The Binding of Immigrant Children

As many of you know, on Father’s Day, as well as Mother’s Day, I usually go through a long litany of the diverse people who make up fathers and mothers. Today, on the day before Father’s Day. I will break that tradition.

I am drawn to the first book of Moses, Genesis 22, and the Binding of Yitzhak. His father Avrahim, is instructed to “take his son, his only son, whom he loves” and to offer him as a sacrifice. I have often read the story and I’m continually amazed at the faith this father exemplified. A faith not unlike a parent who would send an unaccompanied child to the US border, in good faith, that that child would be provided sanctuary and refuge from horrible conditions in that child’s home country.

In the story, only after Avraham was willing to sacrifice Yitzhak, does God provide the ram. And, not surprisingly, this is the first use of the word love in the Christian Bible.

The sacrifices of these parents, to either send an unaccompanied child, or or to make the treacherous trip with their children, along the Jericho Road that is the northern triangle of Central America and the Mexican desert, is indeed an exercise in faith not unlike that shown in the binding of Yitzhak. It is a faith grounded in a belief that they are doing the right thing. It is a faith that God will provide. It is a faith that is grounded in seeking sanctuary in a country that, for so long, believed in the mantra of sending the poor, the hungry and the huddled masses to our shores and borders.

But in this time, and in this place, the United States has forgotten the fact that it claims to be a Christian country. So many in our government are citing New Testament writings of Paul to justify their treatment of the modern day Yitzhaks of the world.

Where God intervened by sending a ram to sacrifice, it is my prayer that God will send a sacrificial ram by changing the hearts of Congress members in the form of compassion, acceptance, and legislation that recognizes our rich history of accepting immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers and continue to live out that history.

It is my prayer that our leadership deems it more important to be morally correct than to be the “moral right.”

Unbind these children now, whether they are newly arrived at the border or previously brought here by parents and are DACA recipients, or for some reason unable to apply for DACA. Unbind these children now.  Congress, suspend your fear, your xenophobia, your pride, and your desire to do what is expected by this Administration rather than to do what is morally right. By doing this, your fear, xenophobia, pride, and desire to cling on to your committee chairs, become the sacrificial ram rather than these children.

Unbind these children now!

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About Vince Gonzales

United Methodist Laity, married to a recent Seminary graduate seeking ordination. Active at all levels of the Church, I sit on the Board of The General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church, one of our 13 UMC Agencies. I also am the Chair of the Racial and Social Justice Task Force of Churches Uniting in Christ, an ecumenical group of communions, dedicated to the reconciliation of ministries and fighting racism, as well as representing the UMC at Christian Churches Together's Hispanic/Latinx Ministry Gatherings. Additionally, I am one of two committee members from the South Central Jurisdiction serving on the DisAbility Ministries Committee of the UMC. My polity pendulum often swings to both extremes so one never knows what they might find on this page!
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