I doubt if Jesus likes it.
What’s going on the Mexican border, that is.
Regardless of what Jeff Sessions’ Bible says.
Really, is locking refugee kids up in abandoned Walmarts the sort of thing Jesus would do?
After all when it comes to desperate border crossings, he’s been there, done that.
Remember the story as Matthew tells it. How Joseph and Mary with Jesus in tow fled from Bethlehem just ahead of King Herod’s enforcers (who, by the way, were just doing their job, exercising the government’s legal authority) and hightailed it across the desert to Egypt, slipping across a rather permeable border to relative safety.
Fortunately, pharaoh’s version of Jeff Sessions wasn’t there to send the Holy Family back to Herod’s tender mercies. Heaven only knows how things might have worked out.
But we know what happens when that sort of thing happens here, now.
Now our government authorities tell us all of these people are criminals. If their crime is being from the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess they’re guilty as charged. Like The Donald says, we have to be careful who we let in ... too bad, he said, these people aren’t more like folks from Norway.
That’s an interesting thought, because 175 years ago Norway wasn’t the gleaming first-world social democracy we might envy today. The Norway my great-great-grandfather was born into was poor, hungry and overpopulated. For a peasant boy in the mountainous interior the future held little promise — and far, far less for his children.
So Lars left. He bid Hurdahl goodbye and made his way to the sea. He booked passage on a grimy, overcrowded immigrant ship and endured the weeks of stench, sickness, bad food and death to be disgorged on a strange shore, unknown and unwelcomed. Ignorant of the language, ignorant of the customs, he knew how to plow, pick and hoe and would do whatever he needed to make a good and productive life for himself and his family.
So let’s skip forward five generations. Lars is now Luís. The land he was born into is poor, hungry and overpopulated. The future holds little promise for him and far, far less for his children.
So he leaves. The family endures weeks of danger, sickness and death to slip across an empty border into a strange and glittering land, ignorant of the language, ignorant of the customs, but able to plow, pick and hoe and willing to do whatever is needed to make a safe, productive life.
If this is criminal, this country could do well to have a spike in the crime rate.
Good families. Hardworking families. Ripped apart at the border, parents jailed, children locked away in juvenile concentration camps. All for the crime of seeking a better, safer, healthier life.
And we’re told this is what God wants us to do, no less.
I don’t think so.
I think I read from the same Bible as Mr. Sessions; but mine seems to carry a different message.
If Mr. Sessions had continued a few verses further in Paul’s epistle he would have read this further instruction to the Romans, “Whatever other commandments there may be are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Really, would the divine child of a refugee family pen up those fleeing hopelessness behind barbed wire in tents in the desert?
The first letter of John gives an insight: “By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth.”
“And do this,” Paul wrote, “Understanding the present time ... The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light ...”
It was a time of blood, and threats of more blood. With riots sweeping city after city, it appeared that the assassin’s bullet had killed Martin Luther King’s dream as surely as it had ended his life.