Gratitude is the antidote

Pastor Matthew Best
6 min readFeb 8, 2024

On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania State Representative, who happens to be elected to serve in the district I live in, sent out their weekly email. In the midst of the email talking about a variety of topics, there was a section titled “We Stand With Texas.” The representative went on to talk about a letter signed by members of the representative’s party urging the governor and attorney general to “take whatever steps they can to show that Pennsylvania stands with Texas in its ability to combat illegal immigration.”

The third paragraph of the section is what caught my attention: “The statistics we’re seeing in the flood of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border have reached the status of a legitimate invasion. We firmly believe Texas and other states have the constitutional right to defend their citizens when the federal government has not only failed to provide assistance but also impeded their ability to defend their borders and sovereignty.”

Words have meaning. Words like “invasion.”

Given that a lawmaker is using such a term, I looked up the legal definition of it. The Law Dictionary defines the term this way — “An encroachment upon the rights of another; the incursion of an army for conquest or plunder.”

I also found an interesting article on the Tenth Amendment Center website which explored the meaning of the term going back to the dictionary that was available when the founders of the nation ratified the Constitution — meaning it’s the definition they would have understood for invasion. The author points out that the founders understood invasion to refer to an armed attack on the nation from a military. The author concludes the article this way:

“Regardless of one’s personal disposition on immigration and military policy, the founders’ understanding of “invasion” did not pertain to mere travel or migration from one country to another.

“On the contrary, the most prominent English dictionary available, the most widely adopted legal dictionary in the American states, and other popular dictionaries of the era all held the term to mean the projection of a physical attack.

“Consequently, the ability to militarize United States borders to stop mass migration is not expressly granted through the originally ratified version of the Constitution.”

Using the word “invasion” certainly elicits a response — or a range of responses. It’s a term that will inflame some…

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Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.