I recently had occasion to explore the issue of DACA with an evangelical Christian friend I have known for close to 40 years. He is university educated, a good husband and father. I thought I knew him well. I had always thought he had an objective and sincere interest in the welfare of other human beings.
I was absolutely shocked when he declared that the young people brought to the US illegally as children simply have to go back to the country from which they came. He admitted that it was a sad situation but otherwise showed no signs of empathy. It seemed to be purely a legal/technical issue with him. They broke the law by coming here and they have to go!
In this case my friend appears to be typical of other evangelicals I have observed. They all seem to buy into the ultra-conservative propaganda that immigrants are an economic drain on our limited resources that must stop. He had apparently done no previous independent investigation of the facts. He appears to have simply swallowed the dogma spouted by evangelical leaders and their political minions without challenge.
I could have quoted statistics demonstrating that in spite of what the anti-immigrant hate mongers say immigrants, even the illegal ones, are a net economic benefit to our national economy. Sadly though I don’t believe that would have made any difference in his thinking. He seemed to be wedded to the idea that DACA children are just criminals who must be deported. He remains my dear friend, but I realize that after encountering a seemingly closed mindset on such an important humanitarian issue I look at him differently now. At least on immigration he appears to fully endorse the hateful and inhumane position of the evangelical leadership.
DACA is only one of many complex and challenging issue we face as a nation. But my experience has been pretty much the same in my interactions with nearly all evangelicals – almost without regard to subject, their love of humanity is shallow while judgment runs deep! They seem to see only black or white. They appear incapable of recognizing that every religious or political issue does not necessarily fit conveniently into a single category, that there are indeed gray areas requiring empathy, compromise, and the application of good judgment. Even basic respect for others’ views would be helpful but that also seems to be in short supply among evangelicals.
I wish the evangelical Christian community could show more love, caring, and empathy for fellow humans struggling in desperate circumstances. I wish they would spend more time investigating the facts and focusing their political sway on honesty and truth. And I wish they could find it in their hearts to be a bit less judgmental when dealing with people who may not look, feel, or believe exactly as they do. America and the world as a whole would be better for it.