The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were so obsessed with the letter of the Law that they often violated the spiritual intent of it. You would think that the nit-pickiness that prevailed then would not be in existence today, but you would be wrong.
While the Pharisees were the religious authority during Jesus’ day and had very little civil authority (if any), it appears that there is a civil equivalent – one that has no compassion, mercy or sense of justice, only of filling out paperwork, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. That modern equivalent would be a government bureaucrat.
I dislike the Immigration Naturalization Service (INS). I have had to deal with them in the past, and it is a confusing, twisted and jumbled pile of red tape that serves no other purpose than to frustrate people trying to legally enter the country and/or become citizens. While some frustration is inevitable, and for some may even be desirable, there is very little logic behind any of the rules and procedures. They are quite arbitrary. In fact, I would go so far to say that the rules are the exception and the exceptions are the rule.
Let me just state for the record that much of the stupidity is Congress’ fault. They are the ones that pass the overly complicated, confusing patchwork of law that INS tries to piece together. That doesn’t make dealing with the INS any easier, however.
There are some things, though, that are not just stupid but are wrong to boot. In fact, I would say the fact that “Proxy wedding means Marine’s widow, baby unwelcome” is downright immoral.
Yahoo! reported on 17 September that Hotaru Ferschke and her son, whom she had with her Marine husband SGT Michael Ferschke, are likely to get deported due to a law passed in 1952. When Michael was killed in Iraq, it left the status of their marriage in doubt.
The problem? She became pregnant before they got married. They were separate by the time they were legally married, in a process called a “proxy wedding” and did not consummate the marriage afterwards (because they were apart). This isn’t difficult to think through. If the marriage wasn’t “consummated”, then how did they have a baby?
Now, I’m not saying you should do things in that order, but at least he had already proposed and they did get married. However, it is significant to note that the military does recognize the marriage and the dependent status of both mother and child. You would think that at least legally there would be no issue.
Straight up, neither of them were very smart in doing this. However, affairs of the heart do have a tendency to bypass the brain. Straight up, I don’t approve of them sleeping together before officially married. However, Jesus sat and ate with publicans and sinners, and He showed us an example of mercy and compassion unlike any other. Jesus was able to forgive yet say, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
The way I see it, they were married. She and the child are recognized as dependents. He sacrificed his life for his country. Is this how we should reward someone like that? Yes, he was a soldier, but are we really naive enough to think that God does not use war sometimes to bring about His will? Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to explain to me what they believe Jdg 3:1-4 means, then.
What about mercy and compassion? Has our society become so wrapped up in process and procedure that we don’t even know what these things are any more?
23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Matthew 23:23, King James Version)
11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:11-13, King James Version)
22Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
23If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;
24And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. (Exodus 22:22-24, King James Version)