What You Do To the Least of These, Taking It Personally

Unless you live under a rock, you have likely heard something, perhaps many things, about current United States Immigration policy and enforcement as well as the use of scripture, specifically Romans 13, to justify it. If you want to learn about what the meaning of Romans 13 actually is, I suggest that you check out David Watson’s excellent insights into it. He speaks about it far better than I could and that will not be the focus of my thoughts here, but will be the subject of some sarcasm and biting criticism regarding those who misuse it.  It is important to have an understanding of the passage though as it has come up in public discourse as a defense for things that are frankly unholy. So that we are clear, by unholy, I mean actions that are inspired by the pits of hell and not the throne of grace. I’d hate for someone to misunderstand.
To understand what is going on at the US borders, we need to realize some things. First, children have not been treated well in many cases for a long time. This is not new, though widespread public awareness of it is. In criminal cases at the boarder, children have often been removed. Many people have arrived at the US boarder  crossings and presented themselves as asylum seekers. This is nothing new. What is new is the US government deciding that asylum seekers should be held in detention, which requires their children be taken from them. What is also new is that the Justice Department, via Jeff Sessions, has decided to eliminate the protections of asylum for victims of domestic violence and gang violence. To be clear, what that means is that if you happen to be a battered woman (or man for that matter) with children, or if you happen to be a victim of MS-13, a street gang that was formed in the US and exported to other countries, it stinks to be you. We won’t help. We will throw you in jail for a bit though then send you home where it will undoubtedly be worse. Mr. Sessions has also decided to prosecute nearly everyone who crosses the boarder with the misdemeanor crime of doing so, even if they are seeking asylum, creating a huge backlog of cases. Yes, those coming to the US for help are being branded criminals even if they present themselves as asylum seekers. The sources for the information are numerous, but I have chosen The Wall Street Journal, hardly known for being a liberally biased news source, to try and mitigate the temptation to dismiss the information. This is drastically different than years passed. Before you go on reading, let me ask you if you think that your daughter, if, God forbid, she were fleeing gang rape, and asking for protection, should be arrested, prosecuted, and then sent back to her rapists? I mean, that is obviously what Jesus would do right? Deport the vulnerable victim because, after all, Romans 13. What if it were your daughter who had been brutally abused by her husband? Yep, you guessed it, convict and deport her back to her abuser because, you know, Romans 13. These are not hypothetical, save for the relation to you. These are real cases, and this  what is literally happening on our boarders as you read this. On top of that, while they are being prosecuted and prepared to be sent back to their abusers, take the kids from them because, you know, Romans 13. What is drastically different now than in times past is the indiscriminate prosecution of misdemeanor crime without regard to circumstance of seeking asylum. We are criminalizing victims of abuse, and Christians are cheering it. Christians in America are actively cheering the active prosecution of women running from gang rape and abuse, having their children taken from them, and sent back to their rapists and abusers. Because that is what Jesus would do. You know, Romans 13. The BBC has also reported on the matter mentioning that the policy of separating families is to be used as a deterrent. Christians are cheering this as well. Yes, Christians are actively cheering a policy that uses children as threats. Some verse or another about millstones comes to mind. Matthew 18:5-6 “And whoever shall receive one such little child in My name receives Me.  But whoever shall offend one of these little ones who believes in Me, it would be better for him that an ass’s millstone were hung around his neck, and he be sunk in the depth of the sea. ” Papa Wesley would say the following on the matter “And all who are in this sense little children are unspeakably dear to me. Therefore help them all you can, as if it were myself in person, and see that ye offend them not; that is, that ye turn them not out of the right way, neither hinder them in it. (Mat 10:40; Luk 10:16; Joh 13:20. Mar 9:42; Luk 17:1.)” For those of you who still care, those are the explanatory notes, thus are a UMC standard of faith. If you happen to complain about some not keeping the standards and then applaud these efforts, you are just as guilty as those you accuse. I daresay we are not helping children by taking them away from their asylum seeking parents who are being prosecuted and detained for a misdemeanor that has not been applied to them in recent memory. But you know, Romans 13 means that the things Jesus said don’t matter, at least to those who are cheering.  If you are a Christian and applaud such things, then you are a victim of listening to the spirit of the father of all lies and not the Holy Spirit that guides us in truth and righteousness. In case that wasn’t clear enough, let me be perfectly blunt. You are listening to the voice of Satan himself and not the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the teachings of scripture, or the words of Jesus the Christ, not to mention the standards of faith of the United Methodist Church. While there is much to be said about hospitality in the Old Testament in relation to moral law, and while I would love to write about such things, the simple truth is that this is a matter of deciding whom it is that you will serve. Will you serve the God of justice tempered with love and mercy who has set Christ as the head of the church, or will you serve His adversary by supporting such morally repugnant actions with your applause? Choose you this day…
So I have been asked lately why it is that I take it so personally. Why is it that I am so angry over this. It’s simple. As Christians, who desire to follow Christ and lead a Christ like life, we should be righteously angry over this. If we claim to follow Christ, then we must follow Him also when He says “Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me.” Jesus took it personally, so personally, that it is presented in the context of Him on the throne of judgement. So ask yourself, would you send Jesus back to face gang rape? No, that’s not a blasphemous question, it is the very real and relevant question. Would you rip a child from Jesus’ arms? Would you approve of Jesus beatings? When you support and applaud these things, you do so also unto him. The answer is that I take it personally because Jesus did. It makes me righteously angry because it makes Jesus righteously angry. The question though isn’t why I am taking it so personally, the question is why aren’t you.

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6 Replies to “What You Do To the Least of These, Taking It Personally”

  1. Instead of having a purely emotional reaction to the illegal immigration/request for amnesty/separation of children (age 0 to age 17) issue, you might want to look at facts. Cold and cruel hearted, by realistic.

    There are two classes of people coming to the border. Those seeking jobs, and those using the system to scam the immigration system. The majority are seeking to sneak across the border for jobs. If successful they get jobs in the U.S., usually sending money back to relatives in Mexico, and many times go back to Mexico, then repeat the process many times.
    The second group, those seeking to scam the system are mostly from Central America, seeking to use the magic words, “I am seeking asylum”, to get a magic pass into the country. They know if they bring someone age 0 to 17, they would have a court date set, then disappear into the country, never to be seen again.
    For this group of people, ask yourself how does a woman and child (ok, baby brings tears to your eyes, but more likely a teenager), gets from Honduras or Guatemala, to the U.S. border, by herself, 3000 miles away, without a network of immigrant smuggling. The innocent poor woman and child can’t travel 3000 miles without a nefarious network of help. Suspect sex trafficking and slave labor.

    If the innocent woman and child was legitimately seeking escape from MS-13 gangs or domestic abuse in Central America, why not just stay in Mexico? Mexico now has more liberal immigration laws, and native Spanish speaking immigrants have no language problems. I would suggest that it is more likely that the innocent woman and baby are either:

    1. Abusing the U.S. immigration laws for their own gain, otherwise they would stay in Mexico versus traveling 3000 miles to the U.S..
    2. Being supported by an illegal network of immigrant smuggling, by sex or slave labor gang members? MS-13 comes to mind.

    There might be exceptions to this. But I’d expect they are small compared to the scam/photo op opportunities brought forth by progressive liberals.

    My point – this issue is not as simple minded as you seem to think. Making government policy based upon church doctrine is just as bad as making church doctrine based upon government policy. Case in point – gay marriage. Immigration. Base decisions on facts, not emotion.

  2. “If the innocent woman and child was legitimately seeking escape from MS-13 gangs or domestic abuse in Central America, why not just stay in Mexico?” Because Mexico is functionally run by drug cartels who murder politicians that oppose them and rape and abuse women just like the places they are fleeing from. That’s why not stay in Mexico. Because the standard of living in Mexico is terrible for the poor, and let’s face it, most of Mexico classifies as “the poor”.
    More likely or not, if we let in 1,000 to save one, I am perfectly ok with that. Any Christian should be.
    I am not asking the government to make policy based on church doctrine. I am saying that a Christian, in good conscious can not support the decisions that the government has recently made. I am very much asking the government to exercise the more merciful alternatives that are allowable in our laws and to reinstate the protections for those abused and in danger of gang violence.
    The issue is very much as simple as I think, there is right, and there is wrong. The decisions that have been made are morally repugnant, and therefor classify as wrong. Your “facts” are all opinions Gary. There is no substantial evidence to back up any of your claims about those who are seeking asylum, other than your say so.
    You seem to think that I am advocating some sort of open boarder policy and that is not at all the case. What I do advocate for however is the following of our moral center, as Christians that have a vote and following our founding beliefs as Americans who have a voice. We can not claim that all have rights granted by our creator, and then n the next breath deny those same basic rights to those who come here.

      1. Yeah Gary, I have been to Mexico. More than once. Even left the tourist areas.
        113 politicians murdered since September. The murder rate in general is 25% higher than it was in 2011. Only 25% are actually investigated. The over all murder rate in Mexico is over 3x the world average, 50% of Mexican citizens say that crime is the central concern in their neighborhoods. Widespread political bribery and corruption. The unsolved crime rate in Mexico is 93%. (The Economist, various articles over the past 8 months))
        Finally the US Department of State has issued a level two travel warning for Mexico specifically due to the high crime rate.

        But you know, not to bad….not an exaggeration Gary, actual tangible and verifiable fact.

        1. By that definition, all Mexican citizens ought to be immediately relocated to San Diego. That didn’t deter the innocent woman with a baby to cross 3000 miles of Mexico to get to the U.S. border. You think LA or Chicago or Detroit murder rates will deter the innocent women’s claim of domestic abuse? If her husband isn’t along, no domestic abuse. But I bet someone trafficking her transported her the 3000 miles across Mexico. MS-13? Or maybe Pelosi’s buddies, to get a great photo op. It’s all a political scam, to disobey or ignore the laws. Sanctuary Cities? You are buying into the CNN and MSNBC Propaganda bandwagon. And the obvious “not about Republicans or Democrats” lies of the Poor People’s Campaign, which seems to be mesmerizing the UMC.

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