By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
Amid the impasse over border security that has left parts of the nation’s government shut down for five weeks, many evangelical leaders are urging the president to stay the course.
“Many people in my faith community strongly support your efforts as our president to stem the deadly flow of addictive and poisonous drugs into our nation,” wrote Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, in a Jan. 13 letter to the White House.
Land, who served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention‘s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission from 1988 to 2013, described Trump’s plan as an effort “to curtail the infiltration of dangerous gang members and violent criminals mixed in with those migrant caravans of people seeking relief from economic deprivation and civil or government violence in their countries of origin.”
He said tightening the border would not only protect U.S. citizens but also reduce the number of women and children falling victim to violence on their dangerous journey toward America.
“While we believe our government should act compassionately toward those seeking to enter our country, we fully support your effort to give our border patrol officials the means to control, not close, our southern border so that we as a nation have the final say as to who comes to live and work among us,” Dr. Land wrote.
He called open borders “national suicide” and wrote that, ironically, “uncontrolled immigration will result in America becoming, sooner rather than later, more like the countries the immigrants are fleeing and less like the country they aspire to join.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, pointed out another irony in the controversy over border security.
“I think it’s ironic that in recent decades American jurisprudence, Congressional members, certain Presidents, and more and more Americans have embraced an erroneous view of a wall of separation between church and state. They’ve sadly argued that religion is in conflict with freedom, more specifically the Christian religion, and any reference to or endorsement of faith creates an unconstitutional establishment of religion. What we’ve done is walled God out of public life,” Dr. Creech explained.
“Now, we need a wall to protect us from those who would cross our borders with evil intent! It’s as if God is saying to us, ‘Oh you want a wall between you and me? I am your wall of protection. But if you think that you don’t need me, then you will need to build your own wall.’ I think it’s also ironic that the very people who have so vehemently defended this erroneous view of a wall of separation are the same people who now claim we have no need for a wall on our southern border to protect us. We never had problems like this before. I think we’re being judged for our sins.”
While Dr. Land stopped short of calling specifically for a wall, Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress said that if a wall is not built, Democrats should be held “morally liable” for the growing humanitarian crisis at the nation’s southern border.
On a recent installment of the Lou Dobbs Tonight show on Fox Business, he compared the border wall to a fence around a swimming pool, pointing out that pool owners without a fence are held responsible if a child wanders in and drowns.
“By opposing this president and his desire to build a wall around our border, I believe the Democrats are morally liable for the death of children, the assault of women, of the humanitarian crisis we’re seeing at the border right now,” Jeffress said.
Last weekend, President Trump offered three years of deportation protections for some immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion in border wall funding, but Democrats rejected the idea insisting they will not negotiate at all until Trump reopens the government.
Dr. Land said that he believes the President has shown willingness to compromise, and that it’s the Democrats who appear unwilling to move on the matter.
In his letter, he promised to continue to pray for the President and thanked him for the resources he has been attempting to allocate to address the needs of “children and adults caught in the tragic web of our failed and broken immigration system.”
“As Christians, we stand ready to assist with resources and manpower to help meet these humanitarian needs,” Land wrote.