You’ve likely heard the story in the news of the ELCA seminary graduate and supply pastor in Wisconsin who was arrested and put in an immigration detention center. The U.S. recently deported this LSTC (Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago) alum back to Colombia.
Quickly, the church community spread the word. It generated vigils, press conferences and tons of social media activism in support of this woman and her family. The outcry has been impressive.
The language used to rally around her has been about helping one of our own, our ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) family. I am happy for the interest this family has received. But I’m bothered that what motivates our church to action is a photo of her in a clerical collar.
I’m sad we do not recognize the thousands of immigrants-those without clerical collars-detained at the border as one of ours. They also deserve our attention and advocacy.
All immigrants need our attention
A 2 ½-year-old boy from Guatemala was apprehended at the border died recently, according to the Washington Post. He is the sixth child that is known of who has died in Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
We have all seen news reports of children and families sleeping on cold floors in overcrowded detention centers. These families fled their homeland because of violence. And they are here asking for political asylum. The deported Colombian family is only one of many examples of how cruel and unjust our immigration system can be.
Yes, our churches often speak out in time of crisis. You can read a statement by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton addressing the concerns over the well-being of children who cross the U.S. border seeking safety from danger and threats in their home countries.
Signed by ecumenical and inter-religious partners, the statement says: “We urge the Administration to maintain its commitment to international law and defend human rights by implementing safeguards to ensure the safety and health of all of those seeking protection in our land, especially those children who fall under our care.”
You, too, can help amplify our faith voice
Let’s turn our outrage into advocacy. Participate in AMMPARO to learn how the ELCA is advocating for all immigrant families, parents and children.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus points out that a true neighbor is “one who shows mercy.” And then he tells us to “Go do likewise.”
Jennifer DeLeon is director for justice for Women of the ELCA.