Tony Woodlief | Author


While driving to work yesterday morning I hit a rarely-used button on my radio, one set to a mainstream Christian station where one in ten songs is not, for my tastes, awful. Every once in a while I try them out, and every once in a while they aren’t playing a dreadful song.

The news was on; they are part of the American Family Radio network, which itself is part of the American Family Association. They offer “today’s news from a Christian perspective,” which can be translated as: “news a white middle-to-upper-income American Christian probably wants to hear, delivered by a Republican.”

The news item was about a crack-down on illegal immigration. The reporter stressed words like illegal and sneak (as in, “people who sneak into the country”). A clip from a national anti-immigration figure was provided. The point was clear: finally, someone is doing something about those darned immigrants.

Good Christians, apparently, are glad that someone is stopping these grubby people from coming to our shores; it’s a news item Christians care about. It’s more likely the case that many wealthy white financial supporters of AFR are pleased with such a news item, and well, we’ve got to pay the bills to keep bringing you the modern music version of Air Supply meets Muzak.

Now, there are economic and policy arguments worth considering on both sides of the immigration issue. But here’s the dangerous pressing matter, the thing that if you plan to sit your behind in a church pew today or tomorrow you really just cannot avoid: economics and politics don’t matter to God.

Christians have a fundamental calling, and that is to find our lost brothers and sisters. We will not conquer this world for Jesus, and frankly, he doesn’t need our help. We will not stop gay marriage and institute a God-approved (the Republican version, of course) tax rate. We will not keep people from philandering, gambling, masturbating, and wearing clothes that fit too tight, and if you think Christ wants you to fix these problems, then you are dreadfully, soul-shakingly mistaken.

Tend my lambs.” Not “stop people from being naughty.” No “get the government off the back of the small businessman.” Not a hint of “protect gun rights and the death penalty.”

And certainly not “keep out the immigrants.”

To the contrary, we received the Great Commission, and don’t tell me that was just for the Disciples, because to believe that is to be hopelessly misguided about your place on this earth. We are to be a light to the hopeless and lost, be it in our own families, neighborhoods, churches (yes, there are plenty of hopeless and lost people there), and businesses, or overseas, amidst the unwashed, non-Republican masses.

Most of us don’t do overseas missions work. Nor do we support such work, except for the few dimes from our paltry (on average) financial support for churches that makes its way to actual evangelism. But here we have this wonderful blessing of living in a country so prosperous that millions of people, many of them with no understanding of Christ, desperately want to come to us, and what is the response of the largest Christian radio network in America?

Keep ’em out.

On Key

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