GARLINGTON: The Spiritual Dimension of the Border Crisis

The number of illegal immigrants entering the United States is at record levels, and even Left-leaning sites can’t make those numbers look rosy (though they are trying).  Inept and corrupt political leadership is a major contributor to this crisis, but it would be a mistake to stop our analysis there.

Things that happen in the physical world are reflections of the things happening in the spiritual world.  If there is a flood of immigrants at the Mexican border, there is a spiritual reason for that.  The Holy Prophet Moses in his book of Deuteronomy spells it out for us.  He writes,

A nation which you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors; and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually; . . . The sojourner who is among you shall mount above you higher and higher; and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. . . . “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and in want of all things; and he will put a yoke of iron upon your neck, until he has destroyed you. The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you do not understand, a nation of stern countenance, who shall not regard the person of the old or show favor to the young, and shall eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; who also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your cattle or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish (28:33, 43-4, 47-51).

All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you, till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded you (28:45).

In brief, when we see an invasion happening, it is likely because the country being invaded has turned its back on God the All-Holy Trinity and the commandments He has given its people to follow.  A look back through history gives abundant confirmation of this.  The ancient Roman Empire fell away into hedonism, debauchery, and persecution of Christians and was afflicted for centuries by Germanic barbarian invaders.  Some years later, after Christianity had taken root in Western Europe and the peoples there were flourishing again, the heathen Vikings were a scourge upon them because of their corruption.  The same thing occurred in Constantinople/New Rome, and that Christian Empire fell to the Muslim Turks in 1453 after centuries of encroachment and warfare by the Turks.  The Serbs fell under the Turkish yoke in 1389 for similar reasons.  Kievan Rus likewise was razed by the Mongols a little earlier, in the 13th century, for falling into various disorders after rising to a high state of Christian civilization.

The same pattern is recognizable deeper in the past, with the Medes conquering the Persians centuries before the Birth of Christ, and so on.  And now we are seeing it in the United States and in Europe:  Sinful, evil things like pornography, easy divorce, psychedelic drug use, abortion, etc., are legal and being promoted as healthy ‘freedoms;’ people are abandoning Christianity; and following in their wake is a massive foreign population resettling in the midst of them.

Because of the causal connection between disobedience to God and harmful immigration flows, Christianity must become a regular part of the policy conversation at every level of government.  There is progress at the State level, where things like requiring the Ten Commandment to be posted in schools and universities and allowing Christian chaplains in many of those same places have advanced, as well as laws limiting social media use by children and requiring age verification for pornographic web sites.  But this sort of approach needs to become the norm, not the exception.

We must be honest with ourselves:  Modernity has had a terrible effect on us.  The acid bath of the Enlightenment has destroyed our love of God and made us worship idols instead.  We have focused on freedom in the past, but there is another big one in the West – mammon, or, as it is often referred to in our constitutions and other political tracts, property:  ‘John Adams made a similar assertion years later in 1790 in his Discourses on Davila, calling property as “sacred as the laws of God.” . . . During the Philadelphia Convention, John Rutledge of South Carolina reminded the delegates that “property was certainly the principal object of Society.”’

We will be ashamed to stand before the Christian martyrs in the next life, who saw the futility of rejecting God to worship earthly things:  ‘The [Roman] judge informed them of the imperial order that all were commanded to sacrifice to the gods. Nicander replied, that order could not regard Christians, who looked upon it as unlawful to abandon the immortal God, to adore wood and stones.’

We may not adore statues of Rome’s pagan gods these days, but without a doubt we have an idolatrous fixation on materialism/mammon.  This description of a Buc-ee’s makes the point entirely too well:


Buc-ee’s is about as pure a distillation of American capitalism as there has ever been. Think of a cross between a convenience store and Godzilla, a nuclear explosion of the free-market impulse that creates so many revenue streams and product lines as to reach a level of wildly entertaining absurdity. It’s like McDonald’s, Walmart, and Disney World converged on a 7-Eleven, and the fusion reaction gave birth to a capitalistic T-Rex with big buck teeth and a goofy smile on his face to serve the finest fountain drinks and junk food man has ever seen.

. . . You stop at a light after exiting I-10 and turning south, and your cross street that leads you to Convenience Store Nirvana is … Buc-ee’s Boulevard.

And when you arrive, there are literally dozens of gas pumps.

Dozens. I’m talking about 100 of them.

People are everywhere. At 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, it looked like Talladega or the Daytona 500. There might have been 1,000 people in and around the store when we pulled in.

A few of them were getting ice out of the TWENTY different freezers set along the outside of one wall. Those were placed next to a selection of gigantic barbecue smokers, which were in turn next to a selection of cast-iron fire pits for sale.

And inside it looked like Grand Central Station. I’ll admit I was momentarily dizzy.

Budapest in Hungary gets beautiful architecture like this, while we get degrading spectacles like acres of concrete lots covered with gasoline pumps and red-capped cartoon beavers.

If we want the good things of traditional Christian society, we must take to heart the words of the Patriarch of the Orthodox Christians in Serbia, Porfirije, who said to the crowd of thousands of pilgrims who attended the celebration of the Lord’s Ascension in Belgrade despite the pouring rain:

Let the Lord our Savior always be our mirror and measure. If Christ is our point of reference and criterion, if He is the goal and meaning, if He is in the first place, we can be sure that everything else will be in its place. Therefore, let us always remember the resounding words of St. Abba Justin [Popovich, who reposed in 1979—W.G.], which he used to remind and comfort his people, and which remind and comfort us even today: “Everything for Christ, Christ above all!”

We have no problem with private property; we reject socialism and communism.  And we are not Gnostics who believe that whatever is earthly is evil; practical, effective leadership by people in and through the normal organs of government is essential for a healthy society.  But if those in government are really serious about getting the border under control, they must go beyond the blatantly, physically obvious (closing the border; expelling illegals) and work to correct the spiritual problems as well, directing their fellow citizens’ focus away from the idols of mammon/property and a God-opposing freedom and back toward traditional Christianity.  Until we begin to make that turn, we will remain stuck in the destructive habits that emerge when we give our love to something other than the Holy Trinity, and the illegal immigration problem will persist, no matter how many different ways we try to end it.  (It is probably not a coincidence that Hungary, which has no problems with immigration, has a government that has been adamant about promoting a Christian culture under PM Viktor Orban.)

Government cannot make us into faithful Christians; that is the job of the Church.  But it can create the conditions favorable for society’s faithfulness to God through wise laws and regulations.  We will be able to judge whether an official is a true statesman or not by his ability to craft those kinds of salutary laws and regulations and to put them into effect in a prudent way.



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