In a 2021 paper published in the journal Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, the sociologists Samuel Stroope, Heather R. Rackin, and Paul Froese presented some startling findings regarding the attitudes of U.S.-based Christian nationalists with regard to the hot-button topic of immigration. These nationalists affirm “Christian primacy in the public sphere.” In other words, they posit that the U.S. should be considered a Christian country. And Stroope et al. argue that in recent years, on a broader level, Christian self-identity has correlated strongly with nativist views and right-leaning voting patterns.
However, this is not to say that Christianity as a whole is opposed to immigration. According to Stroope et al., the correlation between Christian nationalism and anti-immigrant belief does not extend to those Christians who actually visit churches and go to services. Rather, the strongest correlation exists between those who wish to see the U.S. as a fundamentally Christian country but don’t actually go to church and fervent anti-immigration rhetoric. It seems that the better versed Christians are in the scripture of their own religion, the more understanding of immigration they tend to become. And it turns out there is a very simple reason for that.
What does the Bible actually say about immigration?
Anyone even remotely familiar with the teachings of Jesus Christ could probably guess what the Christian Bible has to say about the treatment of immigrants. Sojourners — a Christian organization that “seek[s] to inspire hope and build a movement to transform individuals, communities, the Church, and the world” — lists 22 verses from the Bible that entreat Christians to welcome immigrants. In these verses are powerful words from Leviticus 19:34: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
Crosswalk highlights the disconnect that seems to occur in much Christian thinking when it comes to the issue of immigration. The source explains that in a 2015 poll, just 12% of self-professed Christians surveyed claimed that the Bible was the primary point of reference when reflecting on immigration. Instead, most Christians take their cues from the media, where the issue has become a political football. Were they instead to look at what the Bible has to say, the source claims that the conclusion that Christians would come to is that they have an obligation to care for immigrants in the same way they would any other neighbor they might encounter.
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