For my term paper in Christian Ethics in America, I chose the topic of illegal immigration. The paper explores the ethics of Walter Rauschenbusch, John Ryan, and Jim Wallis, and applies their social justice frameworks to the current issue of illegal immigration.
The primary question Christians face is what role they allow the state to have in defining a person as ‘illegal.’ Each of the ethicists offers a different understanding of how Christians can relate with and influence culture and government. Likewise, each ethicist’s perspective offers some useful (and also not so useful) tools for engaging the state. However, what struck me as profound was the lack of the cross as a primary resource for these ethicists.
My conclusion, with a nod to John Howard Yoder, argues that only through the cross can we begin to talk about what it means to be ‘illegal’ and what it means to engage the state.