Scene opens with the ISRAELITES gathered together. The crowd is huge and there’s a buzz in the air. They’re expecting some big news. At the front of this crowd sits MOSES, with a legal pad and Bic pen, ready to write things down. Out of the sky comes THE VOICE OF GOD. Surprisingly, the voice is pretty casual.
So here’s the deal y’all. It’s time. I’m giving you your own place to call home.
(A cheer goes up from the ISRAELITES)
(They’ve waited a lifetime for this)
You’re about to have your own land. Your own country. Stability. After generations of wandering, suffering, enslavement, you’ll finally have rest.
(ISRAELITES nod enthusiastically)
But I need you to listen really closely. Are you listening?
(ISRAELITES nod distractedly)
Once you’re in the land, you’re going to be tempted to act just like all the other kingdoms around you. You’ll want to keep your fellow Hebrews in debt. You’ll want to hoard land and money and possessions. You’ll want to get what’s yours, and you’ll see any and all foreigners around you as a threat, kind of like Sodom did. Remember them? Anyway, here’s a list of instructions on how to live differently.
Ready to write all this down?
Yep, we got it God. Writing it down literally as you speak. We’ll do exactly what you say.
ISRAELITES faces, dazed and distant. They’re fantasizing about diving Scrooge McDuck-style into all that sweet, sweet milk and honey.
Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Family Research Council, recently visited the overcrowded migrant camps in McAllen, Texas. Dobson has long been an advocate for children, and he was moved by what he saw there.
“The most heart-wrenching experience occurred during our tour of the holding area,” Dobson wrote in a recent newsletter. “[It] is crowded with detainees standing or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on benches. They stared out at us with plaintive eyes. I noticed that almost none of them were talking to each other. The children looked traumatized and frightened. Tears flooded my eyes as I stood before them. They had no toys or dolls, except for a few items bought by compassionate border patrol agents. One tiny little girl clutched something that resembled a doll bought for her by an agent.”
Dobson went through the camp, telling the migrants via translator that God loved them, and as I read his account of this I was shocked. Dobson has always been a torch-carrier of the Moral Majority political movement. He is, without exaggeration, the voice of the evangelical Christian political wave throughout the 80s and 90s. Was he really about to tell his audience, which consists almost exclusively of Trump voters, that something had to be done about these camps? That we have a responsibility to care for the people trapped in these inexcusably barbaric conditions?
Well . . . not quite.
“[This] is the reason President Donald Trump’s border wall is so urgently needed,” Dobson concluded, because “their numbers will soon overwhelm the culture as we have known it, and it could bankrupt the nation. We have met a worldwide wave of poverty that will take us down if we don’t deal with it. And it won’t take long for the inevitable consequences to happen.”
In other words America, which according to Dobson’s newsletter has a “Christian nature” and has always been a “wonderfully generous and caring country since its founding,” is just too big to fail. Sure, what’s happening in these camps is sad, but America is just too valuable to God’s kingdom to risk these people coming in and ruining everything.
So let’s build that wall, baby.
Scene opens in a small house sparsely furnished with a dirty floor. JEREMIAH is slumped in a rickety chair. It’s impossible to tell how old he is. He seems weathered beyond his years.
(deep sigh, God talking to him is rarely good)
Jeremiah, I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m pretty upset.
Yeah okay. What is it this time?
Okay, remember all that stuff I said back in Deuteronomy—like, all the stuff about not hoarding wealth, and treating foreigners well?
I mean . . . yeah.
Yeah okay so, like, literally no one is doing that. Like, no one. They’re all bragging about how their country is blessed by me, and how I’ll always bless them, they go to the temple and sing their songs and offer their sacrifices and all the while they are ignoring everything I told them to do. They pile debt on each other. They treat foreigners like dirt. They are selfish and greedy, and they claim they’re doing this in my name. My name. Were they not even listening when I told them how to treat people?
Probably not God, just to be honest. I think they got distracted.
Yeah well anyway I’m really, really upset.
Yeah, I’m picking up on that.
Yeah so I’m going to need you to go tell them to stop it . . . or else. I’m serious this time.
. . . dammit.
Yeah, sorry. Anyway, write all this down . . .
In 2015 a Kentucky county clerk named Kim Davis was jailed for violating the law by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. You might remember her from her photo-op moment with then presidential-candidate Mike Huckabee. Huckabee held Davis’s hand aloft in victory after she emerged from her six-day prison stint as the song “Eye of the Tiger” blaring in the background. On his Facebook page, Ted Cruz tweeted, “Praise God that Kim Davis is being released. It was an outrage that she was imprisoned for six days for living according to her Christian faith.”
I mention this because a man named Scott Warren recently was arrested for giving food, water, and aid to immigrants. Warren did this because his Christian convictions compelled him to care for the foreigners he saw suffering. On the day Warren was released, Ted Cruz retweeted a guy thanking him for supporting the “save Chick-Fil-A religious freedom act.”
In fairness to Cruz though Chick-Fil-A waffle fries are basically the promised land.
Scene opens with JESUS sitting underneath an olive tree. He’s making something out of leather strips using violent motions. He’s clearly upset. PETER enters from stage right. He stares at JESUS, confused.
Hey Jesus, whatcha doin’?
Braiding a whip.
Oh cool . . . wait why are you braiding a whip?
To whip things with.
. . .
Did you see what was going on in the temple?
Yes . . . yes I . . . did? But maybe you should say what you saw and then we’ll know if we saw the same things.
There’s one place in the temple where Gentiles can worship. Just one place they’re allowed.
Right, that outside courtyard. Totally I get where you’re heading here . . . you want to . . . drive the Gentiles . . . you want to drive them out?
(looks at Peter incredulously)
No Peter, I want to drive everyone else out.
. . . oh yeah, right, of course . . . why are we doing that?
Because the one place where Gentiles get to worship God is also the place where the moneylenders are price gouging the poor people, and where the merchants are selling those gaudy “I Journeyed to the Temple And All I Got Was This Stupid Tzitzit” trinkets. They have managed to basically combine everything God has been telling us not to do—oppress the poor, ostracize the foreigners, and sully God’s place of worship—into one confined area.
Yeah, I guess . . . well yeah I guess you’re right. It’s just . . . it’s always like that I guess? I just stopped seeing it that way . . . but a whip, don’t you think that’s a bit much?
Honestly? No, not really. Hey listen, grab a pen and paper. I want you to write down what happens next.
Remember when Ron Paul ran for president a few years back and got booed for suggesting America’s foreign policy fails to pass the “Golden Rule” smell test? Me neither actually. I just learned that happened. Ron Paul’s gonna Ron Paul, so maybe I missed this one.
Anyway, it makes sense he would be booed, because Ron Paul was acting like the Bible can be applied to the American government and hahahaha Ron Paul, everyone knows that isn’t true. Israel and America are two totally different things, unless we’re reading 2 Chronicles 7:14 but that’s different because that verse is in a song we sing at the National Day of Prayer. The point is America is not like Israel, except when we’re talking about icky sex stuff, in which case it is very important we appoint a conservative Supreme Court Justice to guard our Christian values.
But otherwise the government’s job is to protect our borders. The Bible doesn’t say this exactly but we know it’s true because our Christian Worldview class would not lie to us about this. Our job as Christians is to make sure our country, which again has no correlation with the Jewish people in the Old Testament, continues to live true to its Judeo-Christian roots, which is not a self-refuting sentence because of reasons.
And hey, it’s not that we evangelicals don’t care about foreigners. We like them so much we occasionally take mission trips to fix their problems. Well, not all their problems, but the ones we can fix in the span of a week. They need to learn to take care of themselves anyway.
The point is of course we care about people different than us. We are generous. James Dobson said so.
And the Bible, as we all know, has nothing to say about this, which is a relief because if it did we might have to ask how God feels about us right now.
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