We Need a Wall Because the Bible Has Walls
Yesterday, Wayne Grudem came out on the side of building a wall along the Southern border. His reason: The Bible has walls.
Walls gave peace and security. In the world of the Old Testament, people built walls around cities to protect themselves from thieves, murderers, and other criminals, and from foreign invaders who would seek to destroy the city. People could still enter the city, but they had to do so by the gate, so that city officials would have some control over who was coming in and going out. Today’s debate is about a larger area – a national border, not a city – but the principles are the same.
The principles are the same, says Grudem. We need a wall to keep out all those thieves, murderers, and criminals who are invading. He seems to be channeling Trump who famously said in 2015:
They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
It doesn’t sound like either person has a very high view of people seeking to come here.
Coming to America
Throughout his article, Grudem doesn’t seem to recognize that people can seek asylum legally.
Objection: “We should be a nation that welcomes immigrants.” I agree wholeheartedly – if they come legally. But it is no kindness to them if the lack of a wall tempts them to risk death by walking across miles of parched desert, at the mercy of violent gangs, and then come into the US without legal documentation, only to live here as a permanent legal underclass, easily exploited, living in constant fear of discovery. In addition, it diminishes respect for the law and destabilizes the nation when millions of people exist in the shadows, living outside the legal recordkeeping functions of the nation.
Grudem says we should welcome immigrants if they come here legally. It is legal to request asylum. A wall won’t change that. People will still need to make the journey from unsafe homes to request asylum.
A Wall Isn’t a Policy
Grudem seems to assume that a wall is a policy.
Objection: “These are good people who are just seeking a better life.” Yes, many of them are, and we should welcome them – if they come legally. But we can’t ignore the fact that many others will not become “good neighbors” – some are drug runners, gang members, and even terrorists. A wall makes it possible to screen out the people who have previously been deported for felonies and others who are most likely to commit crimes or simply become a drain on the economy rather than getting a productive job.
An effective border wall would also be the best way to keep children together with their parents. Under the present system, families (1) enter the US illegally and (2) are caught, then (3) they plead for asylum, and (4) they are incarcerated until their asylum petition can be evaluated. But if we had a completed wall, such requests for asylum would be decided at the border, before they ever entered the US. We would never have to detain either parents or children on US soil in the first place.
I don’t believe a wall by itself would do anything he says it would. The present system is the way it is because of a mash up of current law and Trump administration policy. A wall alone doesn’t create the policy which governs what happens with people who want to come into the country.
Congress must craft legislation to make sane and compassionate policy. According to polls most people want families kept together, and DACA recipients to remain in the country. Most oppose the wall. Most citizens don’t want open borders, but rather secure borders with compassionate application for refugees searching for a safe and better life.
America Doesn’t Use the Bible to Settle Policy
I don’t think the Bible has much to say about walls in a republic which is not a theocracy. America isn’t a Christian nation so it doesn’t matter much if the Bible seems to teach it or not. We need a consensus which is humane and compassionate while protecting everybody’s interests. In my opinion, Grudem badly misses the mark.
Like this article and want to see more like it? Support this blog at Patreon.com.