They are going to die.
Just recently, about 200 Chaldean Christians— Catholics like me and like most of my readers here– were rounded up by ICE and are about to be deported back to Iraq. There is no safe place for them there; there is full-blown genocide in Iraq against Chaldean Christians. We know there’s a genocide happening there because the United States government formally declared that Iraqi Christians are victims of genocide. If these Christians go back to Iraq, they will die.
The United States is sending 200 people into a war zone, where genocide is being committed against them personally because they profess Christ. Those people are going to die.
And what did they do to deserve to die?
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement that they committed crimes “Including homicide, rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, drug trafficking, robbery, sex assault, weapons violations and other offenses.”
And it’s the ending of the statement, that ambiguous “and other offenses” that should frighten you. Because the families of these 200 Chaldean Christians are claiming that the offenses they committed go into the “other” category– that most of these people committed non-violent offenses, many years ago. They’ve served their time and have been productive members of society ever since. It’s entirely possible, for example, presuming that the department of Homeland Security’s statement is absolutely true, that they are sending six violent felons and 194 people who committed nonviolent offenses like shoplifting to Iraq to die a violent death. And this, for crimes for which they’ve already been punished.
The death penalty is less and less defensible when inflicted as a punishment even for cold-blooded murder. Can anyone justify the death penalty for robbery? Burglary? Drug trafficking? “Other offenses?” Nonviolent offenses? Offenses for which the offender was tried, convicted and sentenced in a court of law and then served his or her time, was released and lived blamelessly in society for years?
Because, that’s what is going to happen.
These people are going to die. It’s not going to be a peaceful death; it’s not even going to be a state execution strapped to a gurney. They’re going to be slaughtered by ISIS, or maybe murdered by American bombs, in case you’ve forgotten that’s still going on and that civilian death tolls are extremely high lately. The United States is killing these people by deporting them to Iraq and we just might be killing them by dropping our own bombs on them as well, somewhere down the line. But they are going to die.
Is there any way to justify this?
Even if they were all stone cold killers, even if we all were completely fine with the death penalty, could we justify sentencing them to be murdered by genocidal extremists or the odd American bombing?
I want to be absolutely clear that I don’t think it’s moral to do this to anyone– not to Muslims, not to atheists, not anyone. But I also want to underline for my Catholic readers: 200 of our Catholic brothers and sisters are about to be sent to die by genocide, for crimes for which they’ve already served a sentence. There is good reason to doubt that they were violent crimes in the first place. And the United States government, the government that’s supposed to represent us, is about to send them to a violent death.
Is this a moral or a pro-life act?
Some of you were very happy about President Trump’s executive order prioritizing Christian refugees over those of other religions several months ago. I disagreed; I thought that was discrimination on the basis of religion, and wrong. But you and I both do care about Christian refugees very much.
Two hundred of these Christian refugees are going to die, because our government is about to send them to their deaths.
I hope you’ll join me now in praying for them, and speaking out that this injustice is not being done in our name.
(image via Pixabay)