I've gotten several emails forwarded to me lately from family and friends that are really troubling. Some of them have come asking for my thoughts, others have asked for my support.
One of the most troubling is about Obama. I've gotten this email several times. . . you know what it says: he is secretly a muslim, he attends a wacky church that is so pro-black and pro-Africa that it is "scary" to imagine him as president. His dad belongs to a sect that is terrorist and his mom is an Atheist.
Another one is about how George Bush is going to sign a document giving all illegal aliens social security benefits. I've gotten this one a few times too.
The problem with each of them is the thoughtlessness and lack of any semblance of Christian patterns of thought, spiritual scrutiny or biblical insight. While I could easily wax eloquent about either topic, I hesitate because the more you discuss these topics (especially immigration or political candidates) you are immediately thrust into partisan political debate -- somewhere that I prefer not to go until AFTER I have a strong sense of what a biblical perspective is or at least what biblical categories of consideration ought to be brought to the fore, prior to making strong assertions of a political nature.
It seems to me that contrary to mainstream American values, biblical wisdom indicates that we ought to be slow to speak (i.e. slow to pronouncements about political propositions) and quick to hear (i.e. taking a long time to listen carefully). These are principles that are contrary to the media and political processes. But they are central to our body, community, family! This is particularly true in cross-cultural settings, something that God is taking us toward as a planet in a rapid way.
I'll give you 2 examples from the recent emails I referred to earlier. Anyone who calls themselves a Christian and forwards the Obama email should realize that the scorn heaped on his church is equally heaped on us. We are with him under that scorn. you may think at first that the ridicule is on him for the Black focus and nature of the church, but the the heart of the scorn is that the church actually believes the gospel. (look carefully at their website and you will find that they recommend books by white authors and that affirm people -- not just black people). (Here is an article in CT in which Obama addresses his faith specifically).
The anti-illegal alien email is just as anchored in fear mongering as is the anti-Obama email. there is a phrase in the email that says we should give them "no free services". does this mean, as it suggests, that pregnant women who don't have legal access should not be granted medical care? what about thier children? I think the email means what it says: don't give them ANYTHING.
What is the biblical position on how we are to treat strangers and aliens? I know this sounds radical, but can we please be Christians first in our thinking about these subjects and our examination of political candidates and issues prior to being partisan?