President Walter Joins in Call to Keep Families Together

CHICAGO, IL (June 15, 2018) – President Gary Walter has joined other Christian leaders in calling on the Trump administration to change course on its “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border that is dividing children from their parents. Nearly 2,000 children, many as young as infants, have been separated over the past two months according to government figures.

Walter is a signatory to a letter authored by the Evangelical Immigration Table and sent to President Trump.

The letter says, in part, “As evangelical Christians guided by the Bible, one of our core convictions is that God has established the family as the fundamental building block of society. The state should separate families only in the rarest of instances. While illegal entry to the United States can be a misdemeanor criminal violation, past administrations have exercised discretion in determining when to charge individuals with this offense, taking into account the wellbeing of children who may also be involved. A “zero tolerance” policy removes that discretion with the effect of removing even small children from their parents. The traumatic effects of this separation on these young children, which could be devastating and long -lasting, are of utmost concern.”

Walter said, “God gives children family for protection, direction, and provision. It is traumatic whenever that familial security is not in place for whatever reason. Given the broad discretion of government in these cases, separation should only take place in the most cautious, exceptional circumstances, not under a zero-tolerance policy.”

He recalled a terrible fright he experienced as a young boy, when he thought he had been left behind on a train by himself. “Everyone can remember a childhood panic from being unexpectedly separated from their family,” Walter said. “I can’t imagine the terrifying, disorienting wounds of forcible separation.”

Walter also underscored the importance of speaking out on this issue on behalf of the many Hispanic families and individuals who call the ECC their home. “These are not vague policy debates. These events are devastating to our Covenant brothers and sisters. My signing the letter is an expression of our solidarity.”

Among other signatories to the letter are Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Rich Stearns, President, World Vision U.S., and Jo Anne Lyon, General Secretary Emerita of the Wesleyan Church. The U.S. Catholic Bishops have recently released a similar statement.

The EIT works from a set of biblically guided principles in addressing comprehensive immigration concerns.

To read the Covenant’s 2016 resolution on immigration, click here.

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  1. The evangelical community, which gives unquestioning support the GOP, should own up to the multiple human rights violations and criminal activities perpetrated by the Trump administration.

  2. Thank you President Walter. Today more than ever evangelicals need to speak out against injustice and inhumanity and demonstrate that not all evangelicals approve of these things. While we are a nation of law, and rightly so we have descretion on how those laws are applied. Our law are not always applied with fairness. Lady justice is not always blind. We do not have to apply our laws in ways that are so reprehensible, destructive and evil.

    This crisis has brought two verses to mind. Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself frome being polluted from the world. James 1:27 and also Matthew 12:7. “If you had known what these words mean ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” Jesus quoting a verse from Hosea. Averse which is carved into a stone bench on our seminary grounds.

  3. Thank you, President Walter, for standing for biblical truth over political expediency. This is what the love of Christ looks like.

  4. I would ask what “risks” are some of these parents fleeing that forces them to leave the security of home in the first place.

  5. I am very disappointed that the president of the conference would sign this partisan statement and politicize the denomination. President Trump is enforcing the law. By exercising discretion and not charging people crossing the boarder illegally, then there is no border and the President is not doing his sworn duty. Instead of asking the President to not do his job, why not petition congress to do their job and pass appropriate laws that will fix this?

    1. This is not politicizing anything. It is doing the right/decent/human thing. If your political party and beliefs puts you on the wrong side of being a decent human being when families are being separated and kids are being warehoused in cages, then it isn’t the President of the denomination’s fault.

      Jesus was accused of breaking the religious laws in place when he healed people on the Sabbath. Sometimes, you just have to do the right thing.

      Nazis were “just doing their job” when exterminating humans.

  6. I support this effort fully. Using governmental power to abuse children is by no means the government that our Lord ordains. Jeff Sessions quoting Romans 13:1 to support this no tolerance policy (it is not even a law) failed to read further in Romans 13 to verses 8-10 which ends with “Love your neighbor as your self.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Their may indeed be times when children need to be removed from abusive parents…. This clearly is not one. Most of these people are just looking for an opportunity to have a better life for their children, just as most of our ancestors did.

  7. I suggest these children have human rights beyond the right to life. Abusing children to threaten parents is criminal.

  8. It is not a crime to apply for immigration at legal entry points. It is a crime and human rights violation to kidnap children, terrorize families, place children in harm’s way, psychologically abuse children or to hold children hostage. The evangelical community has heretofore ignored the body of evidence linking the Trump circle to the Russian mob, sex trafficking, prostitution, money laundering etc. It behooves evangelicals to right this massive wrong.

  9. I would say the onus is on parents not to risk separation from their children by flouting the law. What does ECC have to say about this?

  10. Thanks, President Walter, for speaking in behalf of the Covenant in opposition to the vicious and disgraceful separation of children from their parents being carried out by the US government.

    Dwight Baker

  11. I am reminded of 1 Kings 3:16–28 and the legitimate mother that was willing to give up her child in order to save it. Desperate parents, so many that I know personally, as painful as the decision may be, were willing to risk losing their children for dreams and hopes of a better life, as was the legitimate mother in order to save her child’s life.

  12. Is there a way that we can get involved and support the Covenant Church in this stand or make a statement together? I am thankful that the Covenant Church is standing up for these individuals.

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