God and Immigrants

 

My son’s Greek grandfather hid young Italian soldiers when Germans came looking for them to sink Italian ships off the coast of Rhodes after Italy surrendered to the Allies during WWII. Some of those Italian soldiers were only teenagers, and I know, as was the case with my Italian uncle who deserted the army, that many didn’t want to fight on the side of fascists, but would have been faced with treason otherwise. Some would say my uncle was a traitor. Some would say my son’s Greek grandfather was harboring the enemy. Others would say they both did the brave and decent thing. Both of these men, Italian and Greek, later became US immigrants. And I wonder how that generation of immigrants would feel about the way some of their children and grandchildren, who were then lucky enough to be born US citizens, are now voting, and how they are now treating other immigrants.

I am deeply disappointed, horrified, even, that some people of faith, have not spoken out about Jeff Sessions calling the separation of immigrant children from their parents, “biblical.” I can only assume it’s too much for them to cope with, a personal crisis of some sort, and they are turning a blind eye to what’s happening. If so, I hope they find the strength they need to speak up.

Fortunately, many religious leaders haven’t turned a blind eye, and bravo them. Here’s a quote from The Methodist Episcopal Church, who issued a scorching comeback to the Trump administration claims of biblical backing for the child-separation policy. Those church officials say, “in addition to being sad and sinful, [Sessions] shows a deep misunderstanding of the transforming truth of Scripture,” and that “The Bible does not justify discrimination masked as racism, sexism, economic inequality, oppression or the abuse of children.”

Below is an excerpt of an interfaith letter that was sent to the Trump Administration which was signed by the leaders of seven separate Christian, Jewish, and Islamic denominations here in the USA:

“Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children. As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the administration to stop their policy of separating families.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops separately rebuked the Trump administration policy, saying that “Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundation of our society, and they must be able to stay together.” The Southern Baptist Convention also passed a resolution calling for immigration reform “maintaining the priority of family unity.”

So, two things, and they are important: If you’re not a person of faith, please remember that many Christians are fighting this atrocious and revolting policy. Please don’t tar every person of faith with the same brush as the despicable Jeff Sessions.

And second, if you call yourself a Christian, and you are not openly and actively protesting the use of the Bible in this way, I just have one question for you: How do you, on one hand, say family is everything, and on the other hand, turn your face away from what’s happening? What does your faith tell you about children — is it just a matter of timing — make sure every pregnant woman doesn’t have an abortion, only to separate her from her child once that child is born, and she’s risking life and limb to cross to the US to protect her little ones from starvation, persecution, and death?

Children at the border are screaming and throwing up as they’re dragged away from their parents. This is what the Nazis did to Jewish children during WWII.

Christian writer, Lindsey Keesling Hoffart pointed out,  “all it’s doing is traumatizing children and costing the US money.” Maybe that will get through — “it’s costing the US money.” Perhaps the fact that our wallets will be affected will stir up more concern over this barbarism?

Lindsey also pointed out, and it’s definitely food for thought for anyone with a conscience here in the USA: “Despite knowing they’ll be jailed, people are still showing up because they’re desperate, and being separated but alive is better than being dead.” For her efforts at logic and reason she was called “a stupid bitch.”

I guess that makes two of us, Lindsey. I am a stupid bitch too because I know there’s nothing in the Christian faith that can support or justify this policy. In fact, there’s nothing decent people, religious or otherwise, can support about it. And you know what? We all know it.

The world is watching. God is watching. 

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