Friday, September 02, 2011

Immigration Policy from Leviticus, or what the Bible says about Arizona SB 1070???

Leviticus 19:34 New International Version 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

Well, I suppose if we took Leviticus for our law, we'd be putting homosexuals to death. 


finney said...

Does this imply that the rules of limiting slavery to 7 years also applied to foreigners?

PatrickH said...

Same laws apply to "foreigners" as to us, then. So illegal immigrants, having broken the law, must be subject to its strictures. Right?

B. Prokop said...

Well, since the U.S. basically stole the American Southwest from Mexico in 1846-48, I can imagine many of today's "illegals" making the case that they're not immigrating at all, but just moving into the northern part of their own country.

Blue Devil Knight said...

PatrickH if that's what you get out of that passage then perhaps English is not your first language?

Ilíon said...

To put this in modern rights-speak, this passage isn't talking about civil rights, but about human rights.

The passage doesn't assert that the outsider has the right to settle in your midst, or that you have the duty to allow him to; it says that if you do allow the outsider to settle in your midst, then you may not prey upon him. And the same would apply if you conquer the foreigner ... those who remain behind, those who did not flee their land, may not be made perpetual prey.

In short, the passage repudiates a key aspect of Islam, centuries before Islam came on the scene. No wonder Moslems hate "the People of the Book" so rabidly.

Tell you what, Prokop, since your ancestors stole the entire continent from my ancestors, why don't you and all those who think like you go back to Europe?

Ilíon said...

"Well, I suppose if we took Leviticus for our law, we'd be putting homosexuals to death."

Hmmm ... Leviticus makes no provision for taxation; does it not, rather, warn against taxes, and liken them to slavery?

Leviticus makes no provision for violence enforced "charity"; but rather commends and commands private actual charity.

And so on.

Maybe we'd do better to not cherry-pick Bible verses to try to justify our desire to use governmental force to compel our fellow citizens to support our living or our "good causes" with their extorted labor.

B. Prokop said...


My point exactly. All land everywhere has been stolen from someone else in the past, many times over.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between demanding charity on pain of eviction from one's homeland for disobedience and violence-backed taxation?

Leviticus very clearly commands involuntary gifts to be made to God and the priesthood. It commands the first ten percent of every harvest be brought to the Lord. It commands in addition to that ten percent that some substantial amount of the privately owned crops of all landowners be left for the poor. It demands regular, mandatory sacrifices of livestock and crops to be made to the priests, who in ancient Israel were more or less officials of a state theocracy.

Leviticus then goes on to state the penalties for breaking any of God's commandments, which include the infliction of incurable diseases, death by foreign invasion, famine, death by animal attack, etc.

The mandatory offerings commanded by God in Leviticus do not fall under the modern notion of voluntary charity. They were commanded to give both to the state theocracy and to the poor, and were threatened with violent repercussions if they refused to do so. So where is this clear and bright line between such mandatory offerings and taxation?

B. Prokop said...

Actually, Leviticus is probably the most dangerous book in the Bible to selectively quote from. I myself would never do so on my own initiative, but would rather leave doing so to the experts (such as Jesus). But there's just way, way too much context to everything in that book to detach parts of it without a high risk of going off the deep end!

Anonymous said...

"PatrickH if that's what you get out of that passage then perhaps English is not your first language?"

Are you saying he's an immigrant????

Jesse Parrish said...

I second Prokop. I think I'll mouse around Leviticus.

As might be predictable, I think that immigration laws should be relaxed. Ending the war on drugs is more important and should be a part of immigration reform.

I do not believe for a moment that the state governments enacting anti-immigrant legislation are simply concerned about the rule of law. I think the actual motives are obvious.

B. Prokop said...

I'll return the favor, and second Jesse on the "War on Drugs" issue. As horrible as drug use is, it seems to me that the misery caused by the criminal element that now controls (or fights over) its supply is far worse. Just take a look at the virtual wars going on right now in Mexico and Columbia between rival cartels, with innocent people getting caught in the middle! I'm just being purely pragmatic here, and going for the lesser of two evils. I believe that fewer individuals would suffer were drugs basically legalized that are suffering now while they are illegal.

And as a side benefit, it would make our US southern border a much safer place, and remove a major incentive to illegally cross said border.

Jesse Parrish said...

(Should I address you as B. Prokop, Bob Prokop, or Prokop? I have a mental glitch which prevents my being consistent about this.)

Mr. Prokop,

I wholly agree. When I last checked a few months ago, there were 31,000 estimated dead in Northern Mexico due to drug cartel violence. It is effectively a civil war. It is largely a creation of our drug policy, and it is greatly exacerbated by our immigration policies.

Were drugs legalized, I would expect a minor increase in the use of `soft drugs', such as marijuana and mushrooms. I think that hard drug usage would actually diminish. But how exactly the rules should be changed should be a matter of some testing. We have precedents in other countries, but their application to the US should be tested.

B. Prokop said...

Bob is fine with me.

Except for Ilion - he can address me as "Oh, Wise One".

Jesse Parrish said...

Oh, I want to be called `socialist puppet-master' or `leftist puppet-master'. I don't recall seeing him use `bleeding-heart', but that would be fine as well.

Papalinton said...

It is a difficult to find the fine balance between protecting the community from 'self-harm' and those that seek to financially capitalize from it. But prohibition has never been a winning strategy. I take bootlegging as an example.

The destructive social impact of the 'War on Drugs' is primarily the outcome of a failed policy. The only winners of this game are the big business operators, and they could be any 'respected' person amidst our community, doctors, lawyers, corporation CEOs etc; it is naive to suggest that drug cartels are the only players in the game, responsible for this mess.

As has been been demonstrated clearly in many jurisdictions around the world, loosening criminal legislation around the unfortunate users and treating drug use as a social rather than a criminal issue results in an immediate benefit to the community. Carefully managed access to these drugs for addicts largely knocks the financial returns for them into a tailspin.

Getting rid of the incentive to market illicit drugs by repealing prohibition on use is a win for society on many levels, social, financial, health, law and security etc. However, criminal statutes in relation to traffickers and peddlers must remain as is, to signal community intolerance and condemnation of marketing this commodity without legal authorization.

PatrickH said...

Sorry I didn't spell my point out explicitly BDK. I was trying, and clearly failing, to get across the idea that applying Leviticus to today's immigration debate involves massive shoehorning to make a fit. Nothing in that passage works as a guide at all to any aspect of today's immigration debate.

Oh, and Bob P's point ignores the fact that Mexicans aren't descended from the populations of those territories. It's not like there was any Palestinian-like mass flight. Mass immigration from Mexico is not the exercise of a "right of return".

BeingItself said...


Let me make it clear how I am understanding your post. You find the quoted passage congenial. You think it is a good law, and therefore is evidence that Leviticus is a good source for how we ought to act and behave, as well as what laws we should make.

You then make a comment that seems to ridicule those who criticize books such as Leviticus for it's barbarity.

But you are just making the point for the critic of "biblical morality". The bible is a Rorschach test for the morally challenged. You, and all Christians, arbitrarily choose those passages you like, and conveniently ignore or rationalize those bits you don't like.

In other words, alleged "biblical morality" is relativism on stilts.

Anonymous said...

You think it is a good law, and therefore is evidence that Leviticus is a good source for how we ought to act and behave, as well as what laws we should make.

He said this where now?

Oh, nowhere. Right. So this is a strawman. Got it.

The bible is a Rorschach test for the morally challenged.

And how do you know who is "morally challenged"? Sounds like the very Rorschach test you inaccurately are accusing Christians of subscribing to.

You, and all Christians, arbitrarily choose those passages you like, and conveniently ignore or rationalize those bits you don't like.

Hence Catholics going to confession, right? Hence Protestants admitting to their sins and regretting them so often? Everyone likes the laws that they violate? No one struggles with certain teachings they think are true, but have trouble accepting, much less following?

Sounds like atheist projection. "You only call 'moral' that which you personally like." in other words. What a surprise: That's atheist morality in a nutshell.

How how precious is it that one of the most grievous charges an atheist can make against a theist is to insist they reason like an atheist. :)

Crude said...

PatrickH does seem to have a good point here. That Leviticus passage doesn't seem to apply to the immigration debate that way some people in this thread seem to want it to.

"Love them as yourself" does not add up to "Therefore you shouldn't have any immigration laws, or enforce those laws". I get that some people think that if you have a law that forbids a person from doing what they want, you're somehow being hateful towards them or don't love them. I don't subscribe to that kind of thinking.

One Brow said...

Illion refers to me as "the intellectually dishonest one who shall not be named", but usually shortens it for brevity.

Ilíon said...

Ilíon has never, not even once in his entire life, used the phrase "the intellectually dishonest one who shall not be named".

Ilíon does, sometimes state that One Brow is intellectually dishonest; and when he does, he generally either quotes or makes reference to the specific act of dishonesty.

But, mostly, Ilíon just does his best to ignore One Brow, having long ago decided that there is no 'percentage' in trying to engage him; and *if* he refers to him, it is generally as 'One Brow'.

Mike Darus said...

There is nothing about the exegetical challenges of Leviticus 19:34 that prevents an individual from doing exactly what it says. It is especially relevent to everyone in the US that does not have Native American heritage (either indigenous to Mexico or what is now US/Candada.) Accepting this challenge to show love to the foreigner will likely color your political views of the issue provided that Scripture informs your politics, not the other way around.

Victor Reppert said...

Beingitself: I hardly ridiculed people who criticize Leviticus for its barbarity. What I did was include a caveat about the simplistic application of Leviticus to modern law.

You can't willy nilly rubber stamp Bible verses into discussions of public policy. But is it relevant at all, and if so, in what way?