Disciples News Service

National Pastor responds to US presidential candidate

Communiqué of the Central Pastoral Office of Hispanic Ministries
of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
in the United States and Canada

The statements of the multimillionaire magnate and 2016 presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reported by the media and referring to the Mexican community, have been repudiated on account of their racist, irresponsible, misinformed, unjust and prejudiced content.

Trump’s exact words were the following:

 “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

 The magnate spoke these words during his speech announcing his intention to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.  He also proposed the following:

 “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

Mexican singer Becky G. answers Trump in a song entitled Somos México (We Are Mexico) in which she says:

 “I work hard, double shifts, overtime, two jobs, work until my head hurts, but never miss a bill payment.  Mom said, ‘always follow your heart, but keep your head above water’, and I promised her that I always would.”

Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior said:

“Trump is not aware and surely has no idea of the contributions made by immigrants of practically all the countries of the world who have come to be part of and to support the development of the United States — especially the contributions of Mexican men and women whose daily efforts are recognized by the entire United States society.”

He added that the Mexicans who live in the United States have emigrated under different circumstances but have assisted the development of the nation “such that the country is strengthened and shows itself as a great world power.”

Even though I am not a Mexican, I feel Trump’s offense as one directed at me as a Latino and as National Pastor for Hispanic Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Our Hispanic Ministries have a majority of Mexican leaders.  Our Mexican pastors, both men and women, and all of our Mexican laypeople are responsible, hard-working, intelligent, and respectable people, who not only make a contribution to their own families in Mexico, but also to the economic development of the U.S.A.  They are men and women who have come to this country, not only in pursuit of the “American Dream”, but also in search of better opportunities and a better life for their families.  They have come to this country to integrate themselves and to contribute to a future of diversity for races and cultures, a diversity which strengthens and enriches the nation.

The walls of offensive words, filled with hate, bitterness and rejection are stronger than the existing fences at the border.  Crossing the border is difficult, traumatic and painful, but even more painful are the attitudes of arrogance and superiority directed at the immigrants in this country.  The injustice many workers suffer, the subhuman conditions they live under, the subsistence salaries, the insulting words and contemptuous looks directed their way—all of these hurt more than the wall that Trump wants to build.  Were we to compensate workers, both men and women, for all this injustice and for the political delay and manipulation that denies them dignity, the cost of that compensation would build the wall many times over.

In place of walls let us build bridges.  May these bridges be ones of dialogue, of respect, and of dignity, built to include every immigrant community.  Instead of rejection, let us lay a table with places for all.  Let us not allow Mr. Trump to forget that we are all immigrants.

As National Pastor I wish to say to my sister and brother immigrants that you have all been an example and a blessing for my life, and on many occasions.  This is your Church, and we love you and support you in prayer.  History tells that One who was greater than a presidential candidate, the very Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, was also an immigrant.  He is the one who opened his arms to the world on the cross to redeem us all.  He taught us that, just as He opened his arms to receive all, we are to do the same.

Telemundo has an electronic screen that says “We are all . . .” Mexicans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Dominicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Costa Ricans, Peruvians, and continues the list until it reaches the tip of South America.  Whoever insults one of these, insults us all.

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Rev. Dr. Huberto Pimentel
Pastor Nacional para Ministerios Hispanos
Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo) E.U. y Canadá

In solidarity,

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Sharon E. Watkins
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)in the United States and Canada