The president encourages learning the Bible. In it, we find concern about the wellbeing of children. All children. Including those held at the border.
President Trump, in a recent tweet, touted teaching the Bible in public schools. We don’t know why the president called attention to this teaching, because as far as we have ascertained, teaching the Bible is not prohibited.
Among other things, the Bible is literature. Quotations from it and inferences based on it are laced through literature down through the ages. Sayings such as ‘going the extra mile’ are part of our language. When we speak of the Judeo-Christian ethic, we are referring to the ethical goals found in the Bible. We suggest that education which does not include the Bible is impoverished and shortchanges a full appreciation of world literature.
It’s curious that it’s President Trump who touts learning the Bible. Because one of the Bible’s implicit teachings is regard for children. Jesus was speaking to a crowd of people when several children tried to push through the sea of adults to draw closer to Jesus. Jesus’ disciples were no help. They cautioned the children to stay back. But Jesus rebuked them and said, ‘Allow the little children, and don’t forbid them to come to me; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to ones like these.’
Another time, when Jesus was teaching another crowd about the kingdom of God, he asked that the crowd bring forth a child in their midst. Referring to the child, Jesus said, ‘Unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ He was using the child’s innocence and humility as a model of a citizen of God’s kingdom.
Mr. President and members of Congress, it’s about children. Years ago, a professor at the University of Chicago, Dr. Harold Richman, was appointed director of a policy organization called Chapin Hall. It was and is devoted to helping children, first in the United States, and then internationally. Dr. Richman believed that the way a country treats its children reflects the real health of the country and its spiritual maturity. He was adamant that there must be policies everywhere that strengthen children and their families.
We could reference the failure of our public schools in major cities to educate children from low income families, but will save that for another time. The pressing issue now, the real national emergency, is the separation of children from their parents at the Mexican border, the result of the government’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, a policy which afflicts children and their parents with cruel and senseless pain and suffering. It was made quickly by presidential and congressional action, it can be undone quickly if the government will commit the resources and personnel to rectify it.
If we are encouraging our children to learn the Bible and thus the Judeo-Christian ethic, then shouldn’t we seek to live by that ethic ourselves? And for those who like to call us a ‘Christian’ nation, how can we claim that unless we take care of all children as if they were our children?