September 24, 2022

Subject: Martha Vineyard and Illegal Immigration – When Virtue Signaling Backfires on You

Luke 10:29 “But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbor?’”

Ed Croteau

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “virtue signaling” as “An attempt to show other people that you are a good person by expressing opinions they will accept.” You want people to believe you are a morally virtuous person. You don’t need to show it with your actions. You merely need to say so.

Verses 25-37 of the New Testament Gospel of Luke record how Jesus Christ catches a lawyer virtue signaling when the lawyer tried to test Jesus by asking Him “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus answers his question with a question: “What is your reading of the law?” In verse 27, the lawyer answers “love God completely and love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus tells the lawyer he got it right.

But in our verse this week, when the lawyer asks Jesus “Who is my neighbor?” Luke gives us insight behind the lawyer’s question, by preceding it with the statement that the lawyer “tried to justify himself.”

He wants Jesus to confirm his personal worldview that his love for neighbors has conditions. Jesus crushes the lawyer’s worldview by defining a neighbor with the famous parable of the “Good Samaritan.”

Jesus knew the Jews were racist toward Samaritans. The ethnicity of “Samaritan” originated after the Assyrian captivity of northern Israel in 721 BC, when the Assyrians allowed captured Jews to stay behind. These Jews intermarried with the Assyrians, producing the half-Jew, half-Gentile Samaritans. The religious elite considered them an impure, inferior race. Jesus exposed the true heart of the lawyer, who would never consider a Samaritan as his neighbor. The lawyer was a “virtue signaler” – a hypocrite.

If you want clues into someone’s heart, don’t listen to what they say but watch how they live. We witnessed firsthand last week how progressive, leftist ideology is filled with hypocrisy when 50 illegal immigrants asked to be sent to a “sanctuary city” in Massachusetts. They arrived in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

A “sanctuary city” is defined as a place where local police decline to cooperate with federal officials to deport illegal immigrants who have not committed a crime. Because Martha’s Vineyard proclaimed itself to be a sanctuary city, these 50 illegal immigrants should have been welcomed, especially since one of its most famous part-time residents, former President Barack Obama (who owns a $12 million, 29-acre oceanfront property there), proclaimed the importance of welcoming immigrants in his July 4, 2014 speech:

“America is – and always has been – a nation of immigrants. Throughout our history, immigrants have come to our shores in wave after wave from every corner of the globe. Every one of us, unless we’re Native American, has an ancestor who was born somewhere else. That’s what makes America special and strong. The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life. It is in our DNA.”

But when only 50 illegal immigrants arrived on Martha’s Vineyard (in contrast, over 300 arrive in a Texas border town everyday), Obama did not welcome them nor issue a statement of congratulations. Martha’s Vineyard, nearly 89% white, is where the Obama family spends their summers. Only 50 non-white migrants from Venezuela arrived, with no acknowledgement from Obama.

In February 2020, then Presidential candidate Joe Biden told us illegal immigrants were a gift: “They’re the reason why, the legal as well as undocumented, our society is functioning, the reason why our economy is growing. We don’t talk about that. We stand up and act like it’s a burden. It is not a burden. It’s a gift.”

In his Sept. 18th column, Andrew Miller reported what happened when only 50 immigrants arrived: “Despite overwhelmingly voting for immigration policies presented by Democrats as compassionate and welcoming, Martha’s Vineyard immediately released a statement calling the situation a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and activated the National Guard. Two days after arriving, the 50 migrants were loaded onto buses and transported off Martha’s Vineyard to military housing on the Cape Cod mainland.” They were gone.

Remember the clue to virtue signaling? Watch how one lives and not what one says. Obama and Biden, like the lawyer in the story of the Good Samaritan, are virtue signalers. In fact, they want nothing to do with illegal immigrants. He, along with today’s leftists, want us to do what they say but not what they do.

To truly “love God completely and love your neighbor as yourself” means you must live your convictions.

Ed Croteau is a lay pastor and resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the LS Tribune, on Facebook and his website