President Trump’s evangelical adviser believes that while compassion has a place in the immigration debate, the Bible should not be used to decide the policy.
First Baptist Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress weighed in on a recent letter from a number of pastors asking for President Trump to use “Christian compassion” when making immigration policies. The letter, from 3,400 church leaders and addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, argued that “many biblical heroes were themselves immigrants, including even Jesus.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 13, 2017
Jeffress, who did not sign the letter, acknowledged on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday that the religious leaders were right in pointing out the Christian component of compassion in the immigration debate, which was centered on Trump’s call to end the DACA program. However, that compassion could not be the sole factor, he said.
“While Christian compassion is one consideration, it’s not the only consideration in the immigration problem,” the pastor said, explaining that while Jesus told His followers to love others, the Bible is pretty clear about laws and obeying them.
“I mean, the Bible also says that God is the one who established nations and its borders. God is not necessarily an open borders guy, as a lot of people would think that he is,” Jeffress pointed out.
“The Bible says God has ordained government to protect its citizens,” he continued, noting how government leaders are responsible for making these policies.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 13, 2017
“So when you are talking about a biblical solution to immigration, yes, we need to talk about compassion, but we need to balance that with government’s real responsibility to protect its citizens,” he said.
Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt pointed out that the church leaders did refer to the government’s role when they noted the”biblical principle of valuing and protecting immigrants, while also protecting national security.”
Jeffress countered that, although the government responsibility is acknowledged, they still “tend to lean on the side of compassion and don’t balance it” as they should.
The pastor added that these church leaders, and even the Catholic Pope, are sincere but confused. He pointed to the example of the pope “lambasting President Trump” for not doing enough for immigration.
“I think these leaders and the pope are sincere, but they’re sincerely confused about the difference between the church and government,” Jeffress concluded. “I think we need to keep those roles distinct.”
Not surprisingly, many mainstream media outlets presented Jeffress’ comments as saying God is against undocumented immigrants coming in to the United States. Twitter reaction was equally hostile, given the narrative.
— Steve Serra (@Serra316) September 13, 2017
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) September 13, 2017
I’m pretty sure the ONLY border God cares about is the one between Heaven & Hell. This fake pastor is using the Lord’s name in vain..a SIN
— Melanie Van Ⓜ (@mvanvol_van) September 13, 2017
How is God “not an open borders guy”? He had men travel through the desert. I highly doubt they checked with border patrol when traveling.
— Kim Kurzatkowski (@the_other_kimk) September 13, 2017
But there were certainly many on Twitter who understood what the pastor was saying.
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Amen Reverend Jeffress
— My Way (@tom_tfm9651) September 13, 2017
Only entire bible readers understand. Go Robert!
— MissTree (@MissTree18) September 13, 2017
#STOP trying to portray the Lord Jesus as a lawless degenerate. He said “render unto caesar”. That includes OBEYING the laws.
— JaL (@JaLNunya) September 13, 2017
If God is for open borders why are we scared of hell?
— PolyMath 🐀 (@raybarham99) September 13, 2017
What about compassion for AMERICAN’s? What about compassion for LEGAL immigrants? What about compassion for OUR children?
— ProudlyStand4America (@FondoOfTheMondo) September 13, 2017
We need to follow the law. They need to go home
— Greg Matson (@GregMatson) September 14, 2017
Government has no feelings. Get the job done. They have 6 months to apply for citizenship like every other person that has immigrated here.
— George Jones Jr (@GeorgeJonesUSA) September 13, 2017
Thank you Pastor, for clarifying the distinction between the role of government, aka the state, and that of the church, in national affairs.
— Allen Sutton (@StewardshipAmer) September 13, 2017
The first thing the devil did in the garden was twist God’s Word to mean something different then what He said. Lawbreakers are lawbreakers.
— EquineRider (@Old_Privateer) September 13, 2017
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