Washington, D.C.—The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, joined dozens of other women faith leaders outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters today to pray together and speak out against the Administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the borders. Following are her prepared remarks.
As women of faith, we speak on behalf of mothers and fathers, men and women. We speak on behalf of all Americans who are horrified at the way that migrant families are being forcibly separated at our borders. These adults and children have already been traumatized by life-threatening violence in their own countries, and they have made the dangerous journey to our borders in hope of refuge. Yet then when they arrive to the United States, in our name, they are forced apart–the most devastating trauma imaginable for young children and parents.
I speak today as a disciple of Jesus Christ, who taught us, by his example, to welcome children when they come to us, to welcome, not detain them. He taught us that however we treat the least among us–those most vulnerable and in need of care—is how we treat Christ himself.
Our nation’s immigration policies have been devastating for children for a very long time. The level of cruelty rises with each new policy, thus far without sufficient outrage among the American people to compel our elected officials to change course.
Now with the forced separation of children, we are at last witnessing a collective recoiling from such barbarism, as images of toddlers wrenched from their parents’ arms and hundreds of children housed in overcrowded detention centers sear our national conscience.
This is not a partisan issue that divides us as a people. This is a moral mandate that unites. Across the nation, people of faith, people of conscience, people of compassion speak with one voice to say that the forced separation of families must stop. It must stop as the first, essential step on the long road to an immigration policy that no longer brings shame upon us all.
As bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, it’s my privilege to serve as the chief pastor of all Episcopalians in our diocese, including a growing number of Latino members. I stand here as a concerned mother but also as a pastor whose own community has been victimized and traumatized by this Administration for too long. To them I would say directly:
“No están solos. Su iglesia está con ustedes en esta lucha. Y nuestro Dios está con ustedes. Dios está a su lado. Dios está del lado de la justicia. Y nosotros no vamos a parar de trabajar juntos hasta que se cambien las políticas migratorias de este país.”
[“You are not alone. Your church is with you in this fight. And our God is with you. God is on your side. God is on the side of justice. And we will not stop working together until the immigration policies of this country change.”]
One day our children and grandchildren will look back on our current treatment of migrant children in disbelief, and they will ask us, “What did we do to stop such cruelty?”
We showed up, and we spoke out, we’ll tell them.
We hear their cries. We see their parents frantic with worry. In the name of all that is decent in America; in the name of the God of compassion whose name you dared to invoke to your actions, Attorney General Sessions, stop this crime against children and reunite migrant families now.
About Bishop Budde and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde is the spiritual leader of 39,000 Episcopalians in 89 congregations and 20 Episcopal schools in the District of Columbia and four Maryland counties–Montgomery, Prince George’s, Charles and St. Mary’s. The first woman elected to this position, she also serves as the chair and president of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, which oversees the ministries of the Washington National Cathedral and three Cathedral schools. Learn more at www.edow.org.