Person of the Week – Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

Judge Clay Jenkins, credit: The Scoop, Dallas News
Judge Clay Jenkins, credit: The Scoop, Dallas News

Dallas County, Texas Judge Clay Jenkins is coordinating a church — local government — Texas — federal government effort to develop temporary, humanitarian shelters for the flood of refugee children who have crossed the Texas border and are now in detention.

Here he is on the Rachel Maddow show:

From The Scoop blog, Dallas News here are some recent quotes from Jenkins:

“Whatever you think about immigration, these are children,”

“Children need to know they are valued,”

“I don’t want my child or her friends or any child to think that when children are in crisis that we turn our back on them in crisis because of their nationality or the language that they speak,”

What is significant about Judge Jenkins is that he started speaking out about the refugee flood of children from Central America in compassionate ways when much of the public discussion was about legalities and when to send them back.

Many officials, especially here in my home state of Oklahoma, have toured child detention facilities just so that they can come out in front of cameras and deliver lots of anti-Obama sound bites. Very early on there was little mention of the humanitarian nature of this flood of children.

And of course it has spawned many harsh responses from the far Right about whether we ought to be doing anything about it at all.

Protesters block buses of children in Murrieta, CA
Protesters block buses of children in Murrieta, CA

Here is an interview that he did recently with Tamron Hall after Glenn Beck had received harsh criticism from his own listeners for suggesting that this was a humanitarian problem:

The best quotes from this interview:

“What does your bible tell  you?”

“What do the words on the Statue of Liberty tell you?”

Isn’t it stunning that anyone in this political climate would refer people back to their biblical faith? Harsh, uncaring attitudes toward the poor, the weak, and the powerless have become so commonplace that now we just expect to hear those expressions.

It leaves me wondering just exactly what people believe.