Religious Heads Rebuke Trump on DACA

Image result for Dreamers

Photo in the Los Angeles Times

I’m sure glad my Norwegian, wagon-maker great-grandfather didn’t live to see this day. He didn’t speak a word of English and was probably already infected with tuberculosis. No way he’d pass muster with the Trump administration. They’d ship him back to the old country.

Trump and his minions, once again, left many slack-jawed, with key religious leaders among those with mouths agape. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said President Obama exceeded his Constitutional authority when he launched DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which safeguards immigrants who arrived as children and know nothing of their native land. Sessions said Congress should pass a law if it wants change, and he gave it six months. If Senators and reps fail, youngsters will be cuffed and bussed off.

To which Lady Liberty says, “Really?”

One wonders: Will this move finally jolt religious people into active opposition? Their leaders feel shunted. Some evangelical top dogs made a pitch for DACA a few days back, but the supposedly religion-friendly administration paid them no heed.

The reaction has been quick. Witness the sharp rebuke of the United States Conference on Catholic Bishops:

The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.

The National Association of Evangelicals was, perhaps, more genteel. But it spoke with no less conviction:

Today President Trump announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that has temporarily protected the children of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) calls on Congress to promptly pass legislation that permanently protects these individuals and allows them to fully integrate into American life.

These statements should come as no surprise, given the Bible’s call to befriend the alien, sojourner, and stranger. Just two of a host of passages:

Jeremiah 22:3: “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”

Ezekiel 47:21-23, with emphasis added: “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

Will the back-to-the-Bible people actually read their Bibles? If they do, maybe they’ll stop fawning over Trump, join the resistance, and protect those kids.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is an ordained clergyman specializing in healing and conflict transformation. He lives with his wife and son in Connecticut.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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