“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 2 He called a child, whom he put among them, 3 and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:1-6)
Attorney General, Jeff Sessions used a passage from Romans to support the administration’s evil policy to separate children from their parents who are entering this country illegally. Since he has brought God into this, which because of separation of church and state is unacceptable to begin with, it is the moral obligation of clergy, laity and all people of faith to speak up against this heresy.
Regardless of whether or not a person is breaking the law, Scripture clearly mandates that we treat all humans with respect, love, mercy and compassion. Separating children from their parents and housing them in tent cities is immoral and the total antithesis of the very Bible he is quoting.
Perhaps he failed to read further on in Romans 13 from which he quoted. Paul clarifies his call to obedience to those in authority by reminding us there is a greater allegiance to which we called: “8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law… 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8,10) Or perhaps he missed the chapter before, Romans 12.13: “Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” Or Ephesians 2:19: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” Or how about Hebrews 13:2: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” And of course, the Hebrew Scriptures are full of admonitions to welcome the strangers: Leviticus 19:34: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
This has nothing to do with politics or political allegiances. This is about human decency whatever one’s worldview or ideology. How are we to follow in the way of Jesus if stand silent in the face of the suffering of children. How are we to live out the teachings of Matthew 25 to care for the least among us if we do nothing in the face of such sin?
I have been called too political lately, but I am not being political. I am striving to live out the Gospel. Jesus’s teachings are radical. He offered those who had ears to hear and eyes to see a counter-cultural “kin-dom” where every human being was of equal value, where every human being is a beloved child of God. We are at a watershed moment. Are we to stay silent in the face of such inhumanity or are we going to speak out to our leaders demanding an end to cruel mean-spirited policies. The choice is ours and I believe God is watching.
Angela Maddalone is the pastor at Palisades Presbyterian Church in Palisades, NY.