President Trump’s decision today to end the DACA program is cruel, unethical, and violates our most cherished values. As President of Union Theological Seminary and Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union, we condemn this vicious hatred. God is love, and love commands we prevent our government from ripping children from their homes.
We are Christians and profess our belief in Jesus Christ. His life story and the nature of his ministry make clear that following him means rejecting our President’s action and standing in solidarity with our nation’s Dreamers. Many DACA recipients were brought to this country by their parents to escape persecution. The parallels between their story and Jesus’ cannot be denied. In Matthew, we read that Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt to escape the oppression of King Herod’s brutal reign. They were immigrants. They were refugees. To deport their modern-day analogues is to deport Christ.
Jesus’ dedicated his ministry to lifting the burdens of the oppressed and welcoming the outcast. Whether this meant blessing a Samaritan woman at the well, healing lepers or befriending children, he consistently brought into the fold those society cast aside. In the conflict between the vulnerable and the powers that seek to oppress them, it’s clear what side Christ chooses.
This is not simply a Christian conviction, however. Almost all faith traditions contain some form of God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves. These are our neighbors. Our families. Our students. Our coworkers. Our friends. All people of conscience should agree that we have a moral obligation to care for our communities’ children.
DACA recipients put their faith in our government, when promised the opportunity to follow their dreams. This is a monstrous betrayal of that trust. To cast these precious kids back into the shadows, or deport them from the only home many have ever known, is unthinkable. This is a line we cannot cross. It is incumbent on all people of faith to lay down our bodies in their defense.
In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” Contact your representatives. Get in the streets. God calls us to resist this moral calamity.
Rev. Dr. Serene Jones
President, Union Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas
Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union