I’m not one who believes there may be such a factor as a “Christian nation” or who imagines that america counts as one. Nonetheless, there are points of the American custom that I believe are worthy of accolades from folks of religion. The Statue of Liberty is essentially the most outstanding image of the very best of America and factors to values that resonates properly with a compassionate religion like that which seems to Jesus. Sadly, the Statue of Liberty was attacked this week by the Trump Administration’s performing director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Companies, Ken Cuccinelli.
In an interview this week, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the well-known phrases on the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” He advised a revision: “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” Basically, he suggests taking the love out of the Statue of Liberty. The Trump administration desires to finish any welcome to immigrants who might have some preliminary assist getting on their ft.
Not simply unlawful immigration, however now authorized immigration can be coming underneath assault by the Trump Administration. A brand new regulation introduced Monday denies inexperienced playing cards and visas to immigrants in the event that they use — or are thought-about probably to make use of — federal, state, and native authorities advantages together with meals stamps, housing vouchers, and Medicaid. This modification will predictably impression a whole bunch of hundreds of immigrants who arrive legally within the U.S. yearly. When it was identified to Cuccinelli that the Trump coverage appears at odds with the sentiment of the phrases on the Statue of Liberty, his response principally was, “Keep the policy. Scrap the words!”
I’ve lengthy thought that there are two primary kinds of Individuals: flag Individuals and Statue of Liberty Individuals. Positive, it is a gross over-simplification, however I consider there is a crucial diploma of fact in it.
The flag is usually related to warfare and battlefields. It flies “proudly,” we’re informed. It stands over different flags able of superiority. Any perceived slights to the flag predictably evokes anger and generally aggression from its devotees. President Trump has even advised that anybody who would dare to burn the American flag ought to be imprisoned for a 12 months or be disadvantaged of citizenship.
What number of instances have you ever heard somebody say, “Countless soldiers have fought and died for the flag?” Alternatively, nobody says, “Members of the military died for the Statue of Liberty.” The Statue of Liberty has no affiliation with battlefields and blood. The sunshine that illumes it doesn’t come from “rockets’ red glare.” This grand statue doesn’t face off with enemies. It’s not backed up by bullets or bombs. Somewhat the Statue of Liberty welcomes strangers as buddies.
It’s a peaceable gaze that comes from this colossus, not a threatening grimace. Her presence shouldn’t be an try and chase away intruders however the reverse. She doesn’t stand as an intimidating present of power or pompous glory. Somewhat, she is offered as a robust show of nurturing hospitality, a heat welcome to the struggling, rejected, and weak.
There’s a little bit of the Good Samaritan within the Statue of Liberty (Luke 10:25-37). The Good Samaritan provided to pay for the assistance wanted by the wounded stranger he encountered. Jesus mentioned, “Go and do likewise.” However the Trump Administration has no real interest in following this instance.
The bronze plaque on the base of the Statue of Liberty speaks of her as,
A mighty girl with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her title
Mom of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her gentle eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities body.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your drained, your poor,
Your huddled plenty craving to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Ship these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I carry my lamp beside the golden door!
The creator of these phrases, poet and activist Emma Lazarus, knew one thing of outsider standing. Although she grew up economically privileged, she was born right into a massive Sephardic Jewish household. Effectively earlier than the American Revolution, her household fled the Portuguese Inquisition and finally arrived in New Amsterdam, later to be New York. She was an advocate on behalf of indigent Jewish immigrants and lively in organizations that aided immigrants. She noticed within the Statue of Liberty an impressive image of the compassion she put into follow and the compassion she believed was discovered within the American character at its finest.
The very best of America is underneath assault by the Trump Administration within the title of constructing America “great again.” Trump and people who are aiding him are accentuating the worst in America and undercutting essentially the most virtuous points of the nation. As an alternative of looking for methods to help the marginalized, the weak, and the struggling, the Trump Administration is decided to seek out methods to deprive them of what assist had been accessible previously. Not solely has this administration callously turned the again of America on determined refugees, nevertheless it has responded in methods which might be vicious — each to the needy outdoors the nation and to these inside it.
The Statue of Liberty stands as a rebuke to the Trump Administration. Whereas Trump and buddies desire to welcome solely these “who can stand on their own two feet,” the “Mother of Exiles” offers desire to the drained, the poor, the “huddled masses.”
I can’t assist however bear in mind the phrases of the One who mentioned, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In distinction, the Trump Administration has no real interest in welcoming such folks. Somewhat, his response takes the type of a wall.
We have to oppose the efforts to take the love out of the Statue of Liberty. There is no such thing as a greatness for America or the rest other than the type of love that reaches out to these in want and welcomes those that are too burdened to face on their very own two ft.