THE TIME FOR ORTHODOX UNITY IS NOW!

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Statement in Defense of Children and Families

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People attend a rally protesting the separation of children from their families while crossing the US [Hindustan Times]

Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

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.

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8 Comments

  1. Constantinos on

    According to international law, genuine asylum seekers are supposed to go to the first safe country; that would be Mexico, not the United States. These people are illegal aliens. President Trump has every right to enforce the laws of our country and protect our borders. Many of these so called “families” are not families at all, but are aliens posing as families. Why not criticize these “mothers” who are making their children traverse very dangerous routes to come to the US? We need to keep our country safe and build that wall.” A country without borders is no country at all.” We should round up all the illegal aliens and deport every one of them. This hysteria about illegal immigration is left wing propaganda. Also, all this illegal immigration is turning America into a third world country. President Trump is correct: “We want legal immigration based on merit.” What part of this do you not understand?

    • Separating children from their parents is a grievous sin contrary to God’s holy laws and to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Supporters and promoters of this heinous and immoral practice should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Constantinos,

      Your comment overlooks many aspects of the situation. I am particularly interested by your seeming knowledge of asylum law, which suggests that safer countries are safe countries. Have you lived in Mexico as an immigrant? Have you been confronted with gang violence, rape, and many of the other dangers faced mm by migrants in Mexico? If you had, I suspect that you would not call it safe. The system of asylum is not meant to provide temporary safety but lasting safety, which is why people continue towards the United States, looking for safety of self and mind, as well as economic opportunity (which also plays into safety).

      I chuckled at your comment about criticizing mothers for making their children come to the U.S. What a privileged and misguided view. It makes me certain that you do not have children of your own, for if you did, you would know that a parent gives everything for their child and for the future of their child. The dangerous journey is not simply because immigrants want to go site-seeing, but because only a journey of this nature can lead to a promising future for the children.

      Lastly, the idea of basing immigration off of merit sets an incredibly dangerous precedent that slopes only towards harm. If we were in WW2 right now, would you suggest that we only allow the smartest and most accomplished Jewish people into America to protect them from Hitler? If a group of children were starving, would you administer math tests to decide who to feed? Humans are humans, all children of God. Do not distill them to less than that, for doing so strays from the Lord and strengthens the work of the devil.

      Open your heart, and, perhaps more importantly in your case and in the cace of anyone who calls democratic discourse “propaganda,” open your mind.

      With respect,

      Stephen

      P.S. If you call the United States a third world country, you have clearly never been to a third world country and you insult the lived experiences and realities of those in developing nations who struggle every day and live in conditions far worse than those found in America. Words matter.

  2. Constantinos on

    Peter,
    Are you suggesting that we don’t imprison felons because they would be separated from their children?

  3. Anthony Nicotta on

    In my opinion the above statement issued by the Archdiocese is at best weak, and at worse appears to go out of its way to abstain from directly pointing out how deplorable the president’s actions in this matter really are. It seems that its main objection to the unilateral Trump policy of separating incoming undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers from their children, is that Attorney General Sessions paraphrased Romans 13: 1-7 out of context in defending the president’s action. While it is commendable that the Archdiocese pointed out that fact, and that it defends the institution of the family in the strongest words, it is unfortunate when it says that “children should never be punished for the action s of their parents,” strongly implying that parents are punishable for attempting to escape from violence, oppression, and economic destitution in their desperate attempt to seek safety and asylum. It is also unfortunate that no stronger words critical of the policy are used than, “the authorities find a swift and just solution to this unfortunate and very painful situation”.

    Furthermore, why has not Archbishop Demetrios himself issued a personal statement deploring this, “unfortunate and very painful situation”, as other church leaders have done? Pope Francis , for example, strongly supported the statement from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that stated the
    president’s policy is,”immoral and contrary to our Catholic values”.

    Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, and a strong supporter of the president, nevertheless said in respect to the president’s action, “Its disgusting, it’s terrible to see families ripped part,and I don’t support it one bit!”. It’s disappointing that Archbishop Demetrios spoke out in in support of the recent New York rally against the proposed name change of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, urging churches to schedule earlier divine liturgies that day so that the faithful could attend the demonstration, but has not spoken out on an issue of greater moral urgency and spiritual importance. Why not Your Eminence?

  4. Aris Damianos on

    Constantinos,
    The Germans who rounded up the Jews and helped gas them were also just following the law, and trying to keep their country safe. That didn’t make it right. Trump is an agent of Satan, pure and simple, spewing venom, bigotry and hatred while being concerned only about himself. The separating of children from their families is indefensible. It is un-American and it is un-Christian. Anyone who could even remotely support or defend such actions should examine their hardness of heart, and learn what it means to actually be a follower of Christ. We are commanded to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Who is your neighbor? It is the Mexican mother, it is the frightened child, it is the opioid addict and the theif. Christ welcomed the tax collectors, the harlots, and the lepers. He broke down walls; he did not build them. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Love. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Self-Sacrifice. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Humility. Shame on those who promote and defend these heinous acts that are truly affronts to humanity and affronts to God.

  5. Panos Tsepekis on

    Aris is spot on. Irrespective of political party, this is un-Christian, plain and simple. It it sickening to see people who call themselves Christians support policies and laws that directly contradict the words of Christ. Just like the Pharisees and so many other examples in the scriptures who purport faithfulness while entirely missing the point, anyone who supports this is neither following nor understanding what Jesus taught.

  6. Constantinos on

    Hi Stephen,
    Economic opportunity is not a basis in international law for seeking asylum. That is called immigration – and you wait your turn. Instead of breaking the law, by illegally crossing the border, these asylum seekers are free to go to the US embassy in Mexico or any of the ten US consulates spread across the country. They can also legally seek asylum at any US port of entry.
    The problems you mention in Mexico are also present in America. Also, the US didn’t accept Jewish people fleeing the Holocaust. Remember, FDR turned a ship back that was full of Jewish people fleeing the Holocaust. They wound up back in Europe.
    Stephen, in other words, you are in favor of open borders. This does not apply to you, but to some other posters on this topic. Only the self righteous hypocrites cite Scripture and call other deeply committed Orthodox Christians “Pharisees,” and other pejorative epithets because of opposing views.

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