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On the Secure Fence Act

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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When the "Secure Fence Act" became law in October 2006 – instructing the Department of Homeland Security to build 700 miles of fence along the US-Mexican border and instituting other measures to slow the tide of illegal immigrants into the US – it was hailed by supporters and derided by critics.

The vehemence of the debate took many by surprise. Since the act's passage, the dust has never settled. In some ways, the controversy has grown more intense. The argument now extends beyond whether the original plan was good. Politicians now also quarrel over the ever-growing cost.

Underlying these debates are not just the obvious questions of national security, immigration, and financial oversight. Timeless questions also reside here. How do peoples in close proximity but with differing cultural values and different languages get along with each other? How do you balance competition and cooperation – especially when, financially speaking, the two sides of the border are so out of balance?

In the quest for answers, among the most valuable resources – but easiest to overlook – are those that are spiritual. Spiritual resources not only have a way of bringing calm when tempers might otherwise start to flare. They also offer unique, problem-solving perspectives, ones that hint at answers to even the toughest questions.

Consider the Bible's account of Abram (later known as Abraham) and Lot. It's a success story, one of the earliest, of conflict resolution between neighboring peoples. Abram and his brother Lot each had large flocks and herds, and a significant band of followers.

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