There is fierce division in the Church today regarding politics. But the fault of this division is in no way related to politics. Politics don’t divide. People divide when they fail to communicate fairly, honestly, and effectively.
Church, if you don’t emerge yourself in political matters, that’s fine. But you must be fair to your Christian politicos. If you aren't aware of the entire issue, then you have NO place putting down these siblings in Christ for their position.
This division has been spotlighted with the recent controversy of family separations at the border. So many arguments have been made that are saturated with emotion but lacking in facts. These arguments skip the facts and run straight to the moral argument, which is dangerous because morality is relative to the facts of the issue.
Below are some trending narratives on the separations, followed by my contrasting analysis. But first I want to give my position on immigration. I used to do ministry work in Mexico when I lived in California. I know the conditions are super rough. But what’s worse is that our immigration process is super complicated. I hated hearing the stories of good families whose citizenship applications are collecting dust because of the incompetency of a U.S. consulate.
It’s easy to say, “come here legally,” but it is by no means a fair demand when the legalization process is so skewed. To be honest, if I were the father of a family in a drug cartel-ran country, I’d be tempted to cross the border illegally if my legal attempts were ignored. I voted for Marco Rubio in the primaries because of his immigration stance. He supported amnesty. That’s what separated him from Cruz, Carson and others who I highly favored.
So I get it. But I also know that no political issue is simple.
Narrative: "They're caging these children in horrible conditions!"
Truth: They're provided a mattress, a blanket, shelter, food, and medical assistance. Sure, it's not the Marriott, but I think "horrible conditions" is a bit far. If border patrol agents caught them and said, "meh, we'll pretend we didn't see you...carry on" those immigrants would come into America with no safety, shelter, food, or adequate medical attention. Yes, some of the centers have chain-linked fences, but they’re not in prison. It’s for their own good. Kids are understandably scared and thus they’ll run even if they have nowhere to go, which can be dangerous for them. They’re there temporarily until the process is complete. Granted I understand the separations are now reduced, no thanks to congress but to President Trump, but the principle remains.
Narrative: "They're ripping children from their parents."
Truth: There is a Port-of-Entry for asylum seekers and there is a border to sneak past. There are good people trying to come into America, and there are bad people trying to come into America. If you take the illegal route, you're giving border patrol agents reason to believe that you're among the bad people, even if your intentions aren’t hostile. It only makes sense that you'll be prosecuted. But prosecution does not mean that you'll simply be sent back to Mexico. You can go from prosecution to asylum-seeking and other venues. Since when are children in the US holding their parents’ hands through a prosecution process?
Narrative: America is losing it's moral compass.
Truth: I agree. But not for the reason of the family separations. America has slain approximately 60,000,000 of their own via abortion, the worst genocide the world has ever seen. I could list others but it just drives me nuts how some of the most prominent voices against these immigrant separations have also been the prominent voices in the pro-abortion agenda over the years.
Now onto some things to consider before slamming the detention centers:
Human trafficking is a huge problem on the US-Mexican border. ...and it's not just Mexicans doing the trafficking or being trafficked. Accessing Latin-American countries illegally is no challenge, and migrating from Latin America to Mexico is just as simple. The Department of Homeland Security knows this. Thus when a family comes to the border without any documented proof of custodial guardianship of the children, and knowing that trafficked victims are often disguised as children, it is a difficult yet ethically demanding decision to separate them while verification is processed. If they can be kept together in a detention facility that still protects everyone, very well. But the horror of human trafficking should still bring some charitable understanding to the idea of temporarily separating the families. Child Protective Services separates families when children are deemed unsafe to stay with parents, this is the same idea.
Don't use verses out of context When you invoke scripture to support an argument, remember that you're invoking the Word of God. That should make you concerned to use it in its proper context before hastily tossing out proof-texts that "support" your narrative. One verse I keep seeing comes from Matthew 19:14:
"Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
A few things to consider about this passage:
1. This verse does not automatically become applicable simply because there are children involved. The context here, as explained by John Piper, speaks to barriers that keep children from knowing Jesus i.e. parental unbelief, bad theology, or an unorganized local church structure. This verse is important. Immigration reform is important. But this verse is completely removed from this issue.
2. Hillary Clinton should not be considered a credible expositor of scripture. In response to family separations, Clinton said "Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little children unto me.’ He did not say, ‘Let the children suffer.'" Folks, the word "suffer" in this verse does not mean agony, pain, or struggle as we use it today. The word, aphiémi (yea, I'm a nerd,) means to allow, to let, or to permit. Very few translations actually use "suffer" whereas most use "let." Again, not applicable.
“Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land. Treat them as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” -Leviticus 19:33-34
The context of this verse certainly applies, but there’s more to the picture. Part of protecting immigrants is ensuring we filter traffickers from real parents, thus rescuing trafficked victims. Also it is not “mistreating” them to separate them temporarily while providing all needs that they otherwise wouldn’t have.
In conclusion, be fair. See the whole picture. I didn’t want to see the children separated from their families, but I certainly understand the reasons behind it.
Yet so many Christians called us "hypocritical" by alleging that we did not want the kids to come to the U.S. Truth is, those of us who understood the legal necessity of the family separations at the border at no time wanted the children turned away. It is a false narrative to say that we wanted people to stay put in Mexico.
People were blaming conservative Christians and Republicans for "not wanting the kids to come to America." But Republicans were spear-heading legislation to allow the children to stay with their parents. Republican Senators Ted Cruz and James Lankford, both conservative Christians, were trying to pass legislation that would allow the children to stay with their families. Why don’t you mention this while you attack others falsely?
Maybe you didn’t know about Cruz and Lankford’s legislative initiatives. Maybe you didn’t know about much of what I wrote about. That’s fine. But it’s easy to find out. Ask me. Ask a reputable, unbiased source. Find out before you hastily attack your siblings in Christ, or anyone for that matter.
“The purpose of an open mind, similar to the mouth, is to close it again on something solid.” –G.K. Chesterton