Dear friends of John Knox Presbytery,
A few days ago, Romans 13 was quoted as a directive for US citizens to support the government in its recently initiated policy of separating children from their parents. This practice was then referred to as a negotiating tool to win concessions on immigration legislation.
Christians are speaking out across denominational and theological lines to say trying to use scripture to justify something as heinous as taking children from parents without adequate notice of care or information regarding where children are kept or how to be reunited, does not reflect the gospel message of loving neighbor or caring for the downtrodden. Jesus was very clear when dealing with the Pharisees, “render to Caesar, that which is Caesar’s, and unto God, that which is God’s.” Jesus was saying to those who tested him; it is permissible to pay taxes, but do not abandon the values of love, care, and justice because a government, any government, wants you to do so. Immigration policy should be a political issue, when done so inhumanely it becomes an issue to be addressed by the faith community as well as those who have compassion for the poor.
Nearly as important as the policy of separating families, this directive quoting Romans is an attempt to use religion/the church to support the government despite the fact the government is engaging in practices that are clearly in conflict with the teachings of our God, our Savior, and the scriptures. Co-opting the church is a tactic tried by many governments. The Theological statement of Barmen was written by ministers and church folk who resisted the attempt of the German government to co-opt the church in the mid 1930’s. Those authors paid for that statement with their lives! It is that important. This missive by the JKP leadership is intended to speak out against this inhumane treatment of God’s children and the misuse of scripture.
Chaz Ruark, Executive Presbyter, John Knox Presbytery,
Linda Jawson, Moderator, John Knox Presbytery,
Tim Gerarden, Vice-Moderator, John Knox Presbytery,
Cathy Van Landuyt, Council Chair, John Knox Presbytery,
Alyson Janke, Stated Clerk, John Knox Presbytery
John Knox Presbytery
John Knox Presbytery is a community of communities: centered in Jesus Christ, linked to one another, and boldly responding to the Spirit’s call to join God’s mission. Serving in northeastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, and south central and western Wisconsin, we are called to turn outward: risking ourselves spiritually and physically to connect God’s good news to our neighbors, new friends, and the communities where we live.
The presbytery provides resources necessary to help us make that outward turn. Our five regional clusters offer energy, encouragement, assessment and discernment for congregations, as they respond to local needs. Congregations are enabled to live out the good news of new life in Jesus Christ. We use technology as a bridge to reach those outside the church walls and to share with one another within the presbytery. Our common goal is to encourage and support each other in our mission of sharing God’s love and serving God’s kingdom in the world today.
As Presbyterians, we are reformed and always reforming according to God’s Word. We believe God is calling John Knox Presbytery to new ways of worship, prayer, and mission, even as we let go of former patterns and attitudes. As a community of communities, we live in the truth that God loves us and God’s world too much to leave us unchanged.