“You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt." - Exodus 22:21 NLT
“I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me." – Matthew 25:43 NLT
Centuries ago, white people of power brought people of color to this country, against their will, for economic gain. Thus began the tragic American history of slavery, Reconstruction, peonage, Jim Crow and most recently the New Jim Crow (see Michelle Alexander's brilliant work by the same name). These days, it is (substantially) white people of power who are now preventing people of color from entering this country and removing those who are already here under the guise of "keeping us safe."
While the early history was for the economic gain of white people, the current reality denies the economic benefits sought by people of color. Can it be that the first sin is exceeded only by the second? We have no choice in the history that we inherit, by we do choose what we learn from it.
Aware of our reprehensible history of enslavement of other human beings, it is incumbent upon us to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and humane, compassionate treatment of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers already here.
Sanctuary and support of sanctuary for immigrants living in the shadows is, in good conscience and moral behavior, demanded of all Americans who are convicted of the history we inherit and the clarion biblical call to change it by welcoming the "resident Alien" (Exodus 22:21) and the "stranger" (Matthew 25:43) among us.
About the Author: Pastor Henry Zorn is Co-Pastor of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Cincinnati, OH. A vibrant and welcoming community of faith and a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.