On Thursday, June 21, in Washington D.C. the Episcopal Public Policy Network hosted an all-day vigil at the chapel of the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill to condemn the policy of separating the families of those who have broken United States immigration laws. The event featured church leaders and politicians speaking about an issue that has dominated headlines in recent days. Radical leftist policy pervaded many of the speeches as speakers called for an end of borders and accused U.S. President Donald Trump of being callous and evil. Part of the event was live-streamed onto Facebook and can be viewed here.
The Prayer Vigil for Family Unity, as it was called, was announced on Wednesday, shortly after Trump signed an executive order ending the policy of family separation that had stirred up the outrage. As a result, within two days a quarter of the children had already been reunited with their families. At the vigil, it was clear that the speakers were not satisfied by this return to Obama-era policies and were more interested in criticizing Trump.
The full executive order can be read here. It requires that families be detained together while also prioritizing their cases and mandating the construction of new housing facilities. This is an expansion of the Obama policy from 2014 that the liberal 9th Circuit Court ended in 2016 because it found that it “directs ICE officers to consider deterrence of mass migration as a factor in their custody determinations.” The court objected to keeping families together as a deterrence to illegal immigration leading to the policy of holding children separate from their families. Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions similarly referred to this practice as a deterrence to immigration and Trump used an executive order to revert to keeping the families in jail together.
United Methodist clergy Steven Martin from the National Council of Churches sarcastically mocked the changes that the executive order had made saying that it does not fix the actual problem. He went on to admit that parts of his prepared remarks were now irrelevant because of the changes the executive order had made. He stated, “With a stroke of a pen, he [Trump] can put an end to this tragedy on the border” before correcting himself to acknowledge that Trump had done exactly that the day before. He recovered by complaining that the executive order had not gone far enough.
Now, with a return to keeping families together, the speakers at the vigil pivoted from criticizing separating families to condemning detaining illegal aliens at all. Martin argued that many illegal aliens are good people and even Christians, and therefore cannot be criminals. Fr. Grey Maggiano recounted the Biblical story of Joseph and compared America to Joseph’s brothers who hated him because he was the child of a different mother just like how illegal aliens are “brothers from different mothers.” He said, “We’re more interested in protecting what we have than sharing” and argued that since we are all equal before God, we should all be equal regardless of citizenship. Legally, this would mean an end to national borders.
These sentiments are in line with the stated policies of other Mainline Protestant churches, such as the United Methodist Church. A speaker at the vigil read an excerpt from the UMC’s Book of Resolutions which called on “the United States government to immediately cease all arrests, detainment, and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based upon their immigration status until a fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.” The leaders were never particularly concerned with children of illegal aliens being separated from their families, they were upset that any illegal aliens were being detained in the first place, so it was natural that even after Trump ended the policy of separation, these church leaders still were not satisfied.
There were many anecdotes about the honesty and integrity of those who have immigrated illegally. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) told stories about the violence in Central America that many of these immigrants are fleeing and spoke from his experience as a parent to illustrate how much these people are just trying to take care of their kids. Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA) discussed the bills being considered in Congress and dismissed them as “deportation bills not immigration bills.”
Sister Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of the liberal Roman Catholic Network Lobby for Social Justice, quoted Matthew 19:14, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” to claim that borders should not apply to children. Senator John Carper (D-DE) spoke about Matthew 25 and its lessons on helping the poor and weak who are today the immigrants being detained for illegally entering the country. Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) referenced the parable of the Good Samaritan, calling on us to help our neighbors and denounced current immigration law saying that “this policy is not a good neighbor policy.”
McGovern pointed out that while the children are going to be reunited with their families in jail, it is morally abhorrent to keep illegal aliens in jail at all. The solution then is to return to the Obama policy of “catch and release” where illegal aliens are released into the country. This policy is radically leftist. A recent YouGov poll out this week showed that just 19 percent of Americans support this proposal including 64 percent of self-described “Liberals” opposing it. What McGovern advocates is extreme even for leftists, yet it was being pushed by the speakers at the vigil.
While this was nominally a prayer gathering, it was dominated by politically-charged messages. The Very Rev. Dr. Martini Shaw, Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, had harsh words for Trump saying, “The White House administration’s policy to separate and detain children in a detention center or cage was cruel, heartless, mean-spirited, immoral, unethical, and certainly inhumane.”
Episcopalians and the other church leaders partnering with them for this vigil used the tragedy of suffering children to push their radical open borders agenda by supporting it with vague Christian ideals and attacks on the Trump administration. Leftist church leaders and politicians constantly attempt to justify their policies by floating thin Biblical maxims about kindness and claiming that anyone who opposes them does so simply because they are hateful and evil.Google+