What President Trump has broken apart, Congress must put back together.

What President Trump has broken apart, Congress must put back together. May 15, 2019

Remarks I gave at a Mother’s Day rally – calling for action from the Trump administration to reunite all the families which they separated.

I’m a mom, I’m a Presbyterian pastor, and I’m a believer in the values that our nation espouses. Today I speak as all three, and I’m proud to gather here with you. In fact, today is a day of worship in my community and worship means to serve in Hebrew, so I can think of no better way to worship than to be here with you working for justice.

From the word of God in the book of Genesis, to the Gospel of Jesus, from the Statue of Liberty to the fields of California where migrant workers took hold of their rights, we see simple and constant truths — all people are inherently precious, and all people have dignity. We are all God’s children and we are commanded to love one another as we love ourselves.

Rev. Jennifer Butler speaking at immigration rallyThere is no second-class love, there is no second-class worth, there is no second-class humanity based on where people were born or how they arrived in the United States. We are all God’s children.

I thank God for the ordinary people who live out these simple, beautiful teachings each day.

But we are here today because the people who occupy the White House despise and disobey these values, and torment and torture God’s children. The so-called zero tolerance policy, issued by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions showed the world the face of true evil  — ripping children away from their parents. It stacked a new layer of cruelty on an already harsh, immoral and ineffective system. Customs and Border Patrol agents took nearly 3,000 babies, toddlers and children away from their moms and dads.

When we as a community of faith saw the heartrending pictures of traumatized toddlers, and the cries of babes ripped from the arms of their moms and dads, we went to the border. We talked to a ten year old boy who had fled Guatemala when he father was murdered and he feared for his life. I asked him what he hoped for and he just said he hoped he would be welcomed here in this country.

I thought back to the first days of my son’s life, the feeling of his impossibly tiny fingers wrapped around mine. Every parent knows that feeling. It is pure, it is perfect, it is the touch of God. No agent of the government has any business breaking that grip.

What President Trump has broken apart, Congress must put back together. Today. Right now. All families that the Trump administration has torn apart must be reunited. No family who came here seeking asylum should languish in a cell, whether separately or together. Justice must be done for the three migrant children who have died in our government’s custody. Children belong in communities, not cages.

The traumatized children, the heartbroken parents, the families who fled violence in hopes of safe harbor and a better life in what is supposed to be a land of welcome and opportunity: These people are children of God. These children of God are our neighbors. These children of God have been tormented and tortured and wronged. For forgiveness, for freedom, and for action by Congress, we pray to the Lord for justice and we cry out. Amen.

About Rev. Jennifer Butler
Rev. Jennifer Butler is the founder and CEO of Faith in Public Life and the former chair of the White House Council on Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships. You can read more about the author here.

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