Immigration Policy, Declining Population Growth, the Economy and the Sheep and the Goats

As Christians, should we be more motivated by what Immigrants can do for us? Or what can do for them?

The article, Why U.S. Population Growth Is Collapsing, by Derek Thompson in a recent issue of the Atlantic reminds me of a trend I have been following for quite a few years, now, of declining population growth in Europe and the United States. I first became aware of the trend maybe 8 years ago, and most European countries were already (at that time) at unsustainable growth levels. The US wasn’t far behind.

The article linked above picks up the story as it has advanced in the last two years with COVID. Changing societal norms and expectations have led to significant declines in population growth as younger generations are getting married later in life, having children later in life and having fewer children or no children at all. COVID has rapidly accelerated the decline.

One interesting note from this article is the statement that “America’s bias against immigration is self-defeating in almost every dimension.” The article asserts (with no citation to authority) that immigrants are vital to our national economy, but I have read the studies and know the beneficial affects of immigration on an economy.

Anecdotally, I know a young woman who is a “Dreamer”. I will call her Sofia. She is the daughter of two undocumented immigrants who found themselves on the “wrong” side of the border with an infant (Sofia) after 911. They figured things would go back to pre-911 conditions when people came and went with no documentation required. That never happened, of course.

She shared with me that her father is a businessman. He has multiple businesses. He employs many people, and he teaches other people to be entrepreneurial. He pays taxes. He pays into Social Security, but he will never reap any benefit from it.

He doesn’t qualify for Social Security, and he never will. If he overpays his taxes he gets no refund. He is always afraid of being found out and deported to a country that he no longer considers his home.

Sofia grew up with the same fear. She grew up with the burden of having to be a perfect citizen. Any negative attention could expose her to to deportation to a country she has never known. She told me she knew from an early age that she would never qualify for student aid or student loans, so she would have to earn way to obtain the education she aspired to.

I didn’t realize this, but I have since learned that the IRS will assign a number to anyone, with or without a Social Security number. The IRS doesn’t care, as long as people pay taxes.

When I met Sofia, she had graduated from high school in three years with a perfect GPA, and she was on pace to finish college in three years. She had a perfect 4.0 GPA, and she planned to go to law school. She was exceptional in every way. (Since then she went to law school where she currently is.)

This story is anecdotal, but it’s indicative of the data that shows that undocumented immigrants are not a drain on our economy. Undocumented immigrants pay into the system, but they don’t qualify (in most ways) to take from the system they pay into. The statistical difference (on average) is $80,000 per person paid into the system more than what is taken out.

We actually make money off of undocumented immigrants. They shop at our stores, eat at our restaurants, pay real estate taxes, pay income taxes, pay into Social Security, provide labor for our employers (who are happy to pay them minimal wages), and more. (The popular assumption that immigrants commit more crime turns out to be false also.)

Not only are we turning our backs on the boost to our economy that more generous immigration policies would provide, but we are entering a “population danger zone” according to the author of the article cited above

All of this is to bring me to the point in writing this article, which is a little different than the points made in the article. I borrow these things from the article and from my research to get to a different point.

How should Christians generally view the issue of immigration?

Continue reading “Immigration Policy, Declining Population Growth, the Economy and the Sheep and the Goats”

Money in God’s Economy


One pretends to be rich[1], yet has nothing; while another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth[2]. Proverbs 13:7

In God’s economy, things are often upside down and inside out, at least from our perspective, because we tend to value things differently than God does. Take money for instance. God says, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” (1 Tim. 6:10) This verse, along with the passage about the rich young ruler, cause most of us to pause and consider how different from our ways God’s ways are.

Money is not intrinsically bad. Money, by itself is neither bad nor good. The “love of money”, not money itself, is a root of evil. It is not the money, but how we treat it that is the problem. The “love” comes from us, not from money, itself. “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts….” (Mark 7:21)

The fact is that money has no intrinsic value at all. Dollar bills are just pieces of paper. Coins are just inorganic substance. A rock might as well be just as valuable as a dollar bill. So, if money has no intrinsic value, we (people) are the ones who ascribe value to money.

The value of money comes from the value we ascribe to it. Some rocks we value highly, and other rocks we value hardly at all. Diamonds, rubies and precious gems we covet, but pebbles lying at our feet are not worth bending over to pick up.

In God’s economy, however, value is ascribed much differently than the values projected by people in the human marketplace. Because God is who is, the Creator of the Universe, God and what God values are the only things with intrinsic value. The values that people have given things are, ultimately, worthless in God’s economy unless God, Himself, gives them value.

We are God’s crowning creation. God made us, and not we ourselves. (Ps. 100:3) God values people who were made in His image above all things.

It should be no surprise, then that value in the economy of God is ranked according to the greatest commandment (to love God above all things) and to the second greatest commandment (to love our neighbors as ourselves). If we are going to be rich in God’s economy, we should value what God values.

While God may value us most highly, our greatest value must be in God Himself.

When we value money before God and other people, we are deviating from God’s what God values ans accepting something less. Money does, obviously, have value, but the value lies not in the money, itself. The value is imparted by us, by society, and the value is in what money can gain for us. Since money, unlike God and people, has no intrinsic value, it should be subordinated to those things that do have intrinsic value.

Money is not evil in itself. Evil is what flows out of the hearts of people. The value we ascribe to money can be at the heart of all kinds of evil that flow out of our hearts, but money is not the culprit – we are the culprits.

As always, throughout Scripture, the real issue lies with us. Our treasure is where are hearts are. If we do not value God above all things and love other people only second to our love for God, we have the world upside down and inside out.

God’s economy provides freedom from the pressures and the stress of being tied to worldly, fleshy fortunes. When we value what God values, we are free to live as God intends us to live. When we value what God values, we put our treasures up in heaven where the value will not rust, rot, fade or diminish.

The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat. Proverbs 13:8

Money, in God’s economy, has no intrinsic value, but it may be valuable to the extent that it can be used to the benefit of what God values.

[1] The action, “pretends to be rich,” is expressed with the hithpael verb stem.  It conveys a sense of acting on one’s self. The fundamental (“inside”) meaning of hithpael adds an inner layer of meaning beyond the literal sense of the verb – stressing the self-benefit (motivation) driving the subject to act.  This personal benefit is understood from the context (not the form itself) and metaphorically roots to the spiritual or psychological element moving the person to act.

[2] This term, 1952/hôn, implies freedom from pressures of life because enjoying surplus (accumulation).

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