Respect Our People
By Elvira Arellano
I teach my son to be respectful. When you meet someone, look them in the eye and shake their hand. That is because I want him to see them. They are a human being. The Bible teaches that they are created in the image of God. If he sees them in that way, then he will respect them. If he respects them, it is my hope that they will respect him.
I also teach him not to use people for his own purposes. It is o.k., I tell him, to try to persuade people, openly and honestly. It is not ok to deceive people to get them to do what you want them to do.
When I was first arrested for being “illegal”, in my home, in front of my son, they treated me like a criminal. They asked me if I had guns in the house. I was working as a cleaner, cleaning out airplanes in between flights. I was making a low wage and had no benefits- or rights to appeal injustices on the job. I was being used.
I agreed to be used in this way in order to support my son. Yet I knew I was being used. I knew I was being disrespected.
The undocumented entered the United States ”without authorization”; yet they are “utilized.” Everyone now knows that there are millions of people living and working and raising children who entered the country “without authorization.” All the language of hate and criminalization that is directed at them, all the appeals to “the law”, cannot wash away the reality that although not authorized, they are utilized.
My question to the politicians who call themselves Christians is how can you justify rounding up the people your nation has consciously utilized, treating them like criminals and destroying their families? Surely this is the height of hypocrisy. You use us when you need us and then think it is ok to throw us away like garbage.
I have recovered from that insult but I know many that have not. First, we must help our own people to get out from under this attack on our humanity. We are not criminals. We are not terrorists. We are children of God. It is the obligation of our pastors and our churches to help restore this understanding to the undocumented and to the children of the undocumented. They must do as Jesus did, healing them from the effects of being “utilized” and then thrown away.
What about the politicians who are wrapping themselves up in Jesus, proclaiming “family values” and defending “freedom of religion.” What about the pastors who are supporting them in this violation of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit?
I am saying that there is a crisis in the churches of the United States, a crisis in the faith.
They say Obama is attacking religion. Well, I would agree that he was attacking the faith when he deported the mothers and fathers of U.S. citizen children, separating families. I am glad that he has recently accepted responsibility and begun to atone for this sin through the policy of “prosecutorial discretion.”
But Obama is just a politician. What about men who claim to be men of God? The faith teaches us not to use people. The faith teaches us that a society based on utilization instead of respect for life is in rebellion to the Kingdom of God. The faith also teaches that even the most powerful must atone for their sins.
Is it not time for our Latino pastors to lead a crusade to save the churches in the United States? Is it not time to restore the churches to their calling to heal those who have been used, to restore in them the blessing that they are created in the image of God? Is it not time to call out the hypocrites of “Utilization”?
We are a great people, blessed by God. To a nation to the north, which has lost its respect for family and for raising children in the ways of the Lord, we have brought an offer of redemption. If they welcome us, then there is a place for them in the Kingdom. If not, they condemn themselves.
Latino pastors, stand up for Jesus! It is time to confront the hypocrites in the temple!