Immigrants Creed

on November 27, 2018

On Friday an illegal immigrant who had lived inside a United Methodist “sanctuary” church in Durham, North Carolina for one year was arrested at a federal facility where he sought reprieve. The church’s pastor and a crowd from the church among others tried to obstruct the arrest. These demonstrators blocked the van with federal agents and their arrestee for several hours until local police arrested over two dozen including the pastor.

Seemingly the church demonstrators even deflated the tire of the federal agents. Here’s video.

Should a pastor and church physically obstruct federal officers from implementing the law? They of course would insist the law is unjust. But to what extent should clergy and churches physically defy even unjust laws? Pro life Christians believe abortion is destroying human life, morally far worse than any immigrant deportation, yet typically don’t physically obstruct abortion clinics. Should they? What other laws merit physical obstruction?

In general, Christianity has taught compliance with the law, knowing the evils of anarchy, and preferring long term exertions to change unjust laws. The North Carolina Poor Peoples Campaign, headed by activist Disciples of Christ clergy Rev. Bill Barber, in rallying to this detained immigrant’s cause, promised: “We will stand against the evil of snatching up people and separating families.”

The implication is that “snatching up” anyone present illegally is immoral. In its Book of Resolutions the United Methodist Church opposes enforcement of any U.S. immigration law. Much of Christian immigration advocacy explicitly or implicitly asserts that living in the U.S. and receiving all benefits of citizenship is a right for anyone who so desires. By definition, from this perspective, border restrictions, fences, and detentions are intrinsically immoral and at odds with Christian compassion.

Such a sweeping utopian view is unsustainable and is not supported by traditional Christian political theology, which understands the political limits of the City of Man. Governments provide order. They don’t consummate God’s Kingdom. Expectations that they should can be destructive and ungodly. The church activists blocking federal agents in Durham think government by enforcing immigration law has become oppressive. But a state sufficiently large and powerful to offer endless hospitality to all will in the end become far more oppressive.

Christian immigration advocacy often sacralizes immigration, likening immigrants to holy sojourners in the Bible, including the Holy Family during their escape to Egypt. But immigrants are just fellow sinners like the rest of us. They shouldn’t be demonized or glamorized. As for us all, they should be expected to respect the law. Federal officials enforcing the law honestly should be respected for their vocation. The United Methodist demonstrators in Durham might consider that deflating tires of federal vans may not be respectful.

This activist Durham church in in their advocacy recitedThe Immigrants Creed,” which is an adaptation of the Apostles Creed:

I believe in Almighty God,
who guided the people in exile and in exodus,
the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon,
the God of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ,
a displaced Galilean,
who was born away from his people and his home,
who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger,
and returning to his own country suffered the oppression
of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power,
who then was persecuted, beaten, and finally tortured,
accused and condemned to death unjustly.
But on the third day, this scorned Jesus rose from the dead,
not as a foreigner but to offer us citizenship in heaven.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the eternal immigrant from God’s kingdom among us,
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries,
and reunites all races.

I believe that the church is the secure home
for the foreigner and for all believers who constitute it,
who speak the same language and have the same purpose.
I believe that the communion of the saints begins
when we accept the diversity of the saints.

I believe in the forgiveness of sin, which makes us all equal,
and in reconciliation, which identifies us more
than does race, language, or nationality.

I believe that in the resurrection
God will unite us as one people
in which all are distinct
and all are alike at the same time.

Beyond this world, I believe in life eternal
in which no one will be an immigrant
but all will be citizens of God’s kingdom,
which will never end. Amen.

This “creed” strikes me as the sacralization of a political cause. The Apostles Creed affirms faith in God and His work in Christ.  This declaration in contrast steers faith towards a contemporary political objective. Some political causes are righteous but none merit our faith or the crafting of transcendent binding creeds.

  1. Comment by William on November 27, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Is it right or wrong for a Christian to break civil law? Is it right or wrong for a Christian to break God’s law? Jesus was not asked if it was right or wrong to break God’s law for obvious reasons, but when he was asked about breaking civil law, even in attempted trickery, the paying of the tax to Caesar— what did he say, and how are contemporary Christians to discern his answer?

  2. Comment by Daniel on November 27, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    That entire section of the Book of Resolutions needs to be removed ASAP. Advocating for chaos and open borders is absolute insanity. The United Methodist Church has become (maybe it always was) a denomination of complete lunacy and moronic virtue signaling hypocrites. I’ll very likely be leaving this denomination in the coming year. Regardless of what happens in GC 2019, the crazies aren’t going anywhere. Even the conservatives in the UMC are radical open border supporters. If only they were as tough on divorce or other such civil matters. They cry on Facebook and Twitter that we are torturing immigrants at the border, then they pull into their gated neighborhood in their luxury car listening to NPR. I’m beginning to hate this country so much.

  3. Comment by Andy Dillad on November 27, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    I have been a Methodist for many years, and am astounded that such liberal thinking re immigration is contained therein. I intend to look further into it, as I am totally opposed to the “open border” concept.

  4. Comment by Alan on November 27, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Nailed it. The sacralizing of immigrants is part of how evangelical elites mislead people. Can anyone forget Russell Moore’s outright lie and abuse of the Gospel narrative when he called Jesus a “so-called illegal immigrant?”

    I wonder if too much of a focus on the Imago Dei within evangelicalism will lead Southern Baptists through our ERLC into this same mess—where nations and borders are tossed away. Just because people are made in the image of God does not mean they are entitled to ignore the law or borders–both law and borders were ordained by God too.

  5. Comment by David on November 27, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    I think people have been watching the Hunchback of Notre Dame movie too much. Churches today are not legal sanctuaries as in the Middle Ages and I do not recall Protestant Churches ever claiming this right except in recent history.

    The US probably admits more authorized immigrants than any other country. I feel immigration is in the country’s best interests unless you want to have a declining population. Japan is currently having many social problems due to this with schools and colleges closing for lack of students and workers becoming scare in some fields.

    We have a system to enter the country that many have followed. There are, however, humanitarian concerns regarding young children brought here illegally and refugees facing severe persecution.

  6. Comment by William on November 27, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    It must be admitted —- Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have egregiously failed the American people AND prospective immigrants by allowing our immigration system to fall into chaos and dysfunction. Until we vote representatives OUT OF OFFICE who refuse to fix this mess, it will continue its deteriorating . Shame on all of them!! And, those who organized and led this current group of people into Tijuana should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

  7. Comment by Nick Stuart on November 27, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    “Pro life Christians believe abortion is destroying human life, morally far worse than any immigrant deportation, yet typically don’t physically obstruct abortion clinics.”

    Here’s why: They will be subject to prosecution under RICO statutes, and any number of other state and local laws.

    In the case of abortion protesters the civil authorities take the gloves off, and they come down viciously hard. This was demonstrated 20-30 years ago when Operation Rescue and similar groups were doing direct action against abortion clinics. Look it up. The police not infrequently used pain compliance and even violent abuse in making arrests. Pro-lifers were given jail sentences entirely out of proportion to the offense, and in comparison with similar offenses.

    I’m not talking about cases where abortionists were murdered where the perpetrator deserved the full penalty due the crime. I’m talking about non-violent protests, and minor trespassing like unplugging abortion equipment.

  8. Comment by Lance on November 28, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Good article! Thank you for exposing the lunacy of the left in the UMC & policies that they have created. I did not know this resolution or creed existed. The secularization of the UMC has reached a fevered pitch.

    This same secular UMC element also makes a sacriment of gay marriage and killing innocent babies via abortion.

    While this group was surrounding a Federal law enforecement car to protect one illegal alien about 3 babies were being killed at an abortuon mill in Durham, NC.

    1055 babies were killed in Durham NC In 2016.
    27,138 abortions occurred in NC in 2016 which = 74 NC abortions per

  9. Comment by David on November 28, 2018 at 7:57 am

    …and about 75% of all human conceptions are aborted naturally.

  10. Comment by diaphone64 on November 28, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    So why are you here?

  11. Comment by John Smith on November 29, 2018 at 6:22 am

    If they feel strongly enough I can understand their taking action but they should expect to pay the price for their actions both governmental and denominational.

    On another note, has anyone noticed how much the “immigrants” creed devalues God, skips the deity of Jesus, raises the status humans and makes the Holy Spirit a foreigner to the creation? I do love the oxymoron of citizen in a kingdom. Somebody or something forbid that we be subjects of a King.

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