"Blessed are they that are illegal, pushed down, and treated as inferior for they will one day be leaders, own property and see their children's children be treated equally." What would Jesus say to this downtrodden group in our day? As I thought through the Sermon on the Mount and the tremendous political implications of what he was saying in his day, and really highlighted the way immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, are treated in our country.
In preaching this past Sunday, I found myself in the wonderful text of Exodus 2-3. The parallels between the illegal immigrant cultures in this country and the Israelites in Egypt are immense. The Egyptian economy put the children of Israel at the bottom of the social rung making them do the jobs no one else would do. However, when Moses tried to free them, Pharoah would have nothing to do with it because he knew his economy depended upon the cheap labor of these Israelites. This seems to be the same issue facing us in our day. And often, it is those who follow this "Christianity USA" that endorse such ideas about immigrants in our country. Some want them to be deported and the rules to become more strict. Others don't want the immigrants deported and want to open up the borders because our economy depends upon cheap labor, especially in our world of outsourching.
Into this fray enters the gospel and the Biblical text. God hears the cries of these downtrodden people (who often cried to Moses saying "We would have been better off in Egypt." They did not know that God had better plans for them!). Why can we not treat these groups with dignity, pay them a good and fair wage, and extend the kingdom of God instead of choosing between these two equally horrible dichotomies of thought? Perhaps God would not have needed to take Israel out of Egypt if the Egyptians had been treating the Israelites with respect, dignity, and equality.