Saturday, August 22, 2015

My Plan For Illegal Immigration

What would I say if I were running for President? Not that it would do me any good to put my hat in the ring, but I look at that big long list of names and see their different ideas about things and I don’t know if I agree with them or not. I think some people choose one they like out of their favorite party and then look for ways to defend whatever nonsense their candidate is saying. And every one of them says nonsense part of the time.

I got into a discussion about illegal immigration. It started because some people in the Republican party have this idea that we don’t have to apply the 14th Amendment to the children of illegal immigrants. Ann Coulter has tried to say it doesn’t apply the Supreme Court ruled that it didn’t give citizenship to Indians. As true as that is, people at that time didn’t see Indians as people, so to apply that same rule to the children of illegal immigrants would require us to believe that they aren’t people because their parents are here illegally, but black people are people, even though their parents weren’t citizens. I can’t go for that. But if I ran for President and someone asked me what my plan for illegal immigration is, what would I say?

1. Close the Border

No plan will work if we continue to have people crossing the border without permission. Given our current state of affairs, something that resembles a fence may be called for on our southern border. Realistically, a physical fence will only make it more difficult to cross the border, no matter who you get to pay for it. People have shown their willingness to climb over and tunnel under. We can’t build a fence that will keep everyone out, but we may be able to increase the chances that law enforcement will catch the people who cross without permission.

2. Prioritize Prosecution

There must be justice. People have violated our laws by either crossing the border illegally or by overstaying their welcome. But when you consider that there are more than 11 million illegal immigrants, it is going to take a long time to work through all the cases. Some people have this idea that we can just round them up like cattle and herd them back across the border. I don’t know that you could do that with cattle, much less people who are smart enough to hide, but we must have due process or risk deporting people who shouldn’t be deported. That will take decades, so let’s prioritize the cases. If someone is involved with serious crime, they should be either sent to prison or deported. Then lesser crimes. Lastly, those people who are adding value to their communities.

3. Reward Work

Some people won’t like this, but I can’t get over the fact that there are more than 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. Some of those have been here for nearly all their lives. For some, the only home they remember is in the United States. It is true that some are a burden on our resources, but there are citizens who are also burdens on our resources. There are illegal immigrants who are benefiting our society, just as there are citizens benefiting our society. In some cases, there are illegal immigrants who are willing to work jobs that US citizens won’t take. They also pay taxes. Aside from being here illegally, they may be law abiding. We may be going to church with some of them. They may be our neighbors. They may be our friends. In those cases where these people are the kind of people who are good for our communities, instead of looking for a way to get rid of 11 million people, let’s reward those who benefit our communities. Instead of deporting all of them, let’s allow those who have been here for at least five years to plead guilty to being here illegally, with the understanding that they will serve 5,000 hours of community service before they may attempt to become a citizen. And then an addition 500 hours per year after that, until they either become a citizen or leave US soil.

4. Work Toward Eliminating the Need for a Border Fence

Have you thought about why we don’t need a fence between the United States and Canada? It isn’t that we don’t have border checkpoints, but there are farmers with land on the border who plow land on both sides of the border. You could be out hunting and step across the border into Canada without realizing it. But we don’t have a bunch of illegal immigrants from Canada, because it isn’t worth the risk. Some people do move from one to the other, but they do it legally, because they’re more likely to be able to get a job that way. But people flow over the Mexican border because the chance of a better life in the United States is much better than where they came from. So let’s look for ways to help these people find ways to get rid of corrupt government, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and whatever else they are fleeing for a better life. I don’t mean just throwing money at the problem, that wouldn’t help, but if the conditions in the countries south of here improve, fewer people will want to leave those countries and we’ll have less difficulty keeping out border closed.

I Can't Forgive Josh Duggar

I can’t forgive Josh Duggar. As you may know, Josh Duggar issued a statement admitting to viewing pornography and to marital infidelity. (The statement about pornography was later removed.) This was on the heels of the data from the Ashley Madison website revealing that Josh Duggar had paid a significant amount of money for access to the site. The news media and the pro-homosexuality crowd were quick to jump, saying, “And these are the people who criticize us for gay marriage.” Their quickness cause some people to question why they had singled him out when there are thousands of other people, and likely other second string celebrities who are in that data. It doesn’t a matter why they latched onto him so quickly, the fact is, they did. And who can blame them? Here is a Baptist who is going around telling people that their sin is wrong, while doing things that are equally sinful. We may say, “A Christian is just a sinner who has been forgiven,” but a lost person hears that and sees a double standard. It confuses those we are trying to reach with the gospel, but that’s not why I can’t forgive Josh Duggar.

That was the reason I didn’t want to forgive him, but not the reason I can’t. When saw his request for forgiveness but also saw lost people pointing out his hypocrisy, I wondered, do we really want to tell the world that their sin is bad, but it’s okay for Christians to sin, as long as they apologize when they get caught? It doesn’t seem like a thing to tell people, but Jesus was clear in Matthew 6:14-15 on the subject of forgiveness. God will only forgive us if we forgive others.

(As an aside, I think it’s interesting that in Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus tells them to fast in secret, not letting people know they are fasting. Wouldn’t it be great if when the world went looking for Christian secrets, instead of finding infidelity, they found a man kneeling in a prayer closet, fasting?)

But if God calls us to forgive, why can’t I forgive Josh Duggar? Because I have nothing to forgive him for. I suppose we could talk about the harm done to society and such, but he didn’t harm me. The Bible talks about forgiving men their trespasses. Jesus said that if a brother sins against you and comes and says, “I repent,” forgive him. Well, Josh Duggar has said the equivalent of “I repent,” but he didn’t sin against me, so I can’t forgive him.

So, who can forgive him? The scribes and Pharisees believed that God alone could forgive sins (Luke 5:21). There is truth to that, because we have no authority to tell God what sins he has to punish. Jesus revealed that he is God by proving his authority to forgive sin (Luke 5:24). But we don’t have that authority. If we did, we could heal people by forgiving them. Look what Jesus did in Luke 5. We seem to think that Jesus didn’t heal the man with palsy until he said, “Rise, take up they bed and walk,” but that’s not what it says. Jesus first said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” but the Pharisees told him he couldn’t do that. So, Jesus told the man to show them what had just happened. True forgiveness of sin removes the punishment of sin. Only Jesus, who carried our sins to the cross, can remove the punishment of sin, because he experienced that punishment for us.

To a lesser degree, there are people who can forgive Josh Duggar, though I cannot. His wife can forgive him for what he has done to her. His children can forgive him for what he has done to them. His church can forgive him. Will they? Should they? That depends on a number of things, none of which I have sufficient knowledge of to answer.

It’s a little bit like judging. People think that we are judging them if we tell them that what they are doing is wrong. But judgment involves determining the penalty for a person’s crime, not just deciding whether a crime has taken place. If someone admits they’ve done something, whether it is adultery, or homosexual acts, or taking a cookie from the cookie jar without permission, it isn’t judgement to say they did something wrong. But knowing that what they did is wrong doesn’t mean we have the authority to judge them. The penalty for stealing a cookie may be a spanking, but if it isn’t my kid or my cookie jar, it isn’t for me to decide.

I can’t forgive Josh Duggar, but I will encounter people who question why Christians are criticizing homosexuality while being unfaithful to their wives. When Christians do stuff like this, it muddies the water, but it happens. The lost world should be able to look at Christians and see something different, something strange, not just people who are more practiced at hiding their sin. If Josh Duggar is saved, then the Lord has already forgiven him, but that doesn’t mean things will be allowed to continue has they have been. We should have no reservations about using Josh Duggar’s activities as an example of sin. We should not defend those actions just because he says he is a Christian. Our message should be no different. Adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lying, stealing, etc. are sins and those who commit them are worthy of the flames of hell, but the blood of Jesus makes it possible for anyone who puts their trust in him to be forgiven. It is still sin if a Christian does it and them asking for forgiveness is no reason for me to say nothing about it, but the blood of Jesus still makes it possible for the Christian to be forgiven. And it is only the blood of Jesus that makes it possible. That’s why I can’t forgive Josh Duggar.