Stop Child Detentions — A Statement from Pastor Ricardo Graham, President of the Pacific Union Conference

“Suffer the little children to come unto me,” said Jesus, “for of such is the kingdom of God.” But apparently, the little children are no longer welcome in the United States.

Seventh-day Adventists regard the nurture and protection of children as a sacred trust. All Americans, and particularly people of faith, must raise their voices to condemn the demonization of these immigrant families as criminals. Many are fleeing violence and lawfully seeking refugee status. Jesus Christ declared that the way we treat those we regard as “the least of these” is how we treat the Christ. In their treatment of immigrant and refugee families our leaders are demonizing Jesus himself! Many proclaim America to be a Christian nation. Yet those who reject the fundamental teaching of Jesus to give a cup of cold water to the thirsty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give shelter to the stranger mock God and lose any right to claim the name of Christ.

A growing number of Christian and religious leaders are speaking out about the cruelty being inflicted on children of immigrants and refugees by the new “zero tolerance” policy of the Department of Justice. Others have spoken out about the abuse of scripture to justify such cruelty. Indeed, Romans 13 has not only been used in the past to encourage compliance with the fugitive slave law, requiring the return of runaway slaves to their bondage, but Romans 13 was also used to obtain the compliance of the Christian church in Europe during World War II. God has ordained our leaders and our government, the flawed logic holds, and our duty is to obey and to comply. The abuse of scripture to justify inflicting harm on children is truly a heinous sin.

Seventh-day Adventists hold dear the value of religious liberty, but we are compelled to stand up and speak loud and clear when religion is used to harm others. Our role as believers and as citizens is to hold our nation’s leadership accountable to a high moral and ethical standard in the interpretation of our laws.

Every believer should condemn the abuse of the law to support an official policy of child detention and abuse. The same biblical passage that has been abused to justify this policy declares that “love does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” The proper function of law is to preserve the welfare of society, its peace, and the rights of its people. To use the law as a means of oppression, as the Department of Justice is doing, is to degrade respect for the law itself, to undermine the foundations of our democracy, and to bring shame upon our entire nation.

America is a nation of immigrants and has always been a compassionate nation. Whether measured by charitable giving in support of disaster relief, development, or foreign aid by our government, Americans have surpassed other nations in showing mercy and compassion to those suffering famine, hunger, and other deprivations. The United States has championed democracy, human rights, and civil and religious freedom around the world.

But in this matter we are champions no more. A policy that seeks to accomplish a social and political goal by tearing apart families and harming children is a stain on our national character that will be difficult to erase. Thus, we are compelled to rise up and seek to relieve the suffering of these immigrant children who are languishing in detention centers, torn from their mothers’ arms.

Our thoughts and prayers must turn into actions and deeds. All those who still cherish the values America stands for must demand action from Congress to end this policy. We ask all of you to write or call your congressional representatives, speak out in your own personal and community settings against injustice, use your voice on social media, and use every right you have as a citizen to challenge and change the policies that inhumanly, carelessly, and needlessly take children away from their parents.

Ricardo B. Graham President, Pacific Union Conference


“Seventh-day Adventists place a high value on children. In the light of the Bible they are seen as precious gifts from God entrusted to the care of parents, family, community of faith and society-at-large. Children possess enormous potential for making positive contributions to the Church and to society. Attention to their care, protection and development is extremely important. The Seventh-day Adventist Church reaffirms and extends its longstanding efforts to nurture and safeguard children…. The Church regards the nurture and protection of children as a sacred trust.” (This statement was approved by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee on June 23, 2010, in Atlanta, Georgia.)

“Seventh-day Adventists affirm the dignity and worth of each human being and decry all forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and family violence…. We accept our responsibility to… listen and care for those suffering from abuse and family violence, to highlight the injustices, and to speak out in defense of victims.” (This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) and was released by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg, at the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 29-July 8, 1995.)

“The health and prosperity of society is directly related to the well-being of its constituent parts—the family unit. Today, as probably never before, the family is in trouble…. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, in this time of family crisis, encourages every family member to strengthen his or her spiritual dimension and family relationship through mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility.” (This public statement was released by the General Conference president, Neal C. Wilson, after consultation with the 16 world vice presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, on June 27, 1985, at the General Conference session in New Orleans, Louisiana.)

This statement and image originally appeared on the Pacific Union Conference’s website.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

One really cannot say this any better and thank you Pastor Graham for you timely message. The only thing I can add is that we being entrusted to spread the Advent message should use this as a teachable moment of what God expects of us and awaken the conscience of our fellow citizens. Oppose that which is evil (nationalism/racism…) and embrace that which is right in the sight of God.


Let us face facts here:

The majority of “refugees” seeking “asylum “ are from three countries:


How bizarre that we have zero “asylum seekers “ from the other inter American countries, COSTA RICA and PANAMA.


Because Costa Rica is not infested with corrupt politicians, drug lords and gang lords, like the other three. All of these countries are fertile, agriculturally rich, and with good natural resources. Lack of good governance has made three of them, unlivable and creates a massive outward migration.

MEXICO has recently been declared the most dangerous country on the planet, because of its monumental murder rate and drug lord dominance.

Until theses populations vote themselves good governance, pristine politicians, and strong sheriffs, we will continue to see a mass migration northwards to our southern border.

Regrettably, the USA is TWENTY ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in debt.
We do not adequately take care of our own American homeless population, nor our inner city slums. How can we admit millions more homeless to our shores?

Yes, it is horrific, abysmal, cruel to separate families. Let us find a better way:

A simpler deterrent to these mass migrations, until these countries get their political house in order, is to prevent these predatory border agents from accessing these vulnerable families. A thirty foot high wall would effectively prevent these border guards from accessing these families and no further family separations would be possible.

Hopefully, this barrier would also prevent the flood of heroin coming into our land.


I agree with most of your points, but a wall will only make it harder to sneak in, not impossible, and there are many ways to get illegal drugs into this country. I doubt that a wall will even put a dent in the flow of illegal drugs.

I saw a cartoon with a picture of the wall, and the caption, “30 million (or billion, can’t remember) wall.” In the next picture, a ladder was up against the wall, and the caption, “$30 ladder.”

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Thank you Pastor Ricardo Graham for your call to justice, fairness, and compassion towards our immigrants and children in particular.
Three things should stop immediately:

  1. Not allowing clergy to visit immigrant detention facilities.
  2. Separating children from their parents.
  3. Targeting family units for specific immigration enforcement and using detention of children as a “deterrent” message (according to General Kelly at the White House) to potential illegal immigration.

The Washington Post is reporting today:
Family separations could double, says Border Patrol chief in Rio Grande Valley

_Michael Miller _
EDINBURG, TEX. — As outrage mounts over the Trump administration’s separation of hundreds of migrant children from their parents, the person overseeing that zero-tolerance policy on the busiest stretch of the Southwest border said the number of families affected could double.

Manuel Padilla Jr., Border Patrol chief for the Rio Grande Valley, told The Washington Post on Thursday that his agents had separated 568 parents from children as young as 5 since the zero-tolerance policy was announced on April 6.

But that figure represented only half the number of parents who could have been prosecuted for entering the country illegally, leaving Border Patrol plenty of room to ramp up family separations.

We need to stop abusing children and using them for political leverage.


As I understand it, the specific question is not about immigration policy as such but whether it is best to enforce it by separating children and parents. I think that a case can be made for keeping them together for logistic reasons as well as ethics ones.


What is driving this flood? Demand by American death driven, desperate dopers.

USA has a culture of debt ($21 trillion) sex perversion, greed, gluttony, gossip, celebrity obsession, violence, materialism, infidelity…driven by news & entertainment media.

So much SDA emphasis is now to those outside the borders and yet what effort is made on reaching those inside or who came into the church and left because what is presented is irrelevant? So much abstract, ambiguous, obscure religious lingo & clichés thrown about by shallow fanatics.

Continued 666 paranoia and brow beating by labelling members with the Laodicean label ain’t getting it.


A wall won’t stop either thing.

Probably half of the individuals who are here from other countries and don’t have papers to stay flew here on an airplane legally and just didn’t leave when they were supposed to.
Only about 1/2 of these immigrants are from Mexico, and not all of them snuck across the border, much less where a wall would help. Many just drove across a border crossing legally and then just didn’t leave then they were supposed to.
Over a 1/4 million are from China. Another 1/4 million from India. A wall would not have stopped them.

Most drugs arrive in this country via a vehicle: Cars, semi-trucks, boats, planes. They don’t sneak across the desert, but just drive right in, eluding officials:

And remember that there are Home Depots in Mexico, many conveniently just a stone’s throw from the border, where you can by a very nice 35 foot ladder or two which will make pitching over a 30 foot wall in the middle of nowhere the least of your issues. Crossing the desert on foot is much more of a challenge than scaling a wall.

Also, note that being in the US without permission is a misdemeanor. Like a speeding ticket. Examples of misdemeanors include: petty theft, public intoxication, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, vandalism, reckless driving, discharging a firearm within city limits.

From the legal point of view, being in the US without permission is about the same as speeding, being in a bar fight or spraying graffiti on a wall: No big deal. It’s only being made into a big deal by politicians looking for a vote.


Matthew 2:13-21 Herod went after the children too. Jesus experienced the harrows of fleeing into Egypt from President/King Herod. Have no fear children, Jesus knows and he is watching.


Little children should NOT be used as political pawns. To use this misguided policy as a deterrent is evil. We are treating migrant children worse than animals by keeping them in cages. All this to please Ben Carson’s boss? Where is his moral courage and conscience as a human being and as a member of the Adventist church and a person of color? Instead it is reported that Ben Carson is compounding problems for the homeless and increasing the amount that is charged in low-income housing. Complicity by Ben Carson to President Trump in this issue is shameful. STOP the abuse!


This abuse, and so many more that are happening right now can be stopped in the election this November. We will see if the American people really want to stop all this craziness that we are seeing/suffering. (Even fishes are suffering… @sufferingsunfish :roll_eyes:)

Our allies are gone and now will certainly fight us. The dictators (criminals and murderers) of the world are in, and as Trump’s best friends they have open doors and windows to take advantage of America. They will just trash our backyards and steal everything possible from our homes. Decency is gone from the WH, lying is considered a virtue. The wealthy got more money, transferred from our pockets to their big pockets. Social Security and Medicare will soon be assaulted and destroyed. Children are in concentration camps and, why is it taking so long for the Congress to stop this - or for the population to revolt really big?

What happened to America??? HELP!!!


We are pretending not t hear the cries of the children. As significant as Postum making a comeback, Fritz and Brian sharing scientific theological ideas, and the ever present issue of gender equality in ministry-there is nothing that looms as large as our treatment of refugee migrant children. Where is the outcry, the dialogue, the alarms that should be going off. The major churches have mobilized to do something-demonstrate publicly-what will we do as SDA’s? Some will say “but it’s Sabbath!” What we will do could save a life. Judging by the sheer number and tone of the comments I am not optimistic that on this issue we will stand up for the justice we need. Willie White where are you (and your Mom-EGW) when we need you as you once were for the slaves in this country?

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Where was Pastor Graham’s response when the previous administration did the same for a short period of time? This appears to have the PUC enter the political fray on a partisan basis.


“When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be. The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey …” Ellen G. White, 1T 201


This is so typical coming from defenders of current administration policy. They are left with whataboutisms and false moral equivalency arguments. The idea that this debacle is about politics and that saying anything or objecting to it is”entering the political fray” is not what SDA’s should do, is a frenetic and futile attempt at escapism and living a fantasy. Are You so blind to the example of Jesus activism and protection of children? Are you waiting for the National Sunday Law to stand up for what is right? Perhaps you are even waiting for other signs before you do something that is out of your safety zone. Why? PUC and Pastor Graham’s call for justice for “the least of these” is an example go us all.


You better substantiate your statement. Otherwise it is nil. Because it’s really fake anyway.
Do you support the separation?



The scandal about the separation of the children from their parents is becoming one of the most shameful actions by an US administration.

Actually, what Trump is doing is child abuse. If he ever lands in a prison, they better keep him in a solitary if they want to keep him alive. It’s too dangerous for a child abuser of any size to be among the crowd in a prison. They do not tolerate this kind of crime. Only the Congress and his supported do!!! :nauseated_face::nauseated_face::nauseated_face:
@elmer_cupino @cincerity @timteichman @Timo


Do not support separation
The idea was available as discussed by Jeh Johnson, secretary of homeland security: Difference is the current administration choose to implement a bad policy, whereas the previous one discussed it as a option to reduce the “surge” from Central America.

If parents had more real love for their children why would they subject them to separation?
Did you know that when parents are imprisoned within USA children are taken from their parents?


So…, I am understanding that you actually are telling us that you support what Trump is doing with those people at the border. Am I understanding it correctly? Y/N?

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