Jesus loves DeLand, Florida, for the cross in its city seal is a beacon of mercy for the persecuted by Trump and his orchestrated war on the values Christians and America hold dear. Jesus’ greatest command to follow of love thy neighbor is possible because DeLand’s city seal includes a Christian cross. Therefore it must be a sanctuary city because of that cross.
It is a beacon of light in these dark days of America under Trump, as profit and pursuit of the golden calf of sales under Caesar’s autocratic state sells its citizens’ souls to Satan for silver rather than serve them. For Trump brings the war to Americans’ front doors and living rooms with militarized police, acting like Romans, or as the Germans are calling Trump, Nero, rounding up the very people Jesus teaches us to associate with and show mercy and compassion toward.
It is precisely these dark times of Trump’s orchestrated chaos that Jesus calls people to his teachings for comfort. Jesus hears the cries of suffering in the world. He hears the cries of refugees, of children, of immigrants terrorized by US-trained soldiers and drug lords in El Salvador and Honduras.
It’s horrific to think your own country is culpable in the very violence it seeks to quell. Martin Luther King Jr. knew it when he said, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: My own country. I will not be silent.” Jesus understood this for it is the same Roman pageant as when he was alive! For it is the State that crucified him for defying it! May we all follow Jesus’ example of courage! Resist!
In Matthew 25:40, Jesus speaks directly of welcoming the refugee. Jesus declares, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” That act of love fills my heart with the feeling of love. Hate is pushed out, and the words of St. John of the Cross become clear when he said, “Where there is no love I will bring love and there will be love.”
Citizens across America are speaking up about Christian values that are about helping the less fortunate and opposing such dictatorial decrees Trump issues that usurp democracy and the power of the people. Angry voters are flooding GOP town halls, such asJessi Bohon, a 35-year-old high school teacher who lives in Cookeville, Tennessee.
“As a Christian, my whole philosophy in life is pull up the unfortunate,” Bohon said, a comment that drew verbal affirmation from others in the room.
Most cities defer the state to Caesar and have no cross in their seal. For “Render Unto Caesar” is the beginning of a phrase attributed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels, which reads in full, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” Matthew 22:21] This phrase has become a widely quoted summary of the relationship between Christianity, secular government, and society.
With orders from Trump to implement state-sponsored terrorism by rounding up people, separating families and shipping them off to detention centers so that corporations can reap stock bonuses for profits on Wall Street, compassionate Christian citizens and just citizens who believe in humanity and democracy and human rights are resisting.
Trump’s would-be-King stance tweeting from his tower and wonton disrespect for law is already being checked and thwarted by the long-established democracy in place, so we just have to keep it up in the name of love and justice, at Christ’s behest. It makes me happy knowing DeLand is a sanctuary city of the true values Jesus taught that I learned. Baptized Catholic and raised Episcopalian, I loved the stories of Jesus, especially The Good Samaritan, Jesus teaching the children, and throwing the banksters and their lust for gold and silver coins and profit out of the sacred temple.
Additionally, the Bible’s story of Feeding the Multitudes is impressive, because it guides us how to believe that there is enough for us and enough for our neighbors, for ALL people, and we need not live in fear of lack but rather in love.
When Christians are willing to offer their lives sacrificially, relinquishing their hold on whatever God has given them in terms of time, money, talents, etc., God will use these ordinary things to create extraordinary things. Christians must never believe their resources are too little to serve God. God delights in taking a humble, seemingly insignificant person and using him or her for His glory (see 1 Corinthians 1:27).
I believe DeLand is a sanctuary city because it has the Christian cross in its city seal. Jesus said to love they enemies as they self, and told the story of the Good Samaritan. He and his family were refugees themselves seeking shelter, so DeLand will do the same, be a safe haven from Caesar and his armies.
In His depiction of the Last Judgment, Jesus clearly states that how we treat who He calls “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine” is how we treat Him. Who are “the least of these?”
While one could argue over the definition of “brothers and sisters,” Jesus is known for having universalized the love of neighbor. And in the U.S.’s case it’s Muslims, immigrants or the poor. I have some very good Muslim friends in DeLand and in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and my father is an immigrant himself.
It’s reasonable to deem the cross in DeLand’s city seal as unconstitutional, since it combines church and Caesar’s state as mentioned, which if forbidden under the Constitution’s First Amendment Establishment Clause that prohibits government from establishing or endorsing a religion.
It seems other DeLand citizens noticed too, such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which filed a complaint for a DeLand citizen a few years ago. Non-Christians may feel not part of the community and are second-class citizens with this State bias that AU is approaching as pro-neutrality. DeLand refused to change the seal, however, and DeLand City Attorney Darren Elkind said in a Sept. 9, 2013 letter to Americans United that the seal can be traced back to the ideals of the city’s founder, Henry DeLand, who made a fortune in baking soda in New York and came to Florida at least in part to help others. Minutes from the first City Commission meeting in 1882 show the city decided to create a seal with “the emblems of ‘Faith, Hope and Charity.'”
Considering citizens didn’t want it removed, a cross in a city seal that its founders chose as a symbol to represent faith, hope and charity sure sounds to me like a Christian, rather than a Henry DeLand utopia, sanctuary city for people in these dark Trump days. Charity to refugees, illegal aliens, everyone!
I called the City of DeLand’s Public Information officer Chris Graham and also City Manager Michael Pleus. Pleus didn’t call me back but Graham said he, “Did not know how to answer.” I’m waiting for the emails of the commissioners he said he’d get me to ask them, as the only way to try and contact them on DeLand’s city page is to: Fill Out a New Service Request. I got such a poor response from the City about my complaint of DeLand Police abuse submitting that way, not sure what to say myself!
Guess I will have to go down to the next DeLand City Commissioners meeting to make sure it’s a sanctuary city, because otherwise DeLand will need to take down the cross in its city seal, as it doesn’t meet Jesus’ call to serve God and humanity and is mere impostering. If DeLand will not be helping migrants and refugees and others in need as Jesus demands, it is blasphemy, it should return the seal to letting what is Caesar’s be Caesar’s – a city seal without a cross in it.
And the citizens of DeLand will be forced to obey God and Jesus in order to protect their Christian values of compassion and mercy. They will take it upon themselves to obey God’s law and defy Caesar 2.0 Trump and shelter the persecuted in their own homes, as police militarization steps up its game in the US.
Love one another! You don’t even have to be Christian to do it! Love trumps hate and makes America Great! Call your city and insist it be designated a sanctuary city too! Cities across America hear Jesus’ call and are moved by God to do the right thing! We, as other sanctuary cities like Houston, say:
“We are going to continue to operate as we have operated, and we will continue to be a welcoming city. We do not separate families. We place a great deal of value on families being together. I don’t want children in schools to be concerned or nervous. I don’t want to increase the anxiety of people in our city and especially our kids.”
We are fearless of the new Roman Police State under Trump that we find ourselves in today. We are all one!