Gene Luen Yang’s ‘Boxers’ and ‘Saints’, while delivered in quirky comic book style, tells a serious and important story about Chinese history and the boxer rebellion. “Not all of the Boxers are noble, and Yang highlights this as the Boxers’ fear of polluting “Yin” and misogynistic rumors about Westerners that partly fuel their disgust. Like how history frames the Boxer Movement in various lights—anti-imperialist, xenophobic, revolutionary…”
This Chinese story is important – but in light of the conflict in the United States the last few weeks, I can’t help but make an analogy between the Boxer Movement and the separation of illegal immigrant children from their parents (yes, I know it’s a stretch but the undertones of conflict are similar). One of the defining similarities between then and now is the source of conflict – and subsequent polarization. During the boxer movement, westerners were targeted. In the current conflict in the United States – the “other” (aka immigrants) are targeted.
I agree that the issue is complex regarding illegal immigration but I always return to Jesus – how would he view the situation and what would he do. I appreciate a recent tweet from Beth Moore…
Jesus loves the little children. Every wrong performed against them He takes personally.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
What should the Christian response be to the zero tolerance policy? First – before I propose an answer – let me share some researched “myths” about the foundation and application of the illegal immigrant policy. These are taken from Michelle Martin, PhD from Department of Social Work at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).
Myth 1: This is not a new policy and was practiced under Obama and Clinton. (FALSE)
Myth 2: This is the only way to deter undocumented immigration. (FALSE)
Myth 3: Most of the people coming across the border are just trying to take advantage of our country by taking our jobs. (FALSE)
Myth 4: We’re a country that respects the Rule of Law, and if people break the law, this is what they get. (FALSE)
Myth 5: The children have to be separated from their parents because their parents must be arrested and it would be cruel to put children in jail with their parents. (FALSE)
Myth 6: We have rampant fraud in our asylum process the proof of which is the significant increase we have in the number of people applying for asylum. (FALSE)
Myth 7: The Democrats caused this, “it’s their law.” (FALSE)
Myth 8: The parents and children will be reunited shortly, once the parents’ court cases are finalized. (FALSE)
Myth 9: This policy is legal. (LIKELY FALSE)
There is greater detail explaining why each myth is false – I encourage you to read and analyze for yourself https://www.michellemartinauthor.com/myblog/9-myths-about-trumps-zero-tolerance-policy. The bigger question is – as a Christian leader are you taking the time to be intentional about understanding the human rights issues associated with policies in the United States? Are you doing your own research, while avoiding listening to/reading any political rhetoric that is created to suck you in to believing and/or being loyal to your own political parties beliefs?
I think it was a deleterious use of scripture when Jeff Sessions, U. S. Attorney General, made this statement when justifying President Trump’s zero-tolerance order “Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution,” “I would cite to you 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. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.” Even more disappointing is a recently released statistic that white evangelical Christians have become silent about the issue. “In a January Washington Post-ABC poll, 75 percent of white evangelical Christians rated “the federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants” as positive, compared with 46 percent of U.S. adults overall, and 25 percent of nonwhite Christians.”
Jesus once said, “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6) which connects brilliantly with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said “We are called to be people of conviction, not conformity; of moral nobility, not social respectability.”
So I ask you again – how should Christians respond to this human rights issue? With love, with the hands and feet of Jesus, with love of the foreigner, and with conviction of right and wrong. Have you taken a stand? Worked to educate people about the “truth”? Have you prayed about how God/Jesus/Holy Spirit would want you to stand on this issue? These are complex times which call for complex answers. Let Jesus be your guide…