Bruce Springsteen has something to say about the news from the border. Since last fall, the rock star has taken a break from his usual arena tours to perform a special show on Broadway. The setlist is usually the same, and combines Springsteen’s hit songs with stories from his life. On Tuesday night, however, Springsteen changed things up. He played his song “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” which references The Grapes of Wrath and invokes economic inequality and the struggles of the disenfranchised. Before playing the song, Springsteen said the choice was born of both his joy at seeing the March For Our Lives earlier this year, and his horror at seeing the news of children being separated from their families at the border due to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
“That weekend of the March For Our Lives, we saw those young people in Washington, and citizens all around the world, remind us of what faith in America and real faith in American democracy looks and feels like,” Springsteen said. He continued, “It was a good day, and a necessary day because we are seeing things right now on our American borders that are so shockingly and disgracefully inhumane and un-American that it is simply enraging. And we have heard people in high position in the American government blaspheme in the name of God and country that it is a moral thing to assault the children amongst us. May God save our souls.”
Springsteen was referencing the words of Trump officials like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who explained the policy to an audience of law enforcement officers in Indiana by referencing the Bible: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.” The sentiment was echoed by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who told reporters at a White House briefing that “it is biblical to enforce the law.”
Springsteen, for his part, invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to talk about the border crisis, and added his own perspective of activism.
“There’s the beautiful quote by Dr. King that says the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” Springsteen said. “Now, there have been many, many days of recent when you could certainly have an argument over that. But I’ve lived long enough to see that in action and to put some faith in it. But I’ve also lived long enough to know that arc doesn’t bend on its own. It needs all of us leaning on it, nudging it in the right direction day after day. You gotta keep, keep leaning.”
Read the full statement at Springsteen’s website.