What I thought about on MLK Day


These are the words that resonated with me on the holiday this year:

“So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

So for the rest of the week I’m going to post bible passages that reveal the church as a defender of the status quo.

Passages that show how the churches sanction things as they are.

Passages that the modern church in America, Evangelical & Mainline & Catholic, will point to and scoff.

Scoff, saying: well obviously we’re not literally supposed to take action based on this extreme passage!

Imagine that

Imagine that Jesus was & is an extremist

The One Who Showed Mercy

I would spend money on all these things instead of a physical border barrier:


Technology will be much more efficient at identifying undocumented border crossing. And the technology can be efficiently updated over time which would be mandated in all funding. I would remind us all that technology is improving at an accelerated rate

Coastal Security 

An increasing amount of illegal immigration happens at the east and west coast. Increased technology and physical personnel on the coasts is paramount 

Double or Triple the Number of Immigration Courts

More courts/judges means quicker adjudication, means less time for immigrants/asylum seekers in custody, means more efficiency


Humane interception 

I absolutely believe that immigrants and asylum seekers should be met with compassion and treated with the highest level of dignity. 

when he saw him, he was moved with pity

Once the technology/personnel identifies people trying to cross, they should be intercepted by personnel not just to be detained but to be assessed for medical needs. So not just enforcement agents but medics and maybe even social workers. Same at the coasts. 

He went to him and bandaged his wounds

While in custody great care should be take to ensure humane conditions (e.g. housing)

then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him

Even when individuals are not granted entrance they should be sent out of the country with an amount of material assistance.

the next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him’

I advocate for all of this not just because it is right to take care of those in need, but I also keep in mind that most who take the risk to come here illegally do so to escape violence and murder. In many cases our own policy is intertwined with those conditions 

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead

I do form these opinions out of a religious conviction so I understand if you disagree. I don’t expect others to agree with my religious convictions. 

In fact if you don’t like them, you can probably go complain to your local church. Many if not most of them contribute funds to assist refugees and asylum seekers. Especially if that local church participates in One Great Hour of Sharing

Blame them

And me

Some religious organizations are even involved in resettlement in the US. The Devos Family is even on record for donating to those groups. So I guess you can blame them to.

But I accept my blame. And I don’t hide my belief. And to anyone who agrees with me, for religious reasons or not, I will continue to stand with you

Which of these, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:36-37 NRSVCE

Common response: we should take care of the people in need here first 

My response: we’re perfectly capable of doing both 

Lord, Lord

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’

Matthew 7:-23 NRSVCE

These 2 Commandments

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 22:36-40 NRSVCE

Many love to proclaim the first vociferously, while completely ignoring the second

Status Quo

He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

Mark 7:6-8 NRSVCE

Your Life

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

Matthew 16:24-26 NRSVCE


Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:5-6 NRSVCE

Hard to reconcile with the idea that people should be forced to pray in public school

Or anywhere really