By ending DACA, Trump gives Christians another chance to restore their moral witness

Donald Trump prays with faith leaders at the White House, after signing a proclamation for a day of prayer for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Donald Trump prays with faith leaders at the White House, after signing a proclamation for a day of prayer for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

After some Evangelicals’ abhorrent support of his pardon of “Sheriff Joe,” their false equivocation between white supremacists and those who oppose them, the increasingly and obviously racist Trump administration has given Congress the opportunity to end the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals.

DACA is a program designed to keep children of undocumented immigrants safe from deportation. At the risk of sounding partisan, the former President offered his eloquent defense and repudiation of the administration’s actions. He is actually leading in a time where it is unusual for former presidents to be (the vacuum of leadership necessitates this).

The victims of the program’s potential end are children, they are children who happen to be brown and who are not born here. And their deportation will often put them in worse circumstances. In my opinion, ending DACA is heartless, antichrist, and anti-Gospel.

Recipients of DACA are known as DREAMers, and if ending the program isn’t heinous enough, ICE officials can use data from the DACA program to target and deport them. Here are a few more takes:

Leah Litman says it is the administration’s last effort to grab some power by exploiting the racism of its shrinking base.

Mark Stern argues that this is not unique to Trump, and that Congressional Republicans have been anti-immigrant for a long time.

You might read this and just think I’m being political. You have to know that this is a deeply personal issue because of the meaning assigned to my skin color by the dominators. Thank Jesus, I’m freed from their judgment and condemnation. I am one-in-Christ, not because of their whitewashing, but because my Lord conquers racism. I gladly relinquish my assigned racial identity for the cross, but it goes both ways, the dominators must reject theirs which offers the initial assignment.

I do not just care about this issue, though, because I am brown. As it turns out, both of my brown children are citizens, and so were my sister and I when my parents immigrated here. So we are “safe.” But the rhetoric that this spews into the air, and the violence that always follows, is not good for us or for others.

Furthermore, the Bible is littered with passages about welcoming the stranger. Jesus is explicit in Matthew 25, so is the Levitical law, and Paul, himself, in what is the greatest masterworks of the New Testament is enraged at the prospect that we would separate anyone as a result of their cultural or ethnic heritage. The Christian witness has consistently been to stand with the oppressed and the immigrant.

And now, with a small, but loud, segment of the Evangelical community making up the bulk of Trump’s base, Christians have a chance to reject and denounce the heartless end to the program and take a stand. I doubt they will, though.

The Trump Administration gives Christians, whose reputation is tattered in the media (need I mention the fundamentalist Nashville Statement or Joel Osteen’s reputation risk management last week?), a chance to redeem themselves almost every day. There is always something evil that the administration is doing that Christians should oppose. And I’m not talking about complex policy, these issues are simple: oppose white supremacy, support safety for children of immigrants, care for the environment, don’t start another war or escalate a nuclear one. No theology or political science degree required.

For Christians, we are not to submit to evil institutions that do not follow the way of Jesus. You can twist Romans 13 to justify any of that, I suppose, but as a Christian the law is not the final word or final answer. And that is my hope, despite the evil of the state, for all the children who might be affected by the end of DACA. Your safety, ultimately, is in Jesus, not in the state or the country—it is not exactly hospitable for you here. We serve a God of all nations who commands us to welcome the stranger. This is not just a question of peace and justice, it is a question of obedience to God.

Resisting evil is not just a matter of saving our witness, but follow God. Jesus made it clear. You are either with him or you are not. I am sure Trump will give us more chances to stand up for our witness, but I pray we stand against the evil of the government for the sake of the Gospel now. I want to do it before it becomes increasingly ridiculous to entertain the notion of following Jesus. There are cosmic consequences to Christian inaction if we really believe what we say we do. And Jesus might be preparing a millstone for inaction of his purported followers who lead people astray from him. Lord, have mercy.

We have an opportunity. Let’s take a stand. It means something.

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