Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Should these pastors who got their status by asylum and other cooked means confess to the immigration? This question always comes up in our forums and Facebook with people asking whether pastors who lied to the United States government that they were being pursued just to file for asylum should give back their papers. This is the factual background. There are many pastors from Cameroon and Africa as a whole who came to the US and filed asylum that their countries were pursuing them. Some claimed that because of their religious views, their lives were in jeopardy. Others even got into marriage for hire, generally called Doki marriage. They marry a woman or man for papers then later they abscond while other times, it is strictly business. You have many of these pastors in DC and Dallas areas who filed for asylum under false pretexts. They know that no one was pursing them, and they know that they never fought for any human rights. Some of them filed that they were gays even though they are married with children. Some of them came through foreign missions as one of their workers and when they reached here, they absquatulated and founded their own ministries. Others traveled with the passports of their relatives.
Today the same pastors are leading churches and others are preaching in the US. Although some are no more in the ministry, they are working with the papers they acquired from the tales they fabricated. Many Christians wonder if they should confess and forsake or what is the conduit for them to carry? The question and complaint I overheard is shouldn’t they repent of their sins. If they repent, should they then inform the US government that they filed asylum on false pretexts? As vile as it may be, their responsibility may not be the way we want them to react.
Are their actions tantamount to perfidy? This discourse will be based on logic, norms (mores and folkways) and bible to make a determination. Perhaps it behooves you to know that I came into the country with a Green Card from the Diversity Visa Lottery. Lest you think it is birds of the same feathers flocking together. Those who believe that if someone told a lie, he/she should go back to the said person and confessed his or her sin to them sustain their arguments by giving the examples of Abraham and Isaac. Before we start, it is essential to know that restitution could be mandatory and facultative. If you were caught, it will be mandatory, but if you were not caught, it will be facultative, per your own volition.
Some Christians believe that once you confess your sins, God has forgiven you, so you should move on. Consequently, since those pastors have confessed their sins, they do not owe the US government anything. They base their stance on the confession of Abraham and Isaac when each of them told a lie, repented and moved on (Genesis 12:10-13; 20:1-2).
This question should be contextually placed rightly to avert an overlapping application of hermeneutics. Consequently, we will divide the pastors into two groups: those who filed for asylum before they became pastors, and those who filed for asylum after they became pastors. We all do agree that in Africa especially sub-Sahara Africa, there is little or no religious persecution as to warrant persecution nowadays. Thus, all those pastors told stories. For those who filed before they became Christians, it is considered as the time of ignorance which God winks at (Acts 17:30). After they believe, they may do restitution if it is possible and practical. If not, they are allowed to grow in the Lord gradually to a point where there is correlation between their synderesis and their syneidesis.
While the concept of restitution is mentioned directly in the Old Testament, it is rather demonstrated in the New Testament. God told the children of Israel that if a thief was caught stealing, he would make full restitution (Ex 22:3). If a man went and placed his cattle in the farm, of another person and it caused havoc, the owner of the cattle must make full restitution. (Ex 22:5).If someone caused a fire burnt, the individual was to make full restitution (Ex 22:6). If you borrow an ox or farm animal and it died without you knowing, you did not make any restitution, but if it was stolen you made full restitution. One thing to note is that restitution was done for things that were practical.  
I have often had people ask me how can a man who wheedled a girl to bed or gave her a fetish marriage promise make restitution. What about all the sex? They argue. First and foremost, sex is a utility to both of them. Notwithstanding, restitution can only be applicable if due to the promise, physical gifts actually changed hands. Legally, if they were given freely, they cannot be forced to return them. Restitution cannot only be required if one party was coerced. It will depend on the conscience of the receiver to make amends-restitution.  
If you were sleeping with a woman, and you promised her marriage; hearing the fetish proposal, she decides to spoil you with money, the money did not come out of her freewill. It is no different from a scammer or swindler.  It came because of the promise you made. As such, you are required to restitute if you rescind or renege on your promise. If you withdraw your promise, you should restitute her money because she gave you the money in exchange for a marriage. While you cannot restitute the sex, you can restitute the money. Do you hear? This one will stick in your throat. Hahahahaha!!!!
Restitution means taking it to the original state before the fallout.  Restitution implies that which is exchanged for something. It is like trade by batter or to compensate. Simon Cowell made restitution to his former girlfriend. When they broke up, he decided to give her 9.6 million for all the years she spent with her. That is the definition in Job 20:8. Jesus restituted the ear of Malchius. When Peter cut the ear of Malchus- the high priest’s servant, Jesus was apologetic and to show that he felt bad about the actions of one of his disciples, he took the ear and healed him. Lk 22:51.
Filing for asylum as a pastor and obtaining the decision is falsehood.  However, although the result is something that could be returned with added cash, its evil outweighs its good; thus, it is not practical. Therefore, the ministers with fake papers cannot return their papers to the immigration, talk less of compensating the government for the advantages that those papers brought to them. Perhaps we should look at the story in Luke on Zacchaeus, a man who made restitution of those he had defrauded.
When Zacchaeus the rich chief publican met Jesus and gave his life to Christ, he told the Lord that he would give half of his wealth to the poor, and he would restitute 4 times to anyone he had defrauded. He was not forced; he did that on his own volition. Therefore, those pastors should not be forced and cannot be forced; they must do that on their own volition if they think it necessary.
Furthermore, restitution is done when it is feasible and practical for the better good of the doer and the sufferer. A woman who committed abortion cannot restitute to her dead baby. What good would it be for those pastors to hand over their citizenship through which they feed their families and bless the people of God? Would that make them more Christian? Hadn’t God forgiven them already? This is one of those cases where the letter of the law must match with the spirit of the law for the general good of humanity or the individual. It is not for nothing that equity is applied in jurisprudence. Moreso, while these pastors told a lie, there is nothing tangible that they collect from the government that they must make restitution? Therefore, I do not think that there is any biblical exposition directly or by inference that requires them to restitute or give back their legality.

Until then, I wish them well.
St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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