Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Illegal Aliens and Blind Justice

Where does "love your neighbor" end?

We feel sorry for poor people who are just trying to get by. We want to give them a break, and we want to see others do the same. If we're honestly trying to love our neighbor, we'll probably help them out — with money, food, or an odd job if we can.

But we don't help them jack someone's car.

The comments on the previous post, "Loving Your Illegal Neighbor," called to mind a very hard-nosed Proverb:

"Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house" (6:30-31).

Loving your neighbor has its limits. Those limits are the law, and the law is supposed to be "one size fits all:"

"Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly" (Lev 19:15).

In the illegal immigration debates, poverty cannot be an excuse to violate the law. If it's treated as an excuse to violate immigration law, we shouldn't be surprised if some think it's an excuse to violate other laws.

We can change our laws, and I think we should, but we can't ignore those who broke the law. If a reasonable price isn't paid, the law loses respect required to make our society function.

What's a reasonable price? That's a question for another time.

3 comments:

Jenny said...

Good points. It's bothered me for awhile that this breeds a sort of disrespect for the law. Worse yet, it's not merely an immigration issue. It strongly effects how the immigrant populations relate to the native one. I have personally heard some people justify other crimes or not obeying rules because (white) Americans have been cast as the "bad guys" for wanting to keep others out.

dobson said...

Chris, I'm astonished that you look to some fairly obscure old-testament proverbs when I'd expect that most Christians would look to Luke 10:25-37 for inspiration. The key principles would seem to be loving thy neighbour as much as yourself and recognizing that the stranger is actually your neighbour.

That seems like clear, and unambiguous guidance. And it's a principle that even an atheist like myself can see some good in.

If you are going to make this argument stick you'd need to show how getting tough in immigration is somehow consistent with the Christian principle of neighbourly love.

In the illegal immigration debates, poverty cannot be an excuse to violate the law. If it's treated as an excuse to violate immigration law, we shouldn't be surprised if some think it's an excuse to violate other laws.

Oh dear... the slippery slope again!

Your response is a spectacular example of selective quoting to support a position which really has no roots in traditional Christianity.

You've actually created a rather perverted caricature of your own faith in order to try to justify laws which are based on little more than pragmatic selfishness.

What would Christ and the Apostles have thought of today's immigration laws? Imagine if the early Christians had required visas, passports and the scrutiny of immigration officers as they spread the gospel!

Your argument boils down to nothing more than a belief that it's sinful to break a law. You've not actually demonstrated that the law itself is moral. And I think the great weight of your own faith's tradition is actually against you.

Lloyd said...

I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God bless, Lloyd