Episcopal Diocese of Western New York

A Statement by The Rt. Rev. R. William Franklin on the Forced Separation of Children from their Parents

Children separated from their parents, tagged with numbers, herded onto vans and buses, transported to “detention centers.”

Consider that scene. Taken from the only parent they have ever known. Branded with a number. Transported to large facilities where they are herded like cattle.

In America.

My friends, this is not a political issue, this is a moral issue.

As Episcopalians, as Christians, as people of faith we must stand up and speak out when we witness immoral, abhorrent, and ruthless behavior. These children are being taken from their parents in our name, the United States of America.

It is time we say “enough.”
It is time I, as your Bishop, say “enough.”

It is common for us, in the shadow of dreadful events in our world, to say that Jesus weeps.
But I don’t think Jesus is weeping.
I think Jesus is shouting, “No!”
I think Jesus is furious, heart-sick and disgusted.

Furious that children are treated as pawns in a political fight.
Heart-sick at the terror these children are experiencing.
Disgust at us for allowing this to happen to children. Precious, innocent children.

What can we do? What must we do?
Obviously, we must pray. But we also must speak up.
Call your representatives. Call every single day. Demand that the children be returned to their parents immediately. Demand that our elected officials make this their first priority.
This “zero-tolerance” policy is wrong. It is immoral, unethical, cruel and it is not who we are as citizens of the USA.

This may be a political issue for the politicians, but for me, and I hope for you, it is much, much more.
It is a human issue. It is a dignity issue. It is a love issue. It is a Jesus issue.

Call your elected leaders. Pray for them, pray for us but above all else, pray and ACT for these precious children.

Remember that when the disciples wanted to remove the children Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” (Luke 18:16)

As we look forward to Independence Day weekend in two weeks, I offer you this Prayer for the Nation, which holds profound significance for me in light of this crisis:

Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

May we all stir up our zeal for justice and use our liberty to rescue these children now.

In Christ,
Bishop Bill


Bishop Franklin is traveling to Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday of this week. He will preach on Thursday June 21 at an 8 am Morning Prayer service for Congress. He will then offer prayers at a Vigil on Capitol Hill scheduled for Thursday at 9 am. The Bishop will spend the rest of his time in Washington D.C. lobbying as many Members of Congress as possible. He is praying AND acting.