“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy— just about everybody,” said Dawn Wooten, a nurse working at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Georgia, in a whistleblower complaint filed against the agency. Wooten was referring to Dr. Mahendra Amin, an OB-GYN who has been accused of performing hysterectomies on immigrant women without their consent or proper explanation of the procedure.
Dr. Amin’s alleged unethical practices are not the only accusations made against the agency. On June 18, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report on early experiences with COVID-19 at ICE detention facilities. According to the report, facilities were unable “to isolate or quarantine individuals who may be infected.”
As the election approaches, media outlets become more critical of political leaders. This became more evident when Wooten’s whistleblower complaint went public on Sept. 15. On social media, users advocate for the rights of immigrants or analyze the legitimacy of the claims. With the ongoing political climate, however, we have disregarded the importance of assessing news on social issues through a Christian lens.
Although alleged ICE and Border Patrol abuses have been a trending topic as of the past few weeks, we must remember that social issues in general play a big role not only in politics, but also in our faith. We are called to love one another and approach these conversations with understanding and compassion.
It is easy to narrow down topics such as immigration rights, racial injustice or economic inequality as political issues, when the detrimental condition of some of our communities should prompt us to act in favor of those who have been marginalized. Especially during an election year, it is easy to see our neighbors as political issues to fight against, rather than people to be loved.
God has not called us to live within the comfort of our church pews. Our ideologies should not superpose our moral values, rather, they should go hand in hand. Our beliefs should be reflected in everything we advocate for. Our words and actions should represent Jesus’ ministry on Earth, coming to heal the sick, not the healthy (Mark 2:17).
So long as we place our faith as a priority when evaluating social issues, we will be able to adopt a posture of humility and empathy that Jesus vehemently advocated for (Matt. 20:16; Luke 14:11).
Photo courtesy of Katie Moum