Keep Your Head About You, Even When They Don’t

By Tom Gilson Published on January 31, 2024

Razor wire on the border in Texas has set progressives off, and they’ve unleashed blistering accusations over it, saying it’s inhuman and incomprehensible that anyone could support “maiming and killing immigrants” as Texas has been doing “knowingly.” It’s “anti-life”: “You cannot be PRO-LIFE and PRO-RAZOR WIRE.”

They pull out the Bible and tell us it says to treat the foreigner in our midst as the native-born. “Love them as yourself,” they insist, because “the people on the other side of that razor wire are your neighbors.” The inhumanity on display there is so great, they say (and the Vatican echoes), Texans not only watched while immigrants drowned, they blocked federal agents from saving their lives.

It’s all very forceful, all very feelings-based, all very manipulative. They pile on the guilt to get you to turn off your common sense. Don’t let that happen. Keep your head about you.

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Razor Wire?

Let’s run some examples to demonstrate how, starting with this so-called problem with being “pro-life” and supporting razor wire. Think about it: If “pro-life” means “We support life, no matter how you define it, no matter the circumstances,” then what does “pro-choice” mean? “We support choice, no matter how you define it, no matter the circumstances”? Seems like they’d have to support every angry teenager’s choice to be a school shooter. Yes, it’s outrageous nonsense, but it flows straight from the same logic as “You cannot be pro-life and pro-razor wire.”

The fact is, neither “pro-life” nor “pro-choice” means either side stands for all life everywhere or all choice anywhere. The labels are just shorthand expressions for certain well-defined, well-understood positions on unborn life and abortion. They know that, or at least I hope they do.

More common sense: Some people also seem to need it explained that razor wire doesn’t “maim or kill” anyone. If anyone dies or gets hurt with it, it’s because they have hurt or killed themselves walking into it. Either that or some cartel leader pushed them into it. Blame the cartel for that.

And no, it’s not true that the Texas Guard let two children and a woman drown there. It isn’t true that they stood in the way of feds trying to rescue them. The real question we should be asking is, “Didn’t the White House lie about all that?

Who’s Dehumanizing Whom?

“But you must love your neighbor!” they insist — such an easy phrase to quote, and such a handy one to throw as a guilt-bomb at conservatives. It’s a lot harder to apply rightly, especially when you’re blinded by bias.

They think it’s perfectly clear that loving our neighbor means letting people pour in unchecked from all over the world. The only possible reason to fence them out is because we’re inhuman, insensitive, uncaring beasts scrapping to keep room for ourselves here. We want a place where we can hate everyone who’s different, hoard what we have, and watch contentedly from inside here where it’s comfortable, while the rest of the world suffers around us.

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Think a moment, though. Do you actually know any conservatives like that? I don’t. It’s a caricature, a ghoulish cartoon, a weirdly alien and one-dimensional picture of their fellow human beings. I find it strange how they preach “Love your neighbor,” even as they have us stuffed in a box labeled “100% Inhuman — no other ingredients.” Are we not their neighbors, too? Or does that only apply to real humans, as they see them — the “neighbors” they haven’t crammed into that crate?

Love Your Neighbor

At home they have their own common sense: They lock their doors when they leave home. Meanwhile what they’re urging on us at the border amounts to “loving your burglar.” Try convincing anyone the Bible supports breaking and entering to take from people, and you’ll run smack into two stone tablets saying “You shall not steal” and even, “You shall not covet.” I’ll bet they’ve even heard of the Ten Commandments.

“But they’re not coming to steal,” they’ll say. They’re coming to be part of us! They want to contribute!” they’ll say. All of them? Really?

And do they realize we have room for that? We even have policies to support it. Policies matter, you know. We have policies at home too: We decide who we’ll let in, who we’ll keep out, and who to call the cops on.

Most conservatives are in favor of immigration under sane policies. This isn’t about racism or xenophobia. It’s about letting some people in for good reason, but not letting everyone in, also for good reason.

Who Is My Neighbor?

Now, obviously God calls us to love our neighbors. He does say “neighbors,” though. When the lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told him about a Samaritan who was passing by the man who needed him and there became Jesus’ example of a good neighbor.

If Jesus had meant, “Love everyone everywhere,” He could have said it that way. He didn’t. God doesn’t lay that impossible burden on us. He has that capacity, but He knows we do not. It’s hard enough loving the person who’s nearby!

Nevertheless, Americans have historically been the most giving people in the world, giving billions worldwide, sent from government, non-profit organizations, churches, and private givers. I’ve made the case that open borders will eventually mean an end to that. It could very well mean giving up our ability to love our neighbors as we have done so long.

Leaning on Leviticus?

A lot of people on X (formerly known as Twitter) have latched on to Lev. 19:34: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

But the Hebrew word for “foreigner” (gēr) in that verse didn’t mean just anyone who showed up there. Typically it meant a proselyte who was seeking faithfulness to the Lord, and willing to live under the laws of Moses and of Israel.

Besides that, they’ll have a hard time convincing me God didn’t want Israel exercising any control over who entered the land or what they did there. But anyone can see that’s not true. You just need to read more than one verse at a time.

Common Sense vs. Common Guilt

It’s hard to take any of those attacks seriously, but there’s one left. What about our immense wealth here in America? Does it make any difference that we’re so much richer here, on average? I don’t want to oversimplify this now. We’ve been the most giving nation in history. That’s good, and we should keep at it, yet it only means what it means. It doesn’t mean we’ve been perfectly giving, and it doesn’t mean we haven’t taken from others unjustly at times.

Just keep your head about you. Stay informed, including biblically informed. And don’t forget to use your common sense.

 Progressives are acutely aware of that. I think guilt explains a lot of their motivation. They try to share their guilt with us, to make us feel like they feel, so we’ll do what they would do. They keep trying to give us reasons we ought to feel that way. Unfortunately for them, good reasons depend on good reasoning, and they don’t do so well at that.

Keep Your Head About You

That last question still remains, though: Does our wealth make a difference in how we should treat our neighbors? I think it must, and I also think it does for conservatives, on the whole. The Stream’s parent organization, Life Outreach International, is one example. We give, but it’s not from guilt, since Christ forgives, and Christ alone. We give because of the love of God poured out in our hearts.

Feelings are good for many things, but letting yourself be manipulated unreasonably isn’t one of them. Resisting it is often more common sense than anything else. Everything in this article, other than one Hebrew word and one fact-checking link, has been common knowledge coupled with ordinary reasoning — plus action motivated by love.

You know these things, or I hope you do, anyway. If there’s one thing too widely lacking, it’s knowing the basics of the Bible. Make that your foundation, then seek to do what’s really right.

I know it can feel like a challenge when you’re under fire from all these accusations and manipulations. Just keep your head about you. Stay informed, including biblically informed. And don’t forget to use your common sense.

 

Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the highly acclaimed Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.

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