Father’s Day 2018 will hopefully be long remembered as the moment when men and women of many faiths put aside differences, and turned to President Donald J. Trump demanding, “No More!”
Franklin Graham, Kellyanne Conway, Laura Bush, the United Methodist Church and Catholic Bishops all condemned Trump “Zero Policy” Separation and Abuse of Children. Even First Lady Melania Trump!
On this day, social media was flooded with horror stories of children suffering human rights violations at the hands of the Trump administration. One might not be far off in describing the Zero-Tolerance Immigration policy (not law) as Trump’s Vietnam. He appears to have no exit strategy.
Just focusing on Twitter, we read that Franklin Graham, Christian evangelist and missionary (son of evangelist Billy Graham, who had the ear of presidents for decades), offered this comment about separating families at the border: “It’s terrible, it’s disgraceful and I don’t support that one bit.” He reportedly went on to say that he still supported other laws and measures instituted by President Trump. Just not this one.
Later, we learned that Kellyanne Conway, presidential advisor and spokesperson, said: “As a mother, as a Catholic, as someone with a conscience… I will tell you nobody likes this policy.” But she stopped short of total condemnation of the President’s actions, nor resigning in protest.
Former First Lady Laura Bush, wife of 43rd president George W. Bush, penned an opinion for the Washington Post that Democrats and Republicans alike should read. The key quote is: “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
It has also touched the heart of current First Lady, Melania Trump. She issued the following statement through a spokesperson:
“Mrs Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”
In response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions creepily attempting to hide behind the Bible to justify breaking up immigrant families, his own United Methodist Church issued this formal response: “Jesus is our way, our truth, our life. The Christ we follow would have no part in ripping children from their mothers’ arms or shunning those fleeing violence. It is unimaginable that faith leaders even have to say that these policies are antithetical to the teachings of Christ.”
Equally powerful “faith-based” news was that this issue was front and center at this past week’s U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gathering in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.
According to Religion News .com: “Within minutes of opening the USCCB’s biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday (June 13), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB and archbishop of Galveston-Houston, read aloud a statement deeply critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent announcement regarding asylum qualifications.”
DiNardo also criticized the Trump administration’s Zero-Tolerance Immigration Policy: “Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together,” DiNardo said.
“Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral,” he added.
Several constructive suggestions were offered to the Trump Administration. The most common was that it immediately assemble a group to inspect border detention facilities where children are incarcerated against their will. But there was an extreme, bolder suggestion of implementing canonical penalties for Catholics. Non-Catholic readers may be shaking your heads, but anybody who went to Sunday School or took Catechism classes knows the bishops are calling out the big guns: from denial of sacraments to excommunication.
It will be interesting to see if this potential move by the USCCB motivates consciences within the Trump administration to cause staff departures.
I read on social media of an incarcerated immigrant boy, five years old I believe, who cries himself to sleep nightly clutching a cartoon drawing of his parents. Not even a photo.
America used to be the world’s policeman. Now we are the world’s boogeyman.