I read this morning in the New York Times that the wall on the Mexican border has been ordered as promised by our new president. He is also, according to the same article, also making good on several other campaign promises to curtail immigration, including blocking all immigrants from war-torn Syria. In a Twitter post last night he wrote, "Among other things, we will build a wall." (www.nytimes.com)
This should come as no surprise. It was, after all, what was promised. But that does not make it wise--nor does it seem to mesh, at least for me, with Christian understandings. Not that this president or any president must adhere to Christian values or ethics. This is a land of religious liberty, after all. Presidents, and all elected officials, cannot be put to religious tests. Still this president professes to be a Christian, and so, one would think the admonition to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself" would have some bearing on his decisions. And building walls and blocking out those who are in the greatest need of protection seems quite contrary to that fundamental teaching.
Jesus also taught that if we are to inherit the kingdom of God we must have the trusting nature of a child. Recently, on Facebook, an old friend and colleague of mine, posted a little vignette. It is a tale of bridge building, so needed in this time of walls and barriers.
Shelley lives and works in Connecticut. Her congregation, the Church of the Redeemer, is located on the green in downtown New Haven. One day, as she was unlocking the church door, she noticed a Syrian refugee family attending a class being held by the Integrated Refugee and Immigration Service coming up the steps. She was approached by their little four year old girl--a child she did not know. "[S]he came running up to me," writes Shelley, "eager top practice what she had learned. She stuck out her little hand boldly to shake mine, and with an enormous smile on her face, said 'Good morning!'" (Posted by RocFacebook, 11-17-16)
Some folks build walls. Others build bridges. Perhaps one day, as scriptures promise, a little child shall indeed lead us. Then, just maybe, we'll see more smiles, more handshakes, more people being helped, more lives being saved.