Open Letter to Gov. Abbott (re: Cleveland shootings)

Dear Gov Abbott, I am writing you as a Christian pastor, and calling out your inclusion of the phrase “illegal immigrant” in your tweet regarding the senseless murders of five innocent people in Cleveland, Texas.

I would remind you how our common faith in Jesus Christ insists that “In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, Slave or Free” (Galatians 3: 28); and that Hebrew Scripture repeatedly tell us that “there shall be one law for you and the immigrant.” (Duet. 28: 19).

God’s Biblical law does not draw distinctions between “citizens” and “non-citizens.” The witness of Jesus’ ministry shows how he cared for, and included, those from foreign lands in God’s Kingdom.

In short, God is very clear that anyone who claims Christian faith must treat citizens and immigrants alike —regardless of status— with Christian compassion.

Therefore, I ask…

Why in THIS CASE did you place the phrase “illegal immigrant” on the heads of these innocent victims?
Even small children?!
Why not a simply prayer for them, as human beings?
Why not a reminder to all Texans that their lives were of value?

Did you make reference to the legal status of anyone involved in the Uvalde shooting?
The shooting of a cheerleader at HEB?

Of course you did not.

But you and your administration continue to use otherize immigrants as pawns in your political games, resulting in their dehumanization in the eyes of their neighbors. We recall the callous and dehumanizing way you bused immigrants to freezing Washington streets, during the week of Christmas.

I can only assume your goal here is to turn attention away from the scourge of unregulated guns plaguing our state and instead stir up outrage against a marginalized group.

This is not leadership, and it is certainly not Christian.

No one deserves to die at the hands of a neighbor. No family gathering, no school day, no church meeting, no one going about their daily lives in the State of Texas —whether they be immigrant or citizen— deserves death at the hands of guns. Innocent victims such as these at the very least deserve our care and compassion.

I call on you to repent, and do better in the future.

Your brother in Christ,
Rev. Eric Folkerth

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