Our Metro D.C. Synod bishop has sent the following letter to President Donald Trump. In part, Bishop Graham writes:

“Mr. President, I know that you live in the midst of difficulties that no one else in the world can really understand. As the Bible teaches us, we pray for you and our country’s other leaders every week in our churches. But we believe that, because we are free citizens in our country, God holds us responsible for our government’s actions. And so I am compelled to plead that the separation of children from their parents is a terrible mistake, that the process of law is due to everyone who comes into our country, and that just and generous immigration laws must be drafted and enacted.”

The full text of this letter follows. Print a copy from here (pdf file).


June 24, 2018

The Hon. Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I write you tonight with burning anxiety and distress. The situation confronting immigrants and refugees coming to our country has reached such a sad, confusing point that surely something must be done to calm the situation. I plead with you, as the highest elected official in the United States, to take action to reunite parents and their children and to assure the due process of law for everyone who seeks to cross our borders.

My plea comes first of all from hope for our country. All of us nearly are immigrants or descended from immigrants. The greatness of the United States has grown from the continued renewal that each new wave of immigrants has brought us. Closing our borders now, and closing them so cruelly as we seem to have done, is a betrayal of our history.

But I also write as a leader in the Christian community. Lutheran Christians like me believe that a strong government is God’s loving gift to all people, believers and unbelievers alike. Strong government is essential to everyone’s well-being. But government goes wrong when it deals harshly with the poor and weak. I am afraid that some of your advisors have used the Bible to confuse the government’s legitimate strength with arbitrary and unpredictable power.

Instead, I would refer you in the Bible to the famous passage in which God says to the children of Israel, “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” This passage is from the book of Leviticus. God’s people are being reminded here that because they were aliens, immigrants and strangers and outsiders, once themselves, they should always be just and loving with people who are in the same situation. This is the ideal we have for ourselves as God’s people today. And this is the ideal we have for the diverse and beautiful country in which we live.

Mr. President, I know that you live in the midst of difficulties that no one else in the world can really understand. As the Bible teaches us, we pray for you and our country’s other leaders every week in our churches. But we believe that, because we are free citizens in our country, God holds us responsible for our government’s actions. And so I am compelled to plead that the separation of children from their parents is a terrible mistake, that the process of law is due to everyone who comes into our country, and that just and generous immigration laws must be drafted and enacted.

Trusting that God will give you strength and insight equal to your tasks, and asking God to bless you and your family, I am

Sincerely yours,
The Rev. Richard H. Graham
Bishop
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this powerful and inspiring letter. I am grateful that God has placed you here to speak these words. Thanks be to God!

  2. I think, at the root of the problem, is the surplus of labor in Central American countries, which allows the elites to oppress the poor. We know that educated women with access to family planning resources have fewer children. Children by choice, rather than by chance, will (in the long run) be more valued in their own cultures and less desperate to emigrate. For too long, the Catholic variety of the Christian Church has stood in the way of women’s empowerment, asserting a “Right to Life” which becomes a ticket to premature and violent death for young and old alike. (As long as the surplus of peasant labor also serves the financial interests of the elites of all countries, it may not just be coincidence that family planning is condemned in moral terms.)
    Depletion of ground-water, soil fertility, and energy resources within the United States is accelerated by increasing the population by immigration. Are we really being generous by allowing this ferry boat to take on more passengers? The truly generous actions will improve the lives of people living where they are born.
    In the mean time, our government officials are forced to choose between options which are all unjust and terrible, and we should try to be kind to those who, perhaps reluctantly, make choices we disagree with.

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