by Bishop E.W. Jackson
America is in the midst of an ideological civil war. The division is deep and wide and the refugee problem is the latest iteration of the chasm. Emotional arguments can generate justifications that are extremely hypocritical. The hypocrisy in this particular debate is that those who want an open door refugee policy are appealing to Christian morality, calling it unchristian not to let them all in. When the left starts appealing to Christian morality, it is worth taking note.
These are the people who want to banish Christianity from every aspect of American culture. Their leader and former President Barack Obama famously said, “we are not a Christian nation.” Suddenly his liberal cohorts are asserting Christianity to buttress their position. Nice try, but there is no biblical case for opening the floodgates to refugees infiltrated by Islamic terrorists.
Some Americans are making the dangerous mistake of applying biblical principles of personal morality to matters of national security. This is one of the passages being quoted in support of an open door refugee policy. “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” [Hebrews 13:2] That verse imposes a moral obligation on individuals to be hospitable. Governmental policies are quite another matter. When these texts were written, cities were surrounded by walls and secured behind gates.
The highest moral obligation of the President of the United States is to protect our citizens. You cannot apply the personal ethic of turning the other cheek to national security any more than you can to the security of your spouse or child. No sane human being would say to a loved one under attack, “turn the other cheek so that you may be attacked again.” Just as it is your moral duty to protect and defend your loved ones, the President is under a sacred oath to protect and defend America.
If terrorists bomb a city, would we offer them another? The moral response, in defense of our people, would be to wage war against the perpetrators until they are captured or killed. The ethical imperative is to destroy their ability to do further harm. This is a Christian principle you will not hear liberal elites citing: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Providing for the safety, security and care of your own is a higher Christian responsibility than charity toward strangers.
Another argument we are hearing – offered by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – is that “Jesus was a refugee.” They reject what the Bible says about abortion, marriage, Israel and the Jewish people, but they are suddenly biblical adherents. Presumably, they are referring to when the holy family took refuge in Egypt during Herod’s mass infanticide. It’s an ironic argument since it is the left which is trying to kick Jesus out of America. If the word “refugee” applies to Jesus at all, it is in reference to the secularists who will not allow Him a home in their hearts.
That aside, it is a favorite tactic of the left to create red herrings, and respond to arguments that no one has made. No one has said all refugees are bad or that all refugees should be banned for all time. President Trump has said, and most Americans agree, that our government has a duty to protect its citizens from harm. Therefore, we should be careful about who is allowed into our country, particularly from places where Islamic terrorism is widespread. That is not Hitlerian, unchristian or anti-Jesus. It is a common sense response to the threat of Islamic terror.
Finally, the emotion surrounding this issue is driven in part by the specter of America turning away Jews escaping Nazi Germany. That was horrible and a source of national regret. We turned away Jews primarily because we did not want to get involved with Europe’s conflicts. In the end, we defeated the Nazis and took in the Jews.
Today’s refugee problem is different. There are Muslims from the Middle East who want to kill Americans and destroy our country. Since we cannot easily identify them among those who are legitimately escaping persecution, we must be extremely cautious. One or two terrorists can do enormous damage. Acknowledging this reality is neither Islamophobia nor religious bigotry. It is doing our Christian duty to protect innocent Americans from those who wish to do us harm.
By appealing to Biblical principle, liberals are unwittingly admitting that America is indeed a nation of Christian values. Instead of vilifying the President and smearing Christians, the left needs to work toward compassionate solutions that also make our citizens safe. The ideological civil war in our country is really a spiritual divide. It is time for America’s spiritual refugees to return to the faith and stand for the vision of “one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”