June 18, 2018
… I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (Mt. 25: 35b)
The recent news from south Texas regarding the separation of immigrant families is deeply troubling. It troubles me as a parent who only yesterday celebrated the joy of fatherhood with my daughters. It troubles me as an American, in fact, the grandson of an immigrant who came seeking a better life. Finally, I’m troubled as a Christian. particularly since some in power have tried to justify the separation of parents and children using Holy Scripture and Christian tradition. I share a quote from my colleague, Bishop Tom Briedenthal of Southern Ohio:
“I acknowledge the wide spectrum of opinion in America regarding unchecked entry from Latin America. But the forced separation of families as a deterrent to border-crossing is essentially immoral. For Christians and most people of religious faith, the sanctity of the family is a bedrock. Why? Because it is in the faithfulness of spouses to one another and to the children in their care that the fundamental virtues of life in community are developed and practiced. Families in all their various configurations — and there are many— are the building-blocks of society and need to be supported and protected in every way.”
“There is no question that the forced separation of families at our borders can be a powerful disincentive to entry. But this strategy damages our own commitment as a nation to the value of family life. Worse yet, it takes advantage of a value that transcends national interest. The bond that unites parent to child is universal. To honor that bond is to rebuild the unity of the human race from the ground up.”
Our prayers should be offered for the immigrant families who find themselves living through this traumatic time. Likewise, our prayers are offered for the relief workers and volunteers who do their best to comfort the children that are separated from their parents. If you would like to share your concern over this situation I offer some possibilities. First, you may add your name to this letter from the people of St. Columb’s in Ridgeland, MS by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, you can share your concern with your representative by clicking this link and contacting them directly.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for allowing me to share my anxiety and concern. It is an honor to share ministry with all of you. I will close with a foundational and fundamental portion of our baptismal covenant (BCP 305), and I challenge you to affirm this answer by living fully into this promise, not only in word but through action,
Q. Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
A. I will, with God’s help.
God bless you,