When Immigration Law and Christian Victimization Collide

One of the things that has fascinated me most about the Religious Right’s crusade to convince themselves that Christians are under relentless attack is how seemingly random things, when they happen to Christians, become evidence of the overall conspiracy.

Last week I noted this tendency in relation to the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission’s response to the recent murder of a pastor in Illinois, when it claimed that the act was proof that “anti-Christian hostility is reaching a new, more violent level” despite the fact that there appears to be absolutely no evidence that the gunman was motivated by “anti-Christian hostility.”

On a related, but less violent, note comes this article explaining that the United Kingdom changed its immigration laws last year and the new changes are causing some confusion for travelers:

“All migrants, not just charity workers, coming to the U.K. to work or study require a Certificate of Sponsorship,” said a U.K. Border Agency spokesman. “Anyone without this certificate and the right visa will be refused entry.”

Daniel Webster, parliamentary officer for the London-based Evangelical Alliance, said the regulations were introduced in response to illegal immigration and the increased threat of terrorism. But the complicated rules have left many ministers confused.

Inevitably, some Christians were among those confused about the new rules and found themselves denied entry which, in turn, leads to article like this where people voice disbelief that anyone would dare to deny entry to Christians and see it as evidence that “Christians have to operate under the radar all over the world”:

A prominent Christian musician and a team of college-age missionaries were recently deported from the United Kingdom under new immigration rules that require religious workers to be sponsored by a licensed organization and obtain visas to enter the country.

In early March, Colorado-based singer Don Francisco was denied entrance into London and a Master’s Commission team from Arkansas was deported from Scotland because immigration officials said they needed work visas under new regulations introduced in November.

“One of the things that has been said to me over the last few days is that Christians have to operate under the radar all over the world,” said Judy Littler Manners, a Christian leader based London. “But this is the first time they may be forced to do it in this country.”

Francisco was scheduled to participate in the Christian musical Why Good Friday, which includes 10 of his songs. But when he arrived at Heathrow Airport on March 2, he was detained, fingerprinted and escorted onto a flight back to the U.S., because immigration officials said he lacked the proper paperwork.

“I felt like they were looking for reason to keep me out,” said Francisco, who has traveled throughout the U.K. for 30 years without incident.

The UK has regulations covering all sorts of visitors, students, and workers and explanations of what must be done in order to gain entry and obviously these travelers did not comply and were, for that reason, sent back home.

That may be unfortunate, but it is not evidence of anti-Christian bias or some nefarious agenda to inconvenience Christians.