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John McCollum @john_mccollum
, 21 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I’ll preface this brief rant on #birthright #citizenship by saying that, for personal, political and religious reasons, I do not identify as a Republican or a Democrat. I believe that as a Christian and pastor I must remain engaged — but not aligned.
Over the past decade, I have become increasingly selective about which issues I will weigh in on in a public forum. As a rule, I’ll avoid almost all discussions of electoral politics in the U.S. or in any of the other five countries in which I serve.
I do, however, feel completely free to discuss and debate policies and perspectives that affect orphaned and vulnerable kids, and I have praised — and criticized — politicians and pundits Democrat and Republican when they help or harm at-risk children.
I’ll also weigh in on issues related to immigration and sexual abuse; these are so closely related to the former as to be practically indistinguishable. To avoid engaging those discussions would be professionally — and more important, pastorally — negligent.
But today I’m going to step a little outside my usual boundaries, and I apologize to any who find it unwise to do so. But this issue — birthright citizenship — directly affects my own family, my own son.
We legally adopted my middle son almost 20 years ago. His birth mother was in the U.S. legally with a valid visa, but was not a citizen. She was an unwed mother and feared returning home pregnant to her conservative family.
She made a plan for her baby to be born in a U.S. hospital, we paid all of those bills, and our son was born a U.S. citizen, just as every baby born in our country since the end of the Civil War.
He has distinguished himself as a student, an athlete, a musician and a volunteer both at home and abroad. He was awarded a full-ride scholarship to a prestigious university, and proudly voted for the first time in this year’s election.
And so I was shocked to hear on this morning’s news that our president — for whom I pray on a regular basis, and whose office and authority I deeply respect — would like to strip my son of his citizenship and, presumably, deport him and hold him in detention indefinitely... he holds no citizenship from his birth mother’s country. This is preposterous. I don’t believe that it can or will actually happen, as it would almost surely be laughed out of all federal courts up to and including the highest court of the land.
Nor do I believe that Congress could possibly muster the votes to amend the Constitution, which despite the fact that many presidents would have wished it not the case, cannot be overturned by executive order.
Imagine if it could: which of our historical leaders would have reinstated slavery. Or unilaterally revoked the right to bear arms. Or to speak freely. No, this is almost certainly not going to happen.
But it strikes me as exceedingly cruel and cynical for anyone to even try. It would place my family and that of millions of Americans, mostly ethnic or cultural minorities in the crosshairs of racists, white supremacists and ethnic-state nationalists...
...who celebrate the very worst aspects of our great country’s often terrible history: native genocide, slavery, the Chinese Exclusion Act, lynchings and Jim Crow, segregation, Japanese internment, the scapegoating of Jews, the demonization of Muslims...
...and the denigration of all immigrants. Even proposing such a cruel policy is a dangerous overture to white supremacists who hate my children and hate all of the good things we as loyal Americans ostensibly stand for.
Please, Mr. President. Let this one drop. You’ve abandoned policy proposals before when they’ve proven untenable. This one will fail in the courts and advocating for itwill not strengthen you, your party or our country.
It will, however, embolden the Nazis, the KKK, the far-right ethnonationalists, the pathetic yet dangerous Proud Boy thugs, the mail bombers and synagogue shooters, those who murder Sikhs and defile Christian pulpits with their satanic doctrines of hate.
I will continue to pray for you. And, if you persist in the effort to delegitimize my child’s right to live and thrive in his country, I will oppose you with all of my very limited resources.
At the end of the day, it’s not me you’ll answer to. It’s not really the American people, either. It’s the Lord you claim to worship, the immigrant, refugee Jesus who will judge all who oppress “the least of these my brothers.”
I’m certain you’ll never see this tweet. But you will some day hear the voice of the One who calls himself the defender of the fatherless, the widow and the immigrant and who promises to avenge all who harm the vulnerable. You will not be able to block or ignore that call.
May God bless and forgive you. May God bless and forgive America.
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