I was in Haiti last week when I heard that derogatory comments were made about the country and thus the people there. I love Haiti and the people and our church has had a relationship with folks there for the last almost 35 years, working mostly on the island of LaGonave.
The President of our country once told the Haitian people that he would stand up for the Haitian people here and those on the Island of Haiti. And now I hear that he allegedly said some mean spirited things and so did some congress people afterward.
That’s all very hurtful to the Haitian people and the thousands upon thousands of people who have given much of themselves to help the Haitian people find better lives. These loving and faithful brothers and sisters of ours do not deserve such treatment from our government.
I recall when a popular evangelical preacher blamed the earthquake in 2010 on the voodoo practices of the Haitian people. Such comments from supposedly Christian people are deplorable.
And as far as immigration is concerned, take a look:
Leviticus 19 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
This and many other passages in the Bible tell us about love, concern, and welcome. Not about denigrating and ousting the people who need to be here as much as my great grandparents and my wife’s great grandparents.
I read this letter from Calvin College: (from MLK Jr. Birthday)
“As members of the Calvin community, it is our Christian duty and responsibility to separate ourselves from racist and hateful remarks and sentiments. The world cannot be confused about what we believe.”
We feel it important to share their complete message here:
Dear Calvin Students, Faculty, and Staff,
We wish you all a Happy New Year this January and pray daily for our students, faculty, and staff who are travelling and learning around the world and here in Grand Rapids. Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, higher education institutions founded by immigrants, are composed of students, faculty, and staff from more than 60 nations. While 600 of us may claim citizenship in another country, we are all prime citizens of the Kingdom of God and share in a brotherhood and sisterhood that transcends all borders. It is for this reason, this love for our brothers and sisters that we are deeply troubled and offended by the disparaging comments attributed to the President of the United States in recent days about people who come from Africa, Haiti, and Latin America. These comments sow fear and hatred in our country, and they are wrong. More than 150 members of our community come from these countries, and they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This response is in no way political. It is in every way biblical. As members of the Calvin community, it is our Christian duty and responsibility to separate ourselves from racist and hateful remarks and sentiments. The world cannot be confused about what we believe. As Christians, we are called to support and promote the well-being of every member of our community and our society regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin. We protect and defend the inviolable dignity of all people. It is our joy to ensure that every person who lives, learns, or works at Calvin knows that they are full participants in our respective missions. When we live according to these responsibilities and duties with “gentleness born of wisdom from above,” (James 3:13) we bear witness to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
On Monday, we celebrate the life of a follower of Jesus who lived out this call to confront racism and injustice with the strength to love. The vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., articulated in James 3:18, was a “harvest of righteousness sown in peace for those who make peace.” As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, we remember the contributions of a citizen of the United States who understood his prime citizenship in the Kingdom of God. Dr. King stood against evil and racism because he was a follower of Jesus.
We have the privilege of doing the same.
Following Jesus together,
Michael Le Roy Jul Medenblik
Calvin College Calvin Theological Seminary
I suppose that I can’t say the comments about what Trump said are true. But sure as I am writing this I believe the reports because it’s what kind of President we have.
I told the Haitian people at two public meetings that the President of the United States does not speak for me nor for so many Christians I know.
And if anyone thinks what he allegedly said is true then step up to the plate as a Christian and make a difference. Because as we have done it for the ‘least of these our brothers and sisters’ we have done it for Jesus. He said that and I suspect he meant it.
Please read more about the history of Haiti and the causes of impoverishment there. Please pray for Haiti. Please find a reputable church or organization that is doing a good work there and support them. Please don’t make denigrating remarks. Please gently correct those who look down on our Haitian neighbors. This country of ours, the USA has been involved a long time in Haiti and not often in the best way. Let’s change that.
For the sake of Jesus who died for them and for the Glory of God who loves them and calls us all together to change the world. Amen