By Leonard Adame
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
—I Corinthians 10:6
I’m not usually a fan of the Old Testament, that revenge-ridden, compassionless (too often), violence-filled document that did not offer a path toward forgiveness and redemption. But in light of today’s Republican (with the help of more than a few Democrats) view of things regarding matters that affect human beings, it’s as clear as an Arctic summer day that Republicans have no rational understanding of the Bible they so often claim as the basis for their behavior.
Worse, even if Republicans (and I know I’m painting a wide brush stroke) were to understand biblical principles, even those above, then it’s clear that other values have superseded the points of Romans 15:4 and Corinthians 10:6.
So I’m trying to figure out how Republican attitudes toward immigrant children square with the principles. Unless those principles were designed for a plutocracy only, then Republicans clearly have no understanding of Romans 15:4 or Corinthians 10:6. Not when they’ve denied hope to desperate people by casting them as terrorists, as invaders, as creatures not the equal people in the United States.
Those that denigrate immigrants apparently are not aware of Christ’s words:
The spirit of the Lord is upon me
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable (Jubilee) year of the Lord
From Republican actions and speeches, nothing in the Bible in either testament matters to them. And in fact, Republicans have so distorted the Bible’s axioms that it is now nearly unrecognizable in meaning and intent. They’ve certainly ignored what Luke had to say about these matters.
So how is it that so many Republicans go to church every Sunday (or more) and come away hating—there’s no other way to put it—immigrants, or anyone they decide is not acceptable? How is it they see them as unworthy of help and hope? How is it so many who consider themselves good Christians believe people of different cultures are inferior, as in fact deserving of degradation and exclusion because they’ve supposedly brought on their poverty and hopelessness?
It’s clear to me that rather than concentrating on helping those who truly can’t help themselves, rather than making sure they have enough to eat, a welcoming place to stay, a sense that things with the help of strangers will get better, Republicans concentrate only on getting richer, on assuming more power, on more and more limiting access to the processes of justice and constitutional protections.
Nothing that Republicans are doing these days (and yes there are Republicans who are the exception to these things—but they’re awfully quiet) squares with biblical admonitions against mistreating people for the sake of political and financial gain. Nothing they’re doing can remotely be called an inspired adherence to Christian principles—unless they distort those principles, which they almost always do.
“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
As with most biblical passages, this one can be interpreted in different ways. But for me it means that all children, and perhaps especially those who become orphaned or who are starving or who live in constant threat of being beaten or enslaved or murdered by conscienceless people, sociopaths in other words, need to be treated as Christ would want us to treat them, without judgment, without vilifying them, without destroying their dignity and human worth.
I have seen nothing from Republican leadership that would indicate that it would adhere to these things. I’ve seen the opposite. And perhaps worse are those people who stand by and let children suffer simply because of who they are, where they come from and because they are defenseless.
Lest Democrats think themselves superior, I would ask Democratic leadership what it’s done to counter the abominable actions of Republicans regarding immigrant children (regarding all children who are poor, alone, homeless, really). Certainly our Deporter-in-Chief has done practically nothing to help immigrant children remain safe and wanted.
Clearly to me, we are a failure as a nation, as Christians, as a humane people. We’ve become a nation that targets children, people of color, anyone who for whatever reason is judged as inferior in some respect or other. We’ve become a nation that ironically turns the other cheek when cops beat people indiscriminately, when the homeless are blamed for their situation, when the rich are free to do as they please no matter who suffers.
And understand: the rich, most of them Republicans, have long ago lost their souls. Their ownership of all things political and cultural, their incessant foraging for new markets (even if that means enslaving people in foreign factories), their willful neglect of those who need help of all kinds, clearly indicates that like the worsening climate (which they’ve caused and deny they have), they are destroying the fundamentals of civilization as well as the planet. That means they have no regard for humanity, for justice, for compassion, for Christian principles, for anything that doesn’t involve the singular pursuit of self-gratification and power.
As I’ve said before, we should all be ashamed of ourselves since Republicans can do nothing without our apathy and lack of humane sensibilities.
Leonard Adame has retired from teaching college English. He now plays drums in various bands, takes photographs, reads mystery novels to a fault and has published poetry in college anthologies. He most enjoys re-learning about human beings from his grandkids. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.