Category: Immigration

USA is no typical nation

People fleeing Western Europe in the 17th century created a unique civilization eventually called the United States. They left Europe but brought its ways and ideas with them — some that we cannot be proud of now, such as ideas of racial superiority, and some we can be proud of, such as unleashing human potential.
The English-centered nature of the U.S. civilization began, with time, to expand to be more broadly European, then more African, Hispanic, and Asian. (Africans participated from the start but were subjugated and oppressed. It took emancipation to free them to help lead this nation into its greatest days.)
Some things written 100 years ago about immigration can be instructive now. I’ve encountered two quotes lately that I love for describing the USA.
Randolph Bourne praised the United States as “the first international nation” in 1916.
Horace Kallen spoke of the USA as a “symphony of civilization” in 1915.
The historical context is different today, but I still like those two ways of describing and understanding the USA — an international nation and a symphony of civilization.

Pray today for frightened children

Elections are more than political exercises; they affect lives. Fear and confusion is gripping some children today, so they need our prayers. Two friends shared the following prayer requests and gave me permission to share them more broadly.

“My wife is a high school librarian. She called to let me know many Latino students are distraught. Their parents are not in the US legally and the students are afraid their parents will be deported.

“Please pray for these students. Today this is probably happening at schools throughout Texas.”

And another friend responded:

“My wife is a pre-k teacher . . . and she has felt and heard the same from her students, even at 4 years old. Prayers are definitely needed.”

No matter who we supported in Tuesday’s vote, we should care deeply for this children and their families.

(This post originally appeared on the Texas Baptists website.)

Following Christ involves welcoming children

(This article originally appeared on the Christian Life Commission web site.)

Parents will do just about anything to help their children. In Central America, parents are trying to help their children in ways that may seem odd and downright unwise to those of us in the United States, but their circumstances are very different. Their children’s lives are at stake.

Drugs, violence, and lawlessness threaten to engulf their children, so they do what must be heartbreakingly difficult — they send them away on a long, perilous journey to a place that seems to offer hope for their children. Many of those children make it, and they cross the border into their place of deliverance — the United States.

Children are wonderful, but they can also get in the way. Christians in Texas are not the first followers of Christ to be confronted by parents bringing their children toward hope. Matthew 19 tells us that little children were being brought to Jesus “in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray” (v. 13a). Jesus had no problem with these kids, but his followers did. “The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them” (v. 13b).

You can almost hear the disciples. “Jesus is a busy man; he can’t deal with every problem. What kind of parents are you, wanting some magic touch? Go home and let us get on about our business. We don’t have unlimited resources or time.”

Such words are speculation, but Jesus’ response to the children has been carried through the ages. “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” (v. 14)

Some Americans today act like those first century disciples. They speak sternly about the children from Central America coming to the United States. They don’t want to be bothered by the messiness of life, especially beyond the borders of this most prosperous of nations.

Followers of Jesus, however, seek to be the hands and feet of Christ in this time and place. They greet the Central American children as their Master did — bring them to us, do not stop them, for such as these is the kingdom of heaven.

In the kingdom of heaven, God rules. Our nation struggles with its political responses to various situations, but not all challenges are political. Most are simply wrapped in human flesh; they come before us as people in need both spiritually and physically, and they are looking for someone to love and care for them — like Jesus did.

Ferrell Foster is director of ethics and justice for the Christian Life Commission, which speaks to Texas Baptists about ethical issues.