My daughter cried out for me in the middle of the night. I got out of bed and calmed her. But then it took me awhile to get back asleep, because all I could think about were children separated from their parents at the border, crying out, "Mama!" with no comfort or help or understanding. Another daughter has been painfully teething lately and only wants me, and there have been times I hold her extra tight because my heart has been breaking with the news. I've been so grieved.
I have been at a loss for words. But I've tried to gather a few so my head doesn't feel so overwhelmed. Because I know I'm not the only one confused about policies and how we got here, feeling helpless, and wondering what to do. So I have compiled some articles that are helpful in figuring out what is going on and to share, as well as things to do in response to it all.
Brothers and sisters, this is not a partisan issue. Family separation is cruel, horrific, barbaric, and evil. It is not pro-life and is an abuse of human rights. It happened in previous administrations, but the zero tolerance policy is new. When it happened before, but I honestly didn't know. I was ignorant, but now I know what is happening and cannot be silent. It doesn't matter what party is attached to the policies and actions taking place, I must speak up and act in whatever ways I can.
Some may accuse me of being leftist, and that is okay. Some may accuse me of not speaking out enough about abortion, and that is okay. (I'm not sure why, but that always seems to be thrown out when people speak up about other issues of justice. I have and will always see the humanity and the imago dei in the womb and will defend it.) I agree with my pastor who says he is too conservative for liberals and too liberal for the conservatives. It is good to not fit securely in a political party; it reminds you that your hope is not in politics or in America. But when politicians use Scripture to defend immoral actions and when the political party that supposedly represents God (at least to white evangelicals) sets up unjust policies, I have to speak up.
I will be the first to say that immigration is a complex issue and I have so much to learn about it all. But there has to be another way in handling families that cross the border. There must be another way. Wisdom and compassion are not mutually exclusive. (And please know that anyone talking about welcoming refugees or finding a better way to deal with illegal immigration is not advocating for open borders. A nation ceases to be sovereign if it does not have definite borders.) But to separate families as a way to deter is wrong. We are dehumanizing people in order to enforce laws, and that goes against the God of the Bible, the God who created all people in His image.
And make no mistake. God will not be mocked.
He is always on the side of the oppressed. He is the Helper to the helpless, the Father to the fatherless, and the Hope to the hopeless.
If you want to use the Bible to justify immoral laws, please recognize the harm that does to the witness of the church. There is a reason why the Church is growing and thriving in the global south and why revival is so needed in the west. And if you want to see America in the Bible, consider that this country might actually resemble Babylon. If our responses and reasonings for supporting certain laws or politicians have biblical backing, then those responses and reasonings must be able to be given to people in persecuted countries, in third world countries, in dictatorships. Otherwise the Bible is not being used correctly and it is just being used to fit your agenda. The gospel cannot be contorted for your comfort. Christians should always be about family preservation if at all possible.
(And a side note: Please be careful of the arguments you choose to use to justify actions of the government. I've already heard many in this administration and some who support it using the same arguments to justify separating families as those who justify abortions. And the argument that we are supposed to respect authority because God put governments in place? That argument could be used for any party and any leader. God is indeed in control, but you better believe He does not expect His people to sit idly by while His image bearers suffer injustices.)
It is by the grace of God alone that we are born in this country with all of our comforts and freedom. And so it is our responsibility to give that grace and extend that freedom to others. We cannot hoard our gifts and call ourselves followers of Jesus.
I have a very privileged life. And that privilege is being revealed to me more and more as I listen and learn. I have never been in such desperation or suffered such injustice to need to flee to another land. I cannot imagine the thoughts and feelings and fears involved. But I do know my husband and I would do whatever we needed to in order to protect our girls and allow them to live. If we were desperate and suffering and were given even an ounce of hope for life, we would do whatever it took for our family to live, for them to live. I know our ancestors did. (I also know our ancestors used the Bible to justify awful things and heinous actions. Although I can understand them fleeing their homes in search for a better life, I do not want to be found like them in many other ways.)
The trauma these kids are enduring will have long-term, life-long impacts. Generations after us will read about this time and wonder how we could have let this happen.
The more I read and study the Bible, the more I wake up to how much God talks about and addresses justice. May our hearts break for what breaks the heart of God. May we speak out and stand up when injustices happen. And may God have mercy on America.
Articles to Read
Explainer: Must immigrant parents, children be separated at the border? [Houston Chronicle]
The FAQs: What You Should Know About Family Separation at the Border [The ERLC]
Laura Bush: Separating Children from their Parents at the Border 'Breaks My Heart' [The Washington Post]
Asylum Seekers, Family Separation, and Political Order [The Gospel Coalition]
The Bible in the Hands of a Bigot [The Washington Post]
Immigration and Religion interview with Matthew Soerens [CNN]
Twitter Thread by Alida Garcia
Ways to Act
Learn about the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2018, the HELP Separated Children Act, and the Keep Families Together Act and contact your Senators and House Representatives to make sure they support them, and if they don't then see what they are doing to help preserve families.
Email your Senators easily through UNICEF here.
Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 and your House Representatives at 202-225-3121. (This can help with making productive phone calls as well as giving you a link for direct numbers.)
Text RESIST to 50409 (It makes it super easy to find out who your Senate and House Representatives are and to contact them.)
Watch on World Relief's Facebook page on Wednesday, June 20th, at 12pm as World Relief goes live at the border in Tornillo, Texas.
Join a #FamiliesBelongTogether protest on June 30. Here is a link to one in Nashville and one in Knoxville.
Donate to those helping locally through Neta, to a legal service like KIND that advocates for kids, or to a global ministry like World Relief. I have started a fundraiser with World Relief to make it easy to donate and help the vulnerable, and would be honored if you would donate to it.
Vote. Vote. Vote. (If you need to register to vote, head here.)
And pray. Pray for mercy, pray for justice, pray for supernatural peace for these children, pray for strength for those tirelessly working on behalf of the vulnerable and oppressed. Just don't stop praying. God hears and He sees all the tears. He weeps too. And He will bring justice.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.