Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack: The Bible would frown upon today’s open door immigration

In the Sermon on the Mound at the 1988 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Margaret Thatcher attempted to justify her ideological position of individualism against that of societal control.

She said such supposedly controversial things as: “The tenth commandment – thou shalt not covet – recognises that making money and owning things could become selfish activities. But it is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but love of money for its own sake. The spiritual dimension comes in deciding what one does with the wealth.’ She also quoted Paul: ‘If a man will not work he shall not eat’.

The outcry was unrestrained. ‘Appalling misuse of Scripture’, was typical, if more nuanced than ‘How many ways can a person speak and condemn themselves to hell? Margaret Thatcher did so here’. Any socially or politically conservative who quotes Scripture or expounds a theological justification for conservative positions is in for a hiding.

This was illustrated recently in the USA. Representative Jodey Arrington (R., Texas), was arguing for means tests for welfare programmes. He said: ‘The Scripture tells us in II Thessalonians 3:10: ‘For even when we were with you we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat’. And then he goes on to say, ‘We hear that some among you are idle’. I think that every American — Republican or Democrat — wants to help the neediest among us. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements’.

All hell broke loose. The Washington Post ran a headline, ‘GOP lawmaker: The Bible says the unemployed “shall not eat.”’ Which is precisely what neither Mr Arrington or the apostle Paul said. ThePost suggested biblical conservatives were cruel and overbearing — but true Christians would argue for government support for the unemployed.

The New York Times, that respected source of biblical scholarship, joined the heresy hunt. They ran a spoof column purporting to be a biblical interpretation of the ideology of Paul Ryan, Republican Speaker of the Senate. The column placed Ryan into various scenarios with Jesus in which he corrects Jesus on His actions concerning mercy and kindness.

Jesus’ healing of the woman who touched the hem of His garment was mistaken as it taught her welfare dependency. The parable of the good Samaritan got it wrong because it teaches people to persist in self-destructive behaviour, like taking dangerous roads, relying on others to come to the rescue.

Theological liberals and secular fellow-travellers tend to full bore fundamentalism when it comes to biblical interpretation. Verses are used as proof texts, often out of context. Those with a differing interpretation are viewed as vile heretics distorting the plain teaching of Scripture.

With today’s most pressing political issue, immigration, it couldn’t be clearer. Franklin Graham suggested the Trump travel ban from mainly Muslim countries might be no bad thing. The reaction would have been more restrained if Graham had paraded through a cathedral wearing red tights, horns and carrying a pitchfork whilst expelling fire from his nostrils. It has been suggested he has ‘lost his mind’, that he is ‘intolerant’, suffering from ‘political paranoia’, even his own Baptist denomination has denounced him.

This deliberately ignores the fact that Graham heads Samaritan’s Purse, a humanitarian organisation providing vital medical care in countries such as Somalia, Sudan, and Kosovo. Samaritan’s Purse has also built large-scale feeding programmes in locations like Darfur. All places with largely Muslim populations. They currently staff centres on five Greek islands, two in mainland Greece, and one in Croatia, providing food, shelter and medical aid to refugees. But because Graham does not agree with facile progressive biblical interpretations he is condemned.

It is too easy to virtue signal concerning immigration whilst ignoring balance. It is difficult to biblically justify a country allowing just anyone who wishes to enter. Christian faith does not demand we ignore the genuine dangers of unfettered Muslim immigration. The treatment of Christians in the Middle East must cause pause for thought.

Scripture clearly teaches that ‘the least of these’, whom Jesus equates with Himself, includes refugees and immigrants. However, care for outsiders has to be balanced with the biblical justification for safeguarding those already under our care. ‘The least of these’ also includes the vulnerable already within the country. Immigration policy must wisely balance conflicting responsibilities. When confronting issues fundamentally affecting the entire nation, the Christian should call for prudence from government.

Basic Christian charity demands we accept those in need of safety. But the government also has the duty to preserve the nation’s peace and the safety of the citizens. As the much abused Franklin Graham said ‘our job is to show God’s love and compassion.’ But he added that the best way to do so ‘is to reach out and help these people in their own countries,’ and see if it is possible to keep them from becoming refugees in the first place. ‘We need to pray for political solutions that would bring peace and allow them to return to their homes as they desire.’

Boundaries and borders exist in the Bible. The Old Testament is replete with injunctions to strengthen the walls of cities in the face of foreign invasion, Psalm 147:13f; I Chronicles 11:8, 18:6; II Chronicles 33:14; Nahum 2:1 are only a few instances where walls are mentioned in Scripture. When Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem the first item on the agenda was to rebuild the wall, which they did with weapons in hand.

Open borders could all too easily import into the West the tension and violence that has seen the Christian population of the Middle East drastically shrink under Muslim apartheid. Taking precautions against potential terrorists falls within the scope of Jesus’s teaching concerning reading the signs of the times Matthew 16:3, and being shrewd Matthew 10:16.

(Image: Freedom House)

Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack

  • AKM

    We live in a strange world in which politicians are castigated for quoting from the Bible while priests are praised for commenting on political matters about which they appear to know nothing apart from what they have read in the Guardian or heard from the BBC.

    • John C

      Or other lying reactionary sewers of bigotry.

      • Tethys

        Quite the bigoted comment.

  • SteadyOn

    My bible has a very limited range of facial expressions.

  • Doctor Crackles

    Christ came for the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. He referred to Samaritans as dogs. He was however more interested in faith than birth and the church grew out of these spiritual sons of Abraham.

    The Church’s first priority is to its own members. The nation should follow this example. Controlled borders and missionary work is the best model and we ‘sons of Albion’ have already showed this example to the world.

    • chump23

      who then was my neighbour?

      • Doctor Crackles

        Paul writes of his desire to minister to the poor, which could be anyone in need. He also writes of ministering to orphans and widows of believers. The church must minister to the needs of its own before it can consider others. Society should do the same. This is what the op is about as is my comment. Your comment is obtuse.

  • Russell

    Though I usually highly regard your contributions here Dr Campbell-Smith: “The Bible says the unemployed “shall not eat.”, this however I respectfully disagree.

    • mollysdad

      There’s a rabbinic interpretation of “You shall not murder” which has an interesting application to Mrs Thatcher.

      It includes any act which causes a man to lose his job.

    • Possil

      II Timothy 3:10 does not say the unemployed ‘shall not eat’. What it says is that those who ‘will not work’ shall not eat. The emphasis being on the ‘will not’ and not on ‘cannot’ work. Those who choose to voluntarily choose not to work are not held to be deserving of Christian charity, whilst those who are unable to work are.

    • John C

      Sigh … he never claimed that it does.

    • PAD


    • miniminor

      Who is Dr Campbell-Smith?

  • Bik Byro

    Basically, you can cherry pick bits out of the bible to support any viewpoint that you choose.

    • Greychatter

      Isn’t that exactly what IS and extremist Muslims are doing with the Koran. Following the most violent of Mohamed’s actions, of killing the non-believers?
      Destroying cultures which don’t follow Islam.
      There must be some bits of the Koran which teach peace or there would be a lot more violence in this country!!

      • David

        The earlier peace urging suras are abrogated, overruled, by the later far more aggressive Koranic suras. Fortunately most Muslims do not actively follow their holy book, as is the case with other faiths.

        • Andy

          Indeed. The earlier stuff were supposedly written when he was in Mecca. After the Mecca merchants had had enough of the old peado and threw him out he ended up in Medina a bitter and nasty old man, hence the later verses drip with evil.

          • David

            There’s more to it than that. In the early days his military forces were weak so he tried appeasement. Later when he had stronger forces he became far more aggressive. The trouble is that their moderates, who point to the earlier less dangerous suras, are reminded of their doctrine of abrogation, with the later suras overruling the earlier ones, hence frustrating reform.

      • Andy

        Having read the evil Koran I’d say you would be hard pressed to find any.

  • Tricia

    You are right. Our society is based on Christian principles of helping those in need (often referred to in the bible as the widow and the orphan). The protector of the family should work to provide for the family. In no way should we being paying people not to work – it is degrading for the individual concerned, but it is of course a tactic of left wing government to gain control of the population.
    It is the job of government to ensure the protection of the country and the people against invaders. It is not the job of the government to allow mass immigration which destabilises the country. But of course this is again a tactic of the left wing government as the chaos which ensues will allow them to pass draconian laws to keep control of the populace.

  • David

    The Bible, from The Tower of Babel through to Revelation, teaches that God expects each “tribe”, which I take to roughly equate to nation nowadays, to live in their separate groups. Of course we do have a duty to treat the stranger living amongst us, or the traveller, with fairness and charity. But that is a far cry from the wish of the globalists to irresponsibly mix up people of many different races, faiths and cultures, which always results in friction. Wilfully encouraging mass immigration is clearly wrong, because of the social friction it inevitably generates.

  • John C

    The WP is an unhinged lying cod-‘progressive’ cod-‘liberal’ sewer of reactionary bigotry, as bad as the NY Trash. I am not surprised to see that it published that travesty.

    • John Thomas

      – Yet people read such things with approval, and believe them … Why, do we think? They – such things, and the papers they are found in – must answer some deep need they have …

      • John C

        Yes, sure – the need of stupid ignorant bigots to have their stupidity, ignorance and bigotry validated.

  • Nockian

    No wonder religious people are so conflicted. When you base your philosophy on the interpretations of a book, it is the equivalent of trying to bake a cake by listening to the comments of those that have eaten it. A book of concepts doesn’t represent reality, only what someone believes to be reality.

    Thatchers words showed a fundamental conflict with her faith and reality. If you don’t ask why ‘selfishness’ is seen as a sin and ‘altruistic sacrifice’ a virtue then you can never be free of that conflict.

    Even the Bible makes it clear that it means charitable giving, rather than welfare, but it says that someone should give without thought of reward. What does that mean ? To take no pleasure in the giving ? Or not to expect the giving to bring material reward -such as entry to the Kingdom of heaven ? To give without pleasure would be to say to the receiver ‘I do not care if you live or die, I don’t value you in any way, not even in pity, if you starve to death or suffer in pain I couldn’t care a jot’. If on the other hand it means to give without the goal of heaven as a reward, well then, it would surely be right.

    Would it not be better to give and enjoy the giving, to value the person in the hope it might allow him some respite from his troubles ? Because if not, then walk on by.

  • Phil R

    Immigration is such an issue for Christians because we have seen that it often takes the form of competing culture. I do not assert any equality between cultures. However, I will assert that there exists no necessary connection between culture and race. E.g. The culture of the American Indian was brutal, primitive, bloody, cruel, and pagan. There was nothing about it to admire, and there was no way it could coexist with Western culture once Europeans discovered the New World. Those who feign to admire the Indian culture today have constructed a mythical noble savage with which to beat the West. They would not have suvived for half a day living next to an actual Sioux tribe in 1840. There is a lesson for us however and that is that eventually in a country with competing cultures, one culture eventually dominates and it is rare for minority cultures to survive.

    • Snoffle Gronch

      The Aztecs were among the vilest and cruellest culture ever to have existed.

  • Tethys

    Where does the Bible say to deceive the people and lead them into the wilderness?

    • Snoffle Gronch

      In case you missed it, Hillary lost the election.

      Now go and play in the traffic.

      • Tethys

        I refer to the UK, but thanks for the giggle.

  • Snoffle Gronch

    I’ve never supposed that Leftist enthusiasm for immigration has anything to do with Charity.

    If instead of obediently handing in their ballot papers to “community leaders” in a Labour postal ballot scam, immigrants were seen to be voting Tory, the Left would insist that refugees could be abandoned to IS for bayonet practice. Rather, it’s about manipulating the vote, virtue signalling, and low labour rates in the hospitality trade.

    Nowhere was the utter blinkered selfishness of the modern Liberal more beautifully encapsulated than in the querulous lady on QT, whining “after Brexit, who will bring my coffee in Pret?” To which the Apostle would surely have replied “get off thy fat ass, and fetch it thyself – the exercise will do thee good”

  • BigMach

    After the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, Ezra read from the book of the law to the assembled people. After 70 years in Babylon the book of the law was only a distant memory to the Jews, but when Ezra read it to them the scripture says that the ears of the people were attentive to the word.Could his be a lesson for our times?

  • Or we could base our political policies on pragmatism and realpolitik and leave it to the barbarians in the East to base theirs on ancient texts written by nomads in the classical era.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Whilst the world cries out…

    ‘Tear down the wall.
    Tear down the wall.
    Tear down the wall’

    the sensible cry out…

    Build up the wall.
    Build up the wall.
    Build up the wall.