The Gospel of Murrieta and Migrants

Once, Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus fled in the middle of the night to escape a murderous ruler. Unfortunately, upon reaching the borders of Egypt, they were met with protesters, taken into custody, and soon deported back to their native land.

The day after they were sent back, Herod completed his massacre of the innocents, killing Jesus. And just to send a message to others, he slaughtered Mary and Joseph too.

Here ends the Gospel.

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There is a humanitarian crisis going on at the borders. But there is also a crisis of faith going on in this country surrounding immigration and how we treat migrants. Please write your senators and representatives. Donate to ministries and agencies assisting migrants.

In addition to Episcopal Relief and Development, you can help fund the Borderland Ministries and its refugee center in the Diocese of Rio Grande. But immigration isn’t just an issue that unfolds on a human scale along the border. It’s everywhere. Check out the work of Alterna for what this can look like in the Deep South. There are many, many people working for justice. Join with them!

For more reflections check out these posts, one from Episcopal seminarian Broderick Greer and other from the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings.

And EDUCATE! Films like The Stranger, Under the Same Moon, Which Way Home, or the Second Cooler.

And PREACH! The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds is easily a parable against deportation.

 

About David R. Henson

David Henson received his Master of Arts from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, after receiving a Lilly Grant for religious education for journalists. He ordained in the Episcopal Church as a priest. He is a father of two young sons and the husband of a medical school student.

  • http://www.tangentials.com/ Kenny Ray Pierce

    These are my thoughts on this topic, which is a pretty personal one to me. I added them to a share of this piece on Facebook, and are those from my vantage point, someone who was raised the son of an Irish Kentucky-Native (descended of the state’s founders and original Virginia colonists), and a Mexican girl, daughter of migrant workers who crossed the Mexican/Arizona border legally in the 1920s, to go on to raise a family in my native Southern California.

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    Were it 1925, this would be a non-issue. My Mexican grandparents would not have been allowed entry to work in Los Angeles (for simply declaring that intent at the border and paying their fee), as they were then. I can look at their border crossing cards with sentimental abandon, secure in the stories of what they did when they arrived – when it was legal to do so.

    They’d not have borne and raised 6 educated children (who they scrimped and saved to send to good schools). And a bevy of talented and brilliant grandchildren and great grandchildren, some of whom who seem to have forgotten their roots, or might never have looked at the laws then and now, and the resultant logistics of border crossings for folks, to discover that the law is the only thing that changed. The intent to work has not.

    We have all – my siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts, contributed in ways untold to the economy over the years that far surpassed any social services that 2 people might have used upon arrival). As have my grandparents in starting and operating their successful pottery business.

    They were given a chance in 1925, when they arrived.

    Were it now, my grandparents would have realized a similar fate – not just to the children who are a media sensation at present, but to others who want, need and come to work. My grandparents who helped to raise me, my siblings, and cousins. Our grandparents who taught us Spanish (which led to a greater ease for me in reading, language skills, the ability to pick up 2 other languages, later on at University). Those who acclimated us to a culture that was far more diverse than the privileged classes around which we were surrounded.

    Were it now, and the policy what it has become, they’d likely have been chased down and denounced as dogs, as the bane of America. They were my Grandma and Grandpa, and if their fate had been the same as that of those today, I wouldn’t likely be typing this (which for many of you might be a blessing in and of itself).

    I highly recommend the Pulitzer Prize finalist “Devil’s Highway” by Luis Alberto Urrea, a book that is fairly balanced and not really denunciatory of the border guards themselves but of the system which they’ve been handed and their own ethical tug of wars. And more poignantly, the stories of 25 men who perished in the Texas desert attempting to cross. Urrea grew up German and Mexican in a border town, on what many would say was the “wrong side.” What sticks with me – haunts me – from this is the pleading among the people to not forget their stories. Indeed, to not forget that they existed, as they point to garbage as their likely fate and burial grounds.

    This, to me, is a colossal failure of a “Christian nation” to be not only Christian, but to be humane.


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