Saturday, August 2, 2014

Why do they hate the children?

When some Americans woke on third base they believed they themselves hit the triple. They don’t have any Biblical sense that they didn’t do it alone, that it was God who brought them up out of Egypt (Leviticus 11:45), or Ireland or Germany or (fill-in-the-blank).

Throughout history, there’ve been only a couple of groups, whites not among them, whose arrival was welcomed. There were slaves who worked without pay and Cuban defectors paid millions to throw or hit 90 MPH fastballs.

The ugliness we’re witnessing now is as American as apple pie. America was a nightmare for my Irish ancestors. A Southern slaveholder explained why he hired Irishmen to drain a swamp rather than using slaves. “That’s dangerous work,” he explained, “and a slave’s life is too valuable to risk that way.”

American politicians were transparent. The 1790 Naturalization Law reserved citizenship for whites only. The words of the law changed, attitudes haven’t.

In his book, “A Different Mirror” Ronald Takaki explained what it looked like in the beginning. “Indians were already here. While blacks were forcibly transported to America, Mexicans were initially enclosed by America’s extending border.”

How is it white Americans are so self-righteous about others coming? What’s the source of their moral authority?

It’s enjoyable watching politicians so eager to ride the tide of bigotry that they make spectacles of themselves. An Arizona candidate for congress put on a performance, running, screaming down a highway, leading protesters to stop what he hoped was a busload of Central American children.

It was a YMCA bus filled with US children on a field-trip.

Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM) went on a fact-finding trip to Honduras and Guatemala. He refused to leave his hotel room because of the violence but returned to the FOX News cameras saying these kids should be back to live on those same dangerous streets.

In the Bible little children came to Jesus but the “disciples” ran them off just as those white protesters gathered in California to “confront” children coming from Central America and to run them off.  Jesus objected then and he objects today.

An hour’s drive away in Los Angeles, thousands cheered Yasiel Puig, a Cuban defector who plays right-field for the Dodgers. Politicians demand children be deported to countries where the threat to their lives is far greater than what Puig experienced in Castroland.

Puig and other defectors who either throw 90 MPH fastballs or can hit them are cheered while hate-filled protesters jeer children from violent barrios who come here for safety.

Whether protesters cheer the undocumented ballplayers or jeer these children, many want you to know they are “Christians.” They also want you to know they want these children deported. That doesn’t jive.

I don’t often take the Bible literally. Some believers do. I respect that, except when they make convenient exceptions. Many demonstrate penchants for quoting scripture to back up their anti-marriage-equality position. They recite verse and chapter to homosexuality a sin and to deny marriage equality.

Yet, when it comes to these endangered children seeking a better life in the United States, the same people suffer from Biblical amnesia. We shouldn’t have a great deal of tolerance for those who cling to their Bibles when they make their case using a literal interpretation of some scripture while ignoring God’s word altogether when it suits them.

In Leviticus God doesn’t stutter, but says straightforward, "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
As Dallas Rabbi Asher Knight told the media, “We are talking about standing at the border and telling children who are fleeing from a burning building to go back inside.”  People of faith can’t square that with the word of God. "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.”

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