Every Man and Woman is the Image of God/ Immigration
It can not be disputed that in the recent past, immigration has been a thorny issue as various individuals are ascertained to be in the country illegally. The church respects the legal position in this regard and it values the right of the country to protect its physical borders by providing security and enforcing relevant immigration laws. The church also accords individuals an equal regard irrespective of their social or/ and immigration status. From a Christian view point, an immigrant is not only a person that deserves to be respected as prescribed by the law but is also an individual who gives a Christian the responsibility to care for the same. Relative biblical teachings assert that strangers should be welcomed. This paper provides an explicit explanation of how every man and woman needs to be treated as God’s image in light of immigration.
Immigrants grapple with various challenges that range from discrimination, poverty, emotional pain and loss of loved ones to injustice and contempt. There is therefore an urgent need to alter this and accord them a humane environment because of the fact that they are a representation of God’s image. This is entirely influenced by biblical teachings that assert that an alien needs to be given humane treatment and not molested. Immigrants in this regard are likened to the experience of Joseph Mary and Jesus in Egypt as they fled from the fury of Herod (CCK 2). Various factors influence the refugees to flee their home area. Irrespective of these, Christianity demands that protection and love needs to be extended to them. This requires change of attitude towards the same and perception of them as God’s image, rather than refugees.
In order to attain this state of affairs, the church has worked relentlessly to educate the masses regarding the status of refugees. Particular areas of concern in this regard have been to create awareness about the hostile conditions of the countries of origin and why going back would compromise their wellbeing. Of great reference however has been to inform the public regarding the need to protect the dignity of the immigrants by providing them with vital care.
In addition, the church has worked unceasingly to inform the relevant authority of the inalienable rights of the immigrants including their rights to seek for security beyond their borders. In this regard, the church equates immigrants to the children of God whom Christ died for. Notably, he did not discriminate but died for the sins of every individual so that they could be delivered from their sinful nature. Likewise, the nationals need to treat immigrants in a similar manner regardless of their immigration status.
In addition, it has established refugee services programs that provide the needed care to the refugees. It has liaised with numerous volunteers to set up apartments that provide the immigrants with shelter. In addition, its volunteers provide important services that include orientation of the refugees to their new environment and providing day care services for them while they learn English language. Further, this institution mobilizes aid and donations that are usually in form of food, furniture, clothing and sanitary items. Other important services include cultural consultation that enables the immigrants to fit within the local community and adapt to the new culture with ease.
Further, they offer numerous social outreach programs. These constitute electrical engineering, carpentry, computer training, legal services and family counseling. In addition, they provide the refugees with a comprehensive health program that addresses their specific health needs. Notably, these are achieved through close partnerships and collaborations with the various social agencies. Most recently, the church has contemplated deploying pastoral officials who come from a similar background as the refugees to these areas. This is in a bit to enhance dialogue and ensure that the immigrants are comfortable.
Also, considering the fact that most of them come from Spanish speaking nations, the church offers Spanish classes to the same (CCK 5). This not only increases their level of literacy but also eases communication amongst them. In addition, it is an indication of respect of the culture of the immigrants. All these efforts are considered to be a fulfillment of spiritual obligation and responsibility of perceiving one as God’s image and treating the same in a humane manner. Most importantly, the church and other citizens are advocating for amendment of the immigration policy. This would ensure that the immigrants are accorded fair treatment by the legal personnel.
It is the responsibility of the state, church and individual to ensure that immigrants are respected and given the relevant care and protection. Irrespective of the fact that the country needs to enforce its laws and secure its borders, it is also imperative that it perceives the immigrants as God’s children. In particular, they need to be considered as an image of God and treated as such. Religious studies assert that all individuals need to be treated equally and none should be discriminated against. In addition, it accords the natives a responsibility to care for the aliens and forbids the former from mistreating and molesting immigrants. Classic examples of such treatment from the bible include the treatment of the Israelites as well as Jesus, Mary and Joseph in foreign lands.
CCK (2006). Every Individual is a Representation of God’s Image. Retrieved, 23rd February, 2010, from: http://www.ccky.org/Pastoral%20Resources/Immigration%20Series/2006%20Every%20Man%20and%20Woman%20is%20the%20Image%20of%20God%20%20FINAL.pdf