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More relevant than you might think!
Here in Tucson, there's a certain degree of detachment from the extremity of our state legislature, from the likes of Jan Brewer. We have our share of problem children, though. Take for example this letter I saw in the paper during the week, which the editors titled "It's Christian to reject child migrants".

That someone would make such a ridiculous claim -- seriously -- make it -- wasn't what I found interesting, really. It was more the fact that the argument was not made via some scripture or somesuch. It was more along the lines of, it's christian because I am and I believe it. It's intriguing to contemplate the sort of mind that would call this reasonable.

I suppose the previous letter, which claimed no xians would ever demonstrate against these migrant children, was asking for it. It's rarely a good idea to make such an absolute claim, when all one needs to bust it is a single counter-example. It got this response earlier in the week. (Curious clickers will have to scroll down a bit to find it.)

Well, I am a devout Christian and I do have the audacity to vehemently disagree with the Obama administration’s policy to turn a blind eye to the influx of illegal children and adults from Central America.
Audacity is right, and I was intrigued. Usually, conservatives feel the need to mask their callous self-centeredness. But the bible has been known to offer, let's say, mixed messages on the subject of compassion for the poor.
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Well, it does have a note [a]. Suggests I see this verse, so ok.
11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
Okay, this...helps? Like I said, mixed message.

Anyway, back to this devout Christian! Where is her biblical argument, what does she think her god would have us do? Well, she never really gets around to that; instead, she regales the reader with right-wing talking points, offering no explanation for how these things -- devout xianity and extreme cruelty -- fit together, other than "Well, I am a devout Christian".

These children and adults, if allowed to stay, in a few short years will create feral teenage gangs, lowered public school standards for everyone, rampant crime, unwanted uncontrollable communicable diseases, monetary ramifications, etc.
Reached for comment (in my fevered imaginings, of course),
35 Jesus wept.
The problem as this devout Christian sees it, apparently, is that we have more than enough problems to deal with here, and we can't afford to solve this one too. Now, we do have our fair share of problems. Perhaps not quite as pressing as those threatening the migrants coming up here, but problems all the same. I wonder at what point it will become more than we can handle to try to solve the world's problems.

But stacking the few billion dollars the President's asking for, versus the trillion or so conservatives were more than happy to blow shooting up Iraq, I don't think we're there yet in terms of bankrupting the country with this particular issue.

But sure, devout xianity. Mixed messages. I can see, perhaps, why some believers might get confused. By which I mean to say, no, not really. I can search and find some puzzling incongruities, like Jesus saying yes, spoil me with that perfume! But I have to work hard to avoid tripping over the frequent messages of compassion.

13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

Heaven's Border Patrol?
So it is that these zealous xians have to add to their articles of faith, have to buy into ideas of "feral teenage gangs" and outbreaks of disease, have to work themselves up into a good fear-on (or hate-on) to deny the messages of compassion that I, the skeptic, know full well are easy to find in their holy book. Of course, some of them don't go over so well. They must spend lifetimes trying to rationalize their way out of some of them. Take the rich man seeking eternal life.
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

Seems like one of the most pertinent bible quotes, if there is such a thing, was the old sheep & goats parable.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

Perhaps such devout Christians as the aforementioned letter writer take this story only so far as the right and the left, and in bleating ridiculous complaints handed to them on talk radio shows, fail to see the goat in their own eye.

The Wonkerados did such a telling send-up of this particular parable that it came up on Rachel Maddow's show earlier this month, and it seems a fitting rejoinder for the devout Christian writer. Although I realize people like her are not the be-all and end-all of xianity -- my own family full of believers would likely disagree with her -- it still makes me glad that I'm an atheist.

Originally posted to The Tytalan Way on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 01:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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