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BY REV. BENJAMIN PERRY

July 3, 2019


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That sign says Help.
Yesterday, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security released new photos of concentration camps at the border, revealing “serious overcrowding and prolonged detention” of unaccompanied migrant children” - via the Daily Beast.
“I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.” – Matthew 25:43
While love your neighbor as yourself is often discussed most frequently in reference to Jesus’ teaching - and is certainly applicable to the horrors at our border - we find Christ’s most radical theological proclamation in Matthew 25. Jesus doesn’t just say, “Treat people well because it’s the right thing to do.” He declares, “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

This is the truth that God calls Christians to face: Christ is imprisoned in concentration camps. Christ is being forced to drink water from the toilet. Christ is being denied medical care in the face of dire sickness. Christ has been kidnapped from her parents. Christ is plaintively holding a makeshift cardboard sign reading “help” while our country prepares to celebrate “freedom.”

Do not look away. These atrocities are being committed in your name. In my name. Paid for by public money. As the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote, “Some are guilty, but all are responsible.” We may not have ordered their creation, but we are responsible for these concentration camps. And responsible for shutting them down.
This is just the latest report of grotesque and abominable actions by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The agency is lawless and violent, and those leading it must be held accountable. We need full-scale congressional investigations into this abuse. Keep an eye on the latest from from the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and contact your congresspeople to demand they act.

In the meantime, support groups like RAICES or Immigrant Families Together, who work tirelessly to fight for migrants’ rights and safety.
Lord, may your divine wrath burn against those who orchestrate systematic abuse. Our leaders have used their power to oppress the vulnerable, have committed crimes against humanity, and have even had the audacity to attempt to justify this violence in your name. Be with every family we have imprisoned. Give them strength. And give us strength to tear down the walls around them. Amen.
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