The Pastor’s Pen: June 24, 2018

On this Annual Music Appreciation Sunday, we welcome to our pulpit, Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr., Pastor Emeritus of Metropolitan Baptist Church. Over the years, Dr. Hicks distinguished himself as a compassionate pastor, a “preacher’s preacher,” and one of this nation’s most effective preachers. He has been a friend of Shiloh for many years and we are delighted he will join us at our 10:55 A.M. worship service. We know he will deliver an arousing message through his gift of great preaching and storytelling.

On Music Appreciation Sunday, we celebrate the work of all of our singing units. Visitors to our church often say that they have experienced some of the finest choral and gospel music anywhere. Choirs work hard to produce this spiritually and technically excellent music. On this day, we give thanks to God for all of the singers and musicians who make our musical ministry an exceptional offering to God and God’s people.

The latest chapter in the sad account of our nation’s indifference to human rights is the new fiasco of the government’s separating asylum-seekers’ children from parents. The international outcry has been deafening. The leaders of Germany, Great Britain and Canada have joined with other political leaders and Pope Francis, to decry our inhumane treatment of asylum seeking families. It has been reported that these thousands of families may be separated from their children indefinitely. Toddlers, who hardly know their parents’ names, and surely not their addresses, may wind up in the system indeterminately. One is hard-pressed to understand why this policy was ever adopted, other than to prove the strength of American leadership. However, there is nothing strong about bullying families into untenable positions. Of course, there are those who will say that it is the parents’ fault that they were separated from their children. Had they not sought asylum, these families would still be together. What that position overlooks are the futility of so many citizens of Latin American governments that have become fearful for their lives. Due to gang and governmental violence at home, families and individuals were willing to risk everything to find safety in the United States. There is no question, that all seeking asylum do not have justifiable claims. In the past, those without legitimate claims were processed and returned to their countries. However, the overwhelming majority of asylum-seekers have come to us because they are terrified of what will happen to their families in their native countries.

Many conservative Americans have denied the fact that immigration fell precipitously under the Obama Administration. The reason for this was because the North America Free Trade Agreement, also known as NAFTA, worked so well economically in Mexico, that the Mexican economy was growing and people were finding sufficient work. If we want to stop asylum-seekers, then we must send American workers into those countries with strong financial incentives to rebuild those countries and restore their decimated infrastructure.

Courses in economics begin with a simple proposition:  Should a country direct its resources to “guns or butter?” Dictators choose guns. Enlightened societies have always understood that entrenched poverty is the single largest cause of violence throughout the world. Rather than separating families, we should work to eradicate poverty. The Bible is replete with the fact that God intends for God’s people to be healthy and whole. Turning our backs on the horrible effects of poverty will never be the way to fulfill God’s plan.