A Case of Political Poisoning

Letter from the Pastor
Jim Pickett
Jim Pickett
“He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever is glad for their disaster will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 17:5

I watched as one woman and one man tried to stop a busload of children being taken away from their parents in McAllen, Texas. They were literally trying to stop a huge Greyhound size bus from leaving by pushing against its forward movement.

A few other women were at the sides of the bus, their hands on the windows trying to meet the hands of the weeping children on the inside, and through tears yelling in Spanish, “no lloran, mija! Te ayudare encontrar su mama! No está sola, estoy con ti!” (“Don’t cry, my little girl! I will help you find your mother! You are not alone, I am with you!”)

Then I began to wonder, when does political debate end and compassionate action begin?

The next evening I learned that two hundred and fifty of the children taken from their parents were flown to New York City and assigned to a day shelter and housed in foster homes. None of the New York officials, including the Mayor, Bill de Blasio, knew anything about this until the day they arrived. He said that when he went up to the shelter to see these children, he knew immediately that they were going to need trauma care by just looking at them. Many of these children have no identification on them. Officials have no idea, as yet, of how to locate their parents and reunite the families.

Yet, when I picked up the newspaper, the political debate goes on as if the value of human rights no longer matter. Some supporters of the current administration simply don’t seem to even care about the human rights issues which are at stake in the matter. One supporter does not want to hear about “crying babies on the border but what the nation is trying to do to disrupt this president and his agenda.” Another claims that “those cages and families--that was actually filmed during the Obama administration not the Trump administration.”

The politics just never go away. And the saddest part of this is that evangelicals fall right into the trap. Without thinking clearly about it, like sheep going over a cliff, they follow the masses politically. It is all about immigration. “I think it’s terrible about the kids getting split up from their parents. But the parents shouldn’t have been here.” Of course. So, why not justify one of the worst kind of human rights violations possible, use it as a deterrent for coming to the United States, and begin forcing children out of the arms of their parents, and splitting families apart? Then, as Christians, and as Christian politicians, we find no contradiction in our claim that we are “pro-life.”

But all that we have done is sullied the word pro-life.. Evangelicals have in huge numbers supported the destruction of families purely based on political affiliation. They are not thinking straight or Biblically. They have been poorly taught. Perhaps they have been manipulated by those who have used them to buy into a political agenda. Whatever the case may be, as Ephesians says, their “thinking has become futile and they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts.

This is exactly what idols due to any of us. Separate us from our life in God, harden our hearts to him and then jack up our thinking. The result is, we don’t know injustice when it is right in front of our faces. Families being torn apart and we say, “well they shouldn’t be here,” or “all we hear about is crying babies.” You see, it is no longer about politics. It is about hearts that claim to know Christ but are merciless. It is about the soul of a people who have no interest in justice for the poor and the claims of politicians who say they are pro-life but who have sanctioned violence against families who expected to be helped.

This is no longer about about the politics of immigration. This is about the heart and soul of a nation, not the heart of a Republican or a Democrat. It demands of us to consider that no such act was ever sanctioned upon our immigrant forefathers or mothers. More pointedly this is about the heart of God and who his people are supposed to be

“Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.”

Then Zechariah 7:11 adds that no one listened to the Lord but made their hearts “as hard as flint.” The consequences of this were that they “they made a pleasant land desolate.

In Luke 17 beginning at verse 1, Jesus also has a warning. He said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.” In the parallel passages in Matthew 18 and Mark 9, Jesus is clearly talking about causing children to stumble. Is not the terrible cost of this present injustice that we have caused not just children to stumble and sin but all of their families, friends, and many people watching from their homes and around the world?

Evangelicals are complicit in the injustice that has taken place in these recent events on our southern border. It is not the first time they have been blind to partnering with official injustice thinking they were doing the will of God and what was best for the country. It was a violation against these families regardless of whether they should have been on our border or not. Christians, most of all, should have been at the border, fighting, to at least keep those families in tact. Fathers and mothers, attorneys and physicians, teachers and pastors, and anyone else who claims to be pro-life, we all should have been standing with anyone else in front of those buses to keep them from taking those children away from their parents.

But most of us were not. We were not there standing up for their fundamental human rights as fathers, mothers, and children. James 1:27 says that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and genuine is this: to look after orphans.” The terrible irony is that evangelical religion has just helped to create a whole army of new ones.

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