Dear Editor:


May I respond to inaccuracies in Tim Borseth’s letter to the editor, “What should Christians think about the wall”?

First, the assumption there is one specific way “Christians should think” is arrogant and uninformed, much less that one person can define that “should” for other sincere Christians. Mr. Borseth refers to the Apostle Paul’s statement about governments in Romans 13. I searched the text and find no guidance for border-separating walls, nor government’s necessity to “protect” their citizens. 

And to presume that I Corinthians 13 is about love locking doors or building walls is a huge stretch. Certain Christian groups are fond of quoting Romans 13 because it speaks of obedience to whatever government is in power. Anyone who has studied the history of Nazi Germany, or Stalin’s Russia or King George’s 1776 rule in England, or even the Roman Empire that Paul endured could never say with him that all “authorities are instituted by God.” I suspect Paul wrote this chapter in to appease government censors. Read chapter 12 if you want to know God’s inspiration about how to think and act.

The only place we might get Biblical nuance of how God wants us to consider walls is in Joshua 6:1-20. Here a caravan of rag tag immigrants have left their home of 400 years, have wandered in a wilderness for 40 more years and finally encounter a city with a wall as they enter a new country uninvited. It seems evident God wants the wall destroyed. 

Historically speaking, most (perhaps all) walls are ineffective folly. At best they may later become tourist attractions (see the Great Wall of China or the Berlin Wall). If folks want advice about how to think about walls, read Robert Frost’s Mending Wall. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. That wants it down.” Christians and others would do well to research the facts rather take the president’s manufactured view that the US’s best protection from the evils of immigrants is an expensive wall over vast wastelands and the flooding Rio Grande river. Truth is criminals, terrorists and sex and drug traffickers have other more effective methods of entry. To stop these we would do best to diminish the market.

Now, yes, there are tragic anecdotes of evils that do happen. In my hometown of Brooklyn, IA one such event occurred this past year. Some politicians decried it, even though the family asked them not to. What really stopped the critique was the realization that the murderer was here illegally employed by one of the president’s powerful party allies. Immigration and its lack of congressional action is a more complex and challenging issue than a wall. Perhaps Mr. Borseth’s suggestion is correct that money and materialism are the causes most plaguing our land. I will join him in addressing that.

Last, I am concerned about Mr. Borseth’s contention that he “needed to revoke his pastoral occupation to enter China.” “That’s curious,” I thought. “I too am a professional Christian Pastor and no such requirement was made of me when I traveled in China in 2005.” In fact, I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law who were there teaching English through a specific mission program of the Chinese Christian church. Perhaps Mr. Borseth made a slanted re-statement of a Chinese law against public proselytizing. Does he consider that a “human rights abuse”? So much for Paul’s contention that all operating governments are instituted by God.


Jim Dale

Decorah