Give the emperor the things that are the emperor’s,
and God the things that are God’s.
– Matthew 22:21b
Greater Northwest United Methodists,
In the wake of yesterday’s announcement regarding DACA, I’m asking myself, what is the emperor’s and what is God’s? Matthew reminds us that the really important things belong to God and that what we owe to civil authorities is limited by what belongs to God.
Yesterday the White House announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy threatening to cause the deportation of 800,000 youth and young adults who were brought to the United States without documents when they were children. Today I remember that:
“The alien who resides with you shall be as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:34
It’s not right even to threaten to deport peaceful, tax-paying immigrants who have lived here for decades, and know no other home. Doing so violates the teachings of the Bible.
Love of God demands that we speak out for our neighbors to government officials who have authority over their lives. Love of God might demand that we act boldly to protect threatened people and families as fiercely as we would protect our own.
The moral imperative to love the alien in our land is clear, though each person and each church will find its own way to love God and neighbor in their place and circumstance. I hope you will find ways to have serious conversations with people who are affected by this end to DACA, and to discern what God is leading us to do in the months ahead.
Pray for people who fear that their lives may be uprooted, and their families torn apart. Pray for our government authorities. Pray that Christ will guide and lead the church to a season of clear witness and courageous action.
With faith in Christ, and confidence that love will win,
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky | Greater Northwest Area
Visit greaternw.org/welcome for more DACA information and a list of ideas and resources to help us love one another, love our neighbors and love the stranger. On the page titled “Links for Further Information” you’ll find links to organizations active in supporting refugees and immigrants in each state (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington) alongside national and interfaith groups. Please send other local (to you) resources that you are aware of to the Rev. Lyda Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion.