Research by Peter Montgomery
Never mind all that stuff in the Bible about welcoming the stranger, or “I was hungry and you gave me to food eat…” What Jesus really would like to see is a wall across the southern border of the United States; so say leaders of the Religious Right as President Donald Trump prepares to make his case in a prime-time address this evening.
While most focus on their demand that Democrats in Congress approve $5.7 billion in funding for the wall that Trump promised his groupies he’d build, a few are even egging him on to declare a national emergency and invoke those powers to re-open the government and grab money from the Pentagon in order to pay for the wall.
The current partial government shutdown is the result of Trump’s demand that Congress include those billions for the wall in the appropriations legislation required to keep the government operating. Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, have declined to accede to that demand.
Here’s a sampling of recent pro-wall and anti-immigrant rhetoric from leaders of the Religious Right.
Matt Barber, the BarbWire.com founder and former staff member at Liberty University and Concerned Women for America, claims to be an attorney, but fails to see the unconstitutional action that such a declaration would be, given the absence of an actual emergency. In his muscular tweet, Barber also urged Trump to take yet another unconstitutional action: Fire any judge who rules that the president’s action is, well, unconstitutional. (Very meta.)
When the next wave of illegal “migrants” (read: invaders) hits, @realDonaldTrump should declare a national emergency, exercise his constitutional authority & order military to immediately begin construction of the wall. Dismiss any judge who tries to stop him #BuildTheWallNow
— Matt Barber (@jmattbarber) January 6, 2019
In a press release, the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon got a bit more into the legislative process, urging followers to call their senators and members of Congress to demand that they hold the line. (AFA is also sponsoring an online petition to lawmakers.) A quote attributed to Wildmon in the press statement:
“President Trump has made huge steps forward on border security by keeping his promise to veto any budget that does not contain $5 billion or more to build a wall along our southern border,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “The president was elected largely on the basis of this promise, and he has kept his word. The burden now shifts to Congress, which is faced squarely with the decision to authorize funding for the wall. Senators and representatives need to hear from their constituents immediately. Things move very quickly in Washington—almost by the hour—so members of Congress need to hear from those who put them in office on this important matter. Let’s stand with our president as he stands for the wall.”
Trump adviser Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, was recently seen delivering a prayer at the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which was interesting given Jeffress’ stated belief that Jews are going “to Hell.” Being a man of God, Jeffress was called upon to opine on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement that the building of such a wall is “immoral,” a claim that Jeffress called “absurd.” A wall would only make America more like Heaven, Jeffress implied, noting that Heaven is a place that doesn’t admit just anybody.
(Video is here; the Fox News player will not allow us to embed it in this post.)
Interviewed by Fox News host Jedediah Bila, Jeffress said of Pelosi’s comment:
It’s absolutely absurd. You know the Bible teaches that the primary responsibility of government is to maintain order and to keep its citizens safe. And there’s nothing wrong with using a wall to do that. I remind people that God used a wall–he told Nehemiah to build a wall around Jerusalem to keep citizens safe. The Bible says even Heaven itself is going to have a wall around it; not everybody’s going to be allowed in. So if walls are immoral, then God is immoral. There’s nothing immoral about a wall, but what is immoral is for Democrats, for political reasons, to block this president from fulfilling his God-given responsibility to keep our country safe. And it’s certainly immoral for Democrats to support sanctuary cities, which are nothing but havens of lawlessness, and are directly responsible for the deaths of Officer Ron Singh and the others. And I think instead of vilifying and demonizing President Trump, we ought to thank God every day we have a president like Donald Trump, who takes his oath of office seriously, and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep this country safe.
A frequent speaker at Religious Right gatherings, Brigitte Gabriel specializes in demonizing Muslims through her organization, ACT for America. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Gabriel has said that Muslims can’t be good American citizens.
Today, she tweeted that the left doesn’t want to build the wall because its members are afraid it will actually work.
The left isn’t scared the wall won’t work.
The left is TERRIFIED the wall WILL work.
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) January 7, 2019
Stephen E. Strang
But Trump-booster Stephen E. Strang, founder of Charisma magazine and author of “God and Trump,” was the most baldly transactional in a press statement that implied a warning to the president he so loves to promote (along with a lot of book-marketing blather). Strang wrote:
“Trump administration leaders know that keeping the promise on common-sense immigration policies and a border wall to keep the country secure is paramount—especially to the Evangelical voters who put Trump in office.”