminals? After all if a father robs a bank, or commits rape, and goes to jail as a result, he’s separated from his children. Is that the fault of the legal system, or is that the fault of the father who committed the crime of robbery?

But one could extend this argument. If it’s wrong to jail parents who commits actual crimes from their children, it’s also wrong to execute anyone who’s a parent for committing the crime of murder. After all, to do so permanently separates the children from their parents.

In truth, we could take this argument to the next step and say that it’s wrong to fine a parent who commits a crime, for levying a fine on a parent will to some degree affect the children. It might even create a separation if the parent no longer can afford to feed, clothe and house the children. It may be that they have to go stay with relatives for a time, thus separating children from the parents.

And why stop with separation? If we follow the logic of those who are so incensed at Sessions about separating children from parents, one could make the case it’s always and everywhere wrong to punish a parent for any crime in any way, because to do so necessarily entails that harm of some sort will accrue to their children.

Fifth, not content to blame Sessions, the Trump Administration and, by extension, any American voter who’s grown weary of his country overrun by illegal immigrants, of having to support them from his tax dollars, and of being lectured by his “moral betters” when he dares to object to any of this, the article absolves the law breaking parents of any responsibility for the plight of their children.

Somehow none of the religious authorities cited in the piece ever quite get around to stating the obvious truth: If the parents had not elected to engage in dangerous, illegal behavior, their children would not be in a detention center. Or to put it more bluntly, the blame for the children being behind bars lies with the irresponsible parents. Not with Jeff Sessions. Not with Donald Trump. And not with the American people.

Sixth, the abuse of the term “love” is evident in this article. Pastor Mike Mather is quoted as saying “If you read [Romans] 12, you see love is supposed to be the guiding force. …(Sessions) didn’t read that far.” Apparently, Mather thinks it’s loving to be soft on illegal immigration and unloving to enforce American immigration law.

But if that’s the case, what would Mather have to say to the family of former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson, who was killed earlier this year by a “twice-deported Guatemalan illegal immigrant” named Manuel Orrego-Savala? At the time of the crash, Orrego-Savala was allegedly driving drunk on Interstate 70 near Indianapolis.

Or what would he say to the family of David Kriehn from Noblesville Indiana (near Indianapolis)? Mr. Kriehn was killed by Mexican illegal immigrant Elizabeth Vargas-Hernandez while driving on I-465, the Indianapolis beltway. As with Orrego-Savala, Vargas-Hernandez was charged with drunk driving. She also was cited for driving without a license.

Perhaps Mather could explain to the grieving families of these two individuals how their loved ones were lovingly killed as a result of the loving immigration policies favored by he and his pals.

Seventh, “love” is equated with socialism. “Romans 12 includes the line, ‘Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home.’ Those versus, Mather said, seem to run contrary to the policy Sessions was defending,” whines the article.

The simple answer to this nonsense is no, they don’t. Note that the passage quoted, Romans 12:13, speaks not about general charity, but about charity toward fellow believers, “Contribute to the needs of God’s people.” A better translation of which is, “contributing to the needs of the saints,” found in the New King James Version. A second point here that must not be overlooked is that this passage is talking about private charity, not the public dole. It is honorable and pleasing in the sight of God when Christians help one another with their needs by giving of their own time and financial resources. But speaking as he does, Mather leaves one with the impression he’s okay with the welfare state and believes that the government has a Christian duty to take money from American citizens and give it to foreigners who come into the country illegally. The proper word for this is not love. The proper word is theft.

There’s more that could be said here, but I think this is a good place to stop. But before I do bring things to a close, I would like to challenge my fellow Protestants to think more carefully about immigration than they have in the past. I mentioned above that one of the problems with the article in the Indianapolis Star is the lack of Bible-believing Christians cited in the piece. But in truth, this is not completely the fault of the Star.

One thing I’ve noticed in researching the immigration issue over the past two years is the thunderous silence on the subject from conservative Protestants. Either they have nothing to say, or what they do have to say is little more than an echo of scholarship derived from work done by prelates of the Roman Church-State, the devil’s masterpiece. In truth, even if the Star has gone out of its way to find a Bible-believing Protestant to quote on the subject of immigration, it’s doubtful they could have found one with a studied, Biblical opinion to offer.

As Protestants, we need to do better.

 


 

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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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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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Kaepernick_Takes a Knee

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the pre-game singing of the national anthem. 

It all began quietly enough. The photo that started it all, one tweeted out by Jennifer Lee Chan of Niners Nation, wasn’t even originally about Colin Kaepernick. In fact, you have to look pretty closely at the photo even to see the then San Francisco 49ers quarterback sitting by himself on the bench during the pre-game ceremonies on August, 26, 2016.

After the game in an interview with NFL.com’s Steve Wyche, Kaepernick explained the reasoning behind his protest. He said,

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL network, this was not the first time Kaepernick had protested during the national anthem, it’s just that no one had noticed it before.

On August 28, Kaepernick stated that he would continue his protest until he felt that the flag represented what it was supposed to represent and the country represented people the way it’s supposed to represent them.

From there, it became almost a commonplace to see football players, not just in the NFL but even those on the high school and college level, take a knee during the pre-game singing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The protest movement, having simmered for over a year, was given new life with Donald Trump’s comments at a rally in Alabama last week, saying players who knelt during the national anthem should be fired.

This prompted angry reactions from many NFL players as well as from players in other sports. Remarkably, the uproar this past week following Trump’s comments has been so loud that it even managed to drive North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s threats of nuclear war from the headlines.

Such an explosive story deserves at least some commentary. So here are a few thoughts of my own.

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