This week I wanted to write something about the “zero-tolerance immigration policy” that even allows the law forces to separate children from their parents at the border. And this morning, I found that an executive order was signed yesterday to stop separating families. Some people would feel a bit relieved, and some others disappointed. And many would remain uninterested as they were.
I’m no expert in immigration policy at all. I can’t estimate the real impact of the new executive order. I don’t know what it exactly entails. However, as a pastor of The United Methodist Church, I do know what God says on migrants in our midst, what Jesus teaches us to do for this matter, and what position The United Methodist Church takes with regard to the immigration issues in the US. So today, instead of putting my two cents in this issue, I would love to share with you the Word of God as it is written in both Testaments and to give you a guide to our church’s official statement in The Book of Resolution. I hope you have a chance to reflect on the Word and pray for immigrant families and friends around us.
1. In the Bible
The Bible is unambiguous and unequivocal in its message. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, the people of God are called to love migrants in their midst and be generous to them. As the people of God who were liberated from their slavery, oppression, and their sinful past, they too were asked to be the instruments of redemption in the lives of the most vulnerable in their midst.
2. The Teachings of Jesus
In the New Testament, Jesus’ life begins as a refugee to Africa when he and his family flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s infanticide (Matthew 2:13-18). Jesus fully identifies with the migrants in the way that welcoming them is welcoming Jesus himself. Also, Jesus teaches us clearly that a law shouldn’t be kept for the law’s sake but serve humankind for their well-being.
3. The Resolution of The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church holds the General Conference every four years, which is the denomination’s top legislative body for all matters affecting our general church. At the meeting, clergy and lay delegates from all around the world discuss, adopt, or amend the bylaw of our church, called the Discipline, and also the statements regarding church’s official positions towards various social issues, called the Resolution. The resolution on immigration was adopted at the 2008 General Conference, amended and readopted at the 2016 General Conference. You can read the whole resolution here following the link: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/welcoming-the-migrant-to-the-us
Let me highlight two essential paragraphs from the resolution:
Pastor Earl Kim's weekly reflections