NEW YORK – In recent days, the words of St. Paul in the 13th chapter of his Epistle to the Romans have been circulating in the news. We are concerned and alarmed at the use of this biblical quote being used out of context to justify the strict application of a policy occurring at our southern border, which is detrimental to family life.
The numerous challenges of today’s world weaken the already strained bonds of every modern family. Family—a divine institution (cf. Ephesians 3:14)—is something that we as Orthodox Christians cherish and hold as sacred. Furthermore, when our Lord came into this world as a human being, he entered it as a child and part of a family. As a special creation of God the Father, no family deserves to be separated. The institution of the family is found from the beginning of the Book of Genesis (chapter 2). In love and harmony, the family finds joy, each member in the other. Reflecting this joy, the Psalmist proclaims, your children will be like olive trees around your table (Psalm 127/128:3b). Let us bear in mind that the branch of an olive tree is a universal symbol of peace, not something to be torn apart and broken.
It is for peace and for a dignified and humane solution to this unfortunate situation that we, together with people of good faith across our great nation, urgently entreat. Children should not, under any circumstances, be punished for things that are beyond their control. Our hearts go out to those suffering under these terrible conditions. We pray for them, that their families soon be restored, and pray that the proper authorities find a swift and just solution to this unfortunate and very painful situation.