Denominations Condemn Separation Of Families
The Maine Council of Churches opposes, in the strongest terms, the policy of separating children from their parents at the southern US border and is grateful that President Trump has issued an executive order ending the practice after an outcry from leaders worldwide. The Maine Council of Churches, which represents eight of Maine’s largest religious bodies, makes this statement in concert with religious leaders, medical and psychiatric specialists, and child advocacy organizations from across the US.
The United Church of Christ: “…strongly condemns the dismantling of families, the criminalization of the quest for freedom, and the caging of those whose only crime is to seek shelter from harm.”
In a joint statement, Maine’s Episcopal and Roman Catholic Bishops have said: “…Tearing children from their parents is immoral. It does not reflect the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth whom we follow, nor the values upon which this nation was founded.”
In a joint statement, the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops joined a diverse group of interfaith leaders in stating: “Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children. “
The president of the Unitarian Universalist Association has stated: “The policy of this administration to separate children from their parents at the border is immoral, inhumane and indefensible.”
The Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church USA asks: “What has this nation become? How have we wandered so far from Jesus’ kind admonition, ‘Let the little children come to me … for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs’? How can this be happening in a nation in which so many claim the traditions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam and the critical importance of families to the fabric of our lives together?”
While the US is indeed a nation of laws, we have also striven to uplift values of hope, justice, and compassion since our founding. The Council sees any action by our government that ignores morality and compassion as a dangerous step in the wrong direction.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Psychological research shows that immigrants experience unique stressors related to the conditions that led them to flee their home countries in the first place. The longer that children and parents are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression for the children. Negative outcomes for children include psychological distress, academic difficulties and disruptions in their development.” The separation of children from their families is needless and cruel, and as a form of psychological torture, it threatens the very emotional and physical well-being of children.
As a nation of laws, there is a special place in our statutes for the protection of children. Children have long been seen as particularly vulnerable to the effects of abuse and neglect, and therefore our laws grant broad protections to children. In the eyes of the Council, sacrificing the welfare of children for the sake of political gain is gravely sinister and sinful. It is a form of torture that runs counter to our religious and morals values, and it is therefore not a practice that the Council could ever support.
The Council calls upon Maine’s Congressional delegation to take immediate steps to end the practice of separating families, and encourages all people of faith and good conscience to rise up with one voice in clear opposition to this inhumane practice.