I have no desire to parse the legal issues related to President Obama enforcing a law that President George W. Bush signed. In fact, the ways in which Americans regularly indulge their own confirmation biases related to politics is exhausting, and while the psychology of it is obvious to outsiders, no amount of words strung together would begin to penetrate the web of preferences and biases that shapes American political affiliations. Americans have long ago surrendered a quest for truth in favor of a quest for being right, and that has been catastrophic for the common good and civil discourse.
I am more concerned here with the ways in which "rules" of interpretation and application are applied. Jeffress is clearly guilty of an ages-old heuristic whereby Jesus can be applied as the solution to nearly any problem, and always in such a way that the speaker benefits from "what Jesus would have done or believed." While Jesus actually speaking about a particular situation, such as divorce, makes it a little more complicated but not impossible to apply the heuristic to concrete situations, Jeffress benefits from the best iteration of this technique: Jesus never spoke about immigrant children on the U.S. border, so he can be made to believe or say anything.
Jeffress is a pastor and a Christian, but his political narrative has not been formed by the Jesus of the Gospels. Outside of liberal Christians and Anabaptists, finding a tribe whose political narrative has been shaped by that Jesus has become analogous to a unicorn sighting. (This is not to say that individual Christians in various traditions are not more conscientious, but the tribe in toto is hard to find.) I'm not sure this criticism is all that damning from an "inside the tribe" perspective, quite frankly, since evangelicals and fundamentalists know and care far more about Jesus the savior than Jesus the political revolutionary, and while they shy away from politicizing Jesus in his own context, they jubilantly and zealously allow him to "comment" on modern politics. Again, the disconnect between Jesus not being presented as a political person in his own context versus the Jesus as apologetic for cherished American political positions is so egregiously dishonest that I'm left to wonder if evangelicals are oblivious, deceptive, or just not smart.
It is also entirely possible that they assume that Jesus was apolitical, but that his principles or values "speak" to current cultural and political issues. The only way that the Jesus of the Gospels can be made apolitical is if the text is intentionally read as if it is somehow separate from the political climate of Romans, Sadducees, Pharisees, and lestai (insurrectionists) of the time, a reading which ignores that Jesus was crucified along with insurrectionists and that the "King of the Jews" above his head on the cross was a charge of insurrection, not an accidental proclamation of his messiahship. This apolitical reading has done much to drain Jesus of his political aims, most of which involved freeing Israel from the Romans, a topic that is covered exhaustively for a populist audience in Reza Aslan's excellent book Zealot, and by eviscerating his political positions, he is left as an effigy that can be reified with whatever current political position requires buttressing by appeals to "God's Word."
This simplistic appropriation of Jesus clearly makes of him an idol, so they might just as well build a bust, bronze it, shove incense in his ears, and chant talking points around this neocon golden calf but for their reservations about idol worship. The inability to recognize idol worship in its obvious instantiations only further solidifies my belief that evangelicals and fundamentalists flatten the metaphors such that they can't recognize real idolatry unless it involves a statue and temple prostitutes. The rigid, contextual literalism allows them to enforce the letter of the law and ignore the spirit. How these modern exegetes don't understand straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel is also befuddling at a profound level. Again, do they actually read this text they say shapes their faith? Maybe for a few Sundays the fundangelicals should leave Paul on the shelf and pick up the Hebrew prophets so that "hearing they will hear."
Jeffress applied that heuristic to immigration, but it's used regularly by conservatives (liberals, too, quite frankly) on a number of issues about which the Bible and Jesus are clearly silent. This is made worse by the staunch refusal of fundangelicals to actually allow Jesus to speak clearly where he clearly speaks clearly: accumulation of wealth, divorce, loving enemies (not killing them with drones, for example)...just read the Sermon on the Mount, and then read how fundangelicals explain away the rather clear admonitions under the rubric of "these rules are meant to show us we must rely on God's grace to be saved." Oddly enough, Jesus delivers this list without ever using those words, but, eisegesis is the dominant rubric in fundangelical churches, especially when applying the Jesus/American politics heuristic. I'm happy to let Leighton address this in closing:
"I argue that any communication, whether text, image, or utterance, is interpreted in the context of at least one reference community. I'll go further and claim that unless 'Don't use eisegesis' is one of the community's rules of interpretation, eisegesis trumps exegesis always and everywhere. Taking social cues from people and from group dynamics is hardwired in [most of] our brains; absorbing competing information from a text is difficult by itself, and asserting that content over against a group dynamic is nigh impossible without training that rarely exists. This helps explain why Church of Christ members who read the entire bible frequently and can recite biblical text better than many professors who teach the OT and NT texts still arrive at the same anti-biblical interpretations as flag-worshippers who may only have cracked the spine of a bible two or three times in their lives."