The governor of the state where I live proved himself to be a Grinch of the first order Christmas Eve — and apparently a coward too.
Three busloads of migrants were delivered outside the door of Vice President Kamala Harris’ official residence in Washington, D.C., on Christmas Eve, one of the coldest nights of the year. Some of them had only T-shirts and jeans to wear as they stepped off buses direct from Texas to face sub-zero temperatures in our nation’s capital.
This political stunt bore all the hallmarks of Abbott’s ongoing political campaign to protest the nation’s broken immigration system — which members of his own party have refused to address in Congress for two decades. But rather than call attention to his political pals and their stonewalling, Abbott and his playmate, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, have made political theater of busing helpless migrants to Democratic-controlled cities and dumping them.
Except this time, Abbott has remained silent when accused of being behind this Christmas Eve cruelty. He hasn’t denied it either. And it fits the M.O. of what he’s been doing for months. So apparently he’s too cowardly to admit the mean thing he did.
He got rightly skewered on social media anyway. Especially after Abbott on Christmas Day tweeted a Christmas message with a Nativity scene and quoted Isaiah 9:6 with the message: “May the joy of our Savior’s birth fill your hearts today and every day.”
Twitter users replied to Abbott by calling him a mean one, Mr. Grinch — and far worse. A common point was the irony of mistreating immigrants on the very night the biblical story tells of Mary and Joseph finding no room in the inn, being cast aside and soon after becoming refugees from a tyrannical leader of their time.
“He may claim to be a Christian, but he does not understand the gospel.”
And in this Abbott’s critics were well-founded. His actions — whether he was behind the exact Christmas Eve stunt or not — continue to demonstrate that he may claim to be a Christian, but he does not understand the gospel. Ditto for DeSantis.
There is no biblical example or justification for mistreating migrants in the ways Abbott and his allies continue to embrace. None.
We should not be surprised that this heinous activity was carried out by the same folks who thought it was a grand idea for Donald Trump to tear children from their mothers’ arms at the border in order to make a point that immigration is bad.
Now, Abbott and DeSantis say they’re busing migrants as another form of deterrence — but that isn’t working either. If that ever really was the point anyway. People are still surging at the southern border, desperate for lives of liberty in the United States.
Cruelty is the point for the likes of Trump, Abbott and DeSantis, but the conditions facing those fleeing their homelands are so dire that even cruelty will not deter their desire to seek refuge here.
If you want to see the real-time scope of the problem, check out the migrant dashboard created by the City of El Paso.
Those of you who live outside Texas and Florida may question how Abbott and DeSantis keep getting elected and reelected. That would have to be the subject of another column. What’s frightening is that they have been put in office and kept in office primarily by people who also claim to be Christians but blaspheme the name of Jesus with their cruel immigration beliefs.
“What Abbott and DeSantis intend for evil, we can turn to good.”
Right now, today, there is a way to fight back, however. What Abbott and DeSantis intend for evil, we can turn to good.
For every cruel intention these migrant-hating governors display, there are kind and gracious volunteers waiting on the other end of the bus runs to offer a cup of water in Jesus’ name. From El Paso to New York City, nonprofit organizations are standing in the gap to give immigrants the welcome they deserve and help them get to their sponsors safely.
The way to fight back against the Grinches is to support these nonprofits. If you live near any of the areas most affected by the migrant bus patterns, go volunteer. Your presence is greatly needed, and you will make a life-changing difference. I know, because I’ve done this myself.
If you can’t go personally, send money or specific needed supplies. Here is a list of some of the nonprofits involved directly in this work, with links to their websites, most listing both volunteer needs and donation needs:
- New York City: Team TLC NYC
- Chicago: Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants
- Washington, D.C.: Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network
- Dallas: FaithForward Dallas
- Texas, Arizona and California: Fellowship Southwest
- San Antonio: San Antonio Mennonite Church
- El Paso: Various nonprofits
In this season of Christmastide, let us rally all Christians of goodwill to serve the greater good and to demonstrate the true love of Christ Jesus — not in words only but in actions that speak louder than words.
Mark Wingfield serves as executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global.
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