Do you remember as a child what it was like when you parent(s) left the house? Even if it was only for a day, a night out – you might agonize the first day they were away out of town, the first night. Have you ever been homesick? Do you remember the trauma that caused you as child? On this Father’s Day, all those memories come flooding back. Worse still, on a national scale the situation continues to grow worse across our land. I am reminded that more than ½ of American children grow up in homes with a single parent present. I am reminded that the average age of a homeless person is 7, yes, 7 years old due to high number of single-parent families that are homeless.
In the news today, I am reminded that in numerous towns across our southern border there are immigrant children (infants to 17 years) living in camps as they are separated from their immigrating parents. Through no fault of their own, they are isolated, separated, traumatized and living in fear. They don’t know if and when they will ever see their parents again. Can you imagine the fear they are suffering – every day?
I recognize that we have immigration issues in the USA that need to be addressed. I recognize the need for more border security and maybe even a wall of some sort – impractical as that sounds, since all walls are penetrable. I get the premise – domestic control over immigration is reasonable. But today I became outraged. Today, I heard something that is totally unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat or any other party. Every Christian should be appalled, every citizen should say – “we are better than this”. Today – the AG and President used these immigrant children as bargaining chips. They used these innocent children as a wager in a bet in high stakes immigration control. The AG quoted the Bible to justify a policy that has zero connection to the teaching of Jesus. You know them by heart – “Love your neighbor”; “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Is it even remotely Christian to use the separation and isolation of these young children as a high stakes leverage to get money for a border wall? Is it like us as a nation to create suffering and use it as a weapon for policy negotiations? It doesn’t seem Christian to me!
If you can’t empathize with the children – can you with the parents? Can you imagine what it’s like to wonder where and how your children are doing every day, the babies, the preteens the teenagers – wouldn't the “unknown” of their well-being drive your desperation? I would agree that the parents have brought this on themselves. I would agree that they put their children in danger and I would agree that things must be pretty bad from where they are running, to put their children at risk. Still, it’s not the children’s fault. They are minors who would follow their parents anywhere, just like you and I would do at the same age.
Next door to my house in Jacksonville was an orphanage. The boys there, were desperate. They had everything they needed – except the love of parents. Not one of them was a happy, optimistic child. Their conditions were far better than what we are witnessing in the encampments housing all these children. The encampment kids have no idea what their future holds or where their parent(s) might be and if they will ever see them again. I lived in that house next to the orphanage because I was one of the ½ of American children growing up in a broken home. I was blessed with uncles that set good examples. One in particular, Erwin Wollitz, was a daily example. I spent my earliest years (untill 4th grade and then on and off until 10th grade) living with him and my aunt and looking over the fence at the orphange. Even though there was some trauma being without my father at that young age, at least I know I had one that I would see again, someday. I was never used as a bargaining tool for leverage.
It's hard to celebrate Father’s Day when you know of the incomprehensible suffering these children are going through. Incomprehensible - seems to be the new normal in Washington. And don’t let me get started on all those voices - in Washington, in Deltona and everywhere - that should be raised in opposition. This Father’s Day, do you hear our Father’s voice calling you, too?
I hear, “John do something, don’t be silent like the lambs”.
In His Name,