The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago issued a strongly worded statement against the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on unlawful immigration, calling it a violation of “moral norms that we, as Orthodox Christians, hold sacred.”
The administration’s border policy calls for the separation of children and parents when entering the United States illegally, which has been met with pushback across the country from numerous Christian groups, many of whom have been known as vocal supporters of President Trump.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America released its own statement Tuesday against the policy.
Following is the complete statement from Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago:
Statement Regarding the U.S. “Zero Tolerance” Policy on Unlawful Immigration
Recent reports regarding the brutal treatment of families who have arrived at U.S. borders without prior authorization have prompted sharp criticisms by faith leaders and people of good will across our nation. As we learn more and more details about these practices and reflect on their impact upon both those who are directly involved and upon all of us as citizens, my heart aches and my conscience is restless.
The current “zero tolerance” policy on unlawful immigration being enforced by our federal government, which separates children from their parent(s), violates moral norms that we, as Orthodox Christians, hold sacred. It represents a practice that goes beyond differences between political ideologies, and transgresses basic human rights and foundational Christian convictions. Thus, remaining silent is, I believe, an unacceptable response for those of us entrusted with bearing witness to the Christian Gospel.
Affirming that every person is created “in the divine image” (cf. Gen 1:26), and that all of us are children of God (cf. 1 Jn 3:1-2), our tradition unequivocally teaches that every human being should be treated with respect, recognizing his or her inherent dignity regardless of age, race, ethnicity or gender, and regardless of any transgressions they or their family members may have committed.
The strict enforcement of the “zero tolerance” policy is inhumane and, therefore, sinful. To separate innocent children from their parents in an effort to deter asylum seekers and unauthorized immigrants is unnecessarily cruel and damaging to both children and their parents. Like other Christians, Orthodox Christians regard the family as a sacred community blessed by God; it is an institution that we must protect and promote, not undermine or divide. Even if such separation of parents and children is permitted by our current civil laws, the decision to remove children by force from the caring presence of their parents at our borders is spiritually unconscionable.
I offer this personal appeal to our elected officials, asking them to cease the current “zero tolerance” practice and, instead, to respond to some of our most vulnerable sisters and brothers in a manner that is both humane and pro-family. I also encourage the faithful of the Holy Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago and all who share our concerns to exercise their free speech and to call for the cessation of this barbaric practice.
Since you’re here… I have a small favor to ask.
More and more people than ever before are reading The Pappas Post and despite increasing costs to maintain the site and provide you with the quality content that you deserve, I will never “force” you to pay for our website or add a paywall. I believe in the democracy of the internet and want to keep this site and its enriching content free for everyone. But at the same time I’m asking those who frequent the site to chip in and help keep it both high quality— and free. We’ve implemented a “free-will” annual subscription for those who want to support our efforts. I guess it’s fair to call it a philotimo subscription… because you don’t have to do it but it’s really the right thing to do if you love the site and the content we publish. So if you like The Pappas Post and want to help, please consider becoming a “philotimo subscriber”. Click here to subscribe. If you’d rather make a one time donation, we will gladly accept any amount, with appreciation. Click here to donate any amount.