Before we go any further – go here and look at these pictures from Breitbart.com of children being warehoused on the southern US border.
What do you do when politics and religion collide? How willing are we to bend the knee and topple our idols – even our favorite idols?
Full disclosure: I’m a little “l” libertarian. I am not a dues paying member of any political party and have never been one except for several years in my youth when I was a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party. I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians/Independent but, again, in the interest of laying all my cards on the table, I vote for more Republicans than the other two combined.
Still reading? Here’s where it gets tricky.
I don’t have a solution for the border problem or for the immigration problem. I think we’ve made it way, way too hard for someone to come here legally. At the same time, blanket amnesty and/or not securing our borders rubs me the wrong way. It seems wrong, somehow, to act as if the laws we have aren’t there.
But our current laws and legislators and bureaucrats have created a situation in which people are shipping their children to the US. Once across the border, they are stored like warehoused goods, moved to other storage areas from Arizona to Wisconsin, and doomed to a status in legal limbo. They are, however, never moved into the neighborhoods of the rulings classes whose laws and bureaucracy caused this tragedy.
Looking at their slumped shoulders and unfocused eyes, I am convinced that this is a time for the people of God to do…something…
But…what? For decades, there has been a Sanctuary movement among churches in the US, taking in those who’ve crossed illegally and protecting them from the authorities. Some say that they have just encouraged others to make the dangerous trek across the desert to get to the US and that is probably true. We also have to acknowledge that many who try to make that trip are robbed, raped, beaten, and abandoned to die of thirst and exposure. The numbers who die or who are harmed on the journey each year are staggering. We cannot, therefore, pretend that offering sanctuary is morally neutral or entirely positive. There are consequences and some of them are dire.
So should we encourage more to come? And would caring for these children just encourage more to come? Fair questions, but I’m not sure we can settle these issues anytime soon and there are young children stranded in crowded rooms in our country right now.
This could be a foreseeable result of the Dream Act and it might be a side effect of the corrupt Mexican government and the cartels that run the border. Of course, the cartels would have no power if Americans didn’t take illegal drugs or if the US legalized the drugs, taking away their power and money overnight. Interesting things to talk about… but there are young children stranded in crowded rooms in our country right now…
This is certainly a problem caused by politicians and governments so please don’t suggest a political or governmental fix to it. Politicians gain and keep their power by the myth that they can fix the very problems their existence creates. Quit falling for it. Voting for this or that person is not going to fix this.
I know that some of these kids are fleeing horrific conditions in their home countries. I also know that there are TV commercials in Guatemala and Honduras advising people to send their children to the US where life will be better for them. I have no idea who is paying for these commercials (NBC reported on it) but I would suspect politicians at play again. I can’t fix that. Neither can you.
In short, I am not asking for anyone to chime in with a “you know why they’re here is this guy did that thing and then there was that law and that party that…” comment. That is political speech. It is not Kingdom speech. While there may be some value to politics, I have given up on it. I want to try the Jesus way…if I can figure out what that is. And I don’t want to be frozen into inaction by making this an academic issue or a “somebody else has to do something” problem.
We used to have orphanages in the US. Contrary to countless movies, most people had good experiences there. I know quite a few of them. But we closed those and created a foster care system that is failing our own children and has no room for these children. There is no room in the inn.
Church…what can we do? Any political solution is a long way down the road and I doubt that every reader will agree on any one idea. We usually respond to these sorts of things by assuming an attitude of helplessness, by being apathetic, or by viewing the issue through fear. We fear the loss of the kind of country we grew up in, the loss of the two party system (there is no question that immigrants vote overwhelmingly for the Democrat Party…at least at present), the loss of our language, etc. but, as the church, we have been called to be citizens of a different country. We have been told to come out from among “them” and be separate. We are supposed to have our loyalty reserved for the King on the throne of the cosmos (at least, I’m pretty sure that’s what Revelation is about).
I am confused, conflicted, and contrarian on my best days. But I can’t just sit back and see these warehoused children stay in those boxes. What can we do, church? How willing are we to transcend our parties and earth-bound loyalties? How willing are we to trust in God for the future of our nation, even if He chooses to not make its continuance “as is” a priority?
What are we willing to do for the children? If I read Matthew 25 correctly, our response here will have an effect on what happens to us on Judgment Day.