Recently, Colleen Kraft, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics, visited a shelter run by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. She reported that while there were beds, toys, crayons, a playground and diaper changes, the people working at the shelter had been instructed not to pick up or touch the children to comfort them. Imagine not being able to pick up a child who is not yet out of diapers. – Laura Bush in the Washington Post, June 17, 2018
I try to make my public profile as positive as possible. There’s enough negativity in the world. That doesn’t mean that I shy away from sharing news articles or items that concern me, that I think are interesting or worth reading. It also doesn’t mean that I refrain from engaging in discussion, dialogue or disagreement, as long as it does not become personal. It doesn’t mean I look at the world through rose coloured glasses or shy away from the world’s unpleasantness.
It does mean that I value a variety of opinions and perspectives. It does mean that I believe in people’s freedom to share those opinions and perspectives in a respectful manner. It does mean I try to understand people who hold opinions and perspectives different from my own and try to make myself understood to them. It does mean that I search for ways of living together with differences.
However, the ongoing separation of children from their parents that is now occurring in the United States of America as the result of a directive of President Donald J. Trump demands that I say something. It does not matter that I am unimportant. It does not matter that I have no influence. It does not matter that people don’t care what I have to say about anything. It does not matter that this may be read by only one other person. It is time to speak out…
President Trump’s actions are wrong!
In fact, as a Christian who tries to live in a manner that I believe shows love, respect and gratitude to God it is my humble opinion that President Trump’s actions are sin.
I say this as someone who spent 12 years (four as President) on the Board of Directors of the Massey Centre for Women. Massey Centre began in 1901 as a maternity home and is currently an “infant and early childhood mental health organization which supports pregnant and parenting adolescents, aged 13-25 and their babies.” I say this as someone who spent twelve years on the York Region Children’s Aid Society Board of Directors, including a short times as President. Both agencies knew that the separation of children from their parents would be damaging and in some cases that damage would be permanent. That is the reason that so much work and so many resources were used to keep families together. Only if there was evidence that greater harm could be done to a child by remaining in the family was there a separation. I also say this as a Canadian of settler descent who is aware that settlers before me separated indigenous children from their parents and the consequences were destructive. That damage has continued for generations.
I can no longer refrain from saying anything as I recently spent a week in the USA. I went to one of my favourite American Museums, The Tenement Museum and enjoyed learning even more about the benefit of immigrants to the USA. I can no longer refrain from saying anything because I stood on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and I remembered his letter written in the cell of a Birmingham jail to clergy asking, if not now then when. I stood in front of the African Burial Ground National Monument and was reminded of the children torn from parents and re-sold as slaves. I can no longer refrain from saying anything as I read of four former first ladies, known for their restraint in commenting on the decisions and actions of a sitting president, criticizing the separation of children from their parents.
I can no longer refrain from saying anything as I have recently read a biography of Sophie Scholl who was executed for telling people what the Nazis were doing was wrong. I am reminded of the famous words of Martin Niemöller “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” Initially, Niemöller thought that Hitler could solve the nation’s problems and so he supported the Nazis. By the time Niemöller began to question his support of Hitler’s ideology it was too late, but even so, he was willing to speak out and went to prison.
I can no longer refrain from saying anything because I believe the editorial cartoon of Mike Luckovich says so much.
I can no longer refrain from saying anything because I have seen the supporters of this President misuse and abuse texts I believe are sacred. Like many others I believe Jeff Sessions misused Romans 13:1. I am tempted to counter him by turning to scripture passages that demonstrate a despot who in his desire to retain power and to get his own way is willing to sacrifice children; passages such as Exodus 1:22 or Matthew 2:16, but I shall refrain.
It is time to say something… For me it is time to say that I believe that President Trump’s directive that results in children being separated from their families is sin.