Monday, June 25, 2018

Many Preaching Immigration Morality are Acting Unethically - Rabbi Aryeh Spero

by Rabbi Aryeh Spero

None of the hysteria and condemnation that went on this past week was necessary.

There is a never-ending blitzkrieg from the media to topple President Trump. Based on what we've observed during the last two years, there's no doubt that the "separation of families" barrage was an effort orchestrated by the media. It brought together the Four Horsemen for a Trump Apocalypse: the Democratic Party; the Deep State; the NeverTrumps; and left-wing organizations, especially those purporting to speak in the name of religion.

One: After the face of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi, ridiculed Jeff Sessions for previously quoting the Bible, she then used the Bible for justifying her "special" brand of caring about "families" – in contrast, she asserted, to Jeff Sessions and others she considers "religious hypocrites" for not allowing open borders and easy and swift entry for all families and children wishing to reside in America. I have no doubt that Mr. Sessions and Mr. Trump do care about families, as much as Nancy Pelosi does. Indeed, as conservatives, they are far less inclined than liberals to take children from parents and place them in the custody of the "enlightened" state, as those on the left often propose.

What about families? Even Nancy Pelosi should know that government's first duty is to protect and defend America's existing families. Today, that means seriously checking, at the borders, all who may possibly be a member of MS-13, a jihadi terrorist, a criminal or drug dealer, or a carrier of infectious diseases, all of which have already threatened American families. We rely on the government to do this for us. Mr. Trump and Sessions are not "religious hypocrites," but men living up to their oath and doing their duty of keeping Americans safe. They are acting as those with responsibility.

In contrast to the prevailing liberal ideology, American families indeed count. That's all part of what we mean when we proclaim: America First. Compassion is not only for those outside, but those within, for those regular, law-abiding millions not part of any momentary preference group.

Instead of trying to find a solution to a national urgency inherently fraught with necessary albeit discomforting procedures, Pelosi, à la Rahm Emanuel, has exploited this crisis for her own personal ambition – namely, to regain the speaker's gavel. Worse, she overlooks the safety of our American families in her quest to import, on a grand scale, a new Democrat voting constituency. All of this is highly unethical.

Two: The Deep State was represented by former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden. He compared the temporary separation of children from parents at our southern border to the Nazi Holocaust. Yes, he tweeted that. It is an abhorrent comparison. It is knowingly wrong; it minimizes the Holocaust, and it unfairly maligns our country. It is an unethical assertion, done by a Deep-Stater who loathes the president so much as to incinerate language ethics.

The Nazis separated families as part of a first phase of forced labor and murder of Jews, an entire race. We, in contrast, are taking care of these children – probably better than they're normally taken care of – during the days of necessary investigation. No animus is intended on our part, or on the part of President Trump, A.G. Sessions, or the Dept. of Homeland Security. Mr. Hayden's offense was not simply against Holocaust-survivors, but America itself. It's unethical to make accusations that are absolutely false and purposely degrading.

Three: The NeverTrump neo-cons, who for the first time since 1980 find themselves out of the loop, also gleefully pounced this weekend on the president and attorney general. They've been unable to accept that they're no longer setting the agenda within the Republican Party. Nor should they be. The neo-cons loathe everything we love. The majority of the party's constituency believes in nationalism, fair trade, and placing America first. They don't. Most of the party is no longer enamored of foreign nation-building, globalism, and sacrificing American jobs on the altar of international social engineering. The neo-cons are.

Most neo-cons are former Democrats from the East Coast and will forever feel more comfortable around academics and theoreticians than around blue-collar, hands-on regular Joes. They latch on to and advance anything that will smear and bring down the president in the hopes of restoring their big-shot status, as well as the perks, relevance, and power that go with it.

Four: Some left-wing organizations calling themselves religious, but who are more so socialist, condemned the president for not "welcoming the stranger." In fact, years back, Barack Obama quoted the Scripture passage "Thou shall not afflict the stranger" as justification for shooting down anyone who disagreed with his borders-as-sieve policy and granting a full basket of entitlements to all who come here, even illegally. But welcoming the stranger refers to individuals, not an invasion of millions...certainly not a calculated importation of millions to swell the voting ranks of the liberal party. It's about treating decently a stranger temporarily in the land, not about making it easy for would-be terrorists, gangs, and criminals to blithely enter. Nor is it about forgetting that newcomers can't come to feed and live off the sweat of others. It is not "affliction" to require standards.

Welcoming the stranger was not intended by the Bible to be a national suicide program. The Bible itself speaks of the blessing of impenetrable borders. Welcoming the stranger is a directive for not being cruel to people, or torturing them, as was the practice in many ancient societies and still practiced today against "infidels" in some modern ones.

In my own Jewish backyard, I witnessed a host of liberal Jewish organizations eagerly signing on to a letter condemning the president and the attorney general. They felt so good about themselves for doing so. They kept piling on, not taking the time to find out the facts. Forget the truth; it was a chance to show their "nobility" and, once again, demonize Trump. This frequently happens in today's Jewish organizational community. The vast majority of the non-Orthodox Jewish organizations in America are loudly anti-Trump, actually in the vanguard against him, pining for the return of Barack Obama. Their automatic assumption is that the average conservative and American is indifferent to the plight of children, the needy, strangers, or non-Americans. Self-righteousness, when used to dismiss the goodness in others, is unethical. 

None of the hysteria and condemnation that went on this past week was necessary. If there was goodwill and respect from the left, leftists would have realized we all want what is proper and responsible. Sit down with DHS and find solutions or improvements. That's the American way. Instead, they chose to demonize in the hopes of bringing down everything. But you don't measure morality by hysteria. Their hysteria does not reflect a higher morality – rather, it shows the ongoing project of low ethics.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero, a theologian and former pulpit rabbi, is author of Push Back (Evergreen) and president of Caucus for America.


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