It is a parent’s worst nightmare. Being forcibly separated from your children, not knowing where they are, if they are safe, if they are being cared for, if they are crying for you each night, if they are alive. I know if any of us were in that situation we would move heaven and earth to find and be reunited with our children. And then we would move heaven and earth to bring those who caused the separation to justice.
My heart and mind today are with the 545 immigrant children who were forcibly taken from their parents at the border by our government whose mothers and fathers now cannot be located.
The news was full of these scenes three years ago. Babies and toddlers being pulled from their parents’ arms, parents told children were being taken to get a shower or a treat, and then never seen again. The scenes on our southern border rivaled those from any holocaust movie showing Nazis ripping children from their parents’ arms.
While children were shipped to sites around the country, their parents were often deported. Last year, a federal judge finally ordered that the names of the children must be turned over to immigration lawyers, who then went to work trying to reunite them with their parents.
Yesterday, the lawyers gave the court a grim update — the parents of 545 of the children cannot be found. Most of them probably have been deported to somewhere in Central America. Chances are that many of them will never be located, never reunited with their sons and daughters.
Every Sunday in the confession we say we repent of the evil we have done and the evil done on our behalf. Make no mistake about it; this is evil done by our government on our behalf.
The issue of immigration is a complex one. I don’t pretend to know what the details of our immigration policies should be, but as a person of faith I know that first and foremost they must be compassionate and humane. Forcibly separating children from their parents is neither.
Both the Old and New Testaments have quite a bit to say about how children, immigrants, the poor, and the oppressed are to be treated.
Here are just a few examples:
From the Gospel of Luke: “Jesus had a child stand beside him and said, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.'”
From Leviticus: “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”
From the Gospel of Matthew: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me…And truly I tell you, when you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”
As Christians we must name the actions of our government for what they are — sins against God and against humanity. And we must hold the perpetrators of these cruel and sinful policies accountable.Voting, an exercise of our faith, is one way to do that.
The weather forecast looks good for church in the Beech Grove on Sunday morning. Here is the link to RSVP: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050f49aca822a1fd0-church2