The Christian Response to the Immigration Crisis
In this episode of Christian Mythbusters, Father Jared breaks the myth of the Christian response to the immigration crisis—including, what the actual crisis is. You can hear Christian Mythbusters in the Grand Haven area on 92.1 WGHN, on Wednesdays at 10:30am and Sundays at 8:50am. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple here.
The transcript of the episode is below, or you can listen to the audio at the bottom of the post.
This is Father Jared Cramer from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, Michigan, here with today’s edition of Christian Mythbusters, a regular segment I offer to counter some common misconceptions about the Christian faith.
Photos revealed by Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar’s office this past Monday showed the current situation at the border. While it’s not exactly the kids in cages of the Trump era, it’s not much better. Multiple children and youth of varying ages are shown lying on palates, with light mylar blankets, crammed into a facility clearly not designed for housing kids.
With more unaccompanied minors arriving at the border just three weeks into March than the entire month of February, a number for March that is currently twice the number as apprehended in January, people on all sides of the aisle are talking about the crisis at the border.
And there is a crisis going on, but it’s not at the border. And so, this week I’d like to break the myth of the Christian response to the immigration crisis.
Shockingly enough, many of the Christians who urge violation of facemask and distancing guidelines in the midst of a global pandemic, those who applaud people who violate federal laws for marriage equality or oppose equal access in sports for trans kids, these same Christians become very law and order focused when it comes to questions of immigration. Which is convenient.
And also, to be honest, a little racist and a lot nativist.
Let’s be clear, Christians in America have been down this road before. Whenever there is an influx of immigration—whether it is Protestants responding to Irish and Italian Catholics, or many Christians responding to Chinese workers seeking a better life, or, in our own time, people fleeing violence and poverty in Central and South America, Christian leaders talk about the importance of protecting our country, of keeping out those who might create too much of a burden or produce too much change.
Never mind that study after study has demonstrated that immigrants actually help build the economy. Never mind that study after study has shown that immigrants actually do more to increase the tax and revenue base than drain from federal budget programs. You cannot be bothered with facts when what you really peddle in is fear.
There is an immigration crisis in America, and it is the crisis provoked by the abject failure of our country, especially our Christian citizens, to actually care about people who don’t live within our borders.
Former Republican congressman and current MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough blamed what is happening at the border right now on President Joe Biden, saying, “As long as you have a permissive immigration policy, you’re going to have a crisis at the border.”
The sheer inhumanity of Scarborough’s statement shocked me—even though I know it is a perspective shared by far too many Americans and certainly far too many Christians.