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The Border Crisis
and the
Failure of the Christian Response

C. Gourgey, Ph.D.

If you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others?
Matthew 5:47

Recently the US Government terrorized immigrant families with threats of using Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to stage raids and roundups of undocumented people in nine cities (Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco). The government says it is focusing on hard-core criminals, but would not rule out targeting ordinary working people or even separating families. And in the past, as other articles on this web site have documented, they have indeed gone after working people and families.

What kind of conditions await the people bound for detention centers? The government does not want us to know. It has greatly restricted access to these centers. But in late June reporters were allowed to enter the detention center in Clint, Texas. This is what they found:(1)

Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children and adults who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals….

… some children had no beds to sleep on, no way to clean themselves and sometimes went hungry….

Border Patrol agents told [Democratic state lawmaker Mary E. González] they had repeatedly warned their superiors about the overcrowded facility, but that federal officials had taken no action….

Children and toddlers were held for days in cinder-block cells with a single toilet. Beds were removed to make space, so they slept on the floor. Many fell ill.

There is also this vignette:

One of a team of lawyers who inspected the station in June, Warren Binford, director of the clinical law program at Willamette University in Oregon, said that in all her years of visiting detention and shelter facilities, she had never encountered conditions so bad - 351 children crammed into what she described as a prisonlike environment.

She looked at the roster, and was shocked to see more than 100 very young children listed. “My God, these are babies, I realized. They are keeping babies here,” she recalled.

One teenage mother from El Salvador said Border Patrol agents at the border had taken her medicine for her infant son, who had a fever.

“Did they throw away anything else?” Ms. Binford said she had asked her.

“Everything,” she replied. “They threw away my baby’s diapers, formula, bottle, baby food and clothes. They threw away everything.”

Once at Clint, she told Ms. Binford, the baby’s fever came back and she begged the agents for more medicine. “Who told you to come to America with your baby, anyway?” one of the agents told her, according to the young woman’s account to Ms. Binford.

Francisco Galicia, 18, is another witness to the conditions detainees must endure.(2) Last June Galicia, an American citizen, was detained at an ICE checkpoint by officials who did not believe him and who did not take the time to verify his status. Galicia spent nearly a month in detention. When he was finally released, he was 26 pounds lighter than when he went in.

Galicia reports horrid conditions in his detention facility, where he was held in a small room with about 70 other people, one toilet, no walls, and no doors. He was not given enough food, not allowed to shower, and was forced to sleep on a cement floor. Every few days the detainees were given wipes. “It was to clean up but the dirt, but you couldn’t get rid of it because so much time had passed since we showered,” he said. This is how he describes life in the center:

“They were not treating us humanely…. The stress was so high, they [detention center agents] were on me all the time. It was like psychological torture to the point where I almost [agreed to be deported]. I felt safer to be in the cell than to be with the officers.”

“The moment I got there, we told them we have the right to a phone call and to a lawyer, and they told us, ‘you have no rights.’”

He was told he had no right to an attorney. Border Patrol prevented his attorney from communicating with him for at least a week. They told her that they couldn’t give her any information unless Galicia consented - but he did not even know she was trying to reach him.

Thanks to Galicia we have information about conditions in the centers that the government would not have shared voluntarily. Galicia hopes his ordeal will serve a purpose:

“Right now, I’m in a place where I can help those who are still in there - so people can see how they’re treated, and change the way they’re treated. I am the eyes and ears of what’s happening in there. I can talk. They can’t do what I’m doing.”

So here is what Mike Pence says about conditions in the detention centers, when he visited one in McAllen, Texas:

Overcrowded conditions at McAllen Detention Center
McAllen Detention Ceenter
(Office of the Inspector General, DHS)
“And while we hear some Democrats in Washington, D.C., referring to U.S. Customs and Border facilities as ’concentration camps,’ what we saw today was a facility that is providing care that every American would be proud of,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks in McAllen.(3)

And here is what Donald Trump says:

“I’ve seen some of those places, and they are run beautifully,” he said. “They’re clean. They’re good. They do a great job.”(4)

Well, hardly.

But here is how Trump defends the squalid and inhuman conditions:

We have millions of people standing in line waiting to become citizens of this country. They’ve taken tests. They’ve studied. They’ve learned English. They’ve done so much. It’s - they’ve been waiting seven, eight, nine years. We have some waiting 10 years to come in.  It’s not fair that somebody walks across the line and now they’ve become citizens of the United States.”(5)

Of course, the falsehood that “they’ve become citizens of the United States” is meant to inflame Trump’s base. But Trump thinks these people should be punished because they didn’t have the patience to wait in line - seven, eight, nine, as long as ten years. Does this make sense?

To answer that, we need to review some facts central to the issue but that have been underreported.

Why Do They Come?

Most of the Central American migrants come from the three countries forming the so-called “Northern Triangle”: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. To understand this crisis, one must understand its history.

Under Carter and Reagan the United States supported a right-wing military regime in El Salvador that exercised brutal control over its population with military forces and paramilitary death squads. The Reagan Administration invested millions of dollars to keep those forces in power. This support continued through the HW Bush years. The United States played a major role in perpetuating the problems in El Salvador. The US was also not very welcoming to the thousands of refugees seeking asylum from the war that it supported and bankrolled. The effects of this disruption of Salvadoran society continue to this day. Finally, in 2018 Trump ended Temporary Protected Status for about 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States.(6)

In Honduras, for many years American companies controlled vast portions of land and natural resources. In 2009, democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by a general trained by the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped ensure that Zelaya would not return to power and that the military junta would prevail. The US Government continued to financially support the military dictatorship. The widespread slaughter perpetrated by this regime made Honduras’s murder rate the highest in the world, creating tens of thousands of refugees seeking asylum in the United States.(7)

In Guatemala the effects of American meddling have been particularly devastating. Guatemala had long been an object of American economic exploitation. The United Fruit Company owned vast expanses of land, much of it uncultivated, and undervalued to avoid paying taxes, which deprived the country of needed revenue. In an effort to rehabilitate Guatemala, democratically elected President Jacobo Árbenz instituted a land reform redistributing much of the unused land to thousands of landless peasants. This did not sit well with United Fruit, which funded a CIA campaign to overthrow Árbenz, ending a decade of democracy in Guatemala and touching off decades more of civil war. The US backed the Guatemalan military against popular insurgents and fought them the way it fought the Vietnamese: dropping napalm on villages thought to harbor rebels and liquidating entire areas. The violence spiraled into genocide as indigenous communities were wiped out. Deaths eventually numbered into the hundreds of thousands.(8)

In short, the United States destroyed the social structures of these countries. With the loss of these social structures comes social pathology, typically represented by the proliferation of gangs. These gangs were formed on the streets of Los Angeles and in American prisons. “MS-13,” which Trump loves to cite as an alleged Central American export, is named after 13th St. in Los Angeles.(9) That city’s street gangs formed the model for the gangs that went back to Central America to create social unrest. People flock to gangs to find safety not provided by their governments. But gangs are inherently tribal, so competition for scarce resources coupled with the need for group identification lead to explosive violence. If there is a slightest suspicion that you’ve said or done anything against the interest of the local gang, you and your family may be targeted and your lives made unlivable. The result: tens of thousands of refugees trying to escape to our country. And we blame them for it. Trump says that instead of coming here, they should be responsible and fix conditions in their own countries. What he doesn’t say - and probably does not even know - is that these people did try to act responsibly and fix conditions in their own countries. But when they did so, we overthrew their governments and killed those efforts.

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists”: Trump’s infamous words that helped him get elected. The truth is exactly the opposite. Drugs, crime, rape - that is what US policies brought to Central America. And now we are punishing the refugees from that violence. We owe these people something better than abducting and terrorizing their children, locking them up under crowded and inhumane conditions, stigmatizing them, using them for cheap political purposes, and making them targets of hate.

It is highly doubtful that the Trump Administration even wants to solve this problem. Immigrants, legal or not, have proven useful for stimulating the popular rage that fuels his political campaign. Trump won the Presidency by inflaming passions against these people, and his policies are in fact exacerbating the crisis. He wants the number of illegal crossings to go down, but refuses to hire more immigration judges to expedite cases and is trying ever harder to destroy the mechanisms for asylum. He wants to retaliate against the Central American countries that we ruined, making conditions there even more difficult and giving refugees even more incentive to flee. He wants these people to wait gratefully seven, eight, nine, even ten years. It is obvious, even from this brief survey, that few would have much chance of surviving that long. There are real reasons why so many come here, even at the risk of losing their children or their very own lives.

The Christian Response

Since Christianity is based in prophetic Judaism and its emphasis on social justice, as well as Jesus’s reaching out to those who are marginalized, a Christian response to this massive suffering might be expected. The response has been mixed. Many progressive churches have raised a prophetic voice, protesting the inhuman treatment of asylum seekers. Some have recruited volunteers to help immigrants navigate the legal system, and some even participate in the sanctuary movement. Other churches have remained silent, declining to get involved out of fear of offending congregants on either side. But in Evangelical Christianity, the dominant strain of American Christianity, the situation is different. Evangelical Christianity is involved in a virtual love affair with Trump. “There has never been anyone who has defended us and fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J Trump” says Ralph Reed, Chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, America’s largest organization of Evangelicals.(10) Franklin Graham has labeled criticism of Trump “demonic” and has raised the prospect of civil war if Trump is removed from office.(11) He might be right. It’s his side that has all the guns.

To be sure there are exceptions. John Piper, a leading Calvinist pastor with whom I disagree on just about every major point of theology, but a man of integrity, has been outspoken in his criticism of Trump.(12) And World Relief, an Evangelical organization, advocates for refugees and has protested Trump’s immigration policies.(13) Nevertheless, Trump won the election with 81% of the white Evangelical vote, and their support for him remains overwhelming.(14)

Many attempts have been made to explain Evangelicals’ love for Trump, clearly the most morally flawed President in recent memory. Some say Evangelicals feel disrespected and fear losing their way of life, and that traditional Christian values in this country are under attack. Evangelicals allegedly see themselves as a religious minority persecuted by a demonic left that is taking their religious freedom away.

But what religious freedoms are we talking about: the freedom to restrict not only abortion but birth control as well? The freedom not to serve gay customers? The freedom to prohibit gay marriage? The freedom to impose sectarian prayers on non-Christian audiences in schools and at public events?

The plain fact is that Christians in the United States do not suffer from a lack of religious freedom. Christianity is still the dominant religion in this country, and Evangelicalism still the dominant form of Christianity here. Evangelical Christians are just as free as they ever were to practice their religion as they wish. It is what others practice that seems to be their problem.

Many Evangelicals perceive the acceptance of gay people as a threat. They perceive the widespread use of birth control as a threat. They perceive having to accommodate religions that do not worship Christ as a threat. These Evangelicals suffer the most not from any restriction of their religious freedom, but from their own intolerance.

The Roots of Evangelical Intolerance

We need to understand this intolerance and where it comes from, or we will never comprehend the paradox of how practicing Christians can believe that Trump is on their side and a friend of Christianity. Does Trump’s agenda really make America more Christian? Consider the issue that often attracts the most attention: abortion. Roe v. Wade is still on the books. Yet while abortion may still be available in blue states, it is already difficult if not impossible to get an abortion in a red state. If Roe were overturned, that would not change significantly. So is abortion really important enough to outweigh all the anti-Christian things that Trump and the Republican Party stand for?

Donald Trump, the defender of Christian values?

Evangelical Christians, without whose support Trump would not be President, are in a position to act as a voice of conscience on all of these issues. He would have to listen to them, since he owes his victory to them. But by and large they have shown no interest; in fact, they continue expressing their unconditional love for Trump sometimes even in romantic terms. The only logical conclusion is that Evangelicals (with some exceptions of course, but not nearly enough) are not troubled by Trump’s positions on these issues and may even support them. What matters to them most is political power and the ability to spread their beliefs and practices to others, by force of law if necessary. That is, after all, what “evangelize” has come to mean.

A Critical Shift

So why are the original values taught by Christ not more influential in Evangelical Christianity?

Very early in its history Christianity took a critical turn. Jesus’s core teaching, the realization of God through self-transcending love and service to others, became supplanted by a preoccupation with individual salvation. Salvation through faith in Christ and eternal condemnation apart from that faith is not something Jesus ever taught. The New Testament sets forth no such doctrine. In the New Testament salvation generally means rescue from physical danger, political oppression, or the power of sin,(15) but it did not take long for authorities to read other meanings of salvation into the biblical text.

We find the doctrine of salvation gradually taking shape in the early church fathers, and here we can observe an intriguing inconsistency in what they considered the criteria for salvation. Sometimes what matters is one’s deeds and the choices one has made; other times it is faith in Christ (a discrepancy foreshadowing the “faith vs. works” debate to come later). Perhaps “discrepancy” is too strong a word. These early writers were not systematic theologians; their aim was to communicate some basic teachings, not to build comprehensive theological structures. Nevertheless, their writings are helpful in understanding how salvation became so important to the church.

The Apostolic Fathers were early Christian theologians active during the second half of the first century, and they had some things to say about salvation. Among these Clement of Rome states that we are justified by our works, by what we do (“works”) and not by what we say (1 Clement 30:3). But a little later on he says that we are not justified by our works but by our faith (1 Clement 32:4). The pseudonymous Second Clement (17:7) mentions unquenchable fire as awaiting those who deny Jesus in word or in deed. Ignatius of Antioch also speaks of hell and “unquenchable fire” (pyr asbeston) as the fate awaiting false teachers and those who believe what they say (Letter to the Ephesians 16:2). But he also says that we receive recompense for our good deeds (Letter to Polycarp 6:2). In his Letter to the Philippians (1:3) Polycarp of Smyrna says that we are saved by grace and not by works. But in the very next chapter (2:2) he says we will be resurrected if we follow God’s commandments.

Writing in the mid first century, Justin Martyr makes clear in a number of places that salvation, including escape from eternal fire, depends on the quality of one’s actions (Apology 1:12,16,17,21,65, 2:2,7). But specifically of the Jews he writes that there is no salvation outside Christ (Dialogue with Trypho 47).

Towards the end of the second century Irenaeus of Lyons speaks very definitely about everlasting fire. But again, the doctrine is ambiguous: hell is punishment for those who do not do righteous works (Against Heresies 2:32:1) as well as for those who do not believe (4:28:2, 3).

In the beginning of the third century Tertullian wrote that those who are justified by faith and not by the law have peace with God (Against Marcion 5:13), but he also said that we are saved through the capacity to do God’s will (On Prayer IV).

With Augustine in the fourth century Christian theology reaches a turning point. Augustine absolutely rejected any notion that anything we do can have an effect on our salvation. We are not recompensed for our good works, because we deserve no such recompense. Salvation comes purely by grace and not by merit. In his dispute with the Pelagians Augustine made this position abundantly clear. Yes, there is no salvation without Christian faith, but even faith comes to those who have it purely by grace and not by any personal choice or action or merit (Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints 3-5,7).

So what is the fate of those who are not blessed by this grace and are not saved? It is dire indeed. Like those before him, Augustine believed in a hell of literal fire, and described it in such rich detail he seemed almost to be enjoying it (City of God XXI). Augustine believed that the physical body can burn forever without being consumed. And also that this punishment is not unjust, for all are sinners and deserve this condemnation, but God gives grace to a few whom God selects for reasons we cannot understand. Most must be condemned to demonstrate God’s justice and show the punishment we all deserve, but a few are saved to show God’s mercy. Thus we should not complain about the harshness of this deserved punishment, but rather give thanks that at least a few are spared (City of God XXI:12).

This theology takes biblical symbols (fire, darkness, etc.) with an extreme literalness that would probably have astonished the New Testament’s Jewish authors. Jewish literature of the time (apocalyptic, midrash) made extensive use of symbols to convey spiritual ideas and truths in very impactful ways. These symbols were not intended as literal descriptions of physical reality. This is clear to anyone familiar with midrashic literature, as preserved in the Talmud and other midrashic collections. People studied this literature to find not reports of actual events, but lessons for learning and meditation. But as these writings passed through a Gentile culture lacking this background, they were not understood that way. People took what they read as the literal word of God and built from it a terrifying specter, where the fire is real, burns real flesh, and the pain lasts forever. Augustine took it a critical step further and removed any role for human agency. We can do nothing to earn God’s favor, and grace is bestowed regardless of merit. Human action is futile and counts for nothing.

Augustine’s views exerted tremendous influence on both Catholics and Protestants. The Protestant reformers took these particular teachings and made them the core of their theology: good works play no part in our salvation, which comes only through the grace of God. Sola fide: we are saved by faith alone. Sola gratia: salvation comes only through the grace of God, regardless of any redeeming qualities we may or may not possess. Luther was heir to this Augustinian influence, and Calvin systematized it. And today’s Evangelical Christianity carries this tradition forward, with unfortunate consequences as we will see. The preoccupation with personal salvation distracts us from the self-transcending love Christ taught us. It comes from fear and it centers attention on the self. It does not conform us to God’s image, and is not the way to follow Christ.

The Double Legacy

We are now in a position to understand how Christianity, based on the life and teachings of one who in every way represented the polar opposite of what Trump stands for, might fail to respond to his excesses.

Christianity, as it developed, took on a double legacy. The legacy of Jesus, who he was and what he taught, is preserved in the Gospels and will never disappear. It leads to a theology based upon non-self-interested love. It has inspired generations of Christians to goodness.

But there is also another legacy, a legacy based upon fear. In this legacy not love, but individual salvation, is the chief priority. The most primitive fears we harbor as children become externalized, taking form as a bifurcated world of unimaginable bliss or endless torment. The stakes could not be higher: our eternal fate is at risk. Therefore any view that might lead us away from salvation must be suppressed, with violence if necessary. These fears justified the persecution of Jews and heretics that has characterized much of Christian history.

Ironically the Protestant Reformation, which was in part a reaction against this legacy of fear, ended up only making it worse. Martin Luther attacked the selling of indulgences, a practice rooted in fear and its exploitation, in his Ninety-Five Theses. But Luther kept the core Augustinian theology and emphasized even more the futility of human action and our living at the mercy of an inscrutable and seemingly capricious God who may grant or withhold grace for reasons we cannot hope to understand. Not surprisingly, among many non-Protestants Luther acquired a well-deserved reputation for intolerance and bigotry.

As Christianity developed with its dual legacy, it led inevitably to intolerance. An obsession with salvation leads to dividing the world into the saved and the unsaved, those who are “born again” and those who are not, those who are with God and those who are Godless. The distinction is critical, a matter of eternal life or eternal death. And while to a strict predestinarian (and even to Catholics and Protestants who believe their respective way is the only true one) being a Christian is no guarantee of salvation, not being a Christian is a certain mark of condemnation. So why wouldn’t God approve of the mistreatment of people whom God has condemned? This becomes a powerful justification for the persecution of undesirables.

In summary, the focus on salvation leads to a religion based on fear, with a definition of an in-group of favored people who accept the faith set against an out-group of people who refuse the gift and therefore must reject God. And so the latter deserve their awaiting fate of eternal torment. One does not even have to be a good person to be saved. We cannot earn our salvation. Any good we do counts for nothing as far as our salvation is concerned. To receive God’s “justification,” God’s verdict of innocence, it does not matter what kind of person you are. God’s grace is totally unrelated to personal goodness, in character or in deed. Even a person of vile character can be accepted and favored by God.

This ideology developed over centuries, as orthodox theology progressed without sufficient questioning. Its basic tenets of the absolute necessity of right belief and the futility of human action are completely foreign to anything Jesus taught, which an informed reading of the Gospels easily demonstrates. And when fear is mixed with love at the core of religious faith, then Christianity starts working against itself. Many churches, including Evangelical churches, do good works inspired by the example of Christ, while also teaching and practicing intolerance and exclusivity. The dual legacy explains how the two can coexist. It explains how a dominant form of Christianity in this land can fail to respond to outrage upon outrage that would have made Jesus weep. So when asked how they can give their love and their support to a demonstrable adulterer, misogynist, and serial liar, Evangelicals can respond that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, no one has control over the power of sin, and God loves best the greatest of sinners. (Though oddly this reasoning doesn’t seem to apply when the sinner is a Democrat.) The doctrine of justification by faith explains how a person of good character and kind deeds can still be condemned, while a totally amoral figure like Donald Trump can be the object of divine grace.

From this perspective Evangelical theology provides a welcome space for the support of Donald Trump. He gives the Evangelicals who support him what they value most: not Christly values, not love of the poor and the stranger, but control and dominance and political power. And to white Evangelicals afraid of shifting demographics threatening to make them both a religious and ethnic minority, this theology enables them to act out their fears while still believing they are good Christians.

A Dangerous Echo from the Past

Christian values are being tested. We are being challenged to show that what Christ stood for still lives. How will we treat the stranger?

On July 14 Trump tweeted the following:

So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!

Three days later Trump held a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina. He pursued his attack on the Congresswomen:

“Let ’em leave,” Trump said of the members of Congress. “They’re always telling us how to run it, how to do this, how to do that. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell ’em to leave it.”

The crowd loudly erupted with shouts of “Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!” referring to Ilhan Omar, a black Congresswoman who came to this country as a child seeking asylum from war-torn Somalia and who became a naturalized citizen.(16)

Momentarily taken aback by Republican fears that this display of hate might hurt the party’s election chances, Trump disavowed the crowd’s behavior and said he was “not happy” with the chant, did not approve of it, and lied that he tried to contain it when he actually instigated it.(17) But the real Donald Trump soon reasserted himself, disavowing his disavowal and calling the shouters “incredible patriots.”(18)

We saw the President of the United States whip a crowd into a frenzy of hatred. We saw him smugly watch and do nothing while his subjects vented their hatred, screaming to send a black immigrant woman out of the country. Then we heard him lie about his reaction, claiming to disagree with the shouters right after they mimicked what he himself had just said. Finally, we heard him praising these antagonists for their wonderful patriotism, making them sound like good examples to emulate.

One need not agree with Ilhan Omar’s politics to be appalled by this spectacle. If the President of the United States becomes a racial flamethrower, then nobody is safe. Mass violence against marginalized groups always begins with verbal incitement. Nobody died this time, but somebody died last time, and if this pattern continues somebody may die next time. Perhaps the most tragic element in all this is that it’s come to seem almost normal. A typical Trump campaign rally. And next year, most likely it will seem completely normal.

How many times in history have we seen the stranger, the immigrant, the different one, targeted like this for political purposes? Anyone with a sense of history knows where this can lead - and if we lack that sense of history, then shame on us as a country. If ever we needed to hear the voice of the Gospel, that moment is now. We know what Jesus said about the stranger. If we cannot hear that word today, then the Gospel is dead to us.

Evangelical Christians, a group especially favored by Trump, have his ear and so have a moral responsibility to keep this voice alive, to practice the Gospel they profess, to let the President know that intentionally inflicting cruelty on people who cannot fight back is wrong. This does not require accepting open borders. It does not mean being careless about whom we admit into this country. It does not mean abandoning the rule of law. It does mean recognizing our contribution to the humanitarian crisis and taking responsibility for it as well as humanitarian measures to alleviate it (more immigration judges would help). It does mean not decimating families and traumatizing children. It does mean not inciting the country to hate people who are different.

Evangelicals want America to be a “Christian nation.” What does a Christian nation look like?


(1) Simon Romero, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Manny Fernandez, Daniel Borunda, Aaron Montes, and Caitlin Dickerson, “Hungry, Scared, and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex.,” New York Times, July 9, 2019.

(2) Nick Valencia, Alberto Moya, and Chelsea J. Carter, “US-Born Teen Detained for Weeks by CBP Says He Was Told ‘You Have No Rights’,” CNN, July 26, 2019.

(3) Neil Vigdor, “Pence Defends Conditions at Migrant Detention Centers in Texas,” New York Times, July 13, 2019.

(4) Michael Collins and David Jackson, “Trump says Detention Facilities ‘Beautifully Run’ after Report Describes Dangerous Conditions,” USA Today, July 5, 2019.

(5) Donald J. Trump, “Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure,” Whitehouse.gov, July 12, 2019.

(6) Raymond Bonner, “America’s Role in El Salvador's Deterioration,” The Atlantic, July 20, 2018.

(7) Stephen Zunes, “The U.S. Role In the Honduras Coup and Subsequent Violence,” Huffington Post, June 19, 2016.

(8) Billy Perrigo, “The Devastating Effects of American Intervention in Guatemala,” The Panoptic, November 19, 2016.

(9) Steven C. Boraz and Thomas C. Bruneau, “Are the Maras Overwhelming Governments in Central America?,” Military Review, November-December, 2006.

(10) Tom McCarthy, “ Faith and Freedoms: Why Evangelicals Profess Unwavering Love for Trump,” The Guardian, July 7, 2019.

(11) Samuel Smith, “Franklin Graham: Trump’s Enemies Will Hurt America, Could Spark Civil War If Impeached,” The Christian Post, May 31, 2018.

(12) John Piper, “How to Live Under an Unqualified President,” DesiringGod.org,January 20, 2017.

(13) See:

(14) Philip Schwadel and Gregory A. Smith, “Evangelical Approval of Trump Remains High, but Other Religious Groups Are Less Supportive,” Pew Research Center, March 18, 2019.

(15) ”Salvation,” Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992).

(16) Tom McCarthy, “Trump Rally Crowd Chants ‘Send Her Back’ After President Attacks Ilhan Omar,” The Guardian, July 18, 2019.

(17) Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Maggie Haberman, and Michael Crowley, “Trump Disavows ‘Send Her Back’ Chant After Pressure From G.O.P.,” New York Times, July 18, 2019.

(18) Annie Karni, “In Another About-Face, Trump Refuses to Condemn ‘Send Her Back’ Chant,” New York Times, July 19, 2019.

July 2019