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No letter is perfect, and the bishops' letter falls short of the soaring rhetoric that might inspire a nation. They might have written something like this: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Immigrant children protesters ride a horse past City Hall during their march through the streets of Los Angeles as part of the 300 mile trek "Trail for Humanity which aims to highlight the plight of undocumented children who journey across Central America to the United States, on August 13, 2014 in Los Angeles. US officials have said that almost 57,000 unaccompanied children have arrived this year from Central America, fleeing poverty and violence at home, and hoping in many instances to reunite with relatives already in the United States.(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)Standing in line at the courthouse for early voting recently, I overheard some fellow Tennesseans discussing the border crisis and the influx of child refugees into the Volunteer State. I heard one man tell another that the government was putting up Guatemalan kids at hotels for $250 to $1,000 a night. I don't know how true that is. There had been a multimillion dollar plan to turn a nice hotel into a refuge for unaccompanied minors from the border. But I'm a clergyman, and here is something I do know:
They start with the non negotiables, the things the Bible commands. Most of us don't like being commanded to do anything, but the Texas bishops identify three teachings Christians must heed when it comes to this latest immigration crisis:
to his disciples when they tried to shoo them away. (Luke 18:15 16) The bishops could also have reminded us that Jesus was once a child refugee himself. (Matthew 2:13 14)
The bishops next offer concrete suggestions for how individuals and churches might respond. Prayer, short term housing and other "life necessities" while the long term status of these asylum seekers is being resolved are among their prescriptions. To paraphrase John Wesley Methodism's founder the bishops admonish the faithful to do as much as they can for as many as they can for as long as they can.
Whatever one thinks of our current immigration policies or the president's stomach for enforcing them, nearly 80 percent of Americans continue to identify themselves as "Christian." And while as many as half of those may be steeple dropouts, it's significant that they continue to identify with the faith into which they were baptized. Polls suggest that nearly all of them believe in God. No doubt most try to love their neighbors as themselves, and I suspect that many resort to prayer when the propeller falls off. So, yes, America is a blended nation spiritually, but the dominant flavor of that blend remains decidedly Christian.
Christians are commanded to feed the hungry, clothe the Nike Pullover Jacket naked, give drink to the thirsty and welcome the stranger. When you have done it for the least of these, say the bishops, you have done it to Jesus. (Matthew 25:40)
offered some sage pastoral advice for all Americans of faith.
Children are exceptional, and Jesus issued a stern rebuke Nike Long Sleeve White
Christians are to extend hospitality to strangers. (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:12)
God's love to shape our hearts and our response.
That's why I was struck by a recent letter of the United Methodist Bishops of Texas to the faithful in the Lone Star state. Not exactly a liberal bunch, these Texas bishops have Nike Black Sweatshirt Womens
The bishops remind us that we do not know what these children may have experienced in their own countries. "We do know that their plight breaks the heart of God," they go on to write. The bishops wisely acknowledge America's fears about homeland security and the financial costs of getting involved. Even so, they call upon Christians to rise above these fears and allow Nike Hoodie Female
A Christian nation does what it can
By botching this immigration issue, we could wind up betraying our religious commitments as well as our reputation as a haven for asylum seekers.
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