Imagine for instance that you lived in a country where worshiping God was punishable by execution. Perhaps you had been quietly defying the law and continuing to worship God. Why would you do that? Presumably you would do that because you believe that there is an ethic or morality that stands above the law. What if someone came up to you and said that while the laws may not be perfect, it is more important that the rule of law be enforced. And that before we can have a conversation about how to improve the laws, we need to make sure that the current laws be fully enforced. Therefore anyone who was worshiping God has to be executed, and once that has happened, then we can talk about how to improve the law. What would you say?
Furthermore, suppose this person claimed that they were actually a Christian, and suppose that there were even some efforts by the leaders to change the law, but this person claimed that these efforts to change the law were going against rule of law, and should therefore be opposed.
Of course such a response to an unjust law is completely absurd. If there is injustice, one does not seek justice by waiting for more enforcement of injustice. If a law is wrong, it does not become less wrong when it is more widely enforced. Our call to obey God supercedes any government laws. We judge the merit of a law not by itself, but by a higher standard of morality. To judge and choose laws with no more guidance than merely the law itself is hopelessly circular with no foundation on higher principles or truth. For Christians to abandon a core teaching of God because it goes against the laws of the state is to abandon actively putting God first. Yet, I would suggest that this type of compromise of faith is almost exactly the situation we find ourselves in today with regards to immigration laws. Scriptures have numerous passages that exhort Christians to welcome the alien, the stranger, the immigrant. Yet one of the most frequent objections to more welcoming immigration policy is that we need to enforce the rule of law.
Yes, enforcing laws is important, but enforcement does not determine the righteousness of a law. Current law and policy has been held up as the determinate of future law and policy, rather than the higher ethics of the Bible. This is circular logic lifts up American law above obedience to Christ. The challenges faced in immigrating to America are huge, and often nearly impossible for the millions seeking a better opportunity for their family. The incredible difficulty and challenges facing the immigrants who are working hard to provide a better life for their family, contrast with the ease of life that we enjoy, in absolute terms, is simply unjust. With the same clarity that the Bible calls Christians to worship, the Bible also calls Christians to welcome the stranger, with the same passion to ensure laws protect the act of worship, we must also pursue law and policy that protects and welcomes the stranger. We must pursue justice of giving all an opportunity to succeed.
Let us not compromise our faith in regards to obedience to worship or welcoming. Those pushing against immigration are generally not intentionally compromising obedience to God. However, when faced with immigration policy, let us not choose to be advocates for simply enforcing the current law because it is law without questioning its righteousness. Instead let us faithfully choose to obey God, not man, and be willing to challenge the current system.