Kenneth Muir, I loved this article, and this part is the only part I might disagree with. Don’t you think that Jesus may have viewed the people who detain migrants in these facilities similarly to how he viewed tax collectors like Matthew? I look to the Parable of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee — and I do see stark similarities, like how there are border patrol agents who do have serious concerns about the conditions in these facilities, and one agent said in this ProPublica article (anonymously) that “It’s kind of like torture in the army. It starts out with just sleep deprivation, then the next guys come in and sleep deprivation is normal, so they ramp it up. Then the next guys ramp it up some more, and then the next guys, until you have full blown torture going on. That becomes the new normal.”
There are people out there, that you and I might view as being on the wrong side, that are good people, propagating a broken system because that’s their job and they need to support their families. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Paul tells us in Romans 3:23. And perhaps not all border patrol agents go home justified like the tax collector in the Parable, but those who contemplate deeply and echo the sentiment: “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner!”
It’s not like painting people responsible for managing the facilities as a monolith is helpful, but earlier in the article you say that “Jesus tells us to love the haters,” and I think you were spot on there because there is room in God’s kingdom for everyone, even people we regard as the greatest sinners and the biggest violators of God’s law.
Like faith needs to move away from purity culture, there is a huge risk in putting politics above faith. This is a world marred by sin, and we know that everything will be good and perfect in the next world. No, that shouldn’t stop you or I from voicing concerns about conditions in camps or being champions of the downtrodden. I’m an English teacher in inner-city Baltimore. I’ll go to hell and back for my students, but I would stop short at blasting or blaming any particular individuals for problems they might be facing.
But the distinction for fighting for rights in this world is for us to realize it’s not our place to condemn or judge, even those we find the propagators of injustice. God’s Kingdom is one that comforts the afflicted, but also one that loves sinners. In the modern age it’s good that “woke” culture fights for the afflicted, but I think the Christian element is that it’s not one that loves sinners as much.
Just my two cents. Terrific article.