FACT CHECK: Did Willie Nelson Say Christians Should Be ‘Up In Arms’ Over Events At The Border?

Emily Larsen | Fact Check Reporter

The Occupy Democrats Facebook page shared a meme Tuesday that allegedly quotes country singer-songwriter Willie Nelson as saying that Christians should be “up in arms” about “what’s going on” at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“What’s going on at our southern border is outrageous. Christians everywhere should be up in arms. What happened to ‘Bring us your tired and weak and we will make them strong’? The only thing we can do is take care of those kids, whatever it takes,” reads the meme.

Verdict: True

The meme weaves together two Nelson quotes from nearly four years apart, but he did say that Christians should be “up in arms” over events at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fact Check:

The bulk of the quote is from a statement Nelson provided to Rolling Stone in June about the separation of migrant children from their parents.

“What’s going on at our southern border is outrageous,” he said. “Christians everywhere should be up in arms. What happened to ‘Bring us your tired and weak and we will make them strong?’ This is still the promise land.” (RELATED: Was Willie Nelson’s Concert For Beto O’Rourke His First Performance For A Political Candidate?)

Nelson quoted lyrics from a David Lynn Jones song called “Living in the Promiseland” that Nelson covered on his 1986 album “The Promiseland.”

The Trump administration announced a zero-tolerance policy towards those who cross the border illegally in April, which led to the separation of migrant children from their parents, who were being held in federal criminal detention facilities. Customs and Border Protection suspended the policy for migrant families in late June, and the following day, a federal judge ordered the administration to reunite separated families within 30 days.

Nelson’s official Facebook page shared the Rolling Stone article along with the quote in a June 14 post.

The Occupy Democrats meme cut off the end of Nelson’s quote – “This is still the promise land” – and instead appended a quote from a Nelson interview from nearly four years earlier.

Nelson discussed the surge of Central American children who crossed from Mexico to Texas during the Obama administration in an August 2014 Rolling Stone story.

“I’ve been watching, and the only thing we can do is take care of those kids, whatever it takes,” Nelson told Rolling Stone. “Take them in, give them some medical attention. I’m sure there are homes all over the country that would be glad to take care of one or two kids.”

Nelson often publicly shares his political views. He suggested starting a pro-marijuana legalization “Teapot Party” as a response to the conservative Tea Party movement after he was arrested for marijuana possession in 2010. Nelson voiced his support for same-sex marriage in a 2013 Texas Monthly interview.

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Emily Larsen

Fact Check Reporter

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