When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
There shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.
On April 7, 1933, the German government passed the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service. The law protected Germans first. Non-Aryans (Jews, Romani, Africans and dissenters) were no longer permitted to work as teachers, professors, judges, or other government positions. Later, the law was amended to include the professions of lawyers, doctors, tax consultants, musicians, and notaries. The passage of the law resulted in social exclusion–and economic destitution–for all those who were non-Aryan. Additional restrictive laws were passed and within 8 years, Jews were required by law to wear a yellow star of David as identification and deportation to death camps quickly followed.
Laws that “alienate”, laws that define who belongs and who does not, laws that limit or deny access to community life are oppressive and unjust. But in God’s politics, immigrants are to be treated as if they are citizens. There is one law for both native-born and the resident alien. God effectively erases the line between the native-born “us” and the immigrant “other”.
Questions for Reflection
Can you think of laws that have been passed in our nation’s history (recent or otherwise) that were designed to “alienate” a segment of the population?
Why do you think people–especially people of faith–would support legislation that would identify and deny immigrants and/or refugees access to full participation in community life when God has made God’s will clear?
Our current president frequently uses the phrase “America First” to define its agenda–the America First Energy Plan and America First Foreign Policy. Many people hear echoes of the German past in the phrase. Should people be concerned? Why or why not?