Churches Need To Speak Out Against U.S. Immigration Policy NOW

by Elizabeth Broadbent
ROBYN BECK/Contributor/Getty

By now, every American knows what’s going on when it comes to immigration. The Trump White House, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has made it U.S. policy to separate parents from children at the border. If you enter the country illegally — even if you’re seeking asylum, which is legal — you are jailed and charged with a federal misdemeanor.

The government says it obviously can’t keep children in federal jail, and is taking the children from their parents and classifying them as “unaccompanied minors,” according to Vox. The parents often don’t know how long their babies are being taken from them; some parents say they were told their kids were being taken to be given a bath.

In other cases, children are literally ripped from their parents’ arms. One baby was even taken from its mother’s breast.

Currently, about 45 children per day are being taken from their parents. Forty-five children. A DAY.

And Trump’s claims that a Democrat law is splitting families, and that Democrats need to fix it? A blatant lie. “There is no law that requires immigrant families to be separated,” reports Vox. “The decision to charge everyone crossing the border with illegal entry — and the decision to charge asylum seekers in criminal court rather than waiting to see if they qualify for asylum — are both decisions the Trump administration has made.”

Which is bad enough, I suppose, but then Jeff Sessions decided to drop some God on us.

“I would cite you to the apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said.

Fortunately a few churches were quick to stand up and put the A.G. in his place. The African United Methodist Episcopal Church responded by saying that Southerners also used apostle Paul to justify slavery, calling Sessions’ comments “sad and sinful.”

Bravo. Brav-O.

It’s high time Christian Churches stepped up. Religion shouldn’t shape our government, but since Trump and his people dragged it into the realm of public policy, the churches need to respond.

In a now-viral tweet, Glennon Doyle wrote: “I need to see every church’s condemnation and rejection of this administration’s use of the Bible to tear babies away from their parents. Churches: speak now or lose everybody. History is watching. God too.”

And she’s right. Many Christian churches — okay, most — are bastions of conservatism. But when it comes to this issue, it isn’t a grey area. The choice is clear. Keep families together, or rip children from their mothers’ arms. Which one seems like the most Jesus-like thing to you?

Lest they need any advice from their own Holy Book, I’d remind them of another Biblical injunction: “You shall not wrong a stranger, nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Stand up and do something, Christians. NOW.

The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, with close ties to the Latinx community, has come out to criticize the administration’s immigration policies. In a statement, they called the order to separate families “immoral,” because, as the Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski says, “It goes against the values of our nation and the values of helping families stay together.” Pretty simple, people.

The director of the Center for Reformed Judaism called the actions “unconscionable.”

So far, a member of Trump’s evangelical council, Jentezen Franklin, has only told CNN, “It’s a very dangerous route to go when you begin to take selections of scriptures and say ‘the Bible was written to justify political standings.'” Weak sauce, Jentezen, weak sauce when ICE is ripping babies from their mother’s breasts.

Some churches are truly stepping up. Lutheran Services of the Carolinas takes in unaccompanied minors and places them in foster homes, in addition to filling the children’s material needs while they’re separated from their parents. Their literature says, “As Christians, we are called to welcome the stranger. That injunction becomes even more urgent if ‘the stranger’ is a vulnerable child.”

Damn right. That’s the Biblical part I signed up for. That’s the Biblical part real Christians signed up for — the one Jesus was talking about. Jesus wouldn’t have split families apart. So every church needs to speak out and condemn the misuse of His book. Out the side of the their mouths, as they band together as quickly as possible, brother and sister, black and white and Latinx, to stop this utter monstrosity.