Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for June 28

June 28, 2018 Shlomo Sprung
The Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry and his wife, the Rev. Dr. Karen Daughtry, give a press conference Saturday, June 23 on the immigration child-family separation crisis. Eagle photo by Francesca N. Tate

Prominent Family of Ministers Denounces Immigration Policy

Faith communities around Brooklyn this week denounced the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy over the past week, particularly what they declared as the cruel practice of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, and holding the children in detention centers with no organized plan of reuniting these families.

And just after midnight on June 27, news broke that a federal judge in California had issued a nationwide injunction halting the child separation policy and mandating family reunification. Several hours later, Congress rejected a comprehensive immigration bill that has also divided the majority party.

The Rev. Dr. Herbert and the Rev. Dr. Karen Daughtry, heads of a clergy family with five generations of faith leaders, and a Brooklyn presence for 60 years, held a press conference last Saturday, June 23 at the House of the Lord Church to decry the policy that they say has permanently traumatized children in ways that could later haunt this nation.

“These children, ranging in age from under one year of age to teen years, have been put in a position of psychological danger and are being used by those in high places as political pawns without regard to the damage being done by their actions to the psychological damages being visited upon these children,” said Dr. Karen Daughtry.

“As a parent, although all of my children are adults, I can’t imagine not knowing how they are. As a citizen of these United States, I understand that protecting our borders is necessary and that guidelines to do so must be put in place but not at the expense of the most vulnerable in society. As an early childhood educator, I know that the early years beginning at birth and until around the age of four are most important and immeasurable damage can be done to young children who suffer traumatic episodes during this period. Certainly to be torn from the arms of parents and taken to strange places with strange people fits the bill as one of the these.”

Much of Saturday’s press conference focused on the Daughtrys’ point that there has been no plan to handle the flow of immigrants across borders into the United States compassionately.

“Even with the executive order stopping the separation practice, you’ve got 2,000 children—still someplace, said Dr. Karen Daughtry. “The governor of the State of New York said he has a legal responsibility to take care of these children, physically and emotionally. And he—the governor—cannot find out how to get into the places where these children are because they have put a gag order on the places where the children have been put, in the State of New York! We might have a plan here in New York, but there is no national or global plan to hook these children up with the people they belong to.”

Dr. Herbert Daughtry, who spoke at length earlier in the conference, also expressed hope. “When all is said and done, I hope I live to see the day that America becomes what America can become,” he said. “The withering past is no match for the budding future.”

★★★

Grace Church’s Rector Points to ‘Fear of the Other’ As A Reason Behind Current Immigration Policy

The rector of Grace Church Brooklyn Heights addressed the child separation policy in his Sunday, June 24 sermon.  

The Rev. Dr. Allen Robinson linked the story of Jesus’ calming the storm (from Matthew 4:35-41) to the current immigration crisis, focusing on Jesus’ invitation to “go to the other side,” and the fear that the disciples experienced during the tempest.

Robinson spoke of a societal ‘other side’— “those who feel rejected, who feel abandoned, who feel forgotten, who feel as if their lives don’t matter, as if their lives just simply don’t matter,” Robinson emphasized. “At this very moment, the Gospel is alive and well—this story is alive and well—on the borders of Texas, the borders of California, the borders of Arizona, where children are being taken away from their parents. And so the Gospel calls us to wrestle with the question: What are we supposed to do with those who are on the other side?

“I submit that the apostles were afraid to go to the other side because they were comfortable at home,” he continued. “It was their comfort zone. The people they knew looked like them, smelled like them…They liked the same food, had the same culture. So what happens when a new group of people is introduced into the system?

“Somehow, they began to take on a sense of fear, much like the way people at home worry that ‘we’re losing our identity, and we’re losing our position in the world, and somehow, we’re losing our way of life if we introduce a lot of new people to come in and enter our country.’ And so, what do we do with our fear?” he asked.

★★★

Episcopal Diocese Hosts Prayer Service For Immigrant and Refugee Families

The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, responding to the outpouring of love and concern for families separated at the border, was set to hold a prayer service and time of fellowship for immigrant and refugee families.

The bilingual (Spanish/English) candlelit service in the cathedral was scheduled for 7:30-8 p.m., with conversation following in the undercroft from 8-9 p.m. Pastoral care and conversation with experts in the field of immigration and asylum were provided.

Among the actions being announced at the service is a series of Families Belong Together rallies being held this Saturday, June 30, in New York City (Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island), Washington, D.C. and around the country. The Brooklyn rally and march originates at Foley Square in Manhattan at 10 a.m. and heads across the Brooklyn Bridge.

★★★

Brooklyn Museum Re-Installs ‘Resurrection of Christ’ Sculpture

Readers who find their faith enriched through the fine arts will be happy to learn that the Brooklyn Museum this week announced the re-installment of its acclaimed relief sculpture, “The Resurrection of Christ,” by Renaissance artist Giovanni della Robbia. “The Resurrection of Christ” is on view now in the museum’s third floor Focus Gallery.

Created around 1520, “The Resurrection” was commissioned by the Antinori family, historical Tuscan vintners since 1385. At nearly 12 feet long, “The Resurrection” originally adorned a wall of the Antinori family’s villa outside Florence, Italy. Nearly 400 years later, “The Resurrection” became the first Renaissance work to enter the museum’s collection when it was acquired in 1899.

The colorful relief — which was out of view from the late 1990s through an extensive restoration in 2015 — went back on exhibit earlier this month.

Funding this project was the same Antinori family whose ancestors originally commissioned the relief.