They are People and Deserving of Dignity

Today I took a glance at my Twitter feed and came across this quote from the current president:

Trump on deportation: “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals and we’re taking them out of country.”

This should be shocking, but based on the last couple of years it is not. It should be shocking that we have the president of the United States dehumanizing people, calling them “animals.” Why would he do that? Well, I can’t claim to understand the thinking behind such a statement. But I can unequivocally disagree with and condemn such a statement.

No human being is an animal. People who have come to this country, have lived, and have contributed to our communities, all while living without legal status are not “bad people.”

Sure some have (and will commit crimes), just as some citizens of this country commit crimes. Every time I read crime statistics, the actual rate of criminal activity among all immigrants is lower than that of native born citizens.

(see https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/us/trump-illegal-immigrants-crime.html and http://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2017/aug/03/antonio-villaraigosa/mostly-true-undocumented-immigrants-less-likely-co/)

The major problem is not whether or not immigrants, or more specially undocumented immigrants commit more crime. No, the major problem is the dehumanization of people. When we look at groups of people as “bad” or worse, as “animals” we are not looking at them as humans. This is the first step towards finding it acceptable to harm them…because if they are “animals” then they are not worthy of human dignity. This is not ok.

Last month I was involved with a couple that were deported. These were pastors, parents, grandparents, neighbors, contributing members of my city. They are not animals. You can read about this here:  We Shall…

As a person of faith, and as a pastor, I cannot stay silent as my fellow human beings, my brothers and sisters, my neighbors are referred to in such horrendous ways. I hope and pray that people of faith, and people of no faith or creed, will unite against this inhumane way to talk of and then to treat our fellow human beings.

A reminder from Matthew 25:

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 

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