Southern Baptists, Immigration & Ducks

“If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must be a duck.”

Despite their best efforts, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolutions Committee cannot convince some Southern Baptists (including this one) that their Immigration Resolution was not a call for the government to grant amnesty to 12-15 million “undocumented immigrants.”  That the Gospel was used as a test of whether one has true compassion for the undocumented immigrants among us makes the arguments for the passage of this Resolution all the more unconvincing and unpersuasive.  In the end, the Immigration Resolution had the walk, quack, and look of a duck (i.e., amnesty), and there was nothing that the Resolutions Committee could do to change that fact.  That they had to add a clarification “Resolved” only after a razor-thin victory on an unfriendly amendment shows just how tenuous the Immigration Resolution was from the get go.

Perhaps more than any other issue that confronted the lowest number of messengers to attend an Annual Meeting of the SBC since 1944, the Immigration Resolution not only shows the disconnect between grass-roots Southern Baptists and the leadership of the Convention, but it blows a hole in the facade of unity that was carefully orchestrated for this year’s Phoenix Convention.  I’m not sure about your church, but if I had a split vote on a major initiative, I don’t think I would view that as a unified body.  But hey, maybe that’s just me.

Like the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists, I found myself (due to illness)unable to attend any of the Annual Meeting (although I made the trip to Phoenix).  As I have read about the original Immigration Resolution that came out of the Committee and the subsequent floor fight regarding the original language and some substitute language, it has become more apparent that some within the leadership class of the SBC are moving in what can only be described as a more moderate direction — politically if not theologically.  I could not agree more with SBC Plodder, William Thorton, who said of the Immigration Resolution:

“When I read the resolution I thought that it sounded just like what the CBF would do, if they did resolutions.”

As I read the Immigration Resolution at SBCVoices (here), I had the feeling I was reading something that a moderate or left-wing political and/or religious group had come up with.  If you would have told me that this kind of Resolution would come out of an SBC Resolutions Committee — much less pass on the floor of the Convention — I would have said, “No Way!”  But, apparently there was a will and a way for this Resolution to pass.  Of course, the pink elephant in the room is that less than 3,000 messengers “spoke” for 16 million Southern Baptists.  The bad news is that this small gathering has put the SBC on record regarding immigration and amnesty (notwithstanding the “clarifying” amendment that the Committee offered).  The good news is that this Resolution has absolutely no authority over any of the 45,000+ autonomous churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.

If the Immigration Resolution would have limited itself to the Gospel and the Church’s obligation to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone — regardless of their race, ethnicity, or immigration status — then there would have been almost universal support for this Resolution not only among the assembled messengers but, the SBC at large.  Who could rationally argue that the Great Commission does not compel us to take the Gospel to the nations?  Who would try to make the case that we should not love our neighbor as ourself?  To try to argue that we are not more culturally and ethnically diverse as a nation would be irrational indeed.  But, nevertheless, these statements would have met with broad approval.

However, what almost doomed this Resolution from the beginning was the language used, including substituting a politically correct term of the left — undocumented immigrants — for the more accurate nomenclature — illegal alien or illegal immigrant.  Why are some immigrants undocumented whereas others are documented?  I guess it must be the legal documents that one should get before entering into this country.  Who knew?

Before getting to the most egregious part of the Resolution, there was one “Whereas” clause which needs more clarification:

WHEREAS, The relative invisibility of the immigrant population can lead to detrimental consequences in terms of health, education, and well-being, especially of children;

While the above “Whereas” is self-evident, what should be done in regards to the detrimental consequences in terms of “health, education, and well-being, especially of children?”  Does this mean that the states and the legal residents should pay for health and education benefits for illegal immigrants?  Should college tuition and health insurance be provided for those who are here illegally?  Should illegal immigrants have the ability to secure driver’s licenses?  It’s one thing to state the obvious.  It is quite another to talk about specific government policies which confer benefits on those who are here illegally.

The final straw for almost half the messengers in Phoenix was the fifth “Resolved” clause:

RESOLVED, That we ask our governing authorities to implement, with the borders secured, a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures, for those undocumented immigrants already living in our country;

You can call this clause whatever you like, but most people reasonably understand this language — the language used by liberal groups and pro-comprehensive immigration proponents in Congress — as one of amnesty.  In an almost evenly divided vote, 723 messengers wanted to strike the fifth “Resolved” entirely from the Resolution.  When that amendment barely lost, the Resolutions Committee apparently re-grouped and offered a “clarifying” amendment later that afternoon:

RESOLVED, That this resolution is not to be construed as support for amnesty for any undocumented immigrant; (added by amendment)

That the Committee itself offered this amendment says at least two things:  1)  They understood that the original language in the fifth “Resolved” clause could reasonably be interpreted as a call for amnesty; and, 2)  The Committee knew, that without this clarification, that the entire Immigration Resolution may have been defeated on the floor of the Convention.  Talk about an embarrassing situation.

Even though a majority of messengers ended up voting for the amendment and the overall Resolution, this entire Immigration debate in Phoenix illustrates just how divided Southern Baptists are on some of the major issues of the day (the other being our response to homosexuality within our culture).

In the end, did we really need this Resolution?  As a pastor in New Mexico, a majority Hispanic state which shares a border with Mexico, our church freely shares the Gospel in a diverse culture.  I have never once thought about asking anyone coming to church whether they were here legally or illegally.  The Gospel is the Gospel and it is to be preached to all people — regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, or immigration status.  It is simply not my job to determine anyone’s citizenship or immigration status.

However, I expect the government to secure our nation’s borders.  I expect them to determine if someone is here legally before they can obtain a driver’s license (although illegals can in New Mexico).  Living only 100 miles north of Juarez, Mexico, one of the most violent towns along our border (across the river from El Paso, TX), we should expect that the borders will be secure.  Until they are — and we’ve got along way to go — we should not even be talking about “compasionate paths to legal status” amnesty.  And for those who think that a friendly amendment offered by the Resolutions Committee to save their Immigration Resolution somehow turned the amnesty clause into an non-amnesty clause, remember:  if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must be a duck, no matter what anyone tries to tell you!


Comments

Southern Baptists, Immigration & Ducks — 31 Comments

  1. Clear. Concise. Compelling. Convincing. You, sir, are very good at this. Glad you’re feeling better. I need some advice, though. I voted against the resolution and my wife voted for it. (It sounded so compassionate!) Should I leave her at home next year when I go to New Orleans?

    • Rick,

      I think your wife sounds like mine. So often, she misses some of the politically correct language in the news or in television shows or movies. When I point it out, she is amazed and better-informed. You’ve got a year to help your wife see beyond the language to what’s really going on. It’s well worth it! :-) Hope to see you in New Orleans next year, Lord willing. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

  2. See, I postulated before the Orlando Convention that the whole GCR thing could really end up being a sort of Moderate Resurrgence, which in a way kinda surprised me because I can’t imagine cats like Akin and Mohler being soft on inerrancy or other clear biblical doctrines. I also can’t see them cooperating with folks that would reject those doctrine. But the immigration resolution was way more leftward leaning than I would have expected from the SBC.

    • Joe,

      While I was (and continue to be) opposed to the GCR, I too, like you, did not see this more moderate/liberal political drift happening. Now some may say this is much ado about nothing, but between Dr. Mohler’s comments on “homophobia” and the Immigration Resolution, I think it would be hard for anyone to argue witha straight face that these are solid, conservative positions. They certainly are not where I come from. Thanks and have a great day,

      Howell

      • From my neck of the woods, there is more left leaning than some may realize. Some of it concerns environmental issues.. Russ Moore made a blanket statement that we should not drill in the gulf in some venue…this was after the spill. He also wrote this:
        http://www.russellmoore.com/2010/06/01/ecological-catastrophe-and-the-uneasy-evangelical-conscience/

        It has some truth in it but no one wanted the spill and he gives no real solution except inferring the government was responsible for not regulating more. (Why are we drilling in the gulf so deep? Because of environmentalists!.)

        This made some local mover and shakers in Christendom here angry and they let SBTS know..

        Sometimes Deans of Theology should stick with what they know. They can have opinions but we must realize they carry a lot of weight with lots of young minds full of mush.

        And all this was on the heels of Jonathan Merritts’s SBC environmental manifesto.

        I think we are going to see more and more of this sort of thing in order to be more “relevant” to the culture. It is where culture wars lead us.

        • Lydia,

          I think you are exactly right about some of this moderate to left-leaning drift. I have been surprised at the “homophobia” language used by Dr. Mohler. Again, this is a term of the left and for a supposedly conservative seminary President to use this language and then not see anything at all wrong with using this language is baffling. Apparently Jonathan Merritt republished his article on homosexuality and “clobber” Scriptures at Huffington Post after the SBC in Phoenix. To threaten that younger evangelicals will leave churches if we don’t soften our stance on homosexuality is disconcerting. I thought that people were attracted to church because of strong — not weak — doctrine. To couple this with a more radical environmentalism and a more moderate/liberal stance on illegal immigration is an interesting development within the SBC. I’m not sure that grassroots Southern Baptists will buy what some of the elites are trying to sell. And, I thought that the Bible was always relevant. I didn’t think we had to make it relevant. I guess the Joel Osteen mentality has a stronger hold on some within the Convention than I realized. Thanks for the comments and for stopping by. God bless,

          Howell

    • Yes, but it’s not so much a theological left as it is a political left, the practical application of biblical truths that, when fleshed out into action, seem to support Democratic policies. I think our “blue state” friends believe that Southern Baptists have to be less Fox / more CNN in order to reach people up north. They want to take our conservative Southern Baptist gospel to the liberal blue states, but they want to leave our conservative Southern Baptist culture behind. Me no likey. I think keeping our conservatism consistent sends a much clearer message as to who we are and what we believe.

  3. Part of the problem with this resolution is that many of its proponents live far from the Southwest. They don’t have to pay higher taxes to their local hospital district because illegal immigrants are always using the emergency room. They don’t have to send their children to public schools where classes are disrupted by the illiterate children of illegal immigrants constantly enrolling and then leaving. They don’t have to live in neighborhoods invaded by illegal immigrants who are often noisy and sometimes violent. I am not engaging in stereotypes – I have seen of all this firsthand in communities I have lived in. The behavior of the proponents of this resolution is typical of all elitists on the issue in general – they love immigration, but don’t have to suffer any of its consequences.

    • Jeff,

      I think you hit the nail on the head regarding the proponents of this Resolution. Probably not a lot of issues with illegal immigrants in St. Matthews outside of Louisville, KY. When you have illegals who can easily obtain driver’s licenses (like in New Mexico), it puts a whole different spin on things. When you have the drug cartels coming across the border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, we will look at things differently than they will back east. That the Resolution came out so strongly in favor of amnesty (even if they didn’t use that word) should have been (and almost was) a deal breaker, but I’m not sure the Resolutions Committee even knew what the problem was. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. God bless,

      Howell

  4. What’s really sad is to see how some people are so easily fooled by the use of politically correct language of the left. There is no discussion anywhere in this country where the “undocumented workers”: are not demanding “legal status” which means full citizenship with all it’s rights and privileges. It’s disheartening to see people being fooled into using the Gospel as a tool to push forward an acceptance of what is just pure lawlessness. I saw another person ask this question. What’s the next law that millions of residents of this country can choose to just ignore because they don’t like it and then demand rewards for breaking?

    The points you made need to be made over and over. No one is against presenting the Gospel and treating your neighbor as yourself. This was just pure crass, craven politics that will only serve to further divide the Convention further.

  5. Thanks for the plug above, but I think the greater point that the resolution illustrates is that they aren’t worth anything and may cause more harm than good.

    What do you think should be done with an illegal who came to the US as an infant, who doesn’t speak Spanish, who has no family save for those in the US, who has since never been out of our borders, and whose illegal immigrant parents are killed in an automobile accident?

    • Adoption. The legalities will be tricky and expensive. The kid would be in foster homes for years or something before it is ever worked out.

      This is not so far out in thinking. I know of a person who had illegals working her farm. The mom went back for a visit leaving 2 kids behind for another illegal family to watch. The dad took off and the other illegal family moved on to work another farm further south. The farm owner is now raising the 2 kids and trying to get custody, legally. Thing is, you have to have some serious money to be able to do adopt. It has to be proven there is no family who will take them in. The farm owners went through the process of being foster parents so they could keep them while the legalities are being worked out. You have the other problem that the mom might come back anytime…although she has been gone for 2 years.

    • William,

      Your example is one that illustrates the axiom, “Hard cases make bad law.” If, in your example, the only family that the boy has live in the U.S. AND are legal residents of the U.S., then I think you would try to legally place the boy with his relatives, notwithstanding his previous illegal status. But, you do at least have to bring him into the legal system and give him proper legal documents through the court system that would place him with his relatives. There will always be exceptions, but those who are here illegally — particularly those who commit crimes — should be deported back to their country of origin. Families who have some members who are legal and some who are illegal will need to be considered on a case by case basis, but I am generally not in favor of a blanket amnesty program (“compassionate path to legal citizenship”) for all 12-15 million illegals. Of course, if the borders were secure, we could begin to talk about specific policies, but until the borders are secure, then comprehensive immigration reform should not even be on the table. Why the Resolutions Committee called for amnesty (which is what they did, even if they did not use the word) is perplexing, but when you have folks that live in states far from the SW border states, I suppose that is bound to happen. Thanks for the comments. God bless,

      Howell

      • The kid’s parents were illegals. now they are dead illegals. What should be done with the teenager who is an illegal?

        Those who say deport all the illegals cannot be taken seriously. Those who say deny all the illegals any public services cannot be taken seriously. It is a complicated problem that demands a complicated solution.

        That said. How about the SBC in session stay out of the latest hot button issues.

  6. Excellent thoughtful post. The resolution was positively tortured in language. Which is why whole threads were devoted to parsing the resolution! Talk about confusing! Which is exactly how political liberals talk. But now, it is taken even further…if you want the borders sealed and the law enforced, you are mean and hateful and have no compassion.

    As one who has done some consulting projects in public schools, I was a bt stunned to find non English speaking 5th graders who grew up in this country as children of illegals. There is something wrong with that picture. While I can see where we need compassion, the English speaking kids were disrupting class while the teacher was trying to get the non English kids on track. The teacher told me this is every day and these kids have had ESL since Kindergarten. It is not working and the main reason is the parents do not care if they learn English or not.. Add in a sprinkling of Somali kids where there are no interpreters and you have recipe for no learning at all taking place. And this is in Ky!

    The rules are now that if you want to address the real problem, you are automatically mean and hateful. That is the rhetoric of the left, which I call the “Totalitarian niceness” and leaves us unable to deal to even discuss solutions to a serious problem. Not to mention that it promotes a lawless society. We are basically saying, some laws should be ignored for some groups.

    The SBC had no business making this resolution. Any true believer is going to share the Gospel with anyone anytime. Any true believer is going to help one in need.

    My cynical side is wondering if this is really about helping certain factions gain the Hispanic vote?

    • “My cynical side is wondering if this is really about helping certain factions gain the Hispanic vote?”

      Excellent point. The culture warriors at Southern know that the accomplishment of their agenda requires the Republican party to win elections, and the Republican party will need Hispanic votes to win elections in the future. If Southern Baptists support amnesty, this will strengthen the faction in the Republican Party that supports amnesty. The Republican Party is similar to the SBC on this issue – the elites generally favor amnesty while the grassroots generally opposes it.

  7. Being the lawyer maybe you can answer a question I just thought of. Doesn’t Amnesty have to be granted for the laws (and it is multiple laws illegal aliens are breaking) for the laws that have been broken? Doesn’t the beginning of “legal status” include the forgiveness of the laws broken? So it’s disingenous at best and perhaps even intentionally misleading (I know the left wing doesn’t mind the intentional misleading, I would hope that the SBC leadership would not be part of that but I have my doubts) to claim this has nothing to do with amnesty. I’ve said this before but it’s just really sad watching people get pulled into a conversation that began before they were even born (anybody else remember Ted Kennedy saying the last amnesty would be the last amnesty?) get snookered with these crass craven political shennagins.

    • Jenn,

      I think that some, including the language of the SBC’s Immigration Resolution, like to use euphemisms like “compassionate path to citizenship with restitution” instead of what we are really talking about, which is amnesty. Amnesty would be a general pardon for laws which have been broken, including breaking the law by illegally entering the country. That’s why I think that the language used in the Resolution, despite the “clarification” that the Resolution was not about amnesty, is one that liberals, the Democrat Party in general, and moderal/liberal Republicans use when they want to push for amnesty, but know that using the word is a deal breaker. There will be a continual push for all 12-15 million illegal immigrants to be legalized in some form or fashion. I am not opposed to some illegals being put on a path to citizenship, but certainly not all 12-15 million. I can’t say why the Resolutions Committee used the language they did, but it is definitely a problem. Thanks for your comments and for taking the time to read. God bless,

      Howell

  8. While I agree with you that this sounds like amnesty, part of the reason it does is that there was no real language in the resolution spelling out what this might look like. Apparently, that was deemed too political, but IMHO it would actually have made the distinction between amnesty and a “legal path…” much clearer. You can read Richard Land’s description of this legal path in about the third to the last paragraph in this article. Land clarifies things a bit here:

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110629/OPINION03/306290054/Baptists-back-path-immigrants?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

    • He seriously thinks that if the government isn’t enforcing the laws then it’s ok to knowingly and willingly break the law and the lawbreakers can just claim it’s the government’s fault they broke the law? This is the man in charge of Christian “ethics’ for the SBC?

  9. I find it odd to me that no one found it necessary to deal with the scriptures referring to treating the strangers (often translated “aliens”) among us kindly. We do have responsibilities.

    • Bennet, Perhaps you could explain what you mean about treating them kindly. Are you suggesting that any here do not treat illegals nicely? Would enforcing current laws and dealing with border issues be unkind?

      Comments like yours tend to accuse and not tend toward solutions to a serious problem. I get the feeling that even discussing the fact they broke the law is considered, unkind.

      • Most of the people come from Mexico for the same reasons that people moved from country to country in NT times–no jobs, no food, very difficult conditions. Have you ever traveled in Mexico? There are nice places and a lot more diffcult places.

        If you unthinkingly say that for Christians, laws come before people, you need to read the NT more carefully–and the OT also.

  10. Howell:

    I hope you and your commenters will be following the discussion at http://www.baptistlife.com/forums SBC Trends on Rick Lance and Alabama’s Immigration Law.
    I think you have a strong disagreement with former SBC IMB Vice President, the son in law of Chic Fil A’s Truett Cathy among others.
    I understand your frustration about your geography; but I can not see where the Christian witness is to punish the most vulnerable in this situation after with wink and a nod and the massaged profit of Baptist Deacons and UMC Elders across the South, that Hispanics who have been good citizens, have done their homework and made the grades in the Public school system will be punished by badly thought out laws.
    President Bush, Utah Gov Huntsman, John McCain four years ago, Chic Fil A and a host of others were on a better track with the Dream Act.
    I hope you will be monitoring daily the opinion pieces at ethicsdaily.com.

    As I share at Bl.com it looks like the very nature of Gospel is under discussion. With Gov Bentley longtime under the influence of Alabama SBC Ex Director Rick Lance, and State Senator Beasley a product of Steve Gaines at Gardendale, and their apologist Joe Godfrey discipled by Jerry Vines gonna it is an ongoing and significant discussion for sure.
    Godfrey, who had lunch with Judge Pressler and Ten Commandments Roy Moore when Pressler spoke at his Taylor Rd Baptist Church in Montgomery 2002 is now head of a Political Morals Concerns Baptist consortium in Alabama.
    His civil exchange with a Duke Divinity and Emory Div School UMC pastors at a Forum in Bham on Tuesday goes to the heart of the Question of the Gospel. Before that informal conversation, Godfrey was on panel with an associate in the law firm of Hugo Black’s grandson Stephen.
    What kind of Gospel is it when you tell outstanding, promising children who have been here six years and attended SBC Vacations Bible Schools and Sunday Schools, got saved and Baptized that whoops, I’m sorry, our SBC Gospel caught you in a technicality. Go Back to Mexico now, and have the Hope of Heaven when you die, but there is nothing the Southern Baptist Convention can do for you. Your time is up. Find a New Jesus South of the Border and Good Luck.
    seems like you and my friend Dr. Thornton have little work to do in the New Testament and with Bonhoeffer and King and Oscar Romero and basic Biblical themes of Hospitality and Justice.
    It’s a thicket, granted and too long a political football but you and Thornton, Richard Land, Godfrey and Rick Lance and Charles Pickering need to take this one back to woodshed for more Prayer In the Word.

  11. “If you unthinkingly say that for Christians, laws come before people, you need to read the NT more carefully–and the OT also”

    How would the above thinking apply to the people we are trying to bring here from Afghanistan who must wait and go through the process? And they are facing persecution everyday. Are you suggesting we sneak them in somehow? What I am hearing from you is that we should have no immigration laws at all.

    It might help to stop looking at this from the angle that if we think the laws currently on the books should be enforced for immigration it means some Christians hate immigrants and treat them bad when they cross our paths. But then, I seem to be “unthinking”. :o)

    • I feel that immigration has been promoted by a numer of businesses in order to reduce the low end wages. The reduction of wages for the least educated is well documented and is in the 20-40% range as compared to a few years ago (depending on job). This is largely the result of imigration.

      I feel strongly that the people who have benefitted from this the most are commercial agriculture, poultry processors, construction companies and similar. I seem to find their names preponderately on the republican contribution lists.

      It seems to me that “your philosophical friends” have encouraged these immigrants to come here and you don’t recognize the contradiction that is part of the republican dogma in these times.

      That said, do you think that Christians have any obligation to aid those who are being taken advantage of in our society? Have you done anything for anyone with this sort of problem lately?

      • Google Diane Rehm show for July 7. Pretty strong unflinching discussion there.
        Bennett Willis is on to something.

        Justice in this matter seems to me to honor the good citizenship hordes of Hispanic children have displayed in the public school system the last 15 or so years. Aid them on the path to citizenship instead of throwing up Catch 22’s while the SBC catches up on the Justice themes of the New Testament.
        What is good about the Declaration of Independence if it is used to take advantage of the labor of undocumented, then deny the innocent children of its promise. We need to move forward from where we are without penalizing a Grand mass of young humanity who have proven their worth and American patriotism by their exemplary behavior in the classrooms of our country.

        See Sean McKenzie piece in the July 7 http://www.ethicsdaily.com

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  13. The best way to handle things like this is to leave politics alone. The church should handle its business, and let Caesar handle Caesar’s business. Unless you adhere to covenant theology (which has no place in a free church, Baptist context anyway) the idea of organized concerted Christian involvement in politics is basically liberalism. If one rejects core Christian doctrines and along with it a literal interpretation and application of Bible prophecy and eschatology, then Christianity merely becomes a way for mankind to improve itself through government, economics, education, ethics etc.

    Now of course, a theological liberal can very much be a political conservative. I listen to talk radio and Fox News every now and then, and often hear those very conservative people promote “many paths to heaven” pluralism/exclusivism and deny inerrancy. So for them, capitalism, low taxes, low regulation, small government, strong national defense, democracy, traditional family values, western culture etc. are every bit as much their agenda for improving society as socialism, environmentalism, feminism, multiculturalism etc. for the left. Why else was bringing democracy and capitalism to Iraq and Afghanistan such a big priority and good and noble goal supported by so many conservatives?

    If Christians want to influence policy, it should be in the context of government service after the manner of Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai etc. (Note that no New Testament examples exist: no Christians were present as leaders or advisers either amongst the Romans or the Jews.) Beyond that, our position should be that according to Mark 12:17, Romans 13:1-3, 1 Peter 2:13-14 and 1 Timothy 2:1-2, which is that we should support adherence to and enforcement of all laws that are not contrary to the ability of Christians to live as Christians. So, homosexuality is an abomination, but so long as the government is not forcing our churches to accept homosexual members or anything of that sort, it is not an issue for the church. Abortion is murder, but the Christian response is to not be a murderer. Poorly controlled immigration is confusion for a society, but the church should be the same whether a nation has an open borders/open immigration policy like Canada, or is as hard to get into as is Israel (for non-Jews anyway). And whether we have a flat tax rate of 10% or a progressive tax rate where the top rate is 75% in order to redistribute wealth to subsidize the poor choices of a permanent underclass, it still belongs to Caesar and God will still take care of His own.

    When we go beyond our Biblical mandate, committing error is inevitable, whether that error is to the right or to the left.

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