"A stronghold for the oppressed"
June 24, 2018
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed…
let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O Lord,
let the nations know that they are mortal.
(Psalm 9:9, 19, 20)
The depth of the moral atrocity being perpetrated on immigrant families fleeing to the United States has been described by many, including George Packer (The New Yorker):
“Jose, a 5-year old Honduran boy, was taken away from his father by immigration officials last month, after the two of them had crossed the border at El Paso. The father was transferred to a detention camp. Jose, all alone, was put on a plane to Michigan and placed under the care of a family of kind but anguished strangers. In his bedroom at night, he clings to pictures he’s drawn of his family—his mother and siblings in Honduras with its epidemic of gang violence and his father in prison. He won’t stop asking, ‘When will I see my papa?’”
Jose’s story has been repeated 2000 times by other children in the past 6 weeks.
Children have been ripped from their parents, many warehoused in a converted Walmart.
All this is being done in our name and with our taxes.
Religious communities and human rights organizations have condemned the demented cruelty of our policy and practice. Bishop Laurie has pointed us to an
onto which our Council of Bishops has signed. (June 15)
The most surreal commentary has come from Attorney General/Lead Theologian Jeff Sessions: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”
Does the AG not know that this infamous text was a favorite plantation owners used to justify their slave-holding?
Does he not remember that Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah (Exodus 1), Jesus and Paul, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. all disobeyed laws of the governments of their times?
(A preacher could do 15 minutes naming imprisoned saints this Sunday.)
How did our Statue-of-Liberty-loving country come to this cruel place?
Our Psalmist has seen it before and calls out for God to “let the nations know that they are mortal.” (9:20)
Let us heed the warning: Nations can forget that they are mortal not eternal, that all nations are under the judgment of a holy God who “does not forget the cry of the afflicted.” (9:12)
These nations, better known as empires, act as though lies can live forever, there is no moral arc to the universe, and their leaders are divine.
These nations brag about their military dominance, justify any cruelty that serves their interests and deal imprisonment and death to any who challenge them.
Courage for resistance to such regimes of cruelty often begins with chanting the psalms:
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed.” (9: 9)