Ecumenical Poverty Initiative condemns the escalating, state-sponsored hostility towards asylum seekers in United States. The recent Thanksgiving trifecta is terrifying. First, the Presidential authorization of the military’s use of “lethal force”, if necessary, against persons seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border. Next, ICE agents’ forceful detainment of a man who emerged from nearly a year of sanctuary at his North Carolina church to file a deferred deportation application. Then, US Customs Border and Protection agents firing tear gas to disperse asylum seekers, including women and children, on the US-Mexico border.
This Reuters photo shows the latter. Other photos include images of people, including children in diapers, screaming as they flee the scene. This should move us to compassion as Christians (Matthew 9:36). As people of faith and people of good conscience, our moral compasses point in the direction opposite from where week’s events lead. The trifecta, happening in rapid secession, is inhumane. Yet it is our new normal. All of this should ignite a holy rage that moves us to weep, and to act.
It is time stop the unbridled dehumanization of God’s Children. Like the Psalmist, we …know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. (Psalm 140:12). Yet, the Lord can work through us. As people of faith, we cannot remain silent nor sit idle while children are caught in the cross-fire. We must express our outrage about using tear gas on asylum seekers, especially women and children, to secure our nation’s southern border.
It is ironic that this happened over the Thanksgiving holiday. In general, we use our nation pauses to observe indigenous peoples’ hospitality towards immigrants, and to reflect on our individual and corporate blessings. Instead, these actions evoke the ruthless, colonial conquests for which our nation must repent. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt (Deuteronomy 10:19). Please join us in prayer for our nation, its leaders, and those who seek asylum from the violence and systemic poverty that in many cases our nation helped to create. May we emulate the spirit of the indigenous peoples on whose land we live, who welcomed the stranger, and helped them live into the prosperity for which this nation is known. Amen.