Christianity, Nationalism and Immigration

Looking at the country’s landscape reveals that politics and religion are the most polarized conversations to be discussed. Many Christians continue to question whether Old Testament ideals are still essential to a faithful life. Some lie in silence or active discussion about the ambiguity for subjects like abortion, gay rights or mental health in scripture.

For many, the country displays hypocrisy with its exclamation of nationalism yet inherent noncompliance along the political spectrum. This conflict in ideals sparks debates among many individuals who seek comply with scripture while adhering to the nation’s values and authority. Thus, the topic of immigration creates mass debate many in the early twenty-first century.

Since 9/11, immigration has been monitored heavily through surveillance and legislation, which influenced an executive order travel ban on Middle Eastern countries in 2017. Side effects of this caused an increase in drug related crimes near the southern border of the U.S. Throughout his campaign and presidency, President Donald Trump vowed to build a wall to prevent Mexican immigrants from entering the country illegally. With this plan still in progress, Christians, Republicans and Democrats finds this approach to immigration as contradictory to the nation’s values.

Christians are called to love one another as we love ourselves; however, when thinking about the situations and conditions most immigrants face, Christians should advocate for the equality of opportunity in the U.S.

Micah Kanak, a senior Christian ministry major said that she believes, “The best thing is to try and balance between submitting to the laws and government legislation as it tells us to do in the Bible. But also, we are allowed to have free thought and know that we are supposed to love and care for one another, and if that means that we should not agree with our president or our laws, I believe that should be valid as well.” She added, “When it comes to nationalism, we have to realize that nationalism does not equal communism. In fact, it is quite the opposite, I believe that nationalism tells us to think more for ourselves than in line with what our country thinks. That goes with what was initially outlined in the Constitution.”

In his 2019 article, The Christian Faith and Immigration, Mark Amstutz wrote, “Church documents on immigration also suffer an additional shortcoming. Besides failing to provide a careful integration of biblical ethics with the challenges of immigration policy, church resolutions and documents focus chiefly on the needs of migrants and disregard the role of government and the rule of law. To a significant degree, disregarding the state is a direct byproduct of viewing the world as a universal society of global citizens, an international community of persons bearing the image of God.”

Amstutz added, “But the aim of laws and policies is to advance justice and the common good. If we are concerned with public policies, our concern must be on the efficacy of the policies themselves.”

Ultimately, as Christians, our personal duty is to engage in politics by forming cohesive opinions and thoughts. Although active engagement might be exhausting or unnecessary, as U.S. citizens, political engagement keeps the nation thriving. We must come together to bring Christian thoughts on these hard topics and discover the redemptive qualities in them. This goal can only be reached through our free speech and Constitutional rights to advocate what is morally right to do.

Photo courtesy of John Moore