But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
~ Leviticus 19:34
Well prior to Donald Trump taking steps toward border enforcement, Joel McDurmon and Bojidar Marinov had already made a pastime of cherry-picking the above passage and others like it in service to the globalist agenda. And we haven’t limited our response entirely to eyerolls, but have refuted and mocked them rightwise as the opportunity presented itself.
But now that Trump seems to be taking steps in keeping with his promises on border patriotism, the meme counter-offensive has begun. Social media is being stormed by virtue-signalling SJWs citing Leviticus 19:34 — a book of the Bible which they’ve neither read, nor even likely knew existed before said citation was committed to memehood.
So here’s a handy shortlist to throw at those in and out of the Church who insist that the Bible demands “one law for native and stranger,” by which they mean open borders, universal citizenship, and forced racial integration.
While the Bible does indeed prohibit mistreatment of foreign races, it insists foreigners be treated with equity. And that equity includes several inegalitarian distinctions:
1) Alien peoples could not own land in Israel, only rent. As all property was restored to the tribes and clans of Israel at every fiftieth-year Jubilee. (Lev. 25:8ff.)
2) Aliens were excluded from all positions of authority in church and state. (Deut. 1:13-16; 17:15; Jer. 30:21)
3) Aliens were strictly barred from the inner court of the Temple, and defiance of this ecclesiastic segregation was punishable by death. Whether the warning inscriptions alerting foreigners not to trespass against the inner court may have been part of Herod’s addition — the “court of the Gentiles” — we don’t know for sure. What we do know is that we find references to the “inner” and “outer” courts from the time of Solomon’s temple, so it seems in keeping with the original segregated courts.
This did not, however, prevent aliens from worshiping Jehovah in any way; rather, strangers were expected to obey God’s law, same as the Israelites (e.g. Ex. 20:10), and, as mentioned, they could even draw near in the outer court of the Gentiles to pray to and worship the God of Israel.
4) As foreign religions were prohibited in Israel (2 Chr. 15:13; Deut. 13:6-10; Ex. 22:18; Lev. 20:27, etc.), it means foreigners were not permitted to retain their native beliefs in Israel and could, at least in certain cases, be executed should they promulgate or persist in a contrary faith. This was the substance behind the recurrent demolitions of the heathen high places and altars, as well as extermination campaigns against the priests of Baal, and so many other false gods.
Far from any absurd notions of religious pluralism pushed by the likes of American Vision today, God’s explanation for directing Israel to genocide all the Canaanite nations in the herem (Deut. 7:1-7) was emphatically because they were idolatrous ethnicities (Deut. 20:16-18). Which, of course, presupposes that foreign religions (practiced by all foreign peoples) were not to be tolerated in Israel. And this is not some radical take I’ve come up with on my own. It is the vanilla Christian position on the matter. Always has been. Even R.C. Sproul agrees:
He said, “I am calling you out of my grace to be a holy nation. I’m tearing down in order to build something new, and out of what I build new, a holy nation, I’m going to bless all of the people in the world. Therefore, I want you to be separated, and I don’t want any of the influences of this pagan heritage to be mixed into my new nation that I’m establishing.” That is the reason he gives [for the Canaanite genocide]. People still choke on it, but if God is, indeed, holy—as I think he is—and we are as disobedient as I know we are, I think we ought to be able to handle that.
5) Due to the ban on their religions, so also were their “foreign ways,” which is to say, public expression of their various cultures, also suppressed by law and custom; especially in the case of any appropriations by Israelites (Zeph. 1:8; Neh. 13:24-25, etc.).
6) While Israelites were forbidden to lend to their co-ethnics at interest/usury, they are specifically granted leave to lend to foreigners at usury (Deut. 23:20). And where all debts between Israelites were forgiven every seven years (Deut. 15:1-2), the debts of foreigners to Israelites were not (Deut. 15:3). So the native had extra monetary protections under law which the foreigner did not enjoy. Today, this would be deemed “predatory lending based on race or national origin.” But God underscores these inequalities in the matter as righteous.
7) Other races (Gen. 28:6; Deut. 7:3; Josh. 23:12-13; 1 Kings 11:1-2; Ezra 9:1-4, 12; 10:2-3; Neh. 10:30; 13:23-30) as well as other specified Semitic tribes (Deut. 23:3), were prohibited from marrying Israelites and joining the national body. Yes, the prophet Ezra rebuked Israel harshly for marrying foreigners: “Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, ‘You have been unfaithful and have married foreign wives adding to the guilt of Israel'” (Ezra 10:10). Many of whom were not even of the Canaanite nations, but rather listed in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah as Ashdoddites, Egyptians, Sidonians, or Hittites, but the prophets condemned those unions no less than unions with the Canaanite peoples and banished the women as well as their mamzerim offspring (Deut. 23:2). And as prophets moved by the spirit, theirs was the authoritative interpretation of the law.
8) Being born in the land did not imply citizenship. Anchor babies had no claim. Even half-Israelite mixed-race children were recognized not as licit covenant heirs nor citizens, but as bastards (mischling/nothos/nothus/mamzer) (Deut. 23:2; Zeph. 9:6). As R.J. Rushdoony stated it, “To harm or destroy the fertility of men, plants, and animals is to violate this law. Hybrids are clearly a violation of this law, as these case laws of Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:9-11 make plain.”[1. R.J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, p. 255]
Only if both parents were of the same ethnic stock was a child regarded a legitimate heir and citizen of the republic (Numbers 27, 36; Lev. 21:14). Thus precluding not only the anchor baby phenomenon, but miscegenation and interracial adoption as well.
9) Foreign races could be bought and held as chattel slaves forever, passed down as property from generation to generation, but Israelites could not be taken as chattels (Lev. 25:44-46), only in seven-year terms of bonditure (Ex. 21:2; Deut. 15:12).
10) Strangers were not at liberty to wander about unsupervised in Israel. By virtue of the fact that all prospective lodging would be on the demesne of a clan and tribe of Israel, they lodged under bond to said family, clan, and tribe, under the patriarchal oversight of Israelite lords who taught and enforced law, faith, and custom in the foreigner’s doings (e.g. Ex. 20:10). Foreign laborers under “work visa,” if you will, and sojourners under what amounted to a “travel visa,” both had to contract with natives for lodging and to obtain a legal right to be in the country. As it was only by the bonditure of a stranger to an Israelite that the stranger gained any legal standing (Deut. 1:16).
The liberal insists, in spite of the plain reading of the text and all sound hermeneutics, that we take the ‘one law for native and stranger’ principle as a denial of the bare existence of strangers. That is, though the text everywhere presupposes the meaningful existence of foreign peoples and their continued distinction ‘within thy gates,’ the liberals demand we pretend that foreigners – especially once on our soil – do not exist and that all humanity is an undifferentiable one. I’m not joking. I have boiled this argument down with them many times and always to the same result: they hold that God made the distinctions of races and ethnicities between men and speaks in terms of those categories in Scripture only to command that believers must pretend otherwise. This, they insist, is faith and obedience. But what it really means is that the god they profess is a flagrant liar and not the God of Scripture.
Granted, the liberals are very internally conflicted on the nature of the civic unity they profess: spend any time with McDurmon, Marinov, Wilson, or Piper on this issue and witness each switch positions over and again. They may launch from a standpoint of a unity of Christian creed determining citizenship in the holy nation, but they hopscotch from there to saying that all people are welcome into the Christian state on the condition of some pluralist civic creed, and from there again to saying that the monogenesis of the species in Adam, in conjunction with libertarian economic theory, makes all men everywhere nascent Americans. All of which is, of course, preposterous, and improved not one iota by their kaleidoscopic doublespeak.
Of course, we all accept the Scripture’s many admonitions to “not vex a stranger nor oppress him” (Ex. 22:21; 23:9; Lev. 19:33; etc.) and even to “love the alien” (Ex. 10:19), but not to the exclusion of how the Scripture actually defines justice and love with regard to them.
As with the Golden Rule and the second greatest commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself, if we allow these biblical principles to be interpreted through the grid of egalitarian humanism rather than the Scripture itself, it confounds the entire concept of law, reduces all to a gnostic moral relativism, affecting a declaration of war on all distinction — nations, peoples, families, and yes, even doctrine — forever. If you shall know a tree by its fruit, the tree of interpretation which posits Christianity as a Malthusian death cult may be safely rejected, for “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).