Here are the facts regarding the endless virtue signaling of evangelicals in relationship to the current (and manufactured) immigration “crisis” regarding children being separated from parents. First, people who invade our country illegally should be detained until they can be tried and dealt with according to the law. Second, we do not want to incarcerate children with their criminal parents; to do so would be a grievous betrayal of justice. Therefore, third, we separate children from their incarcerated parents until they can be retrieved by family members or “sponsors” within the United States. Fourth, this has been the policy for decades but has only become controversial in recent days, primarily as a political maneuver designed to attack the President of the United States, who is not responsible for the policy and neither can he change it (it is the purview of Congress). Fifth, the only real alternative is to not enforce immigration law, effectively dismantling our sovereign national borders and abandoning the rule of law. Sixth, evangelicals of all stripes are among the regiment now known as “woke” Social Justice Warriors, decrying a common sense program that best ensures the rule of law while preserving basic human rights (like not incarcerating innocent children with their criminal parents). Seventh, these facts-deaf and low-information wave of evangelical cultural commentators are being led by globalist billionaire financier, George Soros, whose Open Societies Foundation is funding the work of Russell Moore on the Evangelical Immigration Table, a well-documented Soros front-group. Eighth, new SBC president, JD Greear, is poised to serve out his term in full alliance with the leftist forces that have commandeered the Neo-Evangelical agenda, which have indistinguishable talking points from the American political left.
[Editor’s Note: For the sake of the record, I endorsed Ted Cruz for President of the United States and was – during the electoral process – a “Never Trumper.” I did not vote for Donald J. Trump for president on the grounds that he is a highly immoral man with what I believe is a provenly poor character; of this I am still convinced. I also believed that Trump did not hold any real ideology and would not govern based upon conservative political philosophy or principles; of this I am less convinced than I once was. However, I have repeatedly referred to Trump in terms of being “lost” and a “pagan” (in the textbook definition of the term). So, if anyone wants to prejudge the content of this article with a presupposed pro-POTUS bias on my part, they are ill-informed.]
The Other #MeToo Movement
With the grave revelations surrounding Harvey Weinstein and other prominent celebrity men making the national press, a highly coordinated movement developed in social media known as the #MeToo movement, in which women who were victimized by men would tell their story, identify themselves with victimhood and tweet their account with the hashtag, #MeToo. The movement itself, although not without broad cultural consequence, is also not without rightful criticism. While countless women (since time immemorial) have been the victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by men and while society should have a zero-tolerance policy regarding the mistreatment of women (as this ministry has taken toward adulterers and scoundrels like Greg Locke, Clayton Jennings, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Darrell Gilyard and many others), and while women should tell their stories and seek justice through the proper legal channels, #MeToo went off the rails almost as soon as it began. Hollywood celebrities championed #MeToo, even while acknowledging they were well aware of the plight of women in Hollywood for decades but had remained utterly silent. With victimhood in vogue, many women joined #MeToo with tales about regretting their own voluntary promiscuity, drowning out the voice of the real victims of sexual assault. In the frothing, fanatical #MeToo mob mentality, a “guilty until proven innocent” ethos developed, which is sure to lead to many miscarriages of justice. Now, a number of high-profile men have been accused of vague and unsubstantiated (and eventually disproven) claims that have had even the most ardent feminists and victims’ advocates lamenting what #MeToo has become. Sadly, the greatest negative consequence of #MeToo is that because it was commandeered by those with a shameless political agenda, many victims of real abuse will be overlooked in a sea of contrived victimology.
However, there is another #MeToo movement out there. It is the #MeToo Movement of the Southern Baptist Convention and broader “woke” evangelicalism. The agenda of Social Justice Warriors who have infiltrated America’s conservative denominations throughout Spring of 2018 has been lockstep – let me be clear, it has been identical – with the agenda of the American political left. While many lament an “American Christianity” tied to the Republican Party, those crying in sackcloth and ashes when the evangelical and (credibly) professing Christian VP of the United States spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention, the reality is that the woke evangelical movement driven by Soros and Riady cash infusions to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and The Gospel Coalition (TGC) are even more inextricably tied to the political left. Whatever the agenda of leftist-progressives has been the exact same agenda has been of these evangelicals. Consider examples below.
In the Spring of 2018, first there was the veneration of Dr. Martin Luther King (who treated women as deplorably as Donald Trump) at TGC and ERLC event, MLK50. Following on the heels of MLK50 was the race-fixated Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference, which similarly promoted ideas steeped in Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and Cultural Marxism. With a slight Jesusy vibe to make the political philosophy seem uniquely Christian (it is not), these events served to advance the discussion of reparations, collective guilt, and identity politics. When TGC announced a women’s event in which white women were explicitly barred from attending (apparently judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character), Thabiti Anyabwile and other Black Nationalists in the movement claimed that criticism had led to “hate-speech” toward TGC and the FBI was investigating (P&P has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see if the claim is true, but it is highly improbable, if not asinine). An ecclesiastical Affirmative Action was explicitly promoted by almost all involved as the solution to these problems. The movement led to exactly what Cultural Marxism is designed to do, which is to cause disharmony. It ended with prominent evangelical thought leaders accusing other prominent evangelical thought leaders of being “racist” for daring to take exception with claims of systemic institutional racism in the church or denying their assertion that one man is guilty for the sins of any other man not named “Adam.”
Second, springboarding off of the MLK veneration conference came a full-scale blitzkrieg of egalitarianism, perpetrated by these very same Social Justice Warriors. Beth Moore was demanding apologies and Ron Burns (Thabiti Anyabwile’s real name) apologized on behalf of men everywhere. Soon, there were real and serious discussions of nominating Beth Moore for president of the SBC after Greear’s terms expire. Any question regarding whether a female should be in leadership authority over the nation’s largest Protestant denomination was derided as sexist. Drawing parallels to Deborah and Esther (who served in magisterial and not ecclesiastical office) were made in blogs across the country, redefining Complementarianism completely, leaving room for women at the “top positions” of leadership (as JD Greear himself argued). The accusations of misogyny against Paige Patterson – led by a clearly limp-wristed bundle of sticks, Jonathan Merritt, and renown leftist, Karen Swallow Prior – only heightened the dopamine highs of the “latte mafia” of evangelicalism, upon signaling their egalitarian, bleeding-heart feminist virtue. It became cool to push the boundaries of what it means to be Complementarian, while others who flatly reject Complementarianism altogether (like Karen Swallow Prior) were elevated to even higher esteem in the Downgrade toboggan going downhill at breakneck speed.
In the third volley of leftist-driven evangelical social justice during the Spring of 2018 came the issue of Revoice, a pro-queer “Christian” conference hosted by a PCA church and organized and promoted by Baptists who graduated Master’s Seminary and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). Designed to “de-sin” Same Sex Attaction” (SSA) altogther, which has been a goal of the ERLC and TGC for several years, the conference has drawn criticism from many conservative voices, but typically not conservative voices in the upper echelon of prominence. ERLC employee and scandalized former political knee-breaker, Brent Leatherwood, accosted media member, Thomas Littleton, and then filed a false complaint against him and had him forcibly removed by the Dallas Police Department from the SBC annual meeting (Littleton’s “crime” was asking Russell Moore about Revoice). Promoted by Karen Swallow Prior, Matt Chandler, and other ERLC research fellows, the conference is poised to normalize homosexual thoughts and desires. In recent days, as Pulpit & Pen has reported, numerous conservative Christians and at least one ex-gay Christian were banned from attending the conference altogether.
But the fourth and final #MeToo movement in evangelicalism during the Spring of 2018 is the immigration uproar. It has been well-established that Russell Moore is on the financial take of George Soros, working for his Evangelical Immigration Table. We have written before about Russell Moore repeatedly attacking the idea of national sovereignty, calling border walls “a golden calf” and demanding amnesty for illegal aliens. With the Soros-funded agenda of Moore, the latte mafia is busy decrying a not-so-new policy of not incarcerating immigrant children with their parents. Capitalizing on statements made by AG Jeff Sessions in regards to Romans 13 and the rule of law, Albert Mohler, Russell Moore and others have run to the microphone (literal or metaphoric) to decry the public servant in a blatant appeal to emotion.
The Facts Regarding Immigration Policy
1. The current policy of separating children from their criminal parents who chose to not seek asylum but rather invade the border through a non-checkpoint is due to a decision made by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (the most famously liberal appellate court in the nation), called the Flores Consent Decree. It mandated that children can be detained with their invading parents for only a very short period of time. There has been zero change to the law under the Trump Administration. The only thing different between administrations is that Trump is enforcing immigration law more robustly than Obama (guarding the borders more closely and prosecuting offenders more consistently), but Obama literally was under legal obligation to submit to the same policy. The only “choice” Trump has is to ignore the law. Any Christian advocating for that is asking for tyranny.
2. Without wanting to detain children with their parents in adult detention facilities (a real human rights violation), the only option is that they be cared for in the exact same way as American children who are separated by the poor decision making of their parents, and that is by the Department of Health and Human Services. It is not an ideal situation for children; neither is being snuck across the Arizona-Mexico border by a human trafficker. However, parents are usually processed rather quickly and sentenced to time-served, retrieving their children (who’ve been cared and provided for, often with tax-payer medical attention if necessary) and going back home.
3. There are three options. First, adults can be detained in a children’s facility (that is dangerous for children). Secondly, children can be detained with their parents in an adult facility (that is also dangerous for children). Third, border laws can just not be enforced (that is dangerous for everyone).
4. Anyone seeking asylum at a border checkpoint is not being separated from their children; only those entering illegally are being separated from their children.
What Does God’s Word Say About Border Sovereignty and the Rule of Law?
Jeff Sessions was right in his citation of Romans 13, and he used the verse properly in context. He would have been equally as justified should he have cited 1 Peter 2. Both passages clearly explain our role in relation to the Civil Magistrate. The government exists to punish the wicked and reward the good. It carries the sword (of punishment) for a reason. We are to submit to those governing authorities so long as it does not require us to rebel against God.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. (Romans 13:1-2).
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor (1 Peter 2:13-17).
A systematic theology of Civil Governance would reveal times when the Magistrate must be disobeyed in order to keep the laws of God. These include Daniel’s refusal to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Daniel 3:8-27) and Peter and John’s refusal to stop preaching (Acts 4:19). Clearly, neither Sessions nor any other Christian should argue that there are never times to disobey a Civil authority. The point of Sessions is that God demands people obey the laws of the government.
Likewise, as I pointed out in my sermon just a few weeks ago, our chief ruling authority is not a flesh-and-blood emperor, but in American government (and Western Civilization in general) our authority is the rule of law under the Social Compact Theory of government. All laws, but especially that ultimate earthly authority, the Constitution, must be obeyed unless it requires violating God’s laws. When evangelicals like Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, Karen Swallow Prior, or JD Greear demand that Donald Trump not operate by the rule of law, they are asking that Trump (or those who work for him, like AG Sessions) sin. It is wicked to demand someone sin. Furthermore, if you care about religious liberty, which should be nearest and dearest to our hearts as believers, you must not set a precedent of encouraging the Magistrate to simply ignore the ruling authority of the law.
So then, the question is whether it is justified to ignore the law – our emperor – in the case of immigation law. Consider the tweet from JD Greear.
Greear, of course, does not believe the quotation he cites. Greear doesn’t believe it is “wicked” to keep children out of prisons. When parents are arrested every single day in the United States and sent to county jails and ultimately to state or federal penitentiaries, they are sent without their families because we are not a barbaric society that punishes children for the sins of their parents. The only way it would be “wicked” to separate families in relation to the border situation is if invading a country illegally is not a crime and if illegal immigrants are criminals. However, the rule of law says that to invade a country by sneaking into its unprotected border is a crime, and to do so makes you a criminal. Then, the law sets aside a process to detain that criminal and put them through the due process of law. What Greear seems to want is to act as though the rule of law can simply be ignored or to act as though breaking into a country illegally is not a crime.
Here are a few inconvenient facts for those who act as though it is a moral obligation to defy U.S. immigration law.
1. God invented the nation-state and Citizenship. That’s right, it was God that invented the “nation-state” as the children of Israel came out of Egypt with a concept of social construct not tied exclusively to kinship or geography. While it is true that the three building blocks of a nation are (A) borders (B) culture and (C) language, the development of Hebrew identity as a nation came about in an interesting vacuum in which they did not have a border or a geographical anchor. Historical anthropologists recognize that the Old Testament Israelite nation may very well be the first people group in the world to form a “nation” not tied directly or exclusively to kinship and geography, but instead was a social Covenant between Yahweh and his people. The idea of nation via compact was born. Israel was Israel even outside the Promised Land, because Israel had a Covenant with Yahweh. Those obeying that Covenant were seen as Israelites and those disobeying it were seen as Gentiles, and the concept of “Citizenship” was born. This proto-Citizenship in the historical record is demonstrated in the clear delineation of how Israelites were to be treated under Sinaitic civil codes given by God through Moses and how non-Israelites were to be treated. While aliens and sojourners were to be treated well, Old Testament laws make it very clear that Citizens of Israel were unique and were to be treated with different privileges than those not of Israel. This is seen even in the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” constructed outside of the Temple. It took more to become an Israelite than to simply sojourn in the land. Citizenship requires adherence to the Covenant, and formal admission into the body politic by a special rite.
2. God invented national sovereign borders. God himself gave the boundaries for the nation of Israel in Genesis 15:18 and in Genesis 17:8. In this, God ensured that the nation-state of Israel had applied to it the first and most important aspect of its existence; borders. Encroachments upon these boundaries were to be met with hostility. God commanded the Israelites to protect their borders and boundaries, and they were given total and unilateral control of those boundaries. Rather than causing conflict with neighboring nations, the borders clearly delineated property lines, defusing potential conflicts and better enabling the Israelites to govern their affairs in accordance with their Covenant with Yahweh.
3. God invented the border wall. There is an entire book of the Bible devoted to the building of a border wall. Nehemiah 1:1-7:3 explains God commanding the construction of a wall around Jerusalem to protect its strategic interests and prevent foreign invasion. There is nothing unethical, unbiblical, or sinful, about protecting national sovereign borders. And by the way, that border wall was well-armed.
When the United States lets in more than one million immigrants a year to attain Citizenship and nearly that many more to work and attend our educational institutions, it clearly does not exhibit institutionalized bigotry toward the foreigner. A nation that lets in two million foreigners a year does not suffer from xenophobia. That is not systemic racism; it is systemic kindness. That the United States has border crossings where anyone can seek legal asylum through an open and forthright and generous asylum policy, it makes it all the more criminal to instead choose to sneak across the border criminally. That parents aren’t separated from their children by death as America protects its sovereign borders by force (which is its right) is a testimony of America’s shining generosity. Any other nation in virtually any other part of the world would fire upon those invading their sovereign borders. Instead, America applies the rule of law while feeding them, clothing them, providing them due process, and putting them in a detained “time-out” until they can be returned to their home of origin.
And that’s called Christian charity.
[Contributed by JD Hall: By the way, the only possible solution that allows the rule of law to be followed while not separating children from parents would require the construction of camps with FEMA-type family housing, behind lock-and-key, in which community services like medical care and education would be offered until at such time the individuals could receive further legal scrutiny and either cleared for entrance or sent back to their country of origin. In other words, it would an awful like a Japanese internment camp. I’m not recommending it, I’m just saying, “Good luck with that.”]