A prominent Southern Baptist pastor says it’s simply wrong to demonize Americans who believe their country needs to have strong border policies.
Evangelical leaders who hold to more permissive immigration policies often justify their stance by noting that all immigrants – legal and illegal – are “made in the image of God.” For example, Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, who has been described as a George Soros-funded evangelical, says countries need strong borders. But in the past, he has expressed concern over any perceived treatment of immigrants:
Moore: “When we treat people in demeaning ways, we're really assaulting the image of God – and so for me, this is first and foremost a theological issue when we treat our Muslim neighbors this way.”
Moore’s statement infers that anyone who favors limited immigration – or an “America First” policy – must think immigrants are subhuman. That’s unfair, says Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas.
“All life has been created in the image of God. But I think some people take that to the extreme to argue whatever position they want to, including open borders,” Jeffress tells One News Now. “[It’s] just the idea that we ought to welcome everybody in since everybody's made in the image of God.”
Addressing that philosophy, the Dallas pastor argues that the government has the job of balancing how to take care of the needs of illegal immigrants and showing mercy, but also protecting its own citizens.
“God is the one who created borders,” Jeffress explains. “He created the concept of nations – and any nation without a border is not a nation at all.”
Furthermore, Jeffress says evangelical leaders like Moore have painted supporters of conservative immigration policies – and specifically President Donald Trump's immigration policies – with a broad brush.
“Xenophobia is a reality and it has no place in the life of a Christian,” he acknowledges. “But it's also wrong to demonize people who believe the government is here to protect its citizens and that the government should have a strong border policy.”
Moore made the comment above during an interview with PBS in December 2015 when asked to comment on then-candidate Donald Trump’s call for immigration restrictions from predominantly Muslim countries.