Children in Cages
There’s been an outpouring of outrage over the policy of separating young children from their parents who have crossed the United States southern border without US government permission. Another recent policy is to restrict asylum-seekers and deny asylum for women suffering from domestic abuse, which is also commented on in the remarks below.
We include below a few excerpts, with links to the full statements or articles, from Consistent Life Network member groups, endorsers, and others.
Consistent Life Network isn’t a religious organization, though many of our member groups are. We hope atheists and people from other religions can appreciate the analogies to religious stories as poetic images and cultural references, particularly relevant when officials proposing the policies are quoting the Bible in their rhetoric.
Pax Christi USA
June 15, 2015
The detention centers are concentration camps, separating children from their parents and keeping children indoors for 22 hours a day is torture, and rejecting asylum seekers is a death sentence.
Immigrants are human beings. Never is it acceptable to separate families and keep parents and children from knowing where the other is being detained.
Red Letter Christians
by Jennifer Butler, June 9, 2018
Right now, the Trump Administration is using child separation to punish parents who courageously seek to protect their children from dire threats in their native lands. These children have already faced trauma most of us cannot imagine. Separating children as young as infants and toddlers will carry with it emotional scars that have long reaching effects on their lives. Threatening and harming children, say many, is tantamount to torture.
Like the United Nations, people of faith must also condemn a policy that punishes children for their parents’ attempts to protect them.
Evangelicals for Social Action
by Hannah Shanks, June 19, 2008
I know the mothers at the border.
I know them because they could be me in an instant, should my home turn violent, should my home be bombed, should my country fall to despotism.
I know them, too, because they are in my Christian Scriptures. They are Mary and Jocheved—mother of Jesus, mother of Moses. Mary, whose family fled to the desert to escape the command of Herod, who demanded that the children of Israel be slaughtered to maintain his power. Jocheved, who knew that her child was no longer safe in her arms due to the command of Pharaoh, who demanded that the children of Israel be slaughtered to maintain his power.
Perhaps you, too, see a theme here. Men in power, leading nations whose grasp on wealth was predicated on the oppression and terrorization of the marginalized in their midst, were afraid of children. And they mobilized their forces against those children.
Children, deemed a threat.
Children, kept in cages.
Children, forcibly removed from their parents.
. . .
The mothers at the border are named Jocheved.
Pharaoh has issued his decree.
We know the outcome of this story, dear ones.
We know who we are called to be.
Samuel Rodriguez, Endorser
Letter signed by Samuel Rodriguez and other prominent evangelicals
As evangelical Christians guided by the Bible, one of our core convictions is that God has established the family as the fundamental building block of society. The state should separate families only in the rarest of instances. While illegal entry to the United States can be a misdemeanor criminal violation, past administrations have exercised discretion in determining when to charge individuals with this offense, taking into account the wellbeing of children who may also be involved. A “zero tolerance” policy removes that discretion—with the effect of removing even small children from their parents. The traumatic effects of this separation on these young children, which could be devastating and long-lasting, are of utmost concern.
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
A Statement from Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, June 13, 2018
At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence. Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors. We urge courts and policy makers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life.
Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB’s Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration’s zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.
(two of three verses; sung to the tune of “O Sacred Head Now Wounded; see with music)
by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, June 12, 2018
When Jesus went to Egypt,
Safe on his mother’s arm,
His parents stayed beside him
To keep him safe from harm.
And when they crossed the border,
They were allowed to be
Together – seeking refuge –
A Holy Family.
O God, we pray for children
And families coming here
Now facing separation,
And filled with grief and fear.
For children, loved and treasured,
Are ripped from loving kin.
This deed, by any measure,
Is torture. It’s a sin!
Text: Copyright © June 2018 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com
Permission is given for free use of this hymn to churches seeking to support Sojourners and immigrant families. Please share this hymn with others. Thank you.
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