Borders Part 2: Wiggle Room

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Kneeling_Prayer_SilhouetteI often find myself asking people how the teachings of Christ can be reconciled with some of the attitudes of more vocal members of our society about immigrants (among other groups). One classic answer I received was: “Well, Jesus said to ‘render unto Caesar what’s Caesar’s’ and these people aren’t rendering.” The unquoted part of Christ’s statement, of course, is “and render unto God what is God’s.”

This raises a question: What do we owe government and what do we owe God?

If Christ and Bahá’u’lláh’s words are to inform our opinion, we owe both obedience, and I suppose the question is: How is that obedience to be demonstrated? Is the argument that in order to show obedience to Caesar, we must shower those whom we deem disobedient with vitriol? That we should, as a people, ignore their wounds, their hunger, their thirst, their calamities?

As I noted before, Christ calls upon us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. He makes that law one on which all others depend. Moreover, He is crystal clear that by our neighbor, He does not mean folks we consider to be part of our community.

I submit that there is no wiggle room in the teachings of Christ by which we—as individuals and as a nation made up of individuals—can treat other human beings as if they really were what Emma Lazarus, in her world-famous poem, termed “wretched refuse”. we could either throw out or just allow to accumulate at the border. Continue reading

You Keep Your Card: DREAMers Meet King

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Erika-Andiola(This article was also published on DailyKOS).

Public policy has personal consequences and it concerns me that an elected official of my country doesn’t seem to realize that. Rather, King sees a dichotomy between doing “individual policy” and doing “national policy for everyone”. That’s nonsensical; any national policy affects individuals—large numbers of individuals. And therein lies one of the problems that plagues us as a nation: politicians make national policy without an awareness of how it affects the individuals who make up “everyone”.

Worse, they assiduously avoid that awareness. Continue reading

Borders Part 1: Suffer the Little Children

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140717074651-newday-dnt-kosinski-border-crisis-politics-00014206-story-topGo to any article, news story or blog discussing the immigration issue and/or the current refugee crisis on our southern border (they’re often conflated), and you will find phrases like the ones below. These are real comments pulled verbatim from comment threads, from blogs and from interviews contained in the news stories about immigration and the current border crisis.

“We need to make illegals uncomfortable…”

“We need to stop the infestation…”

“We need to stop this plague…”

“If we can’t secure our borders, we can’t protect our country…”

“IF IT IS BETWEEN OUR CITIZENS AND FOREIGN INVADING KIDS, MY COMPASSION IS NOT FOR THE INVADERS.”

“…the state of Texas would appear to have the right, not only to use whatever means, whether it’s troops, even using ships of war, even exacting a tax on interstate commerce that wouldn’t normally be allowed to have or utilize, they’d be entitled in order to pay to stop the invasion.” 

That last one stands out because it was from an elected official—a Congressman—who ostensibly has the authority to make laws. Given that the “invaders” are children and mothers, what does the Congressman propose that the troops and warships do? Shoot women and children? Shoot just the few men with them in the hope that they’ll go home in despair? I had to wonder if he would be willing, himself, to pick up a gun and demonstrate how he would keep the tide of refugees out of America by force. He’s a professing Christian, so I also wondered if he’d be willing to demonstrate this before the eyes of Christ and God.

jesus-with-children-jesus-33864297-500-375This would certainly put a different spin on Jesus Christ’s words: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.” Continue reading