Deuteronomy 24-27 Psalm 61

“You shall not pervert the justice due the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there.”

I have to do it. I have to take a moment to focus on something that we have just absolutely failed to do. We have absolutely failed to provide for the poor and the refugees.

I have heard my entire life that the government should be run on christian values and morals because we are christian nation but that the government should be providing fewer benefits to the poor because that’s the church’s job. I don’t want to debate whether America is or is not a christian nation or whether the government should or should not reflect that. Both of those are worthy subjects, but not the point here and now. Right here, in this small moment that I have your attention, I want you to ask yourself whether those two statements are compatible.

The government should be moral according to THIS faith.

The government should NOT make the provisions called for BY this faith.

Is there no dissonance there? No contradiction?

Recall that there was specific injunction against evaluating the source of someone’s need, their ‘worthiness’ for aid.

No. We aren’t under the law any longer, but we are under the command to LOVE.

And the refugees. The economic, political, and religious refugees. Are we so worried about our own comfort that we are willing to accuse others of lying about their oppression, their need for protection, and turn them away at our borders? Are we so afraid to risk ourselves that we will risk others instead? “My babies might be hurt, so I will insist that the babies of others certainly are.” I’m sorry. I can’t do that.

(I will not get into a political debate. I have not expressed my personal stance on whether the government should legislate christian morality. I simply assert that if you believe it should, social charity should not be excluded. If you maintain that the government has no right dictating social charity, I suggest you consider the possibility that as an impartial system of infrastructure and justice it should be without morality and remain concerned merely with safety and order. And, if that second is the stance you choose to hold, do ask yourself how well you support social charity through your local church body.)

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