The Pastor’s Pen: July 15, 2018

Last week, Baptists from all over the world gathered for meetings of the Baptist World Alliance. For the last twenty-five years, I have been honored to serve on the organization’s General Council. Each year, we address issues facing Baptists throughout the world through commission discussions and resolutions. Following is one of the resolutions passed by the 120 members of the Council.

Resolution on Preserving the Primacy of Family in Immigration, The Baptist World Alliance General Council, meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, July 2-6, 2018: RECOGNIZES that the human desire to preserve and protect one’s family from violence, disease, economic depravity, and other threatening conditions is universal and drives millions of people to leave their homelands seeking better lives for themselves and their family members; AFFIRMS the clear biblical mandate to welcome the stranger and for followers of Jesus to respond with love and justice to the plight of immigrants, migrants, and refugees (Micah 6:8; Matt. 22:34-40, 25:35, 40; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:1-3.); ASSERTS our belief that God created the family as the primary social unit, and that families are integral to a healthy society; REAFFIRMS our past resolutions noting our position on the rights and dignity of immigrants, migrants, and refugees, including those adopted in 2013, 2016, and 2017; LAMENTS recent actions by the U.S. government that separated more than 2,000 migrant children from the parents, many of whom remain in detention even as their parents have already been deported; REJECTS claims by some U.S. government officials that the Bible justifies a policy of forced separation of families, and urges the U.S. government to work toward reuniting each family and prevent such separations in the future; CALLS upon individuals, churches, and religious organizations to be involved in immigration issues supporting the primacy of family solidarity; ENCOURAGES all Baptists to prophetically challenge immoral policies that seek to undermine the rights and dignity of immigrants, migrants, and refugees; and URGES all governments to follow international law regarding the proper treatment of immigrants, migrants, and refugees, and to uphold the primacy of the family unit.

Countries from every continent, have recognized the hateful policies promoted by our government. Our prayers must continue to be that those in positions of power in the U.S. will come to realize how far our nation has moved away from its Pledge of Allegiance that America stands for freedom and justice for all.