Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress went on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" this week and told them just what Jesus Christ would have wanted on the border between the United States and Mexico: A fence. He says it would not only be a construction for security but also, by keeping out all those immigrant mothers and children making their way to the United States, one of compassion.
The Raw Story reported July 10 that Robert Jeffress believes that President Barack Obama has the ability to secure the United States' southern border with Mexico. Stating that the president said a few weeks ago that to get things done, he had a pen and a phone. He called on the president to use an executive order to seal the border.
“Well," he told Steve Doocy of "Fox & Friends," "it’s time to use that, and issue one of the executive orders to protect our borders, and to protect children in the process.”
He said that building a fence at the border would be "the most compassionate thing we can do for these children is to secure the border.”
Those thinking that Pastor Jeffress must be a bit confused, wondering how a border fence could be compassionate to those seeking sanctuary, solace, their familites, a job and/or just a better place to live than the places they left behind -- well, the preacher had an answer for that. The border was like a swimming pool without a fence.
“If you’re a homeowner with a swimming pool that doesn’t have a fence around it, and a neighborhood child wanders in and drowns, you’re liable because you have enticed that child into a dangerous situation. The remedy is to build a fence.”
The problem with Jeffress' metaphor is that the immigrants he's talking about have already survived the "dangerous situation" once they get to the border. He's saying that because there's no border fence, the U. S. is somewhat responsible for enticing the immigrants to make the journey to the United States. This sometimes involves an arduous and perilous trek and/or railroad odyssey that, for some, involves more than one border crossing to get to the United States. In fact, turning the immigrants back at the border would leave them in the "dangerous situation." It's as if the property the enticed child has wandered onto to get to the fenced-in pool was landscape replete with cutthroats, thieves, anti-personnel devices, armed security -- and, at the end, a fence that basically says, "Keep Out. Turn Back." Where's the actual compassion in that?
Because the truth of the matter is: The immigrants are perfectly willing to face the "dangerous situation" to get to the pool, which is the Land of Opportunity. Besides, Jeffress is wrong: the pool isn't part of the border. It's what's beyond the border. And they want to swim in it. Drowning is a chance worth taking. On the other side is where their famililes have gone or where they hope to do well enough to help their families back home in whatever country they've come from. On the other side of that fence is where prosperity is. That's where success is. That's where the American Dream is. And they're perfectly willing to try and swim in it, even drown in it, if it affords them the opportunity to make better lives for themselves and those they care about.
Jeffress said, "Yes, we want to show compassion to the children who are here, but the most compassionate thing we can do is secure the borders.”
Translation: Build a fence to make certain no other immigrants can cross into the U. S. Deny them access to that which entices them. Show them "compassion" by making them Mexico's problems.
For the Christians out there viewing the show, Jeffress had this to say: “They’re wondering what the right thing to do is,” he acknowledged. “Yes, Jesus loved children, but he also respected law. He said, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars.”
Strange, the man who openly stated that Obamacare and gay marriage were a lead-up to the advent of the Anti-Christ and the End Times espousing the rendering unto Caesar line from the Bible when he selectively chooses certain aspects of Caeasar's rule not to be rendered unto.
But, really, what would Jesus have done?
He was a carpenter, by written account. He just might have pitched in and hammered a few nails here and there. But it is more likely that the man known as a healer and a teacher would have given aid, extended himself in all manner of helpfulness, probably hit a few nails for Habitat for Humanity for at least some temporary housing, and done what he could to help these immigrants find family members and or be safely sent home. Because, by all accounts, Jesus Christ, even when rendering unto Caesar, was a charitable fellow.
By all accounts (except for a few extreme incidents), it would appear that immigration officials, the Border Patrol, and all involved federal agencies are actually doing what would seem most Christ-like (in a general sense). Taking in the border crossers, sheltering them, trying to find the families of the children, deporting most (legally), and attempting to provide somewhat of a sanctuary while each immigrant is processed. They are rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar's while extending a hand to those of lesser means and meager status. And, at the same time, they are suffering the little children.
Building a border fence to wall out immigrants is in no way compassionate, not even as a signal from afar to those who would travel, placing themselves in a "dangerous situation," to the U. S. in the future. No, a border fence is exclusionary.
But Pastor Robert Jeffress is comfortable with exclusions. It is the very thing of which he preaches. No entrance into marriage for gays. No entrance into the Rapture for the unsaved or unconverted (possibly the most exclusionist club of all, those "called" to heaven first). And no entrance into the U. S. for undocumented or illegal immigrants.
The pool should have a fence. Entrance to be exclusive. For those north of the border, welcome. For those to the south, one can look upon but one is not to enter the compassionately segregated pool.