Last night the House passed the DREAM Act. Today the Senate may not. I was thinking it provided a possible test case for Arminian vs. Calvinist theology in action. Gabriel Salguero, who is a Nazarene in the Wesleyan tradition, who teaches at Princeton, and who is one of several helping us contextualize our Missional Course into Spanish, has been one of several engaged with the White House on this bill. Similarly, Norm Wilson, a Wesleyan who teaches in IWU's undergraduate program, has been encouraging Wesleyans to support the bill.
What is the bill?
The bill addresses individuals whose parents brought them illegally to the United States before they were 18. Such individuals often are far more American than, say, Mexican. In some cases, they might not even remember Mexico, might not know how to survive in Mexico, have nowhere to go in Mexico. In some cases their parents have been deported and they are just floating around here. Maybe they have gone through our public schools and they mainly know our way of life.
In short, these are individuals in a kind of limbo. Legally, they do not belong here. Culturally, they may belong here far more than in some other place.
The DREAM act gives them a path to legality. They can enroll in college or the military for two years and if they demonstrate they are profitable members of society, they can become legal. The key criteria are that they have lived here for at least 5 years and came here before they were 18.
So how does the flavor of your Christian theology potentially affect your attitude toward this issue.
CALVINIST: Because the rules and God's justice are the main thing for the Calvinist, I suspect Calvinists will have a tendency to want to see us stick it to these kids. Tough luck Charlie. Your parents broke the rules and so you have to pay. We're going to send you back where you belong and if you have a hard time there, well, your parents should have thought of that before they broke the rules.
ARMINIAN: In God's eyes, you are just as important as I am. Legal, illegal, they are precious in his sight. The goal is redemption. What separates you from me is a piece of paper. I will do to you what I would have you do to me. If it were me, I would have nowhere clear to go and a potentially dangerous and unknown path to a place that has become a foreign land to me. If it were me, I would want you to have mercy on me and let me make a go for myself, let me contribute something to your society, which I would own as my society. I suspect that the true Arminian would be biased to be sympathetic to this Act--only the details would then lead me to be against it.
I don't think there are any such details in this case. This Act is all about biases. Are you a legalist without compassion? You will tend to be knee jerk against it. I think anyone with the heart of Christ will have a bias toward passing it.