Trump’s Spiritual Advisor Speaks out about Immigrants
Paula White is President Trump’s “spiritual advisor,” and is on his team of evangelical counselors. About a month ago, when everyone was outraged at his policy of separating the children of refugees from their parents, she defended Trump by saying that “although Jesus was a refugee as a baby, he didn't break the immigration laws of his time.” Rather than calm people, this enraged many. Even her fellow Christian pastors turned on her. She defended herself in the Christian Post: “Jesus, Immigration, and My Critics,” especially against “a Catholic priest [who] said my comments were ‘appalling’ and ‘reprehensible’ and that he didn't know what Gospel I was reading.”
“I don't mean to impugn anyone's character, but it certainly seemed like those reporting on the story were less offended by what I said as they were excited to criticize someone associated with the Trump administration. They weren't just inferring I lacked compassion, they were calling me dumb, and by extension, all evangelicals who support the president. As a blonde female, and as a pastor, this isn't the first time someone has called me stupid. Sadly, it comes with the territory.”
This was just FAKE NEWS attacking both President Trump and herself. Her defense:
“Let's first deal with whether or not Jesus broke the law.
Do a quick Google search of "did Jesus break the law" and you'll quickly find opinions like this one, or this, and even noted publications like Lifeway's Facts and Trends directly responding to my interview. The consensus is clearly no, Jesus did not break the law.”
Independent experts – who happened to be evangelicals – agree that Jesus was not only without sin, he was not a criminal, and did not break any immigration laws. However, no one mentioned that there were no immigration laws in Jesus’ day. Borders were open.
Not satisfied with the support of her fellow evangelicals, Pastor White went on to prove her point with a Bible lesson:
“It may surprise people to know the Bible uses two different words for immigrant…. the book of Exodus [says], "You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt," the Hebrew word used here is ger. Sojourners were those immigrants who followed established immigration conventions of the time and were granted recognized standing, receiving many of the same benefits as citizens. But those immigrants in the Bible who did not follow immigration standards or customs – and therefore did not receive recognized standing – are described simply as foreigner, or nekhar and zar in the Hebrew.
The Bible account says Jesus and his family fled to Egypt to escape King Herod, who saw Jesus' birth as a threat to his power and wanted to kill him. Since Jesus and his parents are referenced here as sojourners or ger, and since they returned to Israel once Herod died and the danger had abated, it's reasonable to conclude his parents followed the conventions of their time and were "legal immigrants" for all intents and purposes.”
First Pastor White talks about the Hebrew Bible’s use of the term ger. She claims this referred to “immigrants who followed established immigration conventions of the time and were granted recognized standing, receiving many of the same benefits as citizens.” This is wrong. Ger is Hebrew for a resident alien in the land of Israel. Gentiles living in the holy land were required to keep the laws specified in the Book of Leviticus. God commanded that both Jews and resident aliens follow these laws in order to keep the Holy Land holy.
Pastor White went on to say that when Jesus’ family went to Egypt to escape Herod, they were called gers. Needless to say, this was not one of the stories from the Hebrew Bible. It is from the gospels of the New Testament, and in fact, only appears in the Gospel of Matthew – the other three gospels know nothing of this story. Now the New Testament, including the Gospel of Matthew, was written in Greek. Jesus and his family were never called gers in Egypt. Furthermore, even if Matthew were written in Hebrew, the term would not apply.
In other words, Pastor White is both ignorant and deceitful – bearing false witness, in biblical terms. It is hard to know where the ignorance leaves off and the dishonesty begins, but no doubt they are both well represented.
But this bit of ignorance and deceit is not the worst of it. Pastor White – and all the other pastors who responded to her – assumed that President Trump was only tearing apart the families of illegal immigrants. This is false. Again, it is hard to say where ignorance leaves off and dishonesty begins. Nearly all the victimized families were legal applicants for asylum – like Jesus in the Bible story, refugees fleeing persecution and legally applying for residence in the United States. Not only did Pastor White get the Bible story wrong, she got the current immigration story wrong.
Donald Trump has known Pastor White for many years. He did a careful job of shopping around for a spiritual advisor, and selected one who is both ignorant and dishonest. Just as he avoids physical exercise which challenges the body, he also avoids spiritual challenges. With Pastor White, he can rest at ease, remaining ignorant and dishonest.