July 12, 2019


Can Christian Compassion Influence How We Treat Migrants?: Finding a holistic solution to the humanitarian crisis at the border is going to take more than an enforcement-deterrence only approach. (ALAN CROSS,  JULY 11, 2019, The Bulwark)

Christians have been speaking out about this and have gotten louder over the past week. Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention tweeted recently that "The reports of the conditions for migrant children at the border should shock all of our consciences. Those created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion, especially those seeking refuge from violence back home. We can do better than this."

This should be a pretty basic, run of the mill response from a Christian theologian to reports of migrant children sleeping on concrete floors and not being able to bathe for weeks at a time or have their diapers changed. But, in an odd turn of events (or what would have been considered odd just two years ago), Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, represented another take on the collision of religion and politics and fired back at Dr. Moore over what he perceived to be a swipe at President Trump. He tweeted, "Who are you @drmoore? Have you ever made a payroll?  Have you ever built an organization of any type from scratch? What gives you authority to speak on any issue? I'm being serious.  You're nothing but an employee- a bureaucrat."

Falwell's perspective is ridiculous. He himself has inherited his wealth and position from his own father as have many others. But, he demonstrates that what cannot be inherited is compassion.

Jesus shows us how to have compassion for others. Matthew 9:35-36 says "And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." When Jesus saw the crowds, instead of judging them or rejecting them or ascribing base motives to them, he was moved with compassion for them. Jesus says something similar in Luke 10:33 when he says that the Good Samaritan had "compassion" on the man beaten and lying on the side of the road by tangibly caring for him. This kind of compassion doesn't come automatically to individuals, nor is it inherited by a nation from past generations. It has to be cultivated through the development of character and through proximity and engagement with people in need. And that isn't always an easy process. 

Posted by at July 12, 2019 6:33 AM