Steve Gordon

The Rev. Steve Gordon at Mayflower Congregational Church shortly before his retirement on July 1, 2018, after 40 years as a pastor.

Those who say "I love the Lord must speak up. One government report admitted holding 900 migrants in a facility build for 125 people.

Families are being separated, so that toddlers and infants are being cared for by slightly older children in cage like detentions, without diapers, formula, change of clothes, toothpaste, toothbrushes or soap. Inspectors reported "immediate risk and egregious violations of detention standards."

America, if you have a conscience stand up and say, “Mr. President, this must stop!”

Many facilities have grossly inadequate medical care. Children are dying in custody. Children are dying! On July 12, many gathered on the steps of First Congregational United Church of Christ, to honor their memories. Their names were read, and their tragic stories told by children from our community. The vigil and moving display were to help us remember and act, to insist that no more children be abused and make no mistake, this is child abuse. America where is our decency, our conscience, where is our compassion? Those gathered called for this to stop now!

How can we sing, “My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty?” There is outrage in our land, indignation across our country for this pain we are afflicting upon the innocent and vulnerable,

Let us remember the lives of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, the Salvadoran father and daughter. He held her tight to his breast, drowning as they tried to cross the river between Matamoros and Brownsville on June 23. Valeria's mother, Oscar's wife Tania Vanessa Avalos, watched helplessly as her family was swept away. Inconsolable shock and grief!

Oscar’s mother Rosa said, “We tried to talk Oscar into staying but he saw no other choice...” Their neighborhood was controlled by a gang that enriched itself through drug dealing, extortion and violence.

But most pressing of all, they could not make ends meet, and had pinned their hopes on making it to the United States and making a new home. Oscar wanted a better life, a home for his family, he was determined. He simply wanted a safe home.

So many trying to reach the U.S. border in recent months have said they were fleeing grinding poverty, a lack of opportunity, gang violence and political oppression in regions of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, Venezuela.

I have heard some who profess to be religious people saying why are they putting their children in danger to bring them to the U.S. border. If these same people were living in tyranny or constant fear of violence, would they not do the same?

Our country's her-story/his-story is founded on those who came here because they heard of the Lady of the NY harbor holding a torch and embracing the words, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Oh, but the Lady's torch grows dim, reduced to a simple ember. Let us become like a bellows, blowing words and acts of compassion and love to reignite the light of liberty.

Again, children are dying in our custody. Those in power are using children as deterrence, separating children from their parents. The lasting trauma, emotional and psychological damage this will cause is terrible and is unquestionably immoral.

We must let the power of our outrage ignite the light of liberty. Insist, demand no more separation of families. No more inhuman acts of violence and abuse against the most vulnerable. Let us demand this day that all families be reunited. Let us become lights of liberty.


















retired pastor, UCC


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The Rev. Steve Gordon, of Billings, is a retired United Church of Christ pastor.