Very grateful to be sharing over at Faithfully Magazine about why we can’t support both missions and a Muslim ban.
A group of friends—a married couple, their newborn and their two young, single friends—get three-month visas to visit the United States. They are Muslim missionaries, passionate about America and really want to share the truth of Islam with this people group. They’ve been praying over these Americans for years and speaking about them in mosques to raise support for their mission. They are so excited to share the prophet’s teachings.
They arrive in the U.S. with their three-month tourist visas and when asked by customs agents about the purpose of their visit, say they’re here to see America and visit friends. They’re not outright lying. They will go see a few museums and national parks. They just omit fundamental details about the true intention of the trip—converting lost Americans to Islam.
Perhaps they also fail to mention that they in fact intend to stay for a few years, to focus on language and culture. They would really love to start some Quran studies in the community and maybe even start a new mosque, if things go really well.
They know they will have to renew their visas in a few months, but have a plan for a few different avenues to try when the time comes. Maybe they will try to get business visas. Or, if that doesn’t work out, they could see about enrolling in a school that can fix visas for them. Sure, they might overstay their visas in the time it takes to figure this out—but, no sweat. They are working for God. He is in control. The logistics and the laws come second when you are following God.
Reading that story, you might have felt shock or outrage. America is a country of laws, after all. You might feel that people who flout immigration rules don’t deserve to stay, particularly people coming in to disrupt our traditions, beliefs and values.
Now, the above scenario is unlikely—American immigration rules are incredibly difficult to flout. Visa processing, particularly for people in the Middle East, involve rounds and rounds of screening, interviewing, evidence checking and cross-checking. But replace our hypothetical Muslim missionaries with Christian missionaries and swap the United States with an African or Middle Eastern nation, and you’ve just described the basic operating procedure for a large number of Christian organizations—missionaries, evangelists and service teams. This includes me, as well.
When it comes to Christian missions and service, we grant ourselves benefits we would deny others, and flout rules abroad that we fervently demand adherence to at home. We are immigration hypocrites.
Continue reading over at Faithfully Magazine.