We are a nation in the midst of a moral crisis.
To some, we are in moral crisis because we have forgotten the rule of law. In our zeal to protect the vulnerable and the weak we ourselves have become weak.
To others we are in moral crisis because we have forgotten our humanity. In our zeal to follow the rule of law we have forgotten the human beings the law impacts.
I think our moral crisis runs much deeper than that. Our moral crisis is found in the fact that our anger with each other over our country’s issues has taken over nearly every aspect of our society and our very being. Resentment is the toxin that destroys any and all relationships - friendships, marriages, and societies. The resentment we feel toward each other is literally destroying our society from within. It is blinding us to any sense and sensibility in how we think and work and live together.
America Is a Beacon of Light
For decades America has been a great beacon of light for those who live in the darkest corners of the world. For those who live in the most dangerous lands, where the rule of law is unheard of and corruption reigns supreme, America represents a bastion of fairness and justice. For those who live under the most violent and brutal of regimes, America represents a land of compassion and care. For those who live under the most repressive and authoritarian dictatorships, America represents the land of the free.
That is why, despite all the risks and dangers and sacrifice, so many people flee to our shores. They throw themselves and their families on our borders in a desperate attempt to share in the American dream that we are so privileged to enjoy. For some, they come because everywhere else is a dead-end. For others, they come seeking asylum from persecution and threats to their lives.
There Are Human Lives at Stake
So what should we do when they come? This is a conversation that our anger is keeping us from really having. When I hear people say that these desperate souls should follow the law - visit their local American consulate and follow the procedure, we need to remember that American policy has been to severely limit immigration or the ability of anyone to acquire a visa. And when I hear people say that we must act with compassion, we need to remember that as much as we might wish we could, America cannot accommodate everyone who would seek to join our nation.
But we must agree on one thing - there are human lives at stake. There are real men and real women with real children whose real lives are on the line at our borders. Our current policies are destroying families. By indiscriminately deporting undocumented immigrants, we are tearing parents from their children when in so many cases those whom we are deporting have contributed so much to the nation they seek to join.
By criminalizing anyone who would approach our borders even in cases of those seeking asylum, and thus literally tearing children from their parents, we are committing a moral wrong.
Our Anger And Our Fear May Color The Way We Look At These Immoral Acts And So We Push Ourselves To Justify What We Ought Never Justify.
If championing the rule of law means that we have to rip children from their parents and put them in cages then we need to find another way to impose the rule of law. If championing the rule of law means that we must harden our hearts and dispose of our human decency and compassion, then we need to find another way to follow the rule of law.
We cannot permit immoral means to accomplish moral ends. Ever. Otherwise we become the embodiment of immorality ourselves.
We are grateful that there has been action on this issue to remedy this immoral policy. Join me in calling on our leaders as they craft our nation’s immigration policy, to resist the temptation to be led by anger and resentment, but to be led by the higher values of decency, compassion, and humanity which we as Americans ought always to champion.