The Point: Immigration and the Word

Immigration affects our economy, our national security, and the lives of millions. The issue ought to be treated with the utmost seriousness. And that includes the words we use when we debate it.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the President’s posture and policies on immigration, we cannot say that the words he was said to have used don’t matter. Or even worse, that even if he said what’s been reported it can somehow be justified.

No, if he did say what’s been reported—or anything close to it—he demeaned the entire debate.

Words have creative power. Christians of all people should hold speech and even words themselves in the highest regard. We believe God spoke the entire cosmos into being. Our savior, Jesus Christ, is the Word made flesh. We revere the words of sacred Scripture. And we should guard our own.

Finally, it is never okay to speak about people in ways that deny their dignity as bearers of God’s image. Never, even if we do have strong convictions on policy.


Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.

  • Paul McCosby

    May I point out that both Jesus and John the Baptist referred to whole groups of people as broods of vipers while God seems in much of the Bible to have a distinct fondness for referring to the Israelites in terms expressive of adultery and prostitution? The apostle Paul, moreover, apparently endorsed the view, stated by an inhabitant of Crete, that all Cretans were liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons. Though Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen,” this does not, if the examples stated above, as well as many others, may be considered, indicate anything like the imperative of refined speech which it seems to be the aim of this article to enjoin.

    • Scott

      “God seems in much of the Bible to have a distinct fondness for referring to the Israelites in terms expressive of adultery and prostitution?”

      He was talking about people replacing Him with idols. God (as well as Jesus and the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity for that matter) has the right to say anything He wants about His creation.

      As for the imperative of refined speech, it is part of God’s moral laws He created for us to follow. If you seek Biblical support for this part from Epesians 4:29, here is a list of some verses that point us towards this:

      Proverbs 12:18, 15:1 and 21:23 (there are many more in Proverbs), James 3:1-18, 1 Peter 3:10, Matthew 15:11, Titus 3:2, Psalm 34:13 (there are many others in Psalms as well), Colossians 4:6 (one of my favorite)… and many more.

      Jesus Himself says: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:33-37

      As for the “Brood of Vipers” comment, Jesus can see into the hearts of those whom He spoke to. People do not have that same ability. It is up to us to follow His commands… Do Jesus’s words not support the aim of this article?

  • Phoenix1977

    “No, if he did say what’s been reported—or anything close to it—he demeaned the entire debate.”
    What do you mean with “if”? It’s not that difficult to picture him saying whatever the media says he said because he’s done it before, out in the open. He used demeaning slurs of Twitter, in speeches, in diplomatic conversations. Donald Trump has no trouble demeaning entire countries if it serves his purpose.
    So you should not ask whether Donald Trump used demeaning words towards Haïti, El Salvador and Honduras but which other countries he included in his statement as well. After all, it took Donald Trump and the White House hours to start denying the remarks to begin with, right before they started trashing the reputation of Senator Dick Durbin, the man who made the comments public.
    After all, that is the modus operandi on the current president of the United States:
    1. Put your foot in your mouth
    2. Stay silent when the **** hits the fan
    3. Start denying the allegations, even if there is either proof or multiple witnesses
    4. Go on the offense against those who don’t support you in the matter
    I never though I would say it but I actually miss George W. Bush …

    • Scott

      “I never though I would say it but I actually miss George W. Bush …”

      That makes two of us. I can’t say I disagree.

    • Steve

      It seems like those countries who are so corrupt have demeaned themselves and are responsible for the plight of their citizens. President Trump never disparaged those people. In fact he was pointing out why they are trying to come here. If the countries aren’t in bad shape then why would people be leaving? If they are in bad shape why would you deny that? Sometimes the truth hurts. The State Department has travel warnings to most of those countries. If they were safe and good places no travel ban would be needed. Liberals say that they want to take in the oppressed and yet then deny that there is anything wrong where they come from? Strange twisting of things in order to continue to hate President Trump.

      • Phoenix1977

        It has little to do with what is true and what is not. A political leader cannot say things like this without consequences. It’s called diplomacy and in diplomatic circles calling a country “unfriendly” is almost a declaration of war. Image what the words Trump used could mean. But than again, if you voted for him after he said, on tape, to grab women by the ***** I can see how whatever Trump says or does won’t change your views on him.

      • fred2

        It speaks volumes that liberal celebrities who threatened to leave America if Trump won picked countries more like Norway and less like Haiti. Even they know how dangerous it is living in developing countries run corrupt governments.

    • Tyler

      Yeah, I never doubted for a second that he said that at all. No proof, but oh well. Regardless, I love John’s tone in this one, I think it sets a clear standard for Christians, rooted in our theology, and is a great test of orthopraxy for those who claim to follow Jesus. Well done John!

    • fred2

      Where is the evidence that President Trump hurled slurs at those countries?

      We have video of Sen. Durbin (who accused POTUS) once calling Mexico a hellhole. And there is an article in The Atlantic magazine where the President Obama called Libya far worse.

      Until there is hard evidence, accusations against President Trump are just hearsay.

  • Tyler

    I love John’s tone in this one, I think it sets a clear standard for Christians, rooted in our theology, and is a great test of orthopraxy for those who claim to follow Jesus. It also emphasizes following Jesus, not contorting ourselves into the stereotype of following whoever happens to have an R next to their name and holding office. Well done John!