The painful plight of 48 men, women and children who became human pawns in a political stunt by the Florida Governor forces us to listen to the disturbing question Jesus asked at the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Which of these was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (Luke 10:30) A friend, following the story, texted me, “It’s hard to a locate a Christian spirit in any of this.”
The answer to Jesus’ question and the place to locate a Christian spirit was with the people of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgertown.
They opened their doors to welcome people who had been lured onto planes (funded to the tune of $615,000 by Florida tax payers) with fake promises of places to live and work. With no warning that the migrants were coming, church and community leaders “banded together as an island community to really do something miraculous,” said St. Andrew’s rector, the Rev. Chip Seadale.
They put into practice the command from the Old Testament book of Leviticus which could be where Jesus got “the golden rule.”
“When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don’t take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners in Egypt. I am God, your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
True Christians vs Faux Christians
Responding to this story, my colleague and friend, Steve Harper, wrote that True Christians along with people of other faiths or no particularly faith at all, were “opening their hearts and rolling up their sleeves to welcome and care for immigrants stepping off airplanes in places they did not even know they were going to.”
By contrast, Steve wrote that Faux Christians, “wearing their MAGA hats, waving their flags, and carrying their ‘Jesus Saves’ posters, are celebrating their imperialist political leaders’ demagogic campaign to ‘get them out of here’ that turns human beings into disposable cargo.”
Steve concluded, “Jesus was correct, ‘You will know them by their fruits.’ It’s not hard to spot the waxed fruit.”
Immigration issues are horrendously complex. Congress has failed to solve the problems in the system for decades. But in the messy matrix of our politically polarized culture, it’s refreshing to see followers of Jesus who act like it!
Grace and peace,
To take a deeper dive into this subject, I recommend: https://johnpavlovitz.com/2022/09/16/how-the-religious-right-made-cruelty-sacred-and-compassion-unchristian/.