For my whole life I have been pro-life. One-hundred percent. The idea that a baby would be ripped away from his or her mother is for me beyond the pale. As a follower of Jesus it is incomprehensible to me that such should be tolerated. Despite this strong belief of mine, it has been the law of the land for decades that it is okay to take a child away from its mother.
It’s called abortion, and many of us Christ-followers have stood valiantly against this law and for a better vision for human flourishing than the so-called “choice” it supposedly allows.
And that must be our response regarding certain matters unfolding along our southern border. The idea that a baby would be taken away from his or her mother is for me beyond the pale. As a follower of Jesus it is incomprehensible to me that such should be tolerated. Despite this strong belief of mine, it is, evidently, the law of the land. It is known in the media as a policy on family separation. It is, purportedly, an aggressive attempt to deter illegal immigration. It has been presented under the rubric of “law and order.” It has been put forward as an appropriate measure by “the governing authorities” (Rom 13:1).
It is wrong.
Just like abortion.
And laws that endorsed American slavery. Or Jim Crow. Or the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s.
Just laws are appropriate. Sound immigration policy is responsible. I’ve traveled all over the world. Every nation I have ever been to, no matter how large or small, has some measurable immigration enforcement. Governments should be good stewards of their borders, their resources, and their people. Romans 13 makes it clear that God expects nothing less from civil authorities than that they care for the welfare of their people.
But the very Scriptures that proclaim a vision for an orderly civil society also demand that we remember all people are created in the image of God (Gen 1:26) and that children, in particular, are not to be taken advantage of. Jesus declares in Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” Indeed, the very same passage cited so commonly in the public square to affirm the rights and powers of governing authorities also offers these important words: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Rom 13:8). Moreover, the Apostle Paul pens, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).
Laws that reasonably address the complexities of immigration make sense. Immigration-enforcement laws that permit a baby to be ripped from his or her mother’s arm, are, if we are intellectually and spiritually honest, every bit as problematic as abortion, for in either case what is communicated is that the dignity and welfare of the child does not matter, particularly in the face of powerful “others” who control his or her destiny. We followers of Jesus, who so adamantly oppose the atrocity of abortion, should be the first in line at our southern borders to say, “What a minute! Taking kids away from their parents, and as “a tough deterrent . . . a technique,” is not acceptable! It harms children, it devastates families, and it is not the kind of people we wish to be!”
We can do better. We must. And it would be consistent.
Jesus said so. His Father is watching.