My letter is in response to the editorial board’s support of the Holy Family Institute’s decision to welcome some of the immigrant children arriving from Latin America (“Time for Compassion: Holy Family’s Aid to Refugee Children Needs Support,” July 22). Since Congress is unable to agree to anything of substance, it is important to ask, are churches responding to this crisis?
The roots of the suffering in Latin America, especially El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, lie directly at the feet of our government. In the 1980s, the United States overthrew democratically elected leaders in El Salvador and Nicaragua. In 2009 our government supported a coup that ousted the left-leaning Honduran president, who had increased the minimum wage and reduced poverty. By supporting the creation of the Central America Free Trade Agreement, our government was instrumental in driving down local wages.
Our failing war on drugs has forced drug cartels into Latin America. The violence and death that accompanies drug trafficking were dumped onto the doorsteps of the very countries that we helped destabilize.
The Catholic Church under Popes John Paul and Benedict silenced any social activism by the priests and bishops in South America. Even today, under the current pope, the church has attempted to end liberation theology and its ability to empower the poor to change their lives. Instead of any work toward social justice, what the church offers are evangelical “missions,” youth camps and rallies, where the faithful go to sing, offer praise (and escape from reality).
In light of the damage we have been responsible for creating in Latin America, it seems ludicrous that the current leaders of both parties and the Catholic Church are turning their backs on children. Our president has not called on American churches to help with this crisis, nor has he suggested that the Catholic Church help house the children by using any of the nearly 2,900 schools that they have closed or consolidated in the last 12 years.
Whether we call ourselves a “Christian” nation or prefer to simply recognize our mutual humanity and our concern for fellow human beings, then we must make every effort to help resolve this international crisis by aiding in caring for the children.
Upper St. Clair