When Sentiment Contrasts Essence

2 Mar

I’m going to have come out and say it: Being anti-immigrant is anti-American and anti-Christian. People who come to this country build our economy and evolve our culture. Some may be here illegally, but they are our friends, family, and greater community. They are America.

The only counter-argument I’ve heard is that some of these illegal immigrants are committing violent crimes. That is a sobering fact, but tainted by media with confirmation bias. Those who suspect immigrants mainly commit violent crimes see and focus only on news stories of murder and rape. In that situation, you would think everyone you suspect of being an immigrant was prone to violent behavior. The data simply doesn’t bear out the opinion or deeply held belief. Immigrants, especially those who have entered or stayed here illegally, are going to draw as little attention to themselves as possible. That obviously doesn’t negate the impact violence has had in the lives of people who have experienced it, and never will.

What’s being done with this demonizing and demagoguery from the highest office in the United States is finding a scapegoat for political capital and a distraction in times of mismanagement. It fractures our unity and proves hypocritical to our tortured national origins and history. We were welcomed into this land by many of its natives, and we repaid it shamefully. We stole people from their homes and families and brought them here to be enslaved. A powerful nation was built, but not without original sins to acknowledge and edify our culture. They should never leave our conscience. The simplest recompense we can offer readily without malice is to constantly remind ourselves and the world we welcome everyone in this country. We have written it into our songs and laws. Our inclusiveness is the fire burning in the ashes of our iniquity.

The fundamentals of the predominant Christianity so heavily entrenched in American society oscillates from fire and brimstone for the wicked, to humble Jesus, meek and mild with measured patience and interminable acceptance of others, regardless of their ethics or nation of origin. The greater emphasis has always been on the behavior of Jesus. Had Jesus been an insufferable jerk or preached razing towns and slaughter no one would have grasped the message of divinity. Jesus was more or less consistent with everyone unless severely vexed. The sentiment of the New Testament, especially the New Covenant in Christianity, oversimplified is all are equal in the eyes of God: Jews and Gentiles have no lesser or greater favor. Coupling this with the sentiments of brotherhood, community, kindness to strangers, selflessness, love (phileo), anti-discrimination, and overall tolerance of everyone alien the idea of bigotry, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. requires a level of cognitive dissonance that dismantles American Christianity as a radical liberal counter-culture of embracing differences. This Christianity turns into a conservative cesspool of establishment, with harmful mores and folkways turned against a specific outgroup: brown people who speak the lingua franca with weird accents. Ironically, this is not too dissimilar from the actual origins of Christianity.

The victims of this state of mind are all Americans. The people anger and fear are directed constitute the fabric of our country. We’re not hurting them. We’re hurting ourselves in the worst form of moral cannibalism. Sadly, the same people who want to tout their patriotism and religiosity in America find themselves at odds with the fundamentals of their heritage and identity.

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