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Kids Trapped in Cave, Cage and Court

A few of the children who call Christ Ministry Center's Safe Harbor Loft home.


The contrast could not have been more powerful.

While 2300 children (or is it really 3300, our government doesn’t know) have been taken from the arms of their parents, the world was captivated by the plight of a dozen boys and their coach trapped in a Thailand cave.

Our hearts are torn by the thought of these terrified children wanting nothing more than to be freed from the cave and reunited with their families.

The children in the cave needed our help, and so do those here at the border. But look at the difference in the number of children and in the response. It seems more people cared about the dozen boys in the cave than the 2300 or so separated from their parents at our border.

The value of one child is infinite, whether in a cave or detention cage.

Without judgement on how or why they got into this situation, these Thai children need our help and rescuers from around the world responded. The boys and their coach were rescued, but one of the rescue team died. Every parent knows that when it comes to a child’s safety, they will without hesitation put their own life on the line.

I am quick to hear from the immigration haters that “if their parents cared about them, they wouldn’t have crossed the border. Really? If they stayed where they were, they faced a sure death. What would you have done?

When we heard about the children trapped in a cave, we recognized our kinship. They became our children at heart.

But the reaction toward the much larger number of children at the border, snatched from the arms of their mothers and fathers, and held as political pawns, has been quite different.

I had to let one of my Facebook “friends” go this past week. He posted the most asinine message I have yet seen on Facebook. Something like this: “With millions of children in America living apart from their parents, many because one or both parents are in prison, the EVIL PRESS is focusing on the 2300 children taken at the border”.

I still love him. He was one of my brother’s dearest friends growing up in Yazoo City. It pained me to see this man contort himself to justify the unjustifiable – the unconscionable reality that our government is participating in what I see as state sponsored kidnapping.

God, have mercy!

I have no problem disagreeing with someone in a civil manner. Heck, I was on the debate team in high school and college. We were required to argue the affirmative AND negative side of the same proposition. That way, we recognized the strengths and weaknesses of the resolution. We learned to disagree without being disagreeable, and certainly to be civil and factual in making our arguments

It continues to disturb me that those who claim to be pro-life seem to have such disdain for children after they are born, especially if they are poor or of non-white ancestry.

The point is each of these children (whether in a group of 2300 or 12) is a child of God and loved by their parents and family as much as we love our own.

But the story that broke my heart most is the story of ONE of the 2300 separated children.

A three-year-old child appeared in immigration court without a parent or lawyer. He innocently crawled onto the defendant’s table as the judge tried to ask him questions that would determine his future life. He spoke no English and very little of his own native language.

As a foster father of a three-year-old, I was heartbroken for this child, his parents, and for what our country has become. As a human being, I was ashamed and disgusted.

Is this American justice? Is this anyone’s justice? Moreover, is this moral (Christian)?

Rev. Joe Kay wrote for Sojourners, “When we create artificial distinctions between lives — those in a cave and those in a camp — we’ve wandered into a cave of our own. We become the ones lost in a darkness that deadens our hearts. We cut ourselves off from the God who is love alone. We become the ones who need to be saved.”

Over the past three weeks, we have received immigrant parents and children from India, Pakistan, Central America and Africa in our Safe Harbor Loft. Today we learned a woman from Ghana who recently gave birth to a premature baby and has no place else to stay. They will find shelter in our Safe Harbor Loft and will become part of our growing family.

In welcoming the least of these, we share God’s love.

For Christ's Sake,

Dr. Bill Jenkins

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