Monday, May 28, 2018

Cruelty Toward the Outsider

Image result for statue of liberty cartoon images ICE

Can you imagine a regime anywhere in the world where children are snatched away from their parents, sometimes never to be seen again, simply because they have showed up at the border seeking asylum?  It's hard to imagine the terror for both parents and children.

We would assume that this is the action of a totalitarian state with no regard for international law and without any moral compunction. Sadly, this is what is happening in the United States of America today.

While there are US laws and regulations about receiving refugees they are being ignored by the dreaded ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Go to the ICE website and you'll be greeted by photos of gang members from Central American countries who will be deported. There is nothing about separating families, with children as young as toddlers taken from their parents. Teens are incarcerated in rudimentary camps using thermal sheets for blankets. What is most alarming is that nearly 1,500 children are unaccounted for. Where could they have gone? This is our supposedly democratic neighbour and we have reason to be shocked and dismayed.

Yesterday I wrote about the challenges we are facing in Canada with a wave of refugee claimants arriving at our borders, many of whom don't qualify as immigrants. There are increasing concerns and resistance to this relatively recent phenomenon. The federal government must develop more effective strategies to address this. Still, we simply can't go the route of the Americans, and their president who unapologetically describes undesirable foreigners as animals and describes their countries as shitholes.

I'm glad that many US faith leaders are outspoken in their opposition to this draconian shift in US response to those who arrive at the country's borders. I am appalled, however, that the most significant group of Americans who support it are white Evangelical Christians. It is as though the gospel of Jesus Christ has evaporated from their conception of religion and been replaced with a mean-spirited and cruel distortion of patriotism.

I know I should pray for the United States but I'm running close to empty on this one.


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