I no longer believe that I share the same faith with those who deny the rights of migrants and foreigners. With those who believe that our collective obligations are diminished by state borders, I do not share the same baptism. I do not share the same cup. I do not share the same god.
I don’t say this to cause offense, just as I don’t mean to offend Hindus by stating the fact that we don’t share the same faith either. I say this because I don’t think Christians should call anti-foreign Christianists to repentance any more than we should call those from other faiths to repent for their own religious beliefs. A false unity that rejects both Scripture and Tradition serves only the goals of those who attempt to borrow from our credibility so that they can violate the rights of the poor while they wash themselves clean in a fount of cheap grace.
We cannot separate the person of Jesus from his work. The resurrected Lord cannot be separated from the historical Jesus. Indispensable to our historic and biblical faith is the unwavering claim that each person, everywhere, is entitled to the full bounty of God’s grace and that we, the disciples of Jesus, are to see this fulfilled most especially for those to whom grace has been long denied. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Rome.
If you don’t think the foreigner is fully human, you’re not one of us.
The full humanity of other people is a clear dividing line between Christian and Christianist, between orthodoxy and heresy, between those who serve Christ imperfectly and those who serve their own interests while borrowing from Jesus’s perfect name.
Migrants and foreigners are people, actual and whole. When we stand beside those who treat them as anything less, who bomb them, use them, detain or deport them, while singing our songs and saying the old words, we are choosing a false unity over the person and work of Jesus.
They don’t need to repent, for by rejecting the humanity of the foreigner, they are rejecting the full humanity of Jesus, the humanity that Jesus assumed in the incarnation. Christianists do not share our baptism, our cup, or our god. We are judged by our rules. They are not.
It’s the Christian, not the Christianist, who needs to repent.