I became a Christian over two years ago after I had reached my breaking point and was about to give up on life. I didn’t know that being a Christian meant being persecuted for my beliefs, and the majority of that persecution is often coming from other Christians!
I have many progressive, leftist-leaning beliefs, according to many conservative evangelicals, but to me, my beliefs represent those of Jesus Christ Himself—basic human rights, including standing up for marginalized people, encouraging and lifting up broken-hearted people and standing for justice. Isn’t that what all Christians are supposed to do?
Yet I have noticed many people who claim to be Christians try to make life harder for the marginalized—slowly chipping away at reproductive rights (i.e. Roe v. Wade), trying to limit bathroom use for trans people, allowing employers to fire their workers because they’re queer and treating immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers like garbage, none of these things would Jesus do.
Last week, an 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died at the hands of border patrol agents while her family was trying to seek asylum here in the United States, and today—on Christmas of all days—an 8-year-old boy also from Guatemala died under similar circumstances.
When I read the story from many news sources on Facebook this afternoon, I was devastated. I expressed my sorrows for the children and my resentment towards the Trump administration on the news outlets’ Facebook pages, people have replied to my comments, saying things like “They shouldn’t have put there kids in that situation by bringing them over here” and “We need to secure our borders!”. Soon, my sadness turned into anger, and I thought to myself, “How can someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus be so cold and heartless towards someone else in need?”
Matthew 25:35-45 of the Bible basically says that we’re supposed to help one another. This translation is from the Common English Bible:
I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’
And I only see few of Christ’s followers doing just that. Instead, they’re doing the opposite—they’re snatching children from their families at the southern border; cutting essential, life-saving programs such as Social Security, SNAP, Medicare and Medicaid; and trying to erase the existence of queer and trans people by leaving them out of the U.S. Census, as well as redefining gender as the one you’re assigned at birth and that it cannot be changed.
And the fact that so many evangelicals support these leaders who do such horrible things is just awful. That’s not true Christianity. True Christianity is loving your neighbor by helping them not just survive, but thrive.