I recently performed my new spoken word piece: “The Slaughter” live at the Arise City Summit. It touches on the horrific practices of family separation at the hands of the government, from biblical times to presently at our border.
By addressing the zero-tolerance policy in this way, I especially want Christians to realize that innocent children have and are getting caught in the crossfire of government-sanctioned evil cloaked in religious affection and nationalistic interest.
God’s Care for The Marginalized
The Bible emphasizes our holy and redeeming God meeting people in the margins of society. The Son of God incarnated into the margins (John 1:46). He became poor (2 Cor. 8:9) and proclaimed the gospel “to the poor” (Luke 4:18). He drew near to the very people that society and the religious elite disdained.
In our prosperous land of a million comforts and commodities, it can be difficult for us to identify with the marginalized people God so profoundly met throughout redemptive history. Admittedly, my privilege as a middle class, American citizen has often blinded me to the depth of God’s care for the Bible’s triad of the vulnerable: the orphan, the widow, and the immigrant (Lev. 19:33-34; Ps. 146:9; Jer. 7:6; Zech. 7:10; James 1:27).
Thanks to my church and the Arise City Summit, God has been reshaping my heart away from sinful apathy and toward compassion.
Immigrants: Our Own Family
Our prosperity and privilege can make it difficult for us to learn from and have compassion for God’s image bearers in the margins of our society. Many of these image bearers are fleeing their homelands because of persecution, violence, and poverty. They endure countless injustices on their way here, including rape, beatings, and robbery.
As sojourners, they embody an important aspect of our identity as Christians (1 Pet. 2:11). We have much to learn from them, even as we have much biblical cause to advocate for and serve them (Deut. 10:17-19; Prov. 31:8-9; Matt. 25:35; Heb. 13:2).
Many of them are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are pastors, deacons, and laymen who refuse to engage in the violence of the local gangs that try to recruit them. We will share heaven with them. Our blood-bought bond with them supersedes any political or national affiliation.
The Final Judgement
The zero-tolerance policy has ruthlessly separated families, orphaning around 3,000 children. Despite President Trump’s executive order to stop separating families at the border, most families are still not reunited and new families are instead being detained together in unacceptable conditions.
We will give an account to Christ concerning the well-being of immigrants in our land (Is. 58; James 2:14-17; 2 Cor. 5:10). In no uncertain terms, Jesus tells us our care for strangers (i.e. immigrants), or lack thereof, will reveal whether or not we were ever truly his (Matt. 25:31-46). Fear of the stranger is costly—for them and for us because they are our “own flesh” (Is. 58:7). We are they.
I pray this spoken word performance would stir your heart toward Christ-wrought compassion and action.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can actively love migrants, immigrants, and refugees in our country, I’ve listed a few suggestions below. If you know of more ways we can serve these separated and/or detained families, please comment.
The LORD loves the sojourner, and so should we (Deut. 10:18-19).
How to Help: Learn, Lament, Lead
While at the Arise City Summit, I heard Chris Brooks say we should try to follow this pattern when addressing injustices in our society: learn, lament, lead. With that in mind, here are some of my suggestions for helping families at our border.
Explainer on the Zero Tolerance Policy (Houston Chronicle)
Zero Tolerance Policy Separating Families (MSNBC)
Unaccompanied: Alone in America (Video)
Secret Audio of Migrant Children Separated from Parents at Border (Axios)
Confusion at Border on How to Process Migrant Families (Houston Chronicle)
Christians at Border Separated from Children (Christianity Today)
Immigrants Rights (ACLU)
You Can’t Be Pro-Life and Against Immigrant Children (NY Times)
Family Separation Policy is Evil (TGC)
People Dying Because of Trump’s Immigration Policy (Vox)
Open Letter to Focus on the Family Re: Family Separation (Now She Rises Blog)
Cheaper, More Effective Alternatives to Family Detention (CATO)
“My Son is Not the Same” Firsthand Accounts of Separated Families (PBS)
Trump Administration in Chaotic Scramble to Reunify Families (NY Times)
Meditate on & pray through Psalm 10, Psalm 94, Matthew 25:31-46
A Guide to Praying & Fasting for Separated Immigrant Families
Challenge Yourself Verses / Prayer Guide
“The Slaughter” Spoken Word Performance
1. Call your representatives. Follow these steps from World Relief.
2. Sign up for an action toolkit by RAICES.
3. If you’re in Tampa, sign up for follow-up steps here.
4. Donate to a trustworthy organization doing advocacy and legal work for these families: World Relief, RAICES, Americans for Immigrant Justice, & other organizations.
5. Sign Petitions to end family separation and family detainment, and to pursue family reunification: #NotWithoutMyChild Petition, World Relief Protect Families Petition, Action Network.
6. Attend local rallies/protests (the latest one was on June 30th for #FamiliesBelongTogether which was organized on Act.MoveOn.org)
7. Attend The Justice Institute on Immigration in Washington D.C. this September.
8. Register to vote: Florida.
9. Remember to take care of your own mental health as you engage this issue with these practical tips.
3 thoughts on “The Slaughter”
Thank you for your feedback! I was working with a particular word count for this article, so much of American history re: immigration policy is left out. However, I’d love for you to share links to the sources behind your particular comments. I’m certainly learning about this issue as much as I am advocating against the devaluing of the image of God on people who have come to our borders. Please feel free to share your sources!
Also, did you get a chance to watch my performance linked here on this article? In the performance, I do try to make a connection between the unjust family separations throughout history by highlighting four in particular–two from the Bible, one from American history, and one that is currently happening. Again, an article like this will not be able to cover a “full scope and context” of all family separations under the sun. Hopefully this performance and article did stir compassion in people’s hearts for the children and parents who have been separated by our government.
Thanks again for your thoughts! Looking forward to seeing your resources!
And here I was thinking the title would finally be a post on the loss of Nigerian Christian lives.
However, I do appreciate the length at which Mrs. Aragon goes to include links and references for ways to be involved.
Though it still only gives a partial view to the issues, and leaves out more practical involvement than politics, such as foster care. (15000 kids without parents, is an easy fix if 15k will sign up to foster them vs wasting time and effort on pointless marches).
Unfortunately, none of those links provide information on what the split of legitimate verses fake families are that they’ve been dealing with for years. None of these go back to Elian Gonzalez and the Reno/Flores case to discuss how we got here, and why splitting a family at the time was acceptable and humane 20 years ago. None of this describes why Obama began separating families as a deterrent once the cartels were abusing catch and release, posing as families.
This isn’t to excuse the illegitimate separations of families that we all have a problem with.
This is to say that before we call other practices evil and try to assign them to recent policies, before we extrapolate the handful of examples of bad separations to the whole, we should have a the full scope and context. Which largely most of us don’t have.
By the way, we all give our kids a zero-tolerance policy for opening our front door to a stranger. Why? Because they lack discernment and context. Because there is potential risk, and possibly better options that can handle all those risks.
Powerful, powerful spoken word. Thank you for the scriptures and practical resources, too.