Respect and Dignity

Listening to a recent BBC radio broadcast about the immigrants coming to the southern US border, I heard one British official note that many of these immigrants are fleeing violence and political persecution in their countries of origin and should qualify for political asylum. He went on to say that because they were fleeing terrible conditions and persecution, that they deserved to be treated with respect and dignity. I was shocked by the implications of this. Was this commentator suggesting that those people who were NOT fleeing persecution and political pressure were somehow less deserving or not deserving at all of respect and dignity?
I suppose if you do not believe in a merciful and loving god, and if you do not believe that you sin all the time and you need god’s forgiveness, then you can set yourself up as judge over some people you deem to be sinners and not worthy of dignity and respect versus those who are deserving.
But that’s not what we believe. When we were baptized and every time we renew our baptismal covenant, we promise to “respect the dignity of every human being. EVERY HUMAN BEING. Every means gay, straight, black, white, brown, male, female, both, neither, foreigners, natives, rich, poor, able-bodied, differently-abled, conservative, progressive, Hitler, Mother Teresa, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, people who hate us, people who love us… EVERY human being. This is not an easy thing to do, but we have pledged ourselves to do it.
In fact, our mission as Christians is to love and respect others, and in doing so, help others learn to love and respect even more people. The alternative is a world full of people who think they have the right to judge others. A world of adults acting like they are still in junior high.

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