Last night, President Obama addressed the nation in an attempt to justify his decision to act unilaterally in deferring deportation for up to five million illegal immigrants.
Obama’s de facto amnesty speech omitted a number of things- such as how he “evolved” and can now act through executive order when he previously, several times over, argued that he couldn’t; why he refused to wait until the new Congress was sworn in so they could pass an immigration-reform bill; and how his imminent action of undermining current immigration laws were constitutional.
But Obama did find the opportunity to cite the Bible to religiously defend his imperial activity. The intention of the biblical reference was to persuade (deceive) the country into believing that he has the moral authority to act alone in this particular capacity toward illegal immigrants. What sanctimony.
Toward the end of his speech, Obama said,
“Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.”
Of course Obama neutralizes the reference by saying ‘scripture’ rather than the ‘Bible’. I’m picky, but still. He also doesn’t give the ‘scripture’s’ exact reference, which is curious.
The reference could be Exodus 22:21 (New American Standard Bible) which reads,
“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Or it could be Exodus 23:9 (again, NASB) which reads,
“You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
There are many other verses in the Bible that say similar things- among them Leviticus 19:34 (English Standard Version), “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” and Deuteronomy 10:19 (English Standard Version), which reads, “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”
Sounds moral and decent, right? Sure does.
The problem is the verse that Obama appeals to religiously defend himself actually undermines his reason executive order and his open-border stance.
The Hebrew word (ger, gwr) translated “stranger” or “sojourner,” in Exodus 22:21- along with Leviticus 19:34 and Deuteronomy 10:19- denotes an immigrant who entered Israel, followed the process of law, had legal sponsorship of the government (or a family), and upon recognition of citizenship status (legal, resident immigrant), fully embraced– and was subjected to– the laws of those among whom they dwelled.
In other words, during the process of- and in gaining legal status, these ‘strangers’ assimilated and followed the laws of those whom they sought cultural and material benefit. They also received the same legal protections as the native born and were considered permanent residents. These ‘strangers’ didn’t game the system or take advantage of those whom they requested refuge. Their new leader (or government) wasn’t a proud and arrogant conduit of further law breaking.
It’s painfully obvious that Obama doesn’t read the Bible that often, but the very least he could do with accessibility of his so-called spiritual advisors is to find a verse that doesn’t directly undermine the point(s) he’s trying to make or the unlawful action(s) he’s trying to defend.