Christian Appropriation

This mess at our southern border is stirring up the Sunday school wannabes again, and as a Christian and a conservative I am getting tired of being schooled by liberal Christians and non-believers about what my opinions should be, about what Jesus would do.  This needs to stop; we Christians need to stand up for our Savior and put an end to the appropriation of our Scripture and misunderstandings of Christ’s commandments. In order to do this we must first establish a couple of principles that are often ignored in this era of super-sloppy thinking:


In the first place, God quite clearly differentiates between individuals and national entities. When Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, implores his listeners to “turn the other cheek” He wasn’t speaking to the leaders of armies or to kings and emperors. (He, Himself, is often referred to as “The Lord of Hosts” – i.e. the Commander of the Armies and His behavior predicted in Revelation doesn’t look very love-your-neighbor.). In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ is giving us excellent advice for handling personal disputes of a low-impact variety. He is not saying not to fight back if someone pulls a knife on us. He’s talking about being insulted, which is what was implied by a slap across the face. He’s telling us not to escalate acrimonious situations, not to be so full of ourselves that we let a little – or a lot - of humiliation back us into a worse mess. 

He is not advocating a pacifist national stance. At one point when taxation came up He said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s,” making a clear distinction between that which is national and that which is personal. So, let’s not muddy that water. 


Secondly, the Bible is not a catalog of verses to grab willy-nilly when we want to brow-beat someone into agreeing with us. Both legalistic and liberal Christians are often guilty of doing that. Yes, okay, a proof-text is sometimes necessary, but it should never be taken out of its immediate context, nor out of the context of the entire Bible. Nor should it be used without careful consideration of the historical background against which the verse is set; neither should it be applied without checking the correctness of the translation being quoted. 


When a person who only knows the Book by reputation (from movies, or cheap novels, or anti-Christian professors )  throws a Bible verse at me, I find it very trying. Some of that is pride, which is my fault, but much of it is ire at hearing this astounding Book handled so cavalierly, so belligerently, and so ignorantly.  


For instance, one shouldn’t quote the Golden Rule to defend socialism, when the first thing a socialist country does is outlaw the Bible – don’t liberals know the history here? One ought not quote Jesus if one doesn’t know Him or believe Him. That’s like me quoting Mohammed to prove some moral point. Talk about cultural appropriation! If one knows nothing about the true Christian ethos, one should avoid telling a Christian what he or she should think .


My support of Trump’s early move to cut back on immigration from mostly Muslim countries drew the ire of people I love dearly --  Are we not to open our arms to one and all? Are we not to love our neighbors as ourselves?  (This from those who find conservatives reprehensible.) But are these not biblical mandates? Yes, but in a sense limited by context.

Therefore we cannot take the Golden Rule, which speaks of individual attitudes and behaviors, and apply it to national policy. How do we know it is for individuals only? 

1.Jesus was speaking in this sermon to a crowd made up of Jews, Samaritans, and Roman soldiers – a group of different nationalities. And, He wasn’t speaking to Pontius Pilate or to the Pharisees, the political leaders of the time. 

2. Nations don’t “love.” They can make policies that are fair, but that is different. Jesus didn’t say, “Make nice laws.” Nor did he demand that a nation allow some people to disobey the laws of the land.


We can’t ignore the dangers of people groups who scream, “Death to America!” We are not commanded to do so. From the Tower of Babel on, God has organized the world into separate nations. The prophecies of Revelation paint a terrifying picture of what a one-world, no-borders government would look like. The 20th century showed us a glimpse of that with both Stalin and Hitler. 


Biblically speaking, the blending of cultures is pictured as risky at best. In fact, during the movement of the Jews into the land God had promised them, they were sometimes told to annihilate an entire nation, including its women, children, and livestock.  There was no “Love thy neighbor” in that because these lands contained cultures of incredible evil, cultures that celebrated throwing their babies into the fires of the idols they worshipped. There is no loving a neighbor like that and there is no loving Islam, either. There is no loving MS13. No loving child predators and human trafficking. No loving the poisoning of youth with drugs. 


This caravan mess and the illegal immigration issue in general brings out the hand-wringers all over again. Aren’t we to be hospitable? Shouldn’t we care about the plight of these poor people? Of course, but caring and allowing them to swarm our borders, overloading our educational and health and law-enforcement systems, putting our citizens in danger are two different things. I’m sure that non-Christians have no idea how practical true, biblical Christianity is. When Jesus was giving His disciples instructions about going out into the world to spread the Gospel, He urged them to sell whatever they needed to sell in order to purchase a sword for protection. Yes, we are to rely on God for our wellbeing, but that doesn’t require us to be stupid.  We care about the poor in this country and a huge influx of cheap labor will hurt them. We care about the people who cannot find affordable housing. How will thousands and thousands of unskilled immigrants help that situation? Both Christians and conservatives just want things to work. We don’t hate immigrants; we hate evil, whether it resides in a neighboring country or in our own back yards. Of course, the left denies the existence of evil, which must be most confusing.

And the left hates the rich – Christ didn’t. He noted that they, being dependent on their own power, would have trouble relying on Him for salvation, but Joseph of Arimathea followed Him anyway. The left seems hell-bent (pun intended) on supporting all things the Bible denounces and then, true to the liberal inconsistency, wants us to follow closely what they, erroneously, think the Bible says. 


Enough.