As the Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, it deeply troubles me and burdens my heart that innocent immigrant children are being separated from their parents. It was difficult to celebrate Father’s Day knowing these unjust acts were ongoing in this country.
Last week the United Methodist Board of Church & Society released this statement. Part of the statement says, "Jesus is our way, our truth, our life. The Christ we follow would have no part in ripping children from their mothers’ arms or shunning those fleeing violence. It is unimaginable that faith leaders even have to say that these policies are antithetical to the teachings of Christ.”
Also, the president of the Council of Bishops, Bishop Ken Carter, joined leaders of other faith organizations urging the U.S. Government to stop its policy of separating immigrant families. "We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children,” said the statement. Click here for complete statement.
As United Methodists, we look to scripture and our social principles to guide our thinking and actions in regards to social justice issues. Specifically, the social principles state about immigration, “The United Methodist Church recognizes, embraces, and affirms all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We urge society to ‘recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.’” It is heartbreaking to see families separated, regardless of their citizenship.
I implore congress and the current administration to do all in their power to reunite these families. Changes to these laws need to be addressed starting today. Let us join our voices in prayer for the separated families, for those working to end this injustice, and for our nation’s leaders.
Bishop David Graves
Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church