As you know approximately 2300 children have been separated from their parents due to the recently adopted policy to criminally prosecute anyone who unlawfully crosses our border with Mexico, including parents traveling with their minor children. This policy, as it has been implemented, means that when unlawful immigrants are taken into federal criminal custody their children are considered unaccompanied alien minors and are taken away from them and placed in shelters. Separating children from their parents in this way lacks mercy and compassion and is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Leaders from across the Christian denominations have condemned this policy. Elected officials from both parties have condemned this policy. Bishop Andy Doyle has released a statement (linked at the end of this message) and I am in full agreement with him.
As Americans we value the rule of law. As those who follow Jesus we value compassion, mercy, and generosity. There are times when these values come into conflict and this is one of those times. When this happens we ask ourselves, “What would Jesus have us do?” In the beatitudes Jesus taught, “Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.” When Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, the Pharisees confronted Jesus for doing something that they considered to be in violation of the Law. Jesus told them God desires mercy and not sacrifice. Later when the disciples fed themselves by plucking grains of wheat in the field the Pharisees again confronted Jesus and again he told them God desires mercy and not sacrifice. In cases like this when values of the Kingdom of God and the rule of law come into conflict I hope we would uphold the values mercy, compassion, and generosity and have our policies reflect those values.
As this situation unfolds I encourage everyone to read Bishop Doyle’s statement and to pray for those whose who have been separated that they may be comforted; to pray for those who enforce these laws and policies that they may do so with compassion; and to pray for our elected officials and policymakers that they may make wise decisions and right actions to quickly remedy this situation.
Daryl T. Hay +
Link to Bishop Doyle’s Statement