How do I view the topic of immigration? How do I discuss immigration in light of my views? Many of us grew up singing Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land”. In it, we joyfully acknowledge that the land we call the United States belongs to us. Lately, I’ve been rethinking my position on that notion.
This week I’m on the road in Montana. I thought about going up to Glacier National Park, but decided against it because there is only one road leading in and out of the park at this time. And it’s creating quite the traffic bottleneck. No other entrances are accessible because the Blackfeet Nation boarders the park and Tribal leaders have closed Blackfeet land to outside traffic due to widespread Covid 19 cases which are affecting Native Americans at alarming rates. As I read this article, I learned that Glacier National Park (as we call it), which extends north to Canada, encompasses a million acres of glacially carved peaks, turquoise-colored lakes, trails and wild country. And, until a controversial land “agreement” in 1895, all of it was Blackfeet country.
In light of the history of this land, our position on immigrants, and immigration for that matter, should be framed in the context of the fact that all of us are transients: none of has the right to call this land “mine”. Our purpose in Christ Jesus is to share unconditional love with all, the very same way in which we joyfully receive uncondidional love from Him.
“Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:33-34 (NLT)