Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.
Over the years, debating immigration policy in a Christian context with Dan Trabue and Andy Bryan, I've noticed recurring reminders of passages from the OT law in which the ancient Israelites were to treat "foreigners".
On several occasions, Dan and Andy have suggested that strict immigration policy or mass deportations of illegal immigrants would be in conflict with Christian values as a result of these OT commands.
My question is to whom the OT refers to as "foreigners". Three possibilities come to mind:
1. Foreigners present in Israel with Israelite consent (assuming that immigration policy is a transferable concept).
2. All foreigners regardless of how they arrived in Israel.
3. The native Canaanites already present in Israel at the time of the conquest (comparable to Native Americans in the U.S.)
Although I would like to assert that it is option 1 or 3 because they would support my policy positions, I must admit that major exegetical research must be done to discern which of these options (if any) is correct. At this point, I just don't know.
I really struggle with this issue. As a pastor, I know that I must not turn in any illegal immigrant that I met in a pastoral context to authorities merely because s/he is an illegal immigrant. To the contrary, I must help everyone who needs the care of the Body of Christ.
So I guess that I'm advocating a position as a citizen that I must abhorr as a pastor.
One seminary professor challenged me to change my public policy positions to keep in accordance with my religious convictions. But I would find it very hard to advocate a position that I know will lead to the dismemberment of my country.
I know -- I'm not making any sense. As I said, I really struggle with this issue.