An injured immigrant child is discovered on a dirt road on our southern border. An atheist liberal Democrat saw the child and said, “This is what happens when we don’t have open borders,” and hurried by.
Next, a Christian conservative Republican saw the child and said, “This is what happens when we don’t enforce our borders,” and continued on their way.
Finally, a politically independent young Muslim woman, whose parents legally had immigrated to this country before she was born, picked up the child and carried her to a children’s home set up by Catholic charities because that is where her parents had received assistance when they first arrived. And there the child found medical attention, clothing and food.
When Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan upon which my outrageously stereotyped version is based, he did so in response to a question from a man who asked, “Who will inherit eternal life?”
Jesus replied that those who love God and love their neighbor as themselves. The man then asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
In response, Jesus told the parable of an injured man and the pious citizens of the country who walked by the man without offering help, and the foreigner (the good Samaritan) who stopped, helped and saved the injured man’s life.
In the first Democratic debate, Pete Buttigieg made the point that if we are not willing to behave as Christians, we may not cloak ourselves with the exclusivity of God’s favor based on political party.
“For a party that associates itself with Christianity, to say that … God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language again,” he said.
As a person of faith, this was for me, the most important moment in any political debate in memory. It was refreshing to hear a Democrat speak openly about his faith and how it impacts his political views as well as the reminder that faith is not the exclusive territory of one political party or another.
I believe it’s time to the level the political religious playing field as we head into the 2020 presidential election. When we say we are pro-life why do we stop championing the protection of the child once it leaves the womb? If we truly value the sacredness of life, should we help the poor who don’t have access to healthy food? What is our responsibility to the family of a sick child, whose prescription drugs exceed their monthly income? What do we say to the senior citizen who can no longer cook for themselves but is told there is a one-year wait to receive Meals on Wheels?
Instead of creating yet another government program to address these issues, why don’t we help locally based organizations, many of which are faith-based, that know the needs of their local community but lack financial resources to respond?
Why can’t we provide insurance for all citizens of our country, no matter what their income level or preexisting condition? Why can’t we provide a living wage instead of a minimum wage, so that all may enjoy the dignity of work that lifts them out of poverty?
When both political parties have elected presidents and congressmen who have committed adultery and sexually harassed or assaulted women, how can they can claim the moral high ground in condemning an LGBTQ Christian politician as unfit for office?
How do we people of faith allow such hypocrisy in not only our elected officials but also the religious leaders who weigh the expediency of their political agenda at the expense of abused women and children? How can we ask for open borders, yet fail to provide basic standards of living for the homeless and poor who are already here?
Why do Christian organizations ask for donations to provide relief for refugees in far off countries, yet refuse to speak out on behalf of, or care for, the refugees at our border?
Please reread the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37.
As we head into the 2020 presidential election, I hope politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, will speak openly of how their faith informs their political decisions. I hope we will recognize that God is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. And as such, neither political party should use the name of God to condemn the other.
If the name of God is used in political discourse, let it be only to describe how God loves every member of his creation, regardless of the color of their skin, their religious belief, sexual orientation, political belief, age, disability or country of origin.
I believe we stand at a crossroads when our spiritual integrity will determine whether we continue to be the greatest nation. Will we elect someone whose personal behavior and political decisions reflect their faith for the whole world to see?
Because, yes, the world is watching us.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at [email protected].