Open Letter to Christians Who Want to Know How They Can Help

Open Letter to Christians Who Want to Know How They Can Help July 2, 2018

To my Christian friends who want to know how you can help,

Thank you for your call/text/email asking me how you can help. Of course, it’s devastating to read the stories and hear the cries of children who have been separated at our border because of the Zero Tolerance Policy enacted in April 2018. It’s heartbreaking. It’s hard to not want to do something. I’m so thankful that we are not too numb to the world’s atrocities to let this go by without a visceral reaction. Thank you for caring. Thank you for posting. Thank you for wanting to help.

But my friends, this is not new. We did not get here over night. Immigrants, adults and children, have been suffering in our country and at our borders for years. The rhetoric that laid the foundation for this has been swirling around for decades. The relatively small group of Christians who have given our lives to God’s work in and through immigrants in the US have been pleading with our brothers and sisters to listen, to learn, and to care for a while now. We’ve been fasting, protesting, hosting prayer vigils for over a decade. The immigrant community has been crying out even longer and louder than us.

We aren’t here because no one cared. We are here because not enough of us did. Had there been more of us, we might have been able to prevent this. We could have stopped it. Our apathy and complacency and our fear of getting too political stopped us.

I don’t say this to make you feel guilty. I don’t want you to feel shame. But I do want you to know that this is very, very serious. We can’t afford for this to be a flash in the pan reaction. I know the world is hard and there is so much to care about…so many causes to defend. My fear is that most of you, in response to the severity of emotion this has caused, will attend a march, post something, or donate, as a way to alleviate the heaviness of it all..and then move on to the next thing. But Jesus is inviting us into something much deeper than one time activism.

My plea is for you to stay with this. Stay engaged. Expand your advocacy. Learn more about our immigration system. Read up on what’s happening in Central America and research US relations in those countries. Gently and lovingly correct misinformation. Call out the bigotry towards immigrants. Seek the heart of God through scripture and prayer.

But also, fight your savior complex that might compel you to think you have the right answer (I’m looking at you, Christian women who said something along the lines of, “I just want to go and adopt these poor children”).

Let’s learn and listen and ask good question and do all we can do to make sure every single child is returned to their parents. Let’s demand our government does better.

And joining the fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform would help too.

Stay with us.

-Bethany Anderson



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