Are Border Walls Immoral?

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Congress is not a place known for its moral convictions, yet in this new year, our new Speaker of the House has taken upon herself the mantle of preaching morality. According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and some of her colleagues, we cannot end what has become nearly the longest government shutdown in history by providing partial funding for a national border wall because our nation’s values and morality are at stake. “A wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation,” Speaker Pelosi told America.[1]

Lest we be quick to pass this off as ill-considered rhetoric, an animated Speaker Pelosi made clear to reporters that her concerns are not political but truly moral, saying, “No, it has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with a wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking.”[2] Likewise, she has said, “Most of us, speaking for myself, consider the wall immoral, ineffective, expensive,”[3] and, “The wall is, in my view, immoral”.[4]

As Christians, we’ve long witnessed politicians misappropriate moral standards when it suits their objectives only to toss them aside when they become inconvenient, and many of us have responded by ignoring such Washington politics. However, instances such as this can afford the discerning Christian with a prime opportunity to have meaningful conversations about spiritual matters, including the gospel. Rather than ignore such controversies, we would do well to inform ourselves of these situations, viewing them as likely doors of opportunity to share the gospel with our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments provide fodder for numerous possible conversations about spiritual matters, but here we will pursue only one of these avenues. Speaker Pelosi has sparked a national conversation about America’s moral obligations when it comes to the issue of immigration. Very well. Let’s lean into this conversation and ask the question “Are border walls immoral?”

Theologian and a biblical ethics professor for 41 years, Wayne Grudem wrote an outstanding article titled “Why Building a Border Wall Is a Morally Good Action.” In it he concludes that “the Bible views border walls as a morally good thing, something for which to thank God. Walls on a border are a major deterrent to evil and they provide clear visible evidence that a city or a nation has control over who enters it, something absolutely essential if a government is going to prevent a nation from delving into more and more anarchy.”[5]

Throughout the Bible, walls are affirmed as a symbol of peace, security, and stability (Psa. 122:7). In fact, God’s blessing upon nations included strong walls (Psa. 51:18; 147:12–14). Likewise, God’s judgment upon Israel included the removing of their wall (2 Chron. 36:19; Jer. 52:14). Grudem writes, “The pathetic shame of a city without walls is also evident in this proverb: ‘A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls’ (Proverbs 25:28).”[6]

God does not consider border walls to be immoral. In fact, the capitol city in God’s future kingdom is surrounded by a “great, high wall” built upon 12 foundations (Rev. 21:12–14). And this wall will forever keep outside the city everything that is unclean, detestable, or false (Rev. 21:27).

Interestingly enough, this wall will remain effective throughout eternity despite there being 12 gates that will never be shut (Rev. 21:25). Apparently, in God’s kingdom, everyone is required to enter through an official port of entry (one of the 12 gates), and there are angels posted at each gate evaluating who is qualified to enter the city (Rev. 21:12). Even despite the suffering of some outside the city, only those with the proper credentials entering through an official port of entry will be permitted within the walls of the New Jerusalem (Matt. 8:11–12).

Despite contrary declarations by Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues, it is not unloving to enforce the law. We can debate what that law ought to be, but we are obligated to enforce existing law. In fact, Jesus told a parable about a man who was deported from heaven when it was discovered that he didn’t have the proper credentials (Matt. 22:1–14). In the story, God, who is defined by love, deported the man and placed him in the outer darkness where the suffering was so great as to cause weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 22:12).

There will be no illegal immigrants in God’s kingdom—only citizens. And there will be no government officials pleading to allow people in on the merit of their sufferings. This is why it is imperative that we take advantage today of God’s free offer of citizenship. Regardless of what one may believe regarding America’s southern border, the controversy provides a prime opportunity to remind our family and friends that there is coming a day when each of us will seek to pass through heaven’s border security.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says No to Border Wall.” NBC, video, January 3, 2019. Accessed January 7, 2019.

2. “House Speaker Pelosi: Border Wall ‘an Immorality’ and an ‘Old Way of Thinking.’” C-Span, video, January 3, 2019. Accessed January 7, 2019.

3. Schwartz, Ian. “Pelosi: Democrats are Not Going to Fund Trump’s ‘Immoral’ Border Wall.” Real Clear Politics, December 6, 2018. Accessed January 7, 2019.

4. Koenig, Kailani. “Nancy Pelosi: Border Wall Is ‘Immoral, Expensive, Unwise.’” NBC News, April 23, 2017. Last Updated April 23, 2017. Accessed January 7, 2019.

5. Grudem, Wayne. “Why Building a Border Wall Is a Morally Good Action.” Town Hall, July 2, 2018. Accessed January 7, 2019.

6. Ibid.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.