Like you, we have been horrified and saddened this week by news stories about children being removed from their parents at our nation’s borders.
Our work at Braid revolves around the knowledge that a child’s removal from their parents is a traumatic experience that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
And while we have said many times that Braid is not a religious organization – anyone and everyone who wants to be present to a foster youth is welcome – we have always been clear that we founded this mission out of our own faith and vocation as ministers.
So we have been extra horrified and angered this week to hear government officials trying to justify this heinous policy using Christian scriptures.
The Braid community is the last place where we need to offer an explanation of the damage that has been inflicted on these children.
Our mentors and facilitators have all watched the reMoved movie as part of Braid training.
We have all encountered the behaviors and wounds our youth carry from their own stories of being removed from their families of origin, even if that separation lasted only a short while.
We have all been part of a collective of caring adults who have committed countless hours of our lives to invest in the healing of youth who have been removed from their families.
We of all people know that the youth whom we have come to know and love will spend much of their lives healing from this wound, even if they are reunified with a relative or end up in a stable placement.
We of all people know that 2,000+ more young lives will now face the same challenge of finding healing from the trauma of removal.
We of all people know that a government’s great abandon in removing children from loving parents as a means to gain a political end is unconscionable.
Regardless of whether or not the policy is rescinded today, the damage has been done to our children and to our nation’s values.
And while there are certainly verses of the Bible that can be manipulated to justify just about anything, there are many, many more that clearly urge us to care for children and each other.
If Jeff Sessions had kept reading along in the chapter of the Bible he quoted, Romans 13, he would have gotten to these words: “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”
If Sarah Huckabee Sanders was following the daily cycle of scripture readings The Episcopal Church uses, she would have found these words from Psalm 82: “Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy.”
Or these from the Gospel according to Matthew: “[Jesus] called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
These scripture passages are just some of many that inspired us to start Braid, and that have brought us some consolation amongst the false Christian rhetoric in the media this week.
We have more conviction than ever about the importance of the good work we have embarked on together and our gratitude for all who are part of it.
Please tell your friends and family and co-workers about the work we are doing.
Please tell them what you have learned about childhood trauma.
Please tell them that not all people of faith use the Bible as a weapon.
Please call your lawmakers.
Please continue to hope with us for all children to live in love and hope.