Local Pastors Decry Family separation, Echoing National Evangelical Leaders
June 6, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hundreds of evangelical Christians across the country, including about 200 local pastors and ministry leaders, have added their names to a letter denouncing policies that divide children from their parents.
National evangelical leaders sent the letter to President Trump Friday, as Christianity Today, CBN, the Arizona Republic, the San Antonio Express-News and others have reported.
“We are concerned that the new ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the U.S.-Mexico border … has had the effect of separating vulnerable children from their parents,” the letter reads. “The traumatic effects of this separation on these young children, which could be devastating and long-lasting, are of utmost concern.”
The letter also urges the president to resume a robust refugee resettlement program. The U.S. is on track to resettle fewer than 22,000 refugees in 2018, down from nearly 100,000 in 2016 and more than 200,000 in 1980.
The following are quotes from local evangelical leaders who have signed on to the letter:
Laurie and Kenton Beshore, Lead Pastors, Mariners Church, Orange County, California:
“Evangelical Christians have a range of political beliefs when it comes to immigration issues, but one thing that unites us is a biblically-informed view that God has established families and that we should do all we can to protect children. It’s wrong to separate small children from their mothers and fathers who are seeking asylum under the terms of our laws. Doing so could have long-term traumatic impacts on these children. I hope and pray that our nation will reverse course on this policy.”
Sam Creagar, Pastor of Outreach, Faith Evangelical Free Church, Manhattan, Kansas:
“My faith and my conscience lead me to believe a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy that separates children from their families is wrong. I know border security is difficult and I understand that our nation’s laws must be enforced for the common good, but justice without discretion leads to cruelty, tyranny, and ultimately injustice.”
Lauren Fernandez, Pastor, Rhythm Church, Miami, Florida
“As followers of Jesus, we believe that God calls us to extend compassion for the suffering. The reasons Central America families, many of whom I call friends, travel to the border and seek asylum are complex. When we’ve reached the point of tearing children from their mothers as they arrive at the border, as is the effect of this new ‘zero tolerance’ policy, we’ve clearly gone too far and we have completely missed God’s call to suffer with others. My prayers are our leaders will extend mercy on the families and create justice through reformed immigration policies.”
Leslie Leyland Fields, Writer and Speaker, Kodiak, Alaska:
“As a mother of six, and as a Christian, I have to speak up against this wrong-headed ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy. Wars are raging around the world, and this is what we focus our power and influence on: separating families? Evicting, dividing and destroying our weakest and neediest neighbors? This is the furthest thing possible from the gospel.”
Chris Sicks, Associate Pastor, Alexandria Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, Virginia:
“The nuclear family was ordained by God as the strong foundation of a society. When the zeal to enforce a valid man-made law knowingly causes innocent children harm, it violates eternal moral law.”
Kevin McBride, Senior Pastor, Raymond Baptist Church, Raymond, New Hampshire:
“The current policy of separating children from their families at the border violates a biblical principle of protecting the family unit and tries to impose a false justice upon innocent children who have no voice in decisions made for them. As a Christian pastor I am called to help protect and heal families with God’s grace and mercy, not punish them.”