An immigration judge cannot quiz asylum seekers on religious doctrine to see if they are credible about their faith, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reiterated in a January ruling. . . The problem in the case of Chinese Christian Lei Li, the court said, was not only had he been tested on doctrine, but that his answers weren't wrong.
Li says he became a Christian while visiting Korea in December 1999 and hosted a house church when he returned to China. Authorities raided the church in 2001 and held Li for 19 days, repeatedly beating him. Li was fined about $900, lost his job because of the arrest, and left for the U.S. on a visitor visa. After he violated his visa by working, he applied for asylum.
Li's immigration judge said Li failed to prove that he was a Christian. He couldn't answer basic questions about Christianity, explained the immigration judge.
But in describing his faith, Li said he believed "Jesus came to save people from sin, that he willingly died on the cross, that he rose from the dead and … ascended into heaven," Judge Alfred Goodwin wrote for the Ninth Circuit that reversed the lower court's ruling.
Li also explained why he worshiped in a house church rather than an officially sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement church. Those churches, he said, "have a different Lord than we do …. [Th]eir Lord is the government, not God."
But the immigration judge was distressed that "Li claimed that Thanksgiving was a Christian holiday" and "knew little about the differences between the Old and New Testaments"—though Li noted that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek.
I hate to say it, but Li knows more about Christianity that many people I have met at churches.
Then there is the matter of this “immigration judge.” You will notice that his name appears nowhere. Perhaps it was withheld to protect the guilty, the stupid, or some combination of both.
Did this immigration judge just not like the idea of another foreigner coming here to “take our jobs”? Does he think Christians deserve the wrath of a persecutorial Communist regime? Or is he just an idiot?
If, according to this so-called judge, Li’s answers do not reflect some understanding of the Christian faith, I would like to know what the judge thinks his answers should have been.
So Thanksgiving is not a Christian holiday? Well, not for the Chinese Communist leaders, I suppose. Perhaps not for immigration judges. I suppose you could say that Christmas and Easter are not Christian holidays, but they tend to show up on most church calendars.
Do you suppose this judge has been to church lately?
I wonder how much the immigration judge is paid each year. I hear the House of Representatives is looking to cut spending. I know it wouldn’t be much in the big scheme of things, but there is a clear waste of taxpayer’s money.
If not that, we should at least send the immigration judge on an all-expense paid vacation to China for 19 days of beating. I would be willing to pay a few extra tax dollars for that one.