The huddled masses are yearning to breathe free

murrieta-protest

Should I be angry?  Should I be confused?  Am I supposed to be conflicted in regards to the recent immigration events going on?  As many of you are now aware, the immigration debate has taken a turn today.  Initially, around 140 illegal immigrants are being transported to a neighboring city to be processed and released to family members in and around the Southern California area.  And from what I hear, more will be arriving around the clock.

Given my background in teaching American History, I can tell you that I’m conflicted by the response of so many who are obviously ignorant to our history (and most likely, their own).  Any respectable American knows that this nation is, of course, a nation of immigrants.  No one is going to dispute that claim.  People from all nations have flocked to this nation’s shores since the time that man decided to leave their own shoreline, traverse the oceans, and willingly flirt with the other side of the horizon.  England, France, Spain, and Portugal started it all by fighting for ownership of this great land.  Since then, people have flooded North American shores for the same opportunities that brought everyone else over to the New World…opportunity.  I used to define it to my classes by the three “G’s”: God, Gold, and Glory.

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Jump ahead to the turn of the 20th century.  Another wave of Europeans, by the millions, come knocking on Liberty’s door.  But here’s the intriguing part of the immigration story.  The descendants of those early immigrants are now standing on the docks saying, “No thank you.  Go back to where you came from.  We don’t want your kind here.” An interesting turn of events.  Yet despite the outcry of so many “Americans”, millions came, settled down, and made a life for themselves in America.  Now getting to add the desired hyphen to who they are: ________-American.

Lets jump ahead another 100 years.  Here we are again.  More and more people desiring refuge in America are being met with boos and hisses.  Instead of food and accommodations, they are met with protest signs and American flags meant to show them that they don’t belong here.  I am disgusted.  I’m distressed that Americans don’t show them hospitality and care.  I’m upset that American citizens are protesting people who simply desire to have the same freedom and opportunity that they have.  I was disgusted upon reading a few people’s claims on social media.  “We should load them in a truck and send them back to where they came from!”  “Kick them out!”  “This is my country.  Go away!”  I wish I was joking.  I’m curious to know what lengths they went through to stake their claim to the American dream.  Or, were they simply born here, and are now planting their patriotic flag in their land of entitlement.

If you’re going to be out to protest anyone, it should be our government who has allowed their bickering across political lines to keep them from developing an answer to this issue.  The Republicans and the Democrats are to blame.  Our President is to blame.  They are the ones responsible.  The tens of thousands of people who have had the door held open for them, by our government agencies, are not to blame.  If you had the full intention of going to Disneyland with your family, but did not have the money to get in to the park, you couldn’t go, right?  Now imagine that a Disney employee opens the gate for you and your family and welcomes you in free of charge.  Are you going to turn them down?  Some of you would say, “Yes I would!  It’s not right that I should get in to the park for free.  I would decline, go and work for the entrance fees, and then return when I had enough money.”  For all you know, this is a legitimate employee of the magic kingdom telling you that you are welcome to come in for FREE.  Now imagine that as you are walking in to the place you’ve dreamed about, every person who paid their entrance fees was standing there booing and hissing at you.  Wearing their Mickey mouse hats and t-shirts claiming that Tomorrowland and Frontierland belong to them and you should go home.

Elementary?  Stupid example?  Well, you peruse social media and tell me that it doesn’t fit the kind of people who are protesting these families who are seeking refuge.  Those who have very little money, very little food, and most likely just the clothes on their back.  Hey, but at least the Border Patrol is prepared by having 140 burritos on hand.

Ultimately, this goes to show how far we’ve decided to remove ourselves from who we once were as a nation.  The Declaration of Independence. The Constitution. The Bill of Rights.  What do they mean anymore?  I’d even go so far as to say that the Statue of Liberty is an old relic that has no meaning.  She still stands in New York harbor, but is she allowed to speak?

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“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Yes, I’m at odds with all of this.  My patriotic-American mind is fighting with my Christianity.  The struggle is to separate the two.  The dichotomy of being an American-Christian is one that needs separation.  My intent is to win this battle in my heart and mind and simply be a Christian who lives in America.  All I am is because of what Jesus Christ did for me.  Who am I to look at someone else and say they don’t belong?  Rather, to live as Christ lives is to reach out in love.  Did they dig trenches and hop fences to get here?  Not that I’m aware of.  I’m seeing that the door was opened for them.  So they did nothing wrong.  If they had, the tens of thousands that came across would’ve been stopped, right?  Should they in time seek the proper paperwork to become American citizens, yes.  Should there be a system of checks and balances that holds them accountable to seek refuge according to our laws?  Of course.  But I say with all my heart, stop treating them as if they don’t belong.  To those that want to load them up and ship them out: how much better are you then those that said the same thing about the Africans during the slave trade?  Stop treating people as if they are less than you.  They are human beings, loved by God.  Jesus died for you, and for them.

Yes, I admit, I still have a conflicted heart.  However, I’m hoping for other perspectives on this issue.  Mature perspectives.  Don’t use this as a platform for your hate-filled political jargon.  Feel free to comment.  God bless you!!

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11 thoughts on “The huddled masses are yearning to breathe free

  1. Aunt Dorothy says:

    Well stated. The immigrants are not to blame. That does lie totally with our government who is refusing to uphold our laws. The same government who is buying votes with this influx of new voters. Ok. So they’re not old enough yet, but the parents who are coming with the kids are. And no one has even addressed THEM!

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    • Cameron Stevens says:

      I agree with you! That is the biggest message that needs to be communicated to our government (federal, state, and local). They need to clean up their act and start serving the people. However, in my humble opinion, ALL of these people that have come across need to be loved and welcomed. Yes, the adults need to be held accountable, and I hope they comply. I think one of the greatest impacts that can be made is by the people. Not by protesting and helping in the further displacement of those in need, but by the love and care they show those seeking refuge.

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  2. jncs77 says:

    Thank you. So true. As we celebrate the freedom of this country this week, may we really see Christ’s perspective and the blessings we have been given. We are truly blessed. This is such an opportunity to love those who are getting in on a “free ticket”.

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    • Cameron Stevens says:

      Amen to that! What an amazing “coincidence” that this is all happening the same week we celebrate independence and freedom. Is it ours to hoard? Or is it something we should then freely give. We are truly blessed by God’s amazing grace! Thank you Nancy!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree with some of what you have written here, except one major point; you can blame the government for just so long. We, the American people, are to blame. We don’t hold our elected official accountable for their actions. We allow mayors, representatives, senators, congressmen and women and presidents to destroy cities, be found guilty of drug abuse, sexual perversions, lying, corruption, and outright breaking the law to their own gain. It’s been getting worse and worse in Washington DC and most folks rail against the political machine verbally, then do nothing more. As citizens who have a voice, we will either speak up now and demand change, or reap the consequences when a much more violent element of our citizens demand change by force.

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    • Cameron Stevens says:

      Thank you for your comments. I honestly couldn’t agree with you more. Maybe that didn’t come through strong enough in what I wrote. But the main purpose is how we are responding towards those seeking refuge, security, and freedom from the oppression they were facing. I don’t believe we respond in only one way. We need to remove our hostile emotion towards the government when dealing with families in need. Yet, you are correct, that we’ve been given the constitutional right to speak out and demand change when our government is not doing their job.

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  4. Reen Christie says:

    Anonymous said it best. We elect government. “We the people” are to blame for the government, not keeping them accountable, not knowing who we elect. In Murrieta the citizens where able to use their “free speech” and their voice to protect their way of life. We in Southern California, South Riverside County have the largest per capita illegal alien population in the U.S. Finally, Murrietans said “Enough!”… The reason people keep coming here illegally is because they are not stopped. They don’t stand up to the corruption in their own countries. They come here to escape it. Then they collect freely healthcare, food, etc. Times change and laws change. Yes immigration laws have changed. Murrietans did more than pay lip service to the problem. They actually stopped the buses from unloading. Do I feel bad for the human suffering all over the world? Of course. Can we practically support EVERYONE who wants a better life in America… not all at once. Perhaps we should be looking at the human rights violations of our neighbors to the south. There is no reason that life cannot improve in Mexico. Teaching them to stand up for a better life there would do all of us a WORLD OF GOOD!
    As Christians (in answer to your question Cameron) we should be standing up for truth around the world. Empowering people with their own value in their own country. “Give a man a fish…. or teach a man to fish.”

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The key word, here, is “illegal”. The Bible tells us to obey the law. The United States law is very clear about the process of immigration. There is nothing wrong with being an immigrant. What is wrong is justifying breaking a country’s law.
    Romans 13:2,3: “Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.” 1 Peter 2:13 reiterates this.

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  6. Krista Wagner says:

    There is nothing wrong with being an immigrant. The key word, here, is “illegal”. What is wrong is justifying breaking a country’s law. The Bible is clear about obeying the law in Romans 13:2,3 “2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended” and in 1 Peter 2:13.

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    • Cameron Stevens says:

      Krista and Reen, thank you for your comments. To be honest, I agree with you! That is where I find myself conflicted in this situation. I see it as walking between two parallel roads, and I’m in agreement with where both of the roads lead. We absolutely need to stand up for what is right, and stand up against the brokenness of our system. When it comes down to it, my heart went directly to the children and families seeking refuge and independence. Did they do it the wrong way, of course. Was it illegal, yes. Should they be held accountable, absolutely. No question in my mind.

      Krista, I agree with your use of scripture. It’s one of the most difficult passages to abide by. When we are commanded to honor and respect those in authority over us (Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13-18). The ONLY time I will rise up in opposition to those in authority over me, is when I am called upon to do anything that goes against what God has called me to do. My faith in God is and should be supreme over all else. We have been set free from the law (Romans 7:7-12). Not that we, as followers of Christ are allowed to break the law, but if we live in Christ, we live in righteousness, and obeying the law of the land is a given. The law is meant to expose our sin. That is my hope for all, not just these migrants. In time, I pray that someone comes alongside them and shows them this truth. For it is the only way for them, and us, to completely live in freedom.

      Again, thank you for the conversation. If your willing to continue, please continue to respond. This conversation is great! God bless you!

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