Politics, Moderate



Don't avert your eyes from what's happening at our border

Esther J. Cepeda on

CHICAGO -- The beauty of being human is that you can hold two seemingly opposite positions in your heart at the same time.

Our fragmented, partisan society -- in the era of cable news and social media -- isn't good at portraying this reality, especially when it comes to religious or political issues.

But people who pursue a spiritual practice know that you can be a lover of Jesus Christ or God and hold political views that are usually ascribed to the secular left.

You wouldn't know it, though, based on some ultra-loud reactions to churches using their nativity scenes to make statements in defense of migrants from Mexico and Central America.

The latest such case is a scathing critique about the conditions in which the U.S. has lately kept migrants and asylum seekers. The Claremont United Methodist Church, which is about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, erected its nativity scene with Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus separated and in cages. Barbed wire adds another true-to-life touch.

This isn't the first time a church has done something like this. But after the Rev. Karen Clark Ristine, the church's senior pastor, posted the image on her Facebook account, the image went viral and attracted wide attention.


Here's the part -- if you were reading a straight news article -- where you'd get a sampling of "reaction" quotes, which would pit a person who supported the statement against a person who felt slighted that a place of worship would be outwardly political. Other reactions would surely include someone just being coldhearted and cruel about how "illegal immigrants" deserve whatever they get because they shouldn't have come in the first place.

But this is an opinion column, so you won't get that type of so-called balance.

Instead, let's connect some dots.

In 1968, the United States ratified an international treaty, agreed to by 146 countries, that it would "not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened ... enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence."


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