I was raised a Christian. I often heard the quote about the sins of the father. Sometimes I was told that offences against God passed down generations. Although I was also told that they didn’t. Which was right?
I thought about that conflict of Bible passages today. And of interpretations of what was said to be the rules of our lives. I’ve been reading about the decision by an American president to rescind protection for young people who were undocumented. What that means is they entered the USA as young children with their parents. Their parents are considered to be there illegally. But the children, of course, were too young to make a choice. However, they attended school, passed their exams and went on to work and contribute to their American lives. The sins are, if anything, that their parents chose to get into and work in America without permission.
It’s interesting and complicated matter. It is a situation facing many people across the world. The country of origin is a difficult place to live and survive. So parents opt for a dangerous route to somewhere else where they can hopefully make a better life. But they give up many of the protections citizens of countries have. They are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. And living with the fear of discovery. Because that carries the consequence of deportation with it. Yet economically many businesses rely on illegal workers. After all they can be paid the lowest pay. And bullied into working long hours for fear of being reported. Often placed in overcrowded lodgings with no way to complain about their living conditions. What about the sins of the employers who do this?
I also thought about the sins of the world governments who enforce exclusion, persecution and wealth for those who already have too much. Right now all over the world there are people fleeing war, violence and discrimination.
The decision to run, to find a new place to live is rarely only about the economics of the home country. And all about finding a safe place to live. So the illegal people tend to work long and hard in their new countries. Because they want their children to feel safe too. People who haven’t had access to education tend to value getting a good education for their children. The children tend to work and study hard because they really do appreciate the second chance their family has been given. And they want to do better for themselves and the next generation of children. Their sins become of overachieving, doing well and thriving.
How can it be the right decision to visit the sins of their fathers on these children? Yet that is what I have been reading. An argument so illogical as to reveal the deeper issue. Envy, racism, hate. Plenty of Christian voices supporting this about turn because they believe the sins of the fathers, mother, brothers, sisters should be punished by also punishing the children. Splitting very fine hairs about the illegality of the access into America. Yet unable to comprehend that in deporting these young people America as a whole will suffer. Not just because the economic wealth they could have created will go elsewhere or be wasted. But because it is another thin end of a wedge.
Pointing the finger, demanding action without compassion, shouting about blame when these children are blameless. More sins, surely?
Because where does it stop. When all of these undocumented children and young people have gone who will be next? What is the next sin that requires deportation as a punishment. And if deportation isn’t an option perhaps there will have to be camps. Only what will happen when the camps get too full? Where will all those surplus to requirements people go? Whose sins will need punishing then. And whose children down the generations will carry that suffering. Even in Germany there is still strife and division for the slide down the same sort of slippery slope I see America standing at the top of today.
And by extension, if the sins are being passed on, does that mean that the child of a drunk driver will be unable to hold a license? Or the child of a shoplifter will never be able to enter a shop? The parent whose company pollutes the atmosphere, what about their children? Locked away to breath pollluted air perhaps? Is that how the next selection will be made? I wonder how long it will take for all of the adults in America to be included in the list? In the end, arguing that sin can be passed on, or that consequences should be placed on people innocent of the offence, becomes a logical impossibility. And a spiritual nightmare. I do hope that people of great sense will speak out about this. Barak Obama has already done so. But I also feel that every compassionate person should speak too.
History showed us that silence allows dictators to perpetrate horrendous acts of terror. When do we stop turning a blind eye, comfortable in knowing they can’t mean us, and pretending that there are no sins to be visited on us?
Day 653 of my blogging challenge