The Repeal of DACA and the Culture of Death
“…for a nation, to be given the children of another nation for free, without even having to go to war, is one of the greatest blessings God would bestow.”
– Strangers At Our Door, Zygmunt Bauman
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Welcome to Episode 60 of Axe to the Root Podcast, part of the War Room Productions, I am Bo Marinov, and for the next 30 minutes we will be talking about how a nation acts when it is optimistic and believes in life and the future; and, conversely how a nation acts when it is pessimistic about the future and it worships death. There will be some sound Biblical theology in our talk, and there will be some specific application of that theology to the most recent developments in American political and legislative life. Specifically, to President Trump’s repeal of the DACA Program, or, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. Of course, Trump’s actions won’t be in focus here; covenantal thinking rejects the notion that any politician or legislative attempt have any strategic significance for the Kingdom of God. After all, all human legislation only follows the hearts of the people. Therefore the strategic significance lies with the hearts of the people in the nation, and in this case, specifically with the hearts of the millions of so-called “conservatives” and church-goers in America.
For those inside and outside the United States who don’t know what DACA is, in short: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program is an immigration policy which gives immigration authorities discretion to not prosecute illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as minors by their parents. Now, the program has received a lot of criticism by conservatives, and most of it has been based on myths about the program – because, as we all know, American conservatives are just as irrational and schizophrenic as American leftists, and they eagerly believe every myth their news sources throw at them. So let me first dispel some of these myths. First, the program did not give money or welfare to illegal immigrants; it only deferred action on their deportation; in fact, if anything, more than 95% of the adult participants in the program are employed. Second, the program has nothing to do with amnesty; amnesty is a pardon for a violation. But minors brought to the US by their parents have not committed a violation; they have acted under compulsion. And the US Penal Code chapter 8 point 5(e) declares that acting under compulsion constitutes a defense against legal liability. Thus, those conservatives that scream that we are a nation of laws need to take seriously those laws and acknowledge that minors brought to the states by their parents are not legally liable. Therefore DACA can’t be related to amnesty. Third, the program doesn’t demonstrate that the Democrats want open borders. To the contrary, the program was part of a larger effort, the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants, more than ever before. Yes, the Obama administration effectively deported more immigrants than all previous administrations together, proving once again that immigration restrictions – contrary to the babbling of brain-washed conservatives – are actually a leftist ideology and policy. Fourth, the program is not an additional expense; in fact, the real purpose of its introduction was a decrease of spending. Deportations are expensive, and millions of them made the immigration act the most expensive single federal law in the US for the last one decade, costing the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars over the course of just a few years. The purpose of DACA was to lighten the financial burden on the several departments and the court system, which it did. With 850,000 DACA recipients and an average cost of $11,000 per deportation (only the direct, official cost; who knows what the real total cost is), this is a reduce of spending of about $10 billion. Given that close to 95% of the recipients of DACA are employed, we don’t even know what the cost to the economy would be by such an abrupt removal of close to a million of trained and experienced workers. (By the way, why are we so eager to give to other countries workers whose training and education we paid for? Isn’t that stupid?) And, fifth, DACA is not a path to citizenship. It only grants work permitsbut leaves the immigration status of the person undecided, and therefore can’t be used to grant citizenship. Citizenship is not granted to non-immigrant work-permit holders. These people’s legal status will remain unclear for the rest of their lives. They will be allowed to work, and they will also be taxed like everyone else, but they will never be represented. They will be the true modern example of taxation without representation. All these are legal facts. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge them but simply parrots media mythologies, doesn’t really understand the situation, and doesn’t really believe in laws, his screams to the contrary notwithstanding.
But our purpose here is not to explain the technical characteristics of DACA or to defend it against myths and misconceptions. The Axe to the Root Podcast is about giving a Biblical, covenantal analysis of situations like this, and smash to pieces the idols of the culture that make Americans adopt and support anti-Biblical ideologies and practices. And we want to talk here about the covenantal, that is, ethical/judicial nature of this case. We want to see what the Bible says specifically about this case.
But does the Bible speak specifically on the case of DACA? I mean, we know it speaks on the issue of immigration, and I have three lectures on immigration plus a Q&A session on Reconstructionist Radio. But that is general on immigration. Is there anything specific about DACA, that is, about minors who were brought to our country by their parents, and are left in a position where they don’t have legal status in any country whatsoever, whether it was the country of their parents or the US?
The Bible actually speaks on the issue of foreign children. Not in the technical legal lingo of modern secularist America, but in the language of God’s Covenant. And what it says is very important to us as American Christians today. And, given our practices on this issue, and given our general presuppositions that are behind those practices, the overall worldview that controls our policies today, what the Bible says is very condemning of us American Christians.
Before we start our analysis, we need to look at DACA and the case it covers for it really is: It has to do with children. It has to do with children born to foreigners, that is, by birth belonging to a foreign nation, but delivered by their parents to serve the United States, to adopt its culture, and contribute to its society, and that without the hope of ever becoming citizens, given the existing laws. It doesn’t have to do with adults who have broken some law – now, I believe that the immigration laws are both un-Biblical and unconstitutional – but whatever you may believe about these laws, we are not talking about adults here. We are talking about children. Specifically, about children belonging to another nation but brought to the US to serve the American society.
The best place to start our analysis is Deuteronomy 28. (Could there be a better place to start than God’s covenant blessings and judgments?) There is a very specific text there about sons and daughters. It says the following:
Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and yearn for them continually; but there will be nothing you can do (Deut. 28:32).
This is in the second section of Deut. 32, the section with God’s promised curses for disobedience. The text is clear. For a nation, it is a curse to lose its sons and daughters to another nation. Moses here, of course, speaks to the families of Israel, but he is also speaking of the whole nation; by threatening them with the curse of their children taken away in captivity, he is threatening them with the destruction of their future. After all, if our house is on fire, what’s the first thing we try to save out of the flames? Isn’t it our children before everything else? Why the children? Because they define our future. And, as we postmillennialists have said so many times, your eschatology, your concept of the future defines everything you do today. (As Gary DeMar remarked once, it is not true that the present determines the future; the truth is, the future determines the present.) It is bad enough when a family grows old and they never had children, that is, never had future; witness the troubles of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. It must be even worse when they had children, and there was a promise of a glorious future, and those children were taken away from them. This, in fact, was the ultimate test of faith for the father of all who believe: surrender your future and your hopes to God. And this was the topic of a whole book in the Bible, the book of Job, where a man’s faith was tested by taking away his children. Obviously, there is something in losing one’s children that makes it worse than even death; after all, Job and Abraham were not tested through death threats, but by taking away their children. To have never had children, or to have had them but see them taken away, must be a terrible ordeal. But stop and consider this: How much more terrible would it be to not only see them taken away, but also given to your enemies, to become their servants and their future?
In case someone didn’t get the message, Moses repeated the same curse just a few verses down. In verse 41, he says it again:
You shall have sons and daughters but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity.
A curse repeated twice is not to be ignored without heavy consequences. But then he upped the ante. Children are again mentioned, but this time not as being taken in captivity, but as being dead. No, not just dead as in killed, but in a form that is the worst of the worst. A whole section, several verses (53 through 57), is devoted to a detailed gory presentation of Israel eating her own children because of starvation. It’s not just about losing their children to the enemy – where the children will still have some future, like Daniel and his friends – it is about Israel so devastated by judgment that the parents would willingly destroy their own future by eating their own children.
Behind this repetition of a threat – to lose their children to the enemy – and the detailed description of a picture worthy of a horror movie or heavy metal lyrics (although, having listened to hundreds of heavy metal songs, I can’t remember anything as bloody as Deut. 28:53-57), behind all this, there is a principle: in a covenantal worldview, children are an enormous asset, and losing them to another nation is a curse. A curse so terrible and so significant, that it deserved being mentioned three times in the list of curses in Deuteronomy 28.
Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman.
Ps. 113:9 repeats the same promise. Whence would these children come from to a barren woman? It should be obvious: the children of the married woman will be given to her, for the antithesis is between the barren woman and the married woman. The barren woman is told to rejoice, for the children of another will be hers. This was, in fact, also a promise of the Gospel; New Covenant evangelism is supposed to be a massive transfer of children from the pagan nations to the Church of God. It is for this reason Paul and other authors in the New Testament insist to call their readers “my children” (see John 13:33; 1 Cor. 4:14; 2 Cor. 6:13; Gal. 4:19; 1 John 2:1; 3 John 4, and many others). The growth of the church in the New Testament era is nothing less than a massive collection of spoils; the pagan world is robbed of its children, who become children of God. Such robbing was imaged as a shadow in the Old Testament as well, in the laws of warfare in Deut. 20 (see. v. 14), women and children were supposed to be spared and taken as “booty.” Now, what was to be done with the children? Use them as slaves? Build a government slave army of captive children, like in Babylon and Persia? No. Israel didn’t have such centralized government. Captive women were to be taken as wives and incorporated into Israel’s families, as is clear by the next chapter in Deuteronomy (21:11-14); the text specifically forbids treating women in captivity as slaves. This should lead us to the conclusion that captive children were to be adopted as children and incorporated into Israel’s families. They were to become an inheritance of Israel and part of her future. And this was another shadow of the glorious future of the New Testament church which would rob the pagan world of its future, and would appropriate that future for itself. “All things belong to you,” Paul said in 1 Cor. 3:21-22, including the future.
God’s laws of warfare to Israel were not an encouragement for Israel to aggressively attack other nations and steal their children, of course; kidnapping was a capital crime. The nations around Israel, however, were busy attacking others and stealing and kidnapping each other’s children as well, as a form of perverse blessing they were trying to earn for themselves. Joseph’s brothers sold him to traders while he was still a child; In Ex. 10:10, Pharaoh was outraged that Moses and Aaron wanted to leave with their little children; so outraged, in fact, that he exclaims, “Take heed, for evil is in your mind!”, an exclamation he uses only in regard to children, and nothing else. He got his reward later, of course, when all the first-born in Egypt were slain. The policy of subjugating conquered nations by kidnapping their children to be assimilated we can get from the Book of Daniel; and from historical sources. The practice remained common among pagan cultures till very late in history. Gypsies were still known to steal children by the end of the 19th century; and missionaries in New Guinea reported to have solved the problem with the constant inter-tribal wars and cannibalism by turning that custom into the custom of “peace children”: mutual exchange of infants between several tribes in an area with the purpose of preventing them from wars.
The New Testament church took this principle very seriously. It was in Christendom that for the first time, orphanages were organized, both by the church and by private philanthropists. The purpose was clear: to preserve the children of the society a future productive members of that society, instead of losing them to physical or spiritual death. But even before there were orphanages, in the dark ages of Roman persecution, Christians literally snatched the children of pagans from the jaws of death. In the Roman empire, there were designated dumping grounds where the undesired infants were thrown to die of exposure. They were the Roman equivalent to the modern abortion mills Christians started visiting those hellish places (by the way, the Hebrew word for “hell,” gehinnom, comes from the name of the valley in Jerusalem where the Kings of Israel used to throw children in the fire as a sacrifice), and by visiting those hellish places, Christians started rescuing as many babies as they could. The practice was so successful in growing the church that some regional governors forbade Christians from saving babies from the heaps. Christians, however, continued, until the very practice of abortion was abolished.
The general Biblical principle in this regard should be clear to all who know their Bibles and use the name of Christ: For a nation, it is a curse to lose its children to another nation, for whatever reason they have to do it, military defeat or economic disaster. Conversely, for a nation to be given the children of another nation for free, without even having to go to war, is one of the greatest blessings God would bestow. It means that God is still interested in that nation’s future, and wants to invest in it all the assets of the nations. Such blessing in history is part of the blessing promised to New Jerusalem in Rev. 21:24, that “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” The same verse repeated several times in several different ways in the Old Testament, speaks of gifts, wealth, riches, etc. Children in the Bible, as we know, are all of it: riches, wealth, glory, etc. When the other nations are giving you their children, your nation still has hope. What the church is obligated to do is take these children and make them into its own children – mindful of what they were saved from, committed to conquer the world for Christ. Imagine if a donor came to your church and dropped a million-dollar check without asking for anything in return. Would your church reject such blessing. Well, having children of others given to you as your children and your inheritance is more valuable than all the money in the world. And rejecting such a blessing is rejecting a blessing from God Himself.
And, listen to this: there is no reason for a nation to reject God’s blessing unless – unless – that nation has adopted an anti-God worldview.
Most of my listeners have probably heard my lectures on immigration which I delivered several years ago at the Church of the King in McAllen TX. The place was providentially the most appropriate place for such lectures, for at the time, McAllen was in the center of an immigration so-called “crisis.” The “crisis” consisted of tens of thousands of children from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala who had embarked on the long trip from the southern to the northern border of Mexico using the Mexican railroads, hoping for a chance to enter the United States and remain there. Some were so young that it was clear that their parents back had arranged to pool them together and organize the trip using criminal channels. Such migration has been around for years; it has never been anything new. The “triangle” of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras has always been a hellhole of violence and poverty, with the local people being systematically uprooted and exterminated by governments and crime gangs alike (both supported in one way or another by the US government; it is only natural that, in their powerlessness to change their situation, the local people would prefer to send their children far away, hoping for a chance for them have a better life, rather than keep them home to a life of guaranteed slavery and misery. If anything was unusual in 2014, when the crisis happened, was the increase in the number of such children coming from that region: an increase of about 100%, which caught the border authorities unprepared.
How did America respond to this situation? Actually, how did the church in America respond to that situation? Did it respond Biblically, with joy that our nation has been blessed by God to acquire the inheritance of other nations? Did it at least respond with joy that, at the very least, we are blessed to have the opportunity to rescue these children from the curse of their land, adopting them and raising them to be Christians first, then Americans, and then use them to evangelize the world, as the early church did? Did we open our hearts and homes to these children?
No. At the time, the vast majority of American Christians and conservatives in general were screaming in terror that such a presence of 70,000 Honduran children (70,000, that is, 0.02%, that’s two-hundredths of one percent of the US population) was a clear sign of a plot for the destruction of America. These are all children under 14 years of age, most of them malnourished, many sick and dehydrated from the long trip in box cars across Mexico, all desiring nothing more than to have some food, water, and peace. When I talked to a federal worker at one of the temporary shelters, she told me that she had seen 10-12 yo kids who just wanted to get a job to sustain themselves, because most didn’t hope to be able to find their relatives. She said they were very disappointed that the laws in the US do not allow 10-12-year-olds to have gainful employment. It is of such kids that the brave and the free Christians and conservatives weer scared to death, because surely these kids must have come to destroy America, right? I heard at the time ridiculous, insane theories of global leaders who used that as a clever plot to change the face of America forever, and I saw thousands of Christians and conservatives believing those theories, and demanding that the kids are deported back to wherever they came from, even though we don’t even know how to find their parents, nor do we know if their parents are alive in the first place. “Whatever,” a blogger said, “just deport them and drop them there, let them find their parents, we are not responsible for them.” And there was no negative reaction to what he said. With over 300,000 Protestant congregations in America, there are 4-5 congregations to every one of these children who were caught in the middle of that crisis. In the final account, it was the federal government that worked to provide for these kids shelter, food, and to find their relatives in the US, and for those who had none, to find foster families. Can you imagine how low we have fallen, if faceless government bureaucrats take care of children, while the Church is screaming bloody hell against those same children? How does that compare to the practice of the early church in the Roman Empire, where the church saved and adopted the babies, often against the resistance of the Empire? And we wonder today why the church has lost her influence in our culture, and why the culture is increasingly secularized? God makes the nations give us their most precious inheritance; instead of adopting it and turning into an arsenal for the Kingdom of God, we are turning our backs on it.
OK, granted, this case was a bit extreme; real but extreme nevertheless, and it caught the whole nation off-guard. Although, I am not sure what was so hard to figure out: the children couldn’t be returned back home without putting their lives at risk, therefore they were to be raised in the US, in one way or another. (Although, keep in mind, the federal government has some history in abandoning deported children in the Mexican desert to die; read up on Operation Wetback under the Eisenhower administration.) But even if this case was a bit extreme, the case with the children brought here by their parents shouldn’t be that hard to figure out. These children have grown up in the US; culturally, they are Americans. Many of them don’t even speak the original language of their parents, or speak it very poorly. They have been educated here in the US. (And, please, don’t tell me someone else paid for their education; education is paid for by property taxes. Everyone who owns a house or pays rent pays for the public schools; this kind of tax doesn’t depend on your immigration status.) But even if the taxpayers have paid for their education, what stupidity is it to demand that such investment should be wasted by giving it to another country? I mean, where is the end of conservative schizophrenia? We have paid for the education of an immigrant child, and instead of doing it the good old Christian conservative way, give her the opportunity to work for us and pay back, we are donating her to another country, wasting her talent and our investment in the process??? Aren’t we complete idiots? It’s not just the immorality, that we have rejected the blessing of God in being given that child, it’s also the stupidity of throwing away our own capital together with the blessing. Forget about the Queen of the South and the people of Nineveh; I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pharaoh of the Exodus is present at the judgment of this generation of American Christians and conservatives.
And don’t forget, while in the more extreme case – the Honduran children – the church still had to sacrifice something by adopting the children, in the DACA case even that is not needed, first, because they already have their families here, and, second, because they are all perfectly integrated and capable of surviving and working in the American society. And we are still asking for a solution that is both immoral and stupid?
The obvious question now is, why we, the American church, being so knowledgeable in the Bible, having all these fancy seminaries and ministries and pulpits and celebrities, knowing well what a blessing from God is . . . why are we kicking against these blessings, again?
There can be only one possible answer to this: our worldview, as the church in America, has become detached from the worldview of the Bible. In fact, so detached, that it has become a cult of death. To love having children, to welcome getting more children, to rejoice in appropriating the children of the nations requires a worldview that celebrates life and has fearless, optimistic expectations of the future. It requires placing the value of life high above the value of man-made order; life, as Dennis Peacocke said in one of his lectures many years ago, is a messy thing (think of the mess in the room when a baby is delivered), while perfect order is found only in death. Just the news of having another child on the way is always a shock for the parents; and for the parents to embrace it as a good news, their minds have to be captive to a perspective that views life as constantly and inevitably growing, increasing, and filling the universe with more and more life. That’s why we don’t define biological life by the biochemical processes in the body; such processes can be replicated in the dead and sterile setting of the laboratory. For life to be present, there has to be a constant drive to reproduction, multiplication, growth, more than anything else – to the point that organisms are willing to sacrifice other functions just to ensure reproduction. It is for this reason that the Bible calls men who are still alive but incapable of producing children, “as good as dead.” Abraham in his old age, for example, is called in Heb. 11:12, nekrow, that is, “mortified, as if dead,” on account of the fact that he was too old to have children. You don’t rejoice over a new child unless you love life with a savage, uncontrollable, irrational, ecstatic love; anything else than such overwhelming love will make you focus only on the mess of having another life form around, and you will prefer to reject the blessing of God.
Thus, the only explanation for the rejection of those children is that in the American churches, and among American conservatives, there isn’t such love for life as the Bible prescribes. But where there is no love for life, there is a love for death. Adam and Eve could have eaten from the Tree of Life; by going to the other tree instead, they chose death. That death didn’t come because they wanted to die, but because they were not ultimately committed to life. The cult of death doesn’t need rituals of human sacrifices to flourish – it can flourish everywhere where life is not unconditionally embraced as the ultimate value. Unbelievers don’t openly hate life; but by rejecting the offer of eternal life, they eventually get death, and that eternal. Thus, when our society doesn’t value the blessing of having more children – actually, of having even the children of its enemies delivered to it for assimilation – our society demonstrates that it doesn’t value life, and therefore loves death. It is a death cult that controls our American churches, not the life of the Gospel. Our attitude to God’s blessings is a good testimony to that.
Of course, we don’t need to look at DACA to know that our culture today is in the grip of a death cult; all we need to do is look at the abortion mills in this country, at the fervor with which politicians and police defend them against abolitionists, and at the apathy of the churches who sometimes stand right across the street from abortion mills. And, of course, it is apathy from the pulpit and the ordinary members, but also active participation by the daughters of these congregations – several studies show that a good portion of churched girls have had an abortion. If their churches had and preached a gospel of life, that wouldn’t have happened. For these girls to be so unconcerned about the murders they commit, and for their parents to be so apathetic to the evil of abortion., it means that the pulpits have served a death cult, and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And indeed, often you will hear the opponents of DACA, or of immigration in general, use the same argument as abortionists: “We have too many people, we can’t take care of more.” The enemies of God have been using this argument ever since the French Revolution. The bloody French revolutionaries in the 1790s had a theory that France could only feed so many people, and therefore millions must die so that there is enough food for the rest. Yes, the revolutionary terror was deliberately based on such “calculations.” The Nazis fought for Lebensraum, that is, “living space,” because their ideology told them that there were too mane people – or, subhuman beings – on the planet. Communism and modern environmentalism have the same ideology of demographics. And when it comes to children and especially immigrant children, the majority of American Christians and conservatives have the same ideology: “We have too much life here; we can’t afford to bring in more life.” It’s a worship of death.
In one of his lectures, R.J. Rushdoony mentions the immigration policies of the first Christian settlers in America, the Puritans and the Pilgrims. Their policy was open borders. They were willing to take in even the criminals of other nations: so deep was their faith and so great their worship of God, that they did not expect that anyone who reached their shores would remain untouched by the redemption and life of Jesus Christ. Bringing children was even higher on the list of priorities: When you read the list of the passengers on the Mayflower, keep in mind that there were a number of children from poor families who came over not with their families but as indentured servants of other families. Their support, of course, cost money and effort – although the children were still expected to work – but those early American Christians were willing to invest in children, because they valued and honored life. That honor of life, transferred from generation to generation, was what made America great. And the death cult of our generation will destroy her, if we don’t destroy the cult first.
In the final account, God has given us a blessing. He has brought to us the children of the nations. Children, who, if they stayed in their own country, could have been wasted lives, and may be turned into enemies of the US by their upbringing and education. By being brought to America by their parents, these children were delivered for education to us, so that we turn them into our allies and brothers. Such blessing is not common; it is very special. And yet, we have rejected it, and we have called for their return. We can have more life here, but we want less – and we want less life in every single area, including our own children whom we murder in the womb, thousands a day. We are ripe for judgment.
The book I will assign this week is Strangers at Our Door, by Zygmunt Bauman. You will have to use discernment, for not everything in Bauman’s worldview and practical ideology is commendable. But what you need to pay attention to, in the book, is his documenting how the political class in the West created and maintains the culture of panic and fear of the refugees and other migrants, with the purpose of expanding the power of the state over the minds of its subjects. Those today who are still captive to that fear and panic, are the easiest to manipulate for the purposes of the political elite . . . for their own safety and security, of course.
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