Je­sus loves the lit­tle chil­dren

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page - By Rep. Bob Tram­mell

I grew up in a small Bap­tist church in my home­town in ru­ral Ge­or­gia, but there was noth­ing small about the mag­ni­tude of God’s love there. Although it may have been a small church in terms of the size of the con­gre­ga­tion, it was a big church in all the right senses. It was a wel­com­ing and lov­ing place with open doors and arms to all.

One of the first lessons that I re­call from my ear­li­est mem­o­ries as a child grow­ing up in the church is the song “Je­sus Loves the Lit­tle Chil­dren.” In­deed, my own young chil­dren have learned the very same song at our own Bap­tist church. It may be a song sung most of­ten by lit­tle chil­dren, but it con­tains a pow­er­ful mes­sage and an es­sen­tial Chris­tian teach­ing. Even chil­dren can grasp the big mes­sage con­tained in that lit­tle song: that each one of us rep­re­sents the face of God.

A South Ge­or­gia Bap­tist preacher by the name of Clarence Jor­dan once wrote, “One won­ders why Chris­tians to­day get off so eas­ily. Is it be­cause un-Chris­tian Amer­i­cans are that much bet­ter than un-Chris­tian Ro­mans, or is our light so dim that the tor­men­tor can’t see it? What are the things we do that are worth per­se­cut­ing?”

To­day we face a moral cri­sis in our coun­try with the im­moral and evil prac­tice of sep­a­rat­ing im­mi­grant chil­dren from their fam­i­lies at the bor­der. I will never know the feel­ing of hav­ing my chil­dren torn away from me by a gov­ern­ment in the name of en­force­ment of a deeply bro­ken im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy. How­ever, I can­not sit silently in my pew on Sun­day morn­ing and pre­tend that ev­ery­thing is okay, and nei­ther should you.

Our light as peo­ple of faith can­not be dim on this is­sue. To al­low that would be a grave in­jus­tice.

I’m a politi­cian and a coun­try lawyer, but I am not writ­ing this as the mi­nor­ity leader of the Ge­or­gia House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives or as a counselor in the court of law. I’ll leave the po­lit­i­cal and le­gal de­bate on im­mi­gra­tion up to Congress, and pray that God gives the wis­dom, de­cency and courage to im­ple­ment a hu­mane sys­tem in keep­ing with the words en­graved on the Statue of Lib­erty and writ­ten in the Good Book.

I’m writ­ing this let­ter as a fa­ther, as a Bap­tist and as a Chris­tian, be­cause it’s those as­pects of who I am that are stirred deeply by images and sto­ries com­ing out of the de­ten­tion cen­ters along our bor­der.

As a pol­i­cy­maker and a con­cerned cit­i­zen, it is dif­fi­cult to fathom how one could parse words to jus­tify sep­a­rat­ing chil­dren from par­ents at the bor­der, a hor­ror to which we are all bear­ing wit­ness in real time. As a Chris­tian, noth­ing jus­ti­fies sep­a­rat­ing chil­dren from fam­i­lies pur­su­ing the dream my par­ents had for me and that I have for my own lit­tle ones.

Peo­ple of faith should re­al­ize that an ef­fort to re­unite these chil­dren with their par­ents matched with a call to end this hor­ren­dous pol­icy is a moral im­per­a­tive. We can­not sit silently in our pews and al­low our light to dim.

For­tu­nately, the Gospel pro­vides a clear roadmap on how our com­mu­nity should act. We must speak out.

On Sun­day, pi­anos in churches like mine and yours, in wel­com­ing towns like mine and yours, will once again play “Je­sus Loves the Lit­tle Chil­dren” as our chil­dren, with our hearts in tow, gather for their chil­dren’s ser­mon.

But this Sun­day, the fa­mil­iar chords of that age-old song will not com­fort me; I won’t let them. They will serve as a call to ac­tion to speak out against this moral cri­sis at our bor­der, and I hope you will al­low those chords to move you to ac­tion, too.

See the face of your chil­dren in the chil­dren lit­er­ally be­ing con­fined to cages, take a mo­ment to be moved by the love you have for your chil­dren, and try to un­der­stand the pain you would feel should they be taken from you. And then, act. This is how I was taught to see the face of God in the pews and Sun­day school class­rooms at Luthersville Bap­tist Church, and I know this is how oth­ers were taught, too.

Make no mis­take, God is with these fam­i­lies and chil­dren in their time of des­per­a­tion, but are we? We are His in­stru­ments, and if we truly be­lieve the words of that song as our chil­dren do, we must speak out and take ac­tion.

Please, don’t be silent. To be silent is to be com­plicit. Don’t let your­self off eas­ily. Don’t let your light dim. Those fam­i­lies – our broth­ers and sis­ters in Christ – de­serve noth­ing less.

Ge­or­gia House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Mi­nor­ity Leader Bob Tram­mell, con­cerned Bap­tist, rep­re­sents the cit­i­zens of Dis­trict 132, which in­cludes por­tions of Coweta, Meri­wether and Troup coun­ties. He was elected to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 2014 and cur­rently serves as House mi­nor­ity leader. He also serves on the Ethics, Gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs, In­for­ma­tion and Au­dits, Ju­di­ciary Non-Civil, Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles, Rules and Ways and Means com­mit­tees.

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