May 20, 2006

Spiritual Issues in the Immigration Debate

Rabbi Marc Gellman, who writes a weekly web-exclusive commentary for Newsweek.com, asks spectacular questions. He's also apparently defeated the temptation we theologians continually face, the temptation to short circuit challenging questions with easy answers. This week, he examines the spiritual side of the immigration debate, and trust me, he's not taking it in the direction you think he is. (He rarely does.)
The hot issue of immigration, both legal and illegal, once again wraps
an essentially spiritual issue in a thin and distracting political
wrapper. The essential question is this: what is the spiritual
significance of the state?
I'm beginning to think that this question might just be the most important theological question of our time. Rabbi Gellman's engagement with it is both broad and deep. (Oh, how I wish I could manage that in an 860-word article!) I won't give away the conclusion he reaches, but I will say this--the path he takes to get there is familiar ground to me.

2 Comments:

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Carl said...

It looks too black-and-white to me. Asking about the spiritual significance of the state is somewhat like asking about the spiritual significance of a human. Humans are spiritually significant entities, but not all human actions are good. Likewise, if a state is a spiritually significant entity, it does not necessarily mean that "its laws and needs trump every other consideration." It may need to be opposed.

I get the feeling that I'm saying something a bit different that what Rabbi Gellman is saying, but I also feel that what I'm talking about has been left out of his commentary.

My belief is that any understanding of nationality that causes us to treat people differently is spiritually significant, and it is to be opposed.

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger DesertPastor said...

Excellent article. Gellman rightly draws attention to the theological tension -- mirrored by the political tension we mostly see portrayed by the media.

I cannot come away from this article without thinking: God's kingdom trumps all others.

 

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