Child border drama echoes dark episodes
The Trump administration has made its feelings clear about immigrants to this country. Our president has called those coming to our southern border “rapists,” “drug dealers” and “animals.” Its message is disturbing and clear: “Stay out.”
And in an effort to keep more from coming to this land of immigrants, the administration began and Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the practice of separating small children from their parents as a deterrent to border crossers, even asylum seekers. The idea was floated of having a “tent city” to house these almost 2,000 children (as of this writing) who were taken from their parents.
Many parents can relate to the panic of a child lost at a shopping mall or other crowded location. This new practice is cruel as it forces those same fears onto parents and scares the children. Sessions tried to justify the administration’s policy by quoting the Apostle Paul, who spoke of respect for the laws of the government. Cherry picking of Bible verses has also been used to defend slavery and remove our indigenous tribes from lands. He conveniently forgot all the verses — those printed in red ink — that quote Christ himself, and said to welcome the stranger into one’s lands, be good Samaritans, love thy neighbor and care for “the least of these, my brothers.”
Thankfully, Congress is drafting a bill to undo this awful practice and hopefully backbones and better angels will prevail. In our system of checks and balances, Congress has dodged its responsibility and had tepid responses when the administration has over-reached. We urge our Congressman Rep. Lamar Smith to support a repeal of these child tent cities and overturn this heinous practice on people who seek nothing than a better life in this free land.
Even conservative leaders such as the Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the revered evangelist Billy Graham and a usual defender of the president, have spoken out against this. Leaders of virtually every Christian denomination have spoken out against this. Over the weekend, former First Lady Laura Bush penned a column about this cruelty for The Washington Post.
James Martin, priest and communication secretary for the Vatican News, said it like this:
“It is not biblical to treat migrants and refugees like animals. It is not biblical to take children away from their parents. It is not biblical to ignore the needs of the stranger. It is not biblical to enforce unjust laws. Do not use the Bible to justify sin.”
It is though immigrants are now seen as political pawns and not fully developed human beings. Unless we are Native American, all of our families had the immigrant experience.
We are so much better a country than this episode shows. The administration has lapsed into territory that is all too disturbing, and all too familiar for those who have studied the darkest and most inhumane episodes of history. It is appalling.
Talk about animals. – K.E.C.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
November 2, 1883