I remember once when I was a child, Mom took us to shop at Lloyd Center – a large shopping center in NE Portland. We were walking along and, not paying attention, I got separated from her. I turned and she was gone. I remember the panic that filled me, the desperation as I frantically searched for the only security I knew. It only lasted a minute or two, she found me very quickly, but the memory lingers. Have you ever experienced that? Being lost as a child, or losing your own child for a few moments? One of worst experiences. Right now our country is deliberately creating traumatized children and parents, in our name.
You may know that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is using the Christian bible to justify the Trump administration’s policy decision to separate immigrant children from their parents. Sessions cited Romans 13, saying everyone should “obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.” Then Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down, “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. . . . It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.”
Aside from Mr. Session’s cherry-picking and general misunderstanding of the biblical text, if he had read a bit farther in Romans he would have come to Romans 13, 8 – 10:
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. . . . .” [All of the previous commandments can be summed up as this]: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Is there anyone out there who believes that traumatizing children, ripping them away from their parents and putting them in cages, fulfills the commandment that we love our neighbor?
Sander’s comments came at a press conference where she used blame and insults to evade a question being asked of her which was, ‘How can you justify separating children from their parents?’ Blaming others is not leadership. Blaming others is not taking ownership of your words and actions. Blaming others is easy and weak. I can only imagine what she might say if anyone tried to do to her children what she supports being inflicted on other people’s children. She said it is moral to enforce this law. Is it moral to separate children from their parents? If the parents are putting cigarettes out on their child’s face, then yeah, that would be moral. This is not that.
Why does anyone seek to move to another country? There are multiple reasons: Escaping persecution; trying to find a way to survive economically; seeking educational or other opportunities. But for most people from underdeveloped countries it is because of dire need. How can we call ourselves Christians and turn our backs on the dire needs of our fellow humans? What if the shoe were on the other foot? Imagine that you are a stranger in a strange land having (reluctantly) left your home to have the chance of creating a better life for you and your children. When you get to what you hope could be your new home, your children are ripped out of your arms and taken away, you have no idea where, and no idea if you’ll ever see them again.
Stop what you’re doing for a moment and picture this, picture your children. Can you imagine the powerlessness, the despair, the terror? Can you picture your child, screaming for you, arms out, tears flowing, being taken by strangers? How would you feel? If you think this would not be okay for you, why in hell do you think it is okay for any other human being?
For those who believe this action by our government is moral, hear the words of Jesus:
“. . . . Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me,” Matthew 25: 41-44.
This is a moral issue. Children are being traumatized, ripped away from their parents, in the United States of America.