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.”
First of all, the loudest voices calling for America to admit legitimate refugees are those of left-wing Christians. So the they’re-all-hypocrites argument doesn’t hold water, and it wouldn’t matter if it did. The other guy’s sin never excuses ours.
Second, Obama was only stating the facts: Christianity is now only the most common of the many faiths Americans hold, and many other Americans hold no religious faith at all. Remember why our Christian (and not so Christian) forefathers came here: for religious freedom, not religious rule. (Yes, the secular Left wants to restrict religious freedom, but their bad history and hypocrisy don’t justify the Right’s).
Third, Mr. Jackson effectively admits that the scripture contradicts him when he only cites the very weakest Biblical passage being cited (in fact, I haven’t seen it cited) in regards to caring for refugees, while neglecting many others. Here are just two of those he doesn’t touch:
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49)
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” (Matthew 25:25-36)
Fourth, a “refugee” is someone seeking and needing refuge from injustice. Mary and Joseph – and Jesus – were clearly refugees, running in fear for their lives as many people from Muslim countries (and Mexico) are today.
Fifth, Jesus was speaking to “sane human beings” when he told us to turn the other cheek. That’s a hard commandment, not to be dismissed so glibly.
That said, we are commanded to love our neighbors, and that begins, when necessary, with defending them. We have a duty, then, to defend our friends and families. Which is why, for example, it was right for Obama in 2011 to re-vet 57,000 recently admitted Iraqi refugees and establish stricter vetting procedures for Iraqis in the future. (Contrary to reports in the conservative media, he did not impose a ban).
The problem is that nothing Trump has ever said or done or shown gives reason to believe a ban is necessary now. Say what you will about Obama and his ideology and his mistakes, he was known for carefully and deliberately reviewing the facts before making decisions. Trump is a man with a short attention span who doesn’t read books and skips security briefings, who nowadays reportedly interrupts, after only a few sentences, experts trying to give him the full picture. No one has ever called him knowledgeable about foreign affairs. No one has ever called him judicious. What evidence has he put forth that a ban is needed because current procedures aren’t thorough? What betting man would even wager he’s familiar with current vetting procedures?
No, what Trump is doing is fulfilling a campaign promise which was based on and which helped further stoke anti-Islamic bigotry. Trump’s ban appeals to people whose first impulse is not to find common ground with Muslims, but to suspect and demonize them. It’s highly ironic to hear the alt-right say that what Trump’s asking for isn’t a Muslim ban since Muslims in all countries wouldn’t be affected. (And don’t forget that Trump asked advice on how to ban Muslims legally). The alt-right thinks the only true Muslim is a militant Muslim. The alt-right thinks every Muslim is a potential jihadi. The alt-right would entirely ban Muslims if it could.
The Islamophobia is not in wanting to protect American lives. The Islamophobia is in not loving the stranger as ourselves: in refusing to recognize his full humanity, in refusing to see that God’s as concerned for him as He is for us.
How quickly we forget that the Muslims who murdered Americans on our soil lived and worked among us FOR YEARS as “peaceful” and “moderate.”
Obama supposedly had Osama Bin Laden killed. Bin Laden was one of the most beloved figures in the Muslim world. Whenever a Muslim figure is maligned in any way, the masses take to the streets, fists in the air, vowing revenge. Even drawing a cartoon draws this type of angry reaction. Obama announced that he was a Christian. Where was the outrage from the Muslims toward Obama for killing Bin Laden? I haven’t heard a peep. In fact, the opposite holds true. Don’t believe it? Ask any Muslim what they think of Obama. Every single one I’ve asked, and there have been many, loves Obama. In addition, Muslim countries beg him to intervene in their affairs. Very telling indeed.
I’m sick and tired of people trying to preach to Americans about how to be welcoming, loving and tolerant. American people are all of the above and more. Why do you think we STILL have every Tom, Dick and Harry – and Sue – moving here to live? This would NOT be the case if we weren’t.