Reflections about Life, Love, Light, and Liberty (the 4-Ls) by Leroy Seat.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
What about “Illegal Aliens”?
Asia Sunday is a yearly event sponsored by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). The CCA was founded in 1959, but it was called the East Asia Christian Conference until 1973. One of its main purposes has been, and still is, “the promotion and strengthening of the unity of the church in Asia.” (You can learn more about the CCA here.) I still have good memories of attending the 8th General Assembly of the CCA held in Seoul in 1985.
Last month the 13th General Assembly of the CCA was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The theme of that gathering was “Called to Prophesy, Reconcile, and Heal,” and the key Bible passage was Luke 4:14-30.
For many years now, the CCA has designated the Sunday before Pentecost “Asia Sunday,” so my sermon at the Hirao Baptist Church on May 16 was linked to that event and my message was based on Luke 4, since the same scripture and theme were used for Asia Sunday as for the CCA Assembly.
On May 2 when Dr. Tom Sine preached at Second Baptist Church, he used the first part of the Luke 4 passage about Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth. But the climax of that passage is when Jesus began to talk favorably about Gentiles. It was Jesus’ affirmation of God’s preferential treatment of the “foreigners” that ticked off Jesus’ hearers and got him run out of town.
The problem of undocumented immigrants has been much in U.S. news recently, especially because of the new law in Arizona. It some ways, it is hard for me to join the widespread opposition to that law, for it is basically what we lived with in Japan for thirty-eight years. During all those years we had to carry an Alien Registration Certificate or be subject to detention until such was produced.
For many years now “illegal aliens” have been a problem in Japan, with more than half of those being from Korea, China, and the Philippines, although the total number and also the percent of fuho taizaisha is far, far less than in the U.S.
Is there any difference if we look at the “illegals” from the standpoint of Christian faith (with love and compassion) as opposed to seeing them from the viewpoint of an American (or Japanese) citizen? Does God favor keeping desperately poor people out of the United States (or Japan, or other of the wealthier countries) and punishing those who are not able to enter legally?
Or as the liberation theologians like to say, does God have a preferential option for the poor? And if so, what should we think and do in response?
* Born in Grant City, Mo., on 8/15/1938
* Graduated from Southwest Baptist
College (Bolivar, Mo.) in 1957 (A.A.)
* Graduated from William Jewell College
(Liberty, Mo.) in 1959 (A.B.)
* Graduated from The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary (Louisville, Ken.)
in 1962 (B.D., equivalent of M.Div.)
* Received the Doctor of Philosophy
degree in theology from SBTS.
* Baptist missionary to
Japan from 1966 to 2004.
* Full-time faculty member
at Seinan Gakuin University (Fukuoka,
Japan) from 1968 to 2004.
* Chancellor of Seinan Gakuin from 1996 to 2004.
* Adjunct professor at Rockhurst
University 2006 to 2014.
USPS address: 1307 Canterbury Lane, Liberty, MO 64068