My sermon on Sunday was entitled “Rise Up for Immigrants.” I talked about how the “America First” philosophy stands in direct conflict with the Bible’s clear instructions. To make my point, I quoted one scripture after another:
- Deuteronomy 10:16-21: God doesn’t play favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing. You must treat foreigners with the same loving care–remember, you were once foreigners in Egypt.
- Leviticus 19:33-34: When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat them. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
- Exodus 12:49 and Leviticus 24:22: There shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.
- Exodus 22:21: Moses gives God’s law: You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
- Leviticus 19:9-10 and 23:22: You shall not strip your vineyards bare … leave them for the poor and the alien.
- Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22: When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I’m the Lord your God.
(Fundamentalists who love to quote Leviticus to homosexuals conveniently forget the many more things God had to say about how we treat the immigrant among us.)
- Deuteronomy 1:16: Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien.
- Deuteronomy 10:18-19: For the Lord your God … loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
- Deuteronomy 27:19: Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien … of justice.
- Jeremiah 7:5-7: If you do not oppress the alien … then I will dwell with you in this place.
- Jeremiah 22:3-5: Do no wrong or violence to the alien.
- Ezekiel 47:21-22: The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.
- Zechariah 7:8-10: Do not oppress the alien.
The Bible is full of stories about immigrants and our responsibility to share compassion with the stranger among us. Indeed, the Bible is a book written by immigrants and for immigrants:
- Abraham and Sarah left their home for a land God promised to show them.
- Jacob’s descendants migrated to Egypt during a great famine.
- Then Moses led them from slavery across the Jordan where they settled among people who already lived there claiming it as their own promise land.
- Of course, Joseph took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt as a hunted immigrant whom Herod wanted to kill.
Perhaps Herod should have thought to build a wall … or to make it profitable for politicians to arrest people who want only better lives.
Rev. Michael Piazza