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Einhorn Discusses Immigration, Theology in "Would Jesus Deport the Illegals?"
As part of the Department of Intercultural Affairs' convocations series, Seaver College students attended an exploration of immigration with retired Federal Immigration Judge Bruce Einhorn in late October. The event, titled "Would Jesus Deport the Illegals?" offered a theological perspective on the complicated immigration questions facing the United States.
"On the subject of immigration and asylum seekers, all three of our great monotheistic religions share the same message, to 'welcome the stranger' as a fellow human being made in the image of our one and true G-d," says Einhorn, who is currently an adjunct professor at the Pepperdine School of Law and director of the Asylum Clinic, which law students represent the religiously oppressed and other persecuted people.
Einhorn discussed the stance on immigration from various religions noting that there is great overlap. "Judaism," he says "stresses that we are to love other people as ourselves, to be kind to strangers, 'for we were strangers in the land of Egypt,' and show compassion to the homeless, the poor, the orphan, the widow, even for enemies, and for all of God's creatures."
The Christian message he shared came from the Letter to the Hebrews 13:1-3, where it is written, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.'"
Finally, Einhorn noted that in Islam, the message is repeated in the Koran, at The Holy Prophet 11:78. "Abraham's nephew Lot—Lut in the Koran—also rises up to greet the strangers and urges them to stay at his home," Einhorn says. "When the men of Sodom riot outside his house, demanding that the strangers be delivered into their hands, Lut opposes them. His hospitality helps protect him from the judgment visited on Sodom as reported in The Holy Prophet 11:81-82."
Don Lawrence, director of Intercultural Affairs, invited Einhorn to speak on the topic of immigration because, he says, "this issue is not going anywhere soon." "The ICA Office is interested in presenting opportunities for students to wrestle with issues that involve culture and diversity, along with issues of faith. The immigration issue is one that requires a very complex sense of intercultural competence as well for Christians, a sense of theological balance in order to justify one’s position concerning the subject."
Lawrence notes that event participants may not have drawn any definitive conclusions, but left more informed. "Policies that are developed concerning the issue of immigration will have very important ramifications for the world that our students and their children grow up in," he says. "This is the time for our students to wrestle with complex issues, so that they may emerge with a well-balanced and thoroughly vetted philosophy and ideology for this issue."
Einhorn's talk was well received by the full-house crowd. "Student after student told me how moved she was by the commonality of compassion and hospitality preached in all of the Abrahamic faiths," says Einhorn. "A young Muslim undergraduate quietly informed me with a smile that mine was the first talk she heard at Seaver College in which the Koran was correctly represented as a book of healing and love, not the hateful propaganda piece falsely portrayed by pseudo-Islamic terrorists around the world. I let her and all those present know that Pepperdine follows the urging of all our faiths, that all peaceful people are welcome among us."
For more information about Intercultural Affairs at Pepperdine University, visit seaver.pepperdine.edu/interculturalaffairs.