For years I've dedicated this space almost exclusively to matters of the upcoming worship services, and I will maintain that practice. But today, I'm going to make a brief exception to respond to the many inquiries I've received about how you may, as individuals, respond to the crisis of separating families at the border. No email can be comprehensive, but let me suggest a few things:
Become informed and act accordingly. For instance, did you know that many border detention centers are for-profit prison businesses that are paid over 100 dollars a day to hold a prisoner while requiring that prisoner to work for below minimum wage? GEO is the largest for-profit prison business in our country. Southwest Key Co. runs large child detention centers in Texas. Both receive enormous government contracts.
This issue is not new, nor is it at a distance. Under 287-g, immigrants right here in Charlotte have regularly been arrested and separated from their families.
As Christians, recognize that our faith mandates particular treatment of the 'foreigner' and 'wayfarer.' Study what our sacred texts say and let them - instead of one political ideology or another - shape your perspective.
Be confident in your conviction that using children as bargaining chips for increased border enforcement and militarization is simply immoral. Call your representatives and say so. Here are some (though not all) numbers:
- Sen. Richard Burr - 202-224-3154
- Sen. Thom Tillis - 202-224-6342
- Rep. Alma Adams - 202-225-1510
- President Trump - 202-456-1111
If you want to support legal representation of these children and families, trusted colleagues suggest that raicestexas.org is the most successful way to do so.
If you want to help migrant kids on both sides of the border but not yet in detention, a faith-based charity called "The Kino Border Initiative" does important work. The pragmatist in me loves their vision, "Humane. Just. Workable migration between the U.S and Mexico." You can find out more about them at Kinoborderinitiative.org.
Join me in recognizing that these are clarifying times for those of us who call ourselves Christian. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Christian martyr who died resisting Nazi Germany, said, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
We'll continue to embrace the opportunity to be a faithful congregation this weekend. It's our last weekend of four weekly services until fall. Come to any or all, and we'll be strengthened in faith together.