Bible Implores Us To Welcome Foreigners, RefugeesÂ
Around the country, millions of Christians gathered to pray this morning. They listened to homilies, sang hymns, read devotional texts, and prayed for the health and safety of our leaders and our world. Countless pastors and preachers undoubtedly spoke from the pulpit on the necessity of President Donald Trumpâ€™s executive order banning refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries.Â
They likely praised Trumpâ€™s action because the order prioritizes members of â€œminority religionsâ€ from those places and grants them special privileges that other refugees donâ€™t enjoy. In practice, the executive order places a higher priority on Christian refugees. Sure, there are adherents to other minority religions who will be affected, but the primary focus is Christians. Â
Iâ€™m not now nor have I ever been a Christian. Iâ€™m pretty sure Iâ€™ve said more than a few times here that Iâ€™m an observant Jew and I often approach the world from that perspective. I have a masterâ€™s degree in Jewish education from one of the best programs at one of the best universities in the world. Iâ€™m most definitely not new to religion, scripture, and theology, and even though Iâ€™m not Christian Iâ€™ve devoted a bit of time to studying it in order to learn more about my friends and neighbors.Â
Considering how much Iâ€™ve studied scripture and theology, Iâ€™m absolutely racking my brain trying to figure out how someone who calls themseves a Christian can support a ban on refugees. I donâ€™t understand how anyone can say that the Bible is the word of God while simultaneously saying theyâ€™re commanded to deny sanctuary to vulnerable refugees. Â
Exodus 22:20 says, â€œDo not persecute and do not oppress the foreigner, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.â€Â It doesnâ€™t get more explicit than a blatant prohibition on persecution and oppression directed at refugees.
Numbers 15:15 tells us that strangers and residents should be treated equally before the law and before God. If we take a step back into the larger context, there are four (four!) different commands that make it clear that the law should be exactly the same for foreigners and residents found in Numbers 15:14-16.Â
Exodus 12:49 makes it even more explicit: â€œThere shall be one law for the citizen and for the foreigner who resides among you.â€ That’s a direct translation.
Exodus 23:9 commands believers not to oppress the foreigner because we know the feelings â€” literally, because we â€œknow the soulâ€ â€” of the foreigner, because we were also foreigners (refugees) in the land of Egypt.
What Christians call the Old Testament â€” and what us Jews just call the Bible â€” is absolutely filled with references to foreigners. Abraham was explicitly called a refugee. The Israelites were refugees from their homeland as they left and went down to Egypt, and in no uncertain terms, Leviticus 19:18 commands us to â€œlove your neighbor as yourself.â€
When discussing Christian theology, many are quick to point out that Jesus negated much of the law contained in the Jewish Bible, and theyâ€™re right. Itâ€™s why Christians donâ€™t observe the dietary laws or many of the other customs that observant Jews follow.
Because of this disparity between Jewish theology and Christian theology, I decided to go a bit farther in my research and look at some of whatâ€™s written in what Chrisians call the New Testament. Hereâ€™s what I found:
In Mark 12:31 Jesus directly quotes Leviticus 19:18 saying, â€œYou shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater.â€ Thatâ€™s pretty clear, huh?
Matthew 25:35-46 warns very explicitly that people who do not feed those who are hungry, clothe the naked, or welcome the stranger will â€œgo away into eternal punishment.â€ (Can you get more clear than the threat of eternal damnation for not welcoming the stranger? I donâ€™t think you can.)
In Romans 12:13, Paul declares that the mark of a true Christian is shown in one who is quick to â€œextend hospitality to strangers.â€ A few verses earlier he warns those listening not to â€œbe conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God â€” what is good and acceptable and perfect. (12:2) He continues, â€œWelcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.â€ (15:7)Â
Hebrews 13:1-2 begs to â€œLet mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angles without knowing it.â€ Who knows what potential weâ€™re denying by refusing to extend a welcome to the vulnerable.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all Biblical sources from either the Hebrew or Christian Bibles that show how strongly believers are commanded to welcome the refugee who is in need. According to the scripture, it is not just a duty but a moral imperative to welcome the stranger.Â
Iâ€™ll certainly be the first to say that religious beliefs should never mix with government policy. Specifically as an religiously observant person, I want the government to stay far, far away from my religious practices and theology. But Iâ€™d also be naive to say there arenâ€™t many, many people who believe their religious positions deserve a place of superiority both within our law and within our government. Many of these folks are consulting and advising President Trump and specifically recommended this executive order. Theyâ€™re also the same people who have made a living by being professional Christians in the Evangelical and other fundamentalist churches have often said that one cannot claim to be a true Christian if they willingly ignore whatâ€™s in Scripture.
So I return to my original question: How can anyone who claims to believe the Bible is the direct word of God support President Trumpâ€™s executive order banning refugees? How can you call yourself a Christian and so blatantly ignore these verses? I honestly donâ€™t understand.Â
Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBTQ activist, educator, and writer. Heâ€™s absolutely sick of people using their religion as an excuse to persecute and harm those they dislike. Follow him on Twitter: @rjmedwed
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Raphael Warnock Beats Trump-Backed Herschel Walker – Democrats Increase Senate Majority
Millions of Americans in Georgia voted to re-elect Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and send him back to Washington D.C., NBC News projects. It is a clear mandate for the policies enacted by the Biden administration and a strong rebuke for the flailing former president, Donald Trump.
Senator Warnock faced a challenge from a Texas Republican who claimed to live in the Peach State, Trump-backed former NFL star Herschel Walker.
The New York Times, confirming Warnock is the projected winner, reports a huge number of Georgians, more than 3.3 million, voted in the runoff election.
An admitted Texas resident, Walker’s long list of hypocritical claims and actions, falsehoods, lies, and troubling business and tax dealings were only outweighed by the women who accused him of violent behavior, pressuring them and paying for them to get abortions, and revelations he had not one child but four, including a son he almost never sees.
Warnock, who is also the Senior Pastor at the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church, Ebenezer Baptist, out-raised and out-campaigned Walker, especially in the last week.
Herschel Walker appeared at only two events this weekend, Politico reported, “a tailgate in Atlanta before a University of Georgia football game on Saturday, where he did not speak, and a Sunday rally in Loganville, where his stump speech touched on everything from complaints about pronouns and critical race theory to funding law enforcement.”
With 51 votes in the Senate, Democrats will not be forced into a power-sharing agreement with Republicans as they were two years ago. President Biden will be able to nominate and have confirmed even more judges, an area he has excelled. And Democrats will have full committee majorities, giving them power to issue subpoenas in investigations.
The Washington Post on Tuesday noted that Democrats having 51 votes is “an insurance policy against the unthinkable — the possibility that vacancies or party switches could flip the majority. That has happened before, most recently in 2001. The reason that it hasn’t happened more often is mostly because the Senate isn’t usually this closely divided. But vacancies and seat flips do happen — a lot. In fact, since World War II, about 70 percent of Congresses have featured some kind of shift in partisan balance of the Senate between elections.”
The unthinkable includes the possibility that a Democratic Senator in a state headed by a Republican governor could resign or die, allowing a Republican to be installed in their place. As The Post notes, there are 11 cases currently where that could happen.
Warnock unseated a GOP Senator in a 2020 special election, making this his first full elected six-year term.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain notes President Biden “becomes the first President since FDR 1934 to see every Senator in his party re-elected (who was seeking re-election.)”
Guilty on All Counts: Trump Organization Loses Big in Criminal Fraud Case
A jury has found thew crown jewel of Donald Trump’s real estate empire, The Trump Organization, guilty on all counts in a state criminal tax fraud case.
Calling it “a remarkable rebuke of the former president’s company and what prosecutors described as its ‘culture of fraud and deception,'” The New York Times reports the details include “conviction on all 17 counts.”
Charges include tax fraud, a scheme to defraud, and conspiracy and falsifying business records, but The Times says it is “hardly a death sentence for the Trump Organization.”
The Times adds the conviction comes “after more than a day of jury deliberations in State Supreme Court in Manhattan,” which “resulted from a long-running scheme in which the Trump Organization doled out off-the-books luxury perks to some executives: They received fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives, none of which they paid taxes on.”
Donald Trump was not a defendant in the case, but the case will be front and center during his presidential run.
According to a press release from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, The Trump Organization and the Trump Payroll Corp. were convicted of the following charges:
- Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count
- Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
- Criminal Tax Fraud in Third Degree, a class D felony, two counts
- Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
- Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, three counts
The Trump Corporation was also convicted of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony.
MSNBC reported the verdict on-air:
BREAKING: Trump Org. found guilty on all counts in a 15-year tax fraud scheme that prosecutors said was orchestrated by top executives at the company. https://t.co/MPjgQRmzjX pic.twitter.com/356LrhuK6u
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 6, 2022
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Image via Shutterstock
Watch: McConnell Refuses to Say He Will Not Support Trump for President Even After ‘Terminate the Constitution’ Demand
Even after Donald Trump called for the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution this weekend and demanded he be put back into office or be given a do-over national presidential election, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to say he will not support the ex-president’s current run for the White House.
McConnell kicked off his weekly press conference Tuesday by mildly criticizing Trump, although not mentioning him by name.
“First, let me just say that anyone seeking the presidency who thinks that the Constitution could somehow be suspended or not followed, it seems to me would have a very hard time being sworn in as president of United States,” McConnell told reporters.
But when asked if he “categorically” would refuse to support Trump – personally or in his role as Senate Republican Minority Leader – McConnell refused to go that far.
“This is the second week in a row you’ve come out to begin your press conference criticizing Donald Trump,” a reporter off-camera said. “Can you say categorically that you do not support him if he were the Republican nominee?”
McConnell could not.
“What I’m saying is it would be pretty hard to be sworn in, to the presidency, if you’re not willing to uphold the Constitution. That’s what I said, and I just said it again,” McConnell stated.
“How about your personal support?” the reporter shot back.
McConnell ignored the question.
During the 2016 campaign Trump also made clear he did not feel beholden to upholding the Constitution, so it’s unclear why McConnell would suggest he could not be sworn in again should he be elected in 2024.
In fact, Trump’s concerning remarks surrounding the Constitution in 2016 led Brown University political science professor Corey Brettschneider to pen a piece for Politico: “Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide.”
“It may be true that Donald Trump has read the Constitution. But it’s unclear if he understands it,” it begins.
McConnell is not only the second longest serving leader of a party’s caucus in the Senate, nor his he just the Senate Republican Minority Leader.
He wields massive power and influence via his ties to a Super PAC.
According to CNN, the Senate Leadership Fund is “a super PAC affiliated with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.”
This year alone, the Senate Leadership Fund has spent nearly $300 million to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate. In 2020 it spent over $475 million.
Many have seen their ads, which are almost entirely, according to Open Secrets, against Democrats, not for Republicans.
Watch McConnell below or at this link.
Question: Can you say categorically that you will not support Trump if he were the Republican nominee?
McConnell: What I’m saying is it would be pretty hard to be sworn in to the presidency if you’re not willing to uphold the constitution pic.twitter.com/KOcHOUtpnc
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 6, 2022
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