Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

Conservative Christian: Tell Me Again About How You’re “Pro-Family”?

A hallmark of being a conservative Christian is supposedly being “pro-life”.

In the age of Trump and “nuke em’ all,” we of course know that the modern concept of being pro-life is a total farce– right along with the second hallmark of being a conservative Christian:

The claim of being “pro-family.”

Now, I think it’s important to note that “pro-family” never *really* meant pro-family to begin with– it was just a fancy dog whistle for “anti-gay,” and all of us in the Religious Right knew that. But for those who still use the term and think it actually means what the words say at face-value, tell me again how this “pro-family” thing works?

Because when I look at the daily news stories, I’m seriously confused how Trump and the policies advocated by the Religious Right, specifically around immigration, are anything but anti-family.

The other day I asked, “Is Trump still pro-life if he gets us all killed?” and today I have a similar question:

Are you still pro-family if you’re actively breaking up perfectly good ones?

A case in point is the Garcia family, who was ripped apart this week when Jorge Garcia was deported back to Mexico. Jorge had been brought to the United States when he was just 10 years old, through no choice of his own– he was just a kid. He grew up in America, went to school in America, got a job and paid taxes in America, and eventually built a family in America. He even spent many years trying to do the “right thing” by getting legal status in the United States.

Even though he’d spent many years, and reportedly $125,000 attempting to fix his legal status, he was ordered for deportation several years ago– but was given a stay of deportation under the Obama administration. However, this year that stay was taken from him; his family was notified that Trump wanted everyone out, and that he’d have to leave the country the day after Thanksgiving. He was given a brief reprieve– told he could stay and have one last Christmas with his family– but after a tearful goodbye Jorge has now been taken from his family and returned to a country he hasn’t lived in since he was 10 years old.

Deporting him from the United States didn’t make us safer– he hadn’t as much as even had a traffic ticket.

Deporting him from the United States didn’t save us money– he worked, paid taxes, and now his wife will have to figure out how to make ends meet without a working spouse. In fact, she quite likely may even need to seek public assistance moving forward.

The only thing that was accomplished by deporting Jorge Garcia, is that the Trump administration functionally widowed a wife, and functionally orphaned two teenage children.

So, back to my question Trump-supporting Christian:

How are you able to lay claim to the title “pro-family” if you’re actively breaking up perfectly good ones?

I mean, how does that even work? This logic strikes me as being as twisted as an abortion doctor claiming to be pro-life… it just leaves you scratching your head.

How can you hold rallies and tell men that the solution to a wide-array of social problems is for them to be more present and engaged with their families, when you just ripped a dad away from one?

How can you scoff at poverty and crime statistics and say, “The problem is a lack of parenting” when the reason two children will get far less parenting in their teen years is your own immigration policies?

And how the actual you-know-what can your church hold Orphan Sunday every year when you just functionally orphaned two American kids? How does taking away a loving dad, and creating a situation where a mom will have to work twice as much to survive, show your care and concern for orphans?

This situation is yet another example of where many of us who have left the Religious Right still hold to many of the original ideals we were taught growing up, even though those who taught us these values have since completely abandoned them.

I still believe that as Christians, we are called to be “pro-family.” I still believe that the family unit is the foundational unit that forms society, and that families should be nurtured and protected in every reasonable way we can do so.

And I certainly still believe that the Bible calls us to “defend the cause of the fatherless.”

But unlike the Religious Right, I still think all this should apply to Mexican families, too.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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  1. Obviously (as many) Mr.Corey WILLFULLY NEGLECTS the PRINCIPAL of the Imm. issue , & that being , of being LEGALLY or ILLEGALLY in the Country. The U.S. as ALL nations have LAWS Mr.Corey and have the SOVEREIGN right to decide who & how many can enter the country!
    Laws are to be applied and observed for the TOTAL well being of all it’s CITIZENS that have rights guaranteed by the CONSTITUTION! Non legal INHABITANTS of a country do not enjoy nor can they CLAIM the rights of Natural citizens.
    If laws are not ENFORCED and ADHERED to the result is ANARCHY & ULTIMATELY the downfall of the nation. The FEW deciding by action (often DESTRUCTIVE & ILLEGAL) rather than the process of DEMOCRACY, the course for all to live by.
    I am a Conservative & a Christian. I believe in having empathy and sympathy,consideration ,JUSTICE and RESPECT for ALL people. I also believe in behavior consistent with the LAWS of the LAND. Obviously God did also or He would not have INSTITUTED LAWS such as, but not limited to the MORAL laws referred to as the 10 Commandments.
    As many seeking to enter the U.S. are following the legal process so should ALL.
    I WHOLE HEARTILY agree that the kids,by no action of their own ,brought or born here by parents who came here illegally deserve special consideration. This is a very difficult problem indeed with NO easy answers

    1. There is not one word in the US Constitution that allows the Federal Government to limit immigration, and no law limiting immigration was passed during the lives of the Founding Fathers, unlike, say, the Estate Taxes, the first of which was signed into law by George Washington. The first law limiting immigration was the Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law by Chester A. Arthur in 1882. That was considered OK then, because they still considered the US a common law country, and hadn’t yet invented the false idea of ‘constitutional conservatism’ for the purpose of promoting plutocracy. Also, in the 1880s, there were still older people around who knew people who lived in the early days of the Republic, and pro-plutocrats were unable to pretend that the Founding Fathers were plutocrats. Instead, the plutocrats openly laughed at the ideals of equality put forward by the founders, instead of spinning lies about them.

    2. Ken Wildman The problem with conservative christians is they demonize poor workers looking for a better life, while being completely silent about the wealthy and corporations that have government help exploiting these workers for dirt wages. You can’t go after those that fund your agenda.

    3. “Papers please” said Christ…never.
      Forgetting the admonition to love your neighbor as you love yourself, is the reason conservatives cannot appeal to the moral high ground of Christianity on this issue.

      1. “Papers please” said Christ…never.

        What is this meant to imply? If you’re opposed to all immigration law and think that people should be free to travel wherever and whenever they want across national borders, though I think it would result in chaos and actually harm more people than it helps, at least that’s a principled position. But if you don’t actually believe that, then you, too, believe in requiring people to present their “papers.” You, Ken and I might all disagree about how strictly to enforce these rules and what the rules should be, but we all support some sort of rules (again, unless you agree with the open borders principle above).

    4. While I don’t think I disagree with much of what you’ve written here (in general, we should enforce our immigration laws while making exceptions in some cases), I think people would be more open to your argument if you didn’t use all caps. In general, people associate ALL CAPS with shouting. I don’t know about others, but I also associate ALL CAPS with those weird email forwards that had loose association with the truth that I used to get back in the day from several relatives of mine.

      1. I still associate all caps with typewriters, for emphasis. Today in these rooms I know of know way to change the text?

      2. Thanks Sam for advice. Of course I am NOT 😉 shouting but using caps for emphasis only !
        I think exceptions have to be used very sparingly. Should there be exceptions to other law violations , such as the killer in San Francisco who had been deported 5 times and had a serious history of crime here? Yes i know the kids are a totally separate case and as I said need to be looked at differently , but the fact remains that many illegals are committing crimes & some very violent. The parents that came into the country and brought their kids violated immigration laws and they & their kids have NO right to Social Service benefits that citizens have contributed to their entire working lives and are being told that SS will be bankrupt in the near future,just 1 example. Medical,education and others all paid for by tax payers but are being drained and putting burdens on all levels of government funding are more. The question still remains….are laws going to be enforced or not? Some decisions are very hard to make and enforce,but they must if a society is to be governed for the good of all and not only a few.

        1. “The parents that came into the country and brought their kids violated immigration laws and they & their kids have NO right to Social Service benefits that citizens have contributed to their entire working lives and are being told that SS will be bankrupt in the near future,just 1 example. ”

          How much do undocumented immigrants pay in taxes?

          “This group and their employers generated about $13 billion in payroll taxes in 2010. The administration then subtracted about $1 billion in benefits that could’ve been received in 2010 from earnings in years when workers were unauthorized. Workers and employers contribute roughly the same amount.”

          http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2016/oct/02/maria-teresa-kumar/how-much-do-undocumented-immigrants-pay-taxes/

          Seems undocumented immigrants pay more taxes than you and should have access to social security.

          You really are a callous bastard.

    5. Leviticus 19:33
      “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. THE ALIEN LIVING AMONG YOU MUST BE TREATED AS ONE OF YOUR NATIVE-BORN. LOVE HIM AS YOURSELF, FOR YOU WERE ALIENS IN EGYPT. I am the Lord your God.” (EMPHASIS added.)

  2. What a relief it has been to see the formation of a centrist, bipartisan group in the Senate. Returning that body to a deliberative, legislative organization may be a way through/beyond our present, dark mazes of shouted rhetoric.

  3. “Fancy dog whistle”? Now you are co opting a racist slur and mixing it with pro-life. You must be very mad to mix baby killing with same sex sex. They are not in the same universe. Trump is new to the equation and so equally irrelevant to you posit. I thought according to Pelosi Trump was killing us by his Tax reduction act? You are also confusing enforcing immigration laws on the books and past presidents; ” President Barack Obama has often been referred to by immigration groups as the “Deporter in Chief.” Between 2009 and 2015 his administration has removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders.” Trump will solve DACA without the interference of the Left. Finally if you believe what you say, “I still believe that as Christians, we are called to be “pro-family,” then start really preaching against abortion. In the time it took me to comment on your confusion about pro-lifers 2000 babies were killed.

    1. And if you wanted to reduce abortions immediately you’d support taxes to pay to help pregnant women carry to term. But cutting taxes and the size of government is more important to you than that.

    2. Trump has a looooong history of racism dating back to when his apartments wouldn’t rent to blacks and of course supported the abhorrent Moore in Alabama.

      Unfortunately for clowns like yourself, Trump has shown he has no clue as to what he is doing.

      Fun fact: Abortions increase under conservative pro-family governments eg Bush.

  4. Another example of faux family values is giving the President a “Mulligan” for adultery with a porn star and paying her $130,000 just before the election. Imagine what the hue and cry would’ve been from the Christian Right during the 90s if Bill Clinton had an affair with a porn star and paid hush money. “Character counts!” insisted Ralph Reed during Clinton’s impeachment. Not any more — at least not for Republicans.

    1. Character only counts against those you oppose; when it’s those you support, you are supposed to show forgiveness. Didn’t you get the memo?

  5. I guess it’s about time we stop allowing Christians to define themselves. They just muddy the waters of Webster’s.

  6. Because THE LAW. THE LAW above all things. If I recall, that’s what Jesus encouraged us to be primarily concerned with.

  7. So do you believe that murderers and rapist should go to prison even if it means splitting families?

    For me being pro-family means I accept my gay family members but it also means that my actions have consequences for my family. I’m for dreamers becoming citizens but when dreamers become criminals there will be consequences for their families.

  8. Plenty of people were deported when Obama was president. Why is it worse to get the exact same treatment when someone else is president?

    1. Obama deported more immigrants than any other president. It’s not clear that Trump will break Obama’s record.

  9. Here we go again…

    Mr. Corey starts out his blog post addressing “conservative Christians.” So I think, oh, he’s talking to me…I’m a Christian and I’m politically conservative, most of the time (or perhaps he means theologically conservative, because those two things aren’t the same thing as we all know, right?, but that’s me most of the time too).

    He then proceeds to make an unsubstantiated assertion – that being pro-life is a “total farce.” I think the assumption behind this assertion is that because Mr. Trump does some things that are anti-life (like talk about bombing other countries) and many Christians who oppose abortion voted for him, they’ve compromised their principles or something like that… I think this argument is ridiculous, but anyway…as I read on I realize that’s not the topic of this blog post.

    So…next Mr. Corey informs us that being “pro-family” is really just code for “anti-gay.” Hmmm…I seem to remember folks on the Religious Right using that term long before gay issues even reached national prominence. And here’s a Family Research Council (and you don’t get more Religious Right-y then FRC) report from 2008 talking about 25 Pro-Family Policies (replace “dot” with .)

    Downloads dot frc dot org/EF/EF11D02.pdf

    You can skim it if you like, but I’ll let you know that most of the 25 items have nothing to do with gay people.

    But moving on from this second lazy slur we get to the meat of this blog post…and I realize that Mr. Corey isn’t talking to me at all. He’s talking to “Trump supporting Christians.” And he’s not really even talking about them because, no doubt, some of them, even many of them, don’t believe people like Jorge Garcia are the people our government should be deporting.

    So once again, Mr. Corey is getting hackles up by lumping a bunch of people together based on unnecessary labels rather than directly addressing the people he has a problem with – people who think that deporting people like Mr. Garcia is a good thing. Those are the people who should have their “pro-family” credentials questioned – not all “conservative Christians.” Mr. Corey should read a great little book I just finished reading called How to Think by Alan Jacobs. It’s less about the logic of thinking, and more about how to have discussions with people with whom you have different opinions on things. If he followed Mr. Jacobs’ advice he’d avoid many of the problems here and might even influence people who have a different perspective than he does rather than just preach to the converted.

    (On a side note, does Mr. Corey really think that people in positions like Mr. Garcia didn’t get deported under previous administrations? Did Mr. Corey question anyone’s bona fides in the past when politicians they supported presided over unjust deportations? Was there a blog post written during the Obama Administration calling out the supposed hypocrisy of his Christian supporters when President Obama bombed foreign countries or his administration’s deportations resulted in family break-ups?)

      1. The first five paragraphs of my comment address the content of Mr. Corey’s blog post. That’s not “whataboutism.” Only my parenthetical could be called “whataboutism,” and there’s nothing wrong with engaging in a bit of it after engaging the substance.

        1. It’s classic whataboutism…..and that’s by someone who was critical of Obama.

          Btw it’s a conservative trait not just in the USA to attack immigrants.

          It’s happening all around the world.

          In fact conservatives here have won elections by dog whistling to the racism of the Right through scare tactics about refugees.

          That’s why over here we lock refugees and kids in third world countries.

        2. I started to respond to those but then saw the stuff at the end and couldn’t help myself. I also stopped caring. *moving along*

    1. Sooo, I guess you are a conservative evangelical that DIDN’T vote for Trump, are pro-life AND opposed to the death penalty, support the right of Gays to marry and feel Mr. Garcia’s treatment was unAmerican and unChristlike. If that’s the case I can understand why you’d be incensed being lumped together with pro-death penalty, anti-gay, Trump-supporting, wall building and xenophobic conservative Christians. I’d be angry too.

      1. You’ve got me pegged mostly right Kirk. As I said above (and in other blog comments at this website), I wish Mr. Corey would rely less on broad labels and criticize the positions and ideas of the people with whom he disagrees.

        1. Sam, I think from previous posts, that Ben’s main beef with evangelicalism (as is mine) is more focused on Southern Baptists, who seem to be the main driving force theologically and politically among the Religious Right. You are right, Ben does paint with a broad brush and perhaps an occasional foray into the post-conservative and emerging church branches of evangelicalism would be helpful. Say, Scott McKnight, Clark Pinnock or Roger Olsen.

          However, the 800 lb gorilla in the room, S.Baptists, tend to see them as somewhat outside the fold. However, this side of evangelicalism is worth watching, as they may be the movers that pick up the pieces and forge a new, more healthy evangelicalism when it all falls apart. Then again, they may just give up and become progressives!

    2. And also from the pro-family FRC

      Proposal

      Currently, an infant born on U.S. territory automatically becomes a citizen of the United
      States, regardless of the status of his parents. Congress should act to correct or reform
      the unchallenged application of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that has created
      this “anchor baby” policy.

    3. “You can skim it if you like, but I’ll let you know that most of the 25 items have nothing to do with gay people.”

      Really?

      I would say this has a lot to do with gay people and even advocates punishing states which don’t follow their conservative anti-gay agenda.

      15 Protect Marriage as the Union of One Man and One Woman

      In addition to deliberately creating and affirming motherless or fatherless families, other
      harms would result from same-sex “marriage.” Homosexuals are less likely to enter longterm
      partnerships, less likely to be sexually faithful, and less likely to remain committed for a
      lifetime.5
      Commitment, sexual fidelity, and lifelong marriage would all decline if the behavior
      of homosexuals is incorporated into society’s concept of marriage. Demands for legalization
      of polygamy would grow. Religious liberty and freedom of speech would also suffer, since
      opposition to same-sex “marriage” would be treated as the equivalent of racial bigotry.
      Some argue that same-sex couples should at least enjoy legal and financial “benefits.”
      However, society gives “benefits” to marriage only because marriage between a man and a
      woman gives benefits to society. Homosexual relationships do not benefit society—in fact, they
      impose significant burdens on it.
      This debate is taking place only because small bands of homosexual activists have
      gone to court in an attempt to gain from judges what they have been unable to win through the
      democratic process.

      Proposals
      • The definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman should be enshrined
      in state constitutions. Ideally, such amendments should reserve the benefits granted to
      marriage for married couples only.
      • Congress should oppose, and the president should veto, any effort to dilute, weaken, or
      repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
      • Congress should pass, and the states should ratify, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution
      to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman nationwide.
      • Until such a Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted,
      Congress should consider measures which would withhold certain related federal funding
      from any state that fails to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. For
      example, federal “family planning” funds could be withheld from any state that fails to
      recognize authentic marriage as the foundation of the healthy “family.”

      1. What blows my mind is that this ‘pro-family’ group says nary a word about legislating the prohibition of divorce (nor should they) which actually breaks apart families, but opposes SSM which actually forms one. It’s stuff like that which makes objective minded people want to puke over such hypocrisy.

        1. The pro-family group wants the 14th Amendment changed so that babies born in the USA to immigrants can’t be US citizens.

          There’s your mean hypocritical conservative logic.

    4. Nah….conservatives all around the world are railing against immigrants.

      It’s been an issue here for some time.

      So much so that being tough on immigrants is a virtue.

      Btw the FRC on gays

      “Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.”

      http://www.frc.org/homosexuality

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