Monday, April 15, 2019

It’s Easter—But “Our Country is FULL”

Some Christians will be celebrating Easter this coming Sunday; Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter the following Sunday.  It’s Easter, but we are still caught up in an Advent issue.  “The Jesus who died to save all,” is now seen as having died to save but a few.  The Jesus for whom there was “no room in the Inn” of Bethlehem is still facing a full house.

There is “no room” available. “Our Country is FULL!”  “This is our new statement:  The system is full.  We can’t take you any more.  Whether it’s asylum, whether it’s anything you want, it’s illegal immigration.  We can’t take you any more…Our country is full, our area is full, the sector is full.  We can’t take any more.  Sorry.  Can’t have it…So turn around.  That’s the way it is.” Thus spoke the President of the United States a week or so ago.

Xenophobia is certainly not new.  It is not partisan.  Donald Trump says “Our Country is full.”   Bernie Sanders said, “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world.  And I don’t think that’s something we can do at this point.  Can’t do it.”  In 1953, 66 years ago, Sen. Pat McCarran, D. Nevada, said:  “I believe that this nation is the last hope of Western civilization and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished…Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission and those gates are cracking under the strain.” (That was in 1953—66 years ago!)

Has there ever been a time when there was room for strangers?  Ben Franklin worried in 1751 about the influx of Germans into Pennsylvania. They “will soon so outnumber us that…we will not in my opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious.”

It is a “tired rhetoric” that has “no grounding in historic or present-day facts,” but it goes on and on anyway.  Forty-four percent of Fortune 500 companies in the United States were started by immigrants or their children. Steve Jobs’ father came to the U.S. from Syria after experiencing political persecution. Fortunately, for our economy, and for Steve Jobs, there was room for him.

Why bother to celebrate Easter if we haven’t yet dealt with the “no room in the inn” issue of Advent?  How can we sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” when we haven’t yet got hold of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” or “Joy to the World?”

Christ Is Risen--But the Windows are closed,
the Walls go up, and there is no room in the Inn.

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