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Drowning in Compassion
Confronting the misnomers of mass immigration
Being that Canada has already agreed to receive several million immigrants over the next few years, now seems as good a time as any to talk about whether we should have. As Christians, we especially need to improve in this area — talking, that is. In adopting a hands-off approach to culture and culture-formation for the last fifty years, the church has done a fairly good job at embodying the mettle of a 1970’s black velvet painting and a fairly terrible job at preserving anything worthwhile. We thought the pork shoulder would be fine — better in fact — left to fend for itself at room temperature. Which explains why it’s now riddled with maggots.
In case we missed it, culture is subject to the same bondage to decay as radishes and havarti cheese. Throughout history, God manifests His grace not just in saving a people out of the world, but in then unleashing them back into the world as preserving agents. The world has always been in desperate need of gospel-preservation; no less in our own time, when the general strategy seems to be to chug as much Drano as possible and hope for the best.
All of that was just a lengthy preface reiterating what Jesus already told us — “If the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” A church full of scared and defensive people is, from one angle, living in much deeper darkness than the sketchiest bath house in Montreal, because it is living in defiance of what it is. Whatever else can be said about the bath house, at least it’s being consistent.
So Christians, let’s talk about immigration. And let’s have some real talk, shall we? The kind that starts with William Riker striding up to a low-backed deck chair and swinging one of his legs over it. The kind that would produce septic shock among the ranks of political officials and apoplexy among the ranks of spiritual officials.
I hope we want to be the kind of people who aren’t just immersed in the Word, but skilled in applying the Word. So that wherever we are, and whatever we're doing, we're flinging salt everywhere like an old French chef.
What Shouldn’t Have to be Said but Does
There seems to be a growing sect of tomb-washers who are convinced we’re engaged in some kind of kinist revival project over here.
Not that it will make any difference, but I may as well go ahead and deny the charges. We would all gladly affirm with the Scriptures the unqualified rightness of extending hospitality to the stranger and foreigner. And that stopping on the road to apply some peroxide and gauze to a bleeding-out member of the Muslim brotherhood is a more pious act than avoiding him to get to church on time.
We also believe the Scriptures when they tell us that every human being on the face of the earth has inherent value — regardless of ethnicity, skin-colour, age, language, or social status. God really did make us “a little lower than the angels; crowning us with glory and honour, and placing everything under our feet.” Let all the ranks of seaweed-haired activists try and come up with a better identity than that.
I should also say that I’m not opposed to immigration itself — i.e., I am not opposed to having some kind of process by which non-natives can live and work in other countries. The key word here is process. As in — not opening up the hoover dam with nothing more than warm thoughts and prayers in place for those living downstream. In other words, the way every Western country is currently doing it.
What I’m actually opposed to is when identity politics and pragmatism pretend to be in the same league as compassion. What I’m actually opposed to is the general recklessness that increasingly seems to characterize Canadian politics. And I am against reckless immigration policies in the same way that I’m against reckless urbanization. Are cities bad in themselves? No. Is immigration bad in itself? No. They become bad when they’re led by the kind of fools who think firing a bunch of burning arrows straight up into the sky is a neat party trick (Prov. 26:18).
Stability or Bust
For society to be stable — surprise! — there needs to be stability. I’m talking law and order, reasonably-priced milk, and somewhere to ride out seven-months of frozen tundra.
The problem is that progressives, which at this time include both conservatives and liberals, don't like stability. At best it's boring. At worst — probably something to do with the patriarchy. The real reason they hate it is because it doesn't allow for the totalizing grip they need their politics to exert on people. Nor does it quite scratch the ego or incite the kind of extreme alliances like disruptive policies do. It is always to power’s advantage to make things as chaotic and uncertain as possible.
In the midst of it all are average people who are just tired of living in a perpetual crap storm. There goes Dave, who’s upset that his favourite breakfast diner has been replaced by two mosques and a halal meat market. There goes Anna, who is upset because she can’t understand why the gas-teller can’t make change from a fifty. There goes Jeff, who is upset that the only apartment he can afford not only looks lived-in by rats, but is probably built and managed by rats as well. And honestly, it’s hard to blame people who just don’t want to get hit in the face with feces anymore.
Progressives, of course, want us to believe that Dave is possessed by the same recessive racist genes that first dwelt in his great grand-pappy, who once hired a housekeeper named Eliza. But Dave is not a racist. Dave just can't understand why he suddenly feels like a stranger in his own city, why he has nowhere to live, and why he can’t comprehend the sounds coming out of the drive-through speaker.
Speaking of comprehension, here’s another thing that progressives don’t seem able to understand. People generally prefer to be around people like them. Of course there’s exceptions — wonderful, glorious exceptions — and all the more for those who are one in Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, this is still generally true of most people. And if you think this is racist, or narrow-minded, or even evil, you’re not actually progressive. You’re just ignorant.
When God divided the single, homogenous race at Babel, it wasn’t by accident that “they then scattered [. . .] over all the earth” (Gen. 11:8). The scattering wasn’t an unexpected perk — it was the intended design. To this day, people generally want to live and work next to people who understand them, laugh at the same things they do, and enjoy the same blend of spices on their food. This isn’t unique to “white culture” either. Assuming they have the choice, take a look at which people those from other countries want to hang out with; mostly, it’s people like them. It’s not selfish. It’s not racist. It’s what hubris did to all of us.
To suddenly welcome hundreds of cultures into an already strained infrastructure, with zero expectations of conformity to the host culture, isn’t just to open the door to instability. It’s to give it a guest room and a house key. Mass immigration sashays into the room promising cheap labour and a trailer-full of Canada’s chief export: diversity. What it actually brings are riots, soaring crime rates, and widespread civil unrest. There’s also the other, inconvenient, part of this conversation which involves discussing the inevitable priorities and worldviews immigrants bring with them. But I've already flogged that horse here.
Now, can we blame someone who would rather make 100k a year than 11k a year and have most of it stolen by the government? Of course not. And if we happen to be a Christian named Dave, Anna, or Jeff, we should be on guard against projecting anger onto our fellow image-bearers who really are just trying to make a better life for themselves. But this is almost besides the point. I am not debating whether we should have mercy and compassion on immigrants (we should) but whether we can legitimately call mass immigration policies a compassionate strategy.
The argument will be made that it is necessary to “broaden the labour market.” You’d have to be blind not to notice there aren’t enough bodies to fill job vacancies, that birth rates are lower than they’ve ever been, and that, thanks to a bloated social system, fewer working-age Canadians are actually working than ever before. Oddly, there are also more dog parents and twitch streamers than ever before, which doesn’t strike me as a wierd coincidence.
That problem is that even non-working Canadians still feel they should be fed and housed (whether they should be is another matter). Which means there aren’t actually more houses to go around, which also explains why many immigrants are coming to Canada and finding there’s actually nowhere to live. And that not only is the grass not greener on the Canuck side of the fence — it’s on fire.
The freedom and prosperity the West historically enjoyed were not accidental; nor were they because we were somehow more savvy or civilized. They existed because Canada held the Bible to be true. In the Bible we find the only basis for the free market, private property, care for strangers, and what true justice and love for neighbour is supposed to look like. You can’t have a Canada or an America or a United Kingdom without a Bible; which is why no one wants to immigrate to countries that don’t have a Bible.
I am not saying Canada will best be served when a crack team of WASP’s can finally fly the Red Ensign at parliament again. Although truth be told, I’d prefer that option than the current laundry line of rags we're expected to salute. I am saying that Canada, and her citizens, will be best served when we learn to make our own bed before strutting on the world stage as some kind of universal benefactor. I am saying that Canada will be best served when our leaders stop playing pat-a-cake with globalist NGO’s and start working for the Canadians they were elected to serve.
Creating more problems in an attempt to fix the problems we already have isn’t a solution. The way to start fixing our problems is by addressing the lies that led to them in the first place — that God is irrelevant; that big families are irresponsible; that the nuclear family is outdated; that truth is subjective; and that if you don’t want to work, you should still be able to eat-out once a week. These are the cancers that are gnawing our nations to pieces.
Until we repent of these fundamental blasphemies, morale will not improve. And all our slapdash “fixes” are only going to make things worse.
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