This morning I was listening to the news on the radio and they played a clip from a rally held earlier this week by President Donald Trump. In the recording, President Trump was describing the people being arrested at our southern border as criminals and gang members and mocking our legal system for giving them rights, “as soon as they step one foot over the border.” President Trump went on to mock Democrats, saying they want to completely open the border to people who mean to do us harm, people we should fear. Each time the President paused there were loud cries of support from the audience.
Later in the morning I read a newsletter article by my friend and colleague, the Rev. Robert C. Laird (RC), rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olympia, about the separation of children from their parents when they are arrested after illegally entering the United States. At the top of this article RC posted the now famous picture of a 2-year-old girl screaming in terror as her mother is frisked and arrested by a Border Patrol agent. RC says that it took him 15 minutes to write the first paragraph of his article because he could not look at the picture without weeping. As a parent of two adopted children, RC is particularly sensitive to the issues of children who have been separated from their parents.
These two experiences epitomize the polarity of the issue of immigration in our country today. I recognize that the reality is more complicated than either the rally rhetoric of our president or the emotional plea of the Rev. Robert C. Laird. None-the-less, whether you are a supporter of President Trump, or you are more in agreement with the Rev. Laird, I don’t believe that you can morally support the separation of children from their parents. Earlier today I was asked, “What did Jesus do with children?” I quoted Matthew 19:13-15.
Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ And he laid his hands on them [blessed them] and went on his way.
This is a chilling moment for our country. This is a moment when we have the choice to speak out against the policies and actions of our government in lawful ways. Bishop Greg Rickel wrote an excellent article about how we might do this on his blog titled, “The Soul of Our Collective Life.” Mother Carola shared a prayer for the oppressed from the Book of Common Prayer in last week’s newsletter that you may find helpful. Mother Catharine offered an excellent sermon addressing these issues on Sunday that you can listen to here.
Yours in Christ,